Energy-Efficient Options for Your Next AC Replacement

June 19th, 2023
person-calculating-money-saved-by-improving-home-efficiency

Perhaps you’ve heard that the requirements for air conditioners have changed, and that all newly manufactured air conditioners installed in the US must meet a higher standard for energy efficiency. But did you know that a lot has changed in how air conditioners are made? New AC models can achieve extraordinary efficiency, which could mean much-lower electric bills once you replace your system. Here’s how they do it.

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3 Benefits of Custom Ductwork Fabrication

June 5th, 2023
metal-ductwork

A large amount of heated or conditioned air is lost through cracks, holes, and other damage to ductwork. If your home’s ductwork is leaky, 30% or more of your heating and cooling bills could be due to paying for wasted hot or cold air that escapes to unoccupied areas of your home such as your attic or between your walls.

Does having your ductwork replaced seem like an enormous, exhausting endeavor? It’s actually quicker and easier than you might think. The best approach might be to have custom ductwork fabricated specifically for your home. Here are three reasons why.

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Understanding SEER2 and the Benefits of Upgrading Your HVAC System

May 26th, 2023

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, you may have heard about SEER2. But what is it, and why should you care? In this post, we’ll explore what SEER2 is, the benefits of upgrading your HVAC system to SEER2, and the new standards being implemented this year.

What is SEER2?

SEER2 stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. It’s a rating system used to measure the energy efficiency of central air conditioning systems and heat pump systems. SEER2 takes into account the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season and is calculated by dividing the total amount of cooling provided over a typical cooling season by the total electrical input during the same season.

What are the Benefits of Upgrading to SEER2?

  • Lower Energy Bills: The higher the SEER2 rating, the more efficient the system is, resulting in lower monthly energy costs. Upgrading to a higher SEER2 system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs over the lifetime of the system.
  • Increased Comfort: A higher SEER2 system can also provide increased comfort, as it is better equipped to maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home. This means fewer hot and cold spots and a more comfortable living environment.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Upgrading to a higher SEER2 system can also have a positive impact on the environment. By using less energy, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint and help to conserve natural resources.
  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: A new HVAC system with a higher SEER2 rating can also improve indoor air quality. Newer systems are designed to filter out more pollutants and allergens, resulting in cleaner air and a healthier living environment.

When Should You Upgrade to SEER2?

If your current HVAC system is more than 10 years old, it may be time to consider upgrading to a higher SEER2 system. Older systems are typically less efficient and can be more costly to operate. Additionally, if you’re experiencing frequent breakdowns or repairs, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to upgrade to a newer, more efficient system.

New Standards for SEER2

Starting in 2023, new SEER2 standards will be implemented, requiring all new systems to have a minimum SEER2 rating of 15. This means that if you’re considering upgrading your system, it’s a good idea to choose a system that meets or exceeds this new standard. By doing so, you’ll not only enjoy the benefits of a more efficient system but also ensure that your system is compliant with the latest standards.

Talk to Douglas Cooling & Heating About Upgrading Your Air Conditioner Or Cooling System Today

Upgrading your HVAC system to SEER2 can provide a range of benefits, including lower energy bills, increased comfort, improved indoor air quality, and a positive impact on the environment. With the new SEER2 standards being implemented this year, it’s more important than ever to choose a system that meets or exceeds these standards. By investing in a higher SEER2 system, you’ll enjoy a more comfortable living environment while saving money on your energy bills and contributing to a more sustainable future. Contact Douglas Cooling & Heating if you’re interested in a more energy-efficient way of cooling your Birmingham area home. 

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What To Know About The Inflation Reduction Act

May 26th, 2023

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a federal program that provides tax incentives for certain home improvements that increase energy efficiency. One of the most common and effective upgrades that homeowners make is improving their home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. By upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, you not only save money on your energy bills but also qualify for a tax credit under the IRA. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how you can utilize the IRA to upgrade your home’s HVAC system and benefit from the tax credits available. We’ll also cover the eligibility criteria, types of HVAC systems that qualify, and steps to claim the tax credits. So, whether you’re planning to upgrade your HVAC system or just curious about the tax benefits of energy-efficient improvements, read on to learn more.

Overview of IRA and its Purpose

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was introduced to the US Congress in 2019 and was enacted into law in the same year. The main purpose of the act is to tackle inflation and provide tax relief to US taxpayers. It also includes provisions for home improvement tax credits, which are designed to encourage homeowners to invest in energy-efficient upgrades.

Background and History of the IRA

The IRA builds on the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which first introduced tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements. The IRA expands on these credits by increasing the maximum credit amount and including new qualifying home improvement projects. With the rising concern for energy conservation and the need to reduce carbon footprint, the IRA creates valuable incentives for homeowners to upgrade their homes with energy-efficient measures.

What are Home Improvement Tax Credits?

Home improvement tax credits are incentives offered by the federal government to encourage homeowners to invest in energy-efficient improvements to their homes. Tax credits work by reducing the amount of tax that is owed to the government. These credits are a powerful tool for homeowners who want to make their homes more energy-efficient without breaking the bank.

How the IRA Affects Home Improvement Tax Credits

The IRA increases the tax credit for eligible home improvement projects and expands the range of qualifying projects. For homeowners, this means they can receive a larger tax credit for energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.

What Home Improvement Projects are Eligible for Tax Credits under IRA?

The IRA applies to a wide range of home improvement projects, including upgrades to home heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Other qualifying projects include solar water heating, insulation, and energy-efficient windows and doors.

IRA Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the IRA tax credit, homeowners must meet certain requirements. These include owning the home and using it as a primary residence. Additionally, eligible projects must be completed between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2022.

Specific Eligibility Criteria for HVAC Upgrades

To qualify for the IRA tax credit for HVAC upgrades, homeowners must invest in an energy-efficient HVAC system that meets certain energy efficiency standards. The system must be a split system, packaged system, or a ductless mini-split system, with a SEER rating of at least 16 and an EER rating of at least 13.

How to Check Your Eligibility for IRA Tax Credits

Homeowners can check their eligibility for the IRA tax credit by reviewing the guidelines set out by the IRS. It is also recommended that homeowners consult with a tax professional, who can provide more detailed information about the credits and how to claim them.

Upgrading your Home HVAC: Benefits, Costs, and Tax Implications

Benefits of Upgrading your Home HVAC System

Upgrading your home’s HVAC system can provide a range of benefits, including increased energy efficiency, lower energy bills, improved indoor air quality, and increased home value. With the IRA tax credit, homeowners can access these benefits while also enjoying a tax break.

Costs of Upgrading your Home HVAC System

The cost of upgrading a home’s HVAC system varies depending on the type of system and the size of the home. However, the IRA tax credit can help to offset some of these costs, making the upgrade more affordable for homeowners.

Tax Implications of Upgrading Your Home HVAC System

Upgrading your home’s HVAC system can have significant tax implications, as homeowners can take advantage of the IRA tax credit. The credit can be claimed for up to $500 for eligible HVAC upgrades. This tax credit can help homeowners save money on their taxes while also investing in more energy-efficient home HVAC Upgrades with IRA

Overview of HVAC Systems that Qualify under IRA

Under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), homeowners can qualify for tax credits of up to 10% of the cost of HVAC upgrades for their homes. However, not all HVAC systems meet the criteria for tax credits under IRA. The qualifying HVAC systems include central air conditioning, heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps.

Features and Benefits of Each HVAC System Type

Central air conditioning systems are designed to cool an entire house and are known for their energy efficiency. Heat pumps are versatile systems that both heat and cool homes, while geothermal heat pumps use the earth’s heat to both heat and cool homes. All three HVAC systems offer energy savings and improved comfort for homeowners.

How to Choose the Right HVAC System for Your Home

When choosing an HVAC system for your home, it is important to consider factors such as size, energy efficiency, and cost. A professional HVAC contractor can assess your home’s needs and recommend the best system for your space and budget.

How to Claim Tax Credits for HVAC Upgrades under IRA

To claim tax credits for HVAC upgrades under IRA, homeowners need to file IRS Form 5695 with their taxes. This form requires information about the HVAC system, the amount spent on the upgrade, and proof of installation.

Forms and Documentation Required for Claiming Tax Credits under IRA

In addition to IRS Form 5695, homeowners need to provide documentation of the HVAC upgrade and proof of payment. This can include receipts, contracts, or invoices from the HVAC contractor.

Deadlines and Other Important Considerations for Claiming Tax Credits under IRA

Homeowners must claim tax credits for HVAC upgrades under IRA in the same tax year that the upgrade is made. Additionally, the maximum tax credit amount is $500 for all qualified home improvements combined.

Common Questions and Concerns about IRA and Home HVAC Upgrades

Can The Tax Credit Also Be Applied to Rental Properties?

The tax credit for HVAC upgrades under IRA can only be applied to a primary residence, not rental properties.

Is the Tax Credit Refundable?

The tax credit is non-refundable, meaning it can only be used to offset tax liability and cannot be refunded to the homeowner.

What Types of HVAC Systems Qualify for Tax Credits Under the IRA?

Most types of HVAC systems that meet the energy efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy (DOE) qualify for tax credits under the IRA. This includes central air conditioning, air-source heat pumps, and natural gas, propane, or oil furnaces and boilers. However, it’s important to check the specific eligibility criteria and efficiency ratings for each type of HVAC system.

How Much Tax Credit Can I Get for Upgrading my Home’s HVAC System Under the IRA?

The tax credit you can get for upgrading your home’s HVAC system under the IRA varies depending on the type of system, its efficiency rating, and the total cost of the upgrade. Generally, you can get a tax credit of up to 10% of the total cost, up to a maximum of $500 for all improvements combined. However, there are some exceptions and limitations, so it’s best to consult a tax professional or the IRS website for more information.

Can I Claim Tax Credits for HVAC Upgrades Made in Previous Years?

Unfortunately, no. The tax credits under the IRA are available only for eligible home improvements completed between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2023. If you made HVAC upgrades before or after this period, you may still be eligible for other tax incentives or rebates, so it’s worth checking with your local utility or state government.

Do I Need to Hire a Contractor to Upgrade My Home’s HVAC System to Qualify For Tax Credits Under The IRA?

No, you don’t necessarily need to hire a contractor to upgrade your home’s HVAC system to qualify for tax credits under the IRA. However, if you plan to claim the tax credits, you must keep documentation of the purchase and installation costs, as well as the efficiency rating and other eligibility criteria of the HVAC system. If you’re not sure how to do this or what to look for, it’s best to consult a professional HVAC contractor or a tax advisor.

Homeowners can take advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act to upgrade their home’s HVAC systems and improve energy efficiency. Qualifying systems include central air conditioning, heat pumps, and geothermal heat pumps. Homeowners can claim tax credits by filing IRS Form 5695 and providing documentation of the upgrade and proof of payment.

Maximizing Tax Credits for HVAC Upgrades with IRA

By upgrading their home’s HVAC system with a qualifying system under the Inflation Reduction Act, homeowners can not only save money on energy bills but also claim tax credits to offset the cost of the upgrade. It is important to consult with a professional HVAC contractor and understand the eligibility criteria and documentation requirements for claiming tax credits under IRA. In conclusion, utilizing the Inflation Reduction Act to upgrade your home’s HVAC system is a great way to improve energy efficiency, reduce your carbon footprint, and qualify for tax credits. By following the eligibility criteria, choosing the right HVAC system, and claiming the tax credits, you can save money, increase your home’s value, and contribute to a more sustainable future. So, take advantage of the benefits of the IRA and upgrade your home’s HVAC system today.

The finance team at Douglas Cooling & Heating can help you figure out which credits you qualify for and how to make the most of this offer. Our team of expert HVAC installers is here to help you find the perfect system for your home that will meet your heating and cooling needs without breaking the bank. Give us a call today to see if you qualify for these incentives. 

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Signs You Need to Replace Your Garbage Disposal

May 25th, 2023

Your garbage disposal is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. It helps you get rid of your food waste quickly and cleanly, making kitchen clean-up a breeze. However, like any other appliance, your garbage disposal may eventually need to be replaced. If you have a problematic garbage disposal humming in the kitchen of your Birmingham home, you may need to replace it.

The licensed Birmingham plumbers of Douglas Cooling & Heating explain what causes garbage disposal issues and some things you can try to fix it. If troubleshooting does not work, give us a call to solve your worst garbage disposal problems.

You Hear Garbage Disposal Humming

If you notice the garbage disposal is humming but it is not working properly, it could be a sign of a serious problem. This is not a normal sound, and it may indicate that your garbage disposal is not functioning correctly. You may hear the humming sound when you turn on your garbage disposal, but it won’t grind up food waste. In such a case, it is best to call an experienced technician to address the issue.

Jammed Blades

There could be several reasons why your garbage disposal is humming and not grinding up food. The first reason could be that the disposal blades are jammed. This can happen when food waste gets caught in the blades. When the blades are jammed, they are unable to rotate.

Several things have the potential to jam up your unit’s blades and cause a garbage disposal humming sound. Pieces of food that have been collected in the bottom of the unit may clog it up, or kitchen debris like bones that shouldn’t be in garbage disposals at all. Foreign objects, such as kitchen utensils, are common culprits that cause jams and garbage disposal humming. Make sure you do not put fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, fruit pits, or non-food particles down garbage disposals.

Bad Motor

Humming garbage disposals are a common sign that the motor has gone bad. The motor is a vital part of the garbage disposal, and if it’s not working correctly, the disposal won’t function correctly. In such cases, it’s best to call a technician, and they can give you further instructions concerning the repair of your current unit or install a new garbage disposal.

If the garbage disposal is turned on while an object has blocked the blades from spinning, its use has the potential to burn out the unit’s motor. With a bad motor, you’re probably looking at garbage disposal replacement rather than a repair. Once you verify there is no blockage down in the unit causing the garbage disposal to make unusual noises, you can try to reset the disposal by turning off the power and manually freeing the trapped food. Never stick your hand down a garbage disposal when it’s running.

Other Garbage Disposal Noises

Your garbage disposal should make some noise when it’s functioning correctly. However, if you notice that your garbage disposal is getting louder or making grinding or screeching noises, it could be a sign that it’s time for a new garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal is functioning well but making a loud noise, there is a chance that there is something loose within the grinder that is causing the sound.

Another reason why your garbage disposal could be making strange noises is that the blades are worn out. Over time the blades can dull or even break, causing unusual sounds while in operation. Worn-out blades can also lead to clogs and jams, which is another sign that it’s time to replace the entire disposal. Dropping ice cubes down your garbage disposal now and again can help sharpen the blades.

You Experience Frequent Clogs

If you find yourself constantly having to unclog your garbage disposal, you may want to consider replacing it. While clogs can usually be easily handled through regular cleaning and maintenance, frequent clogs may be a sign of an underlying problem. It may indicate that the blades, motor, or any other part of your disposal is in need of replacement. A qualified technician can help you assess the problem and recommend the best course of action.

How to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

Luckily, as long as a garbage disposal humming sound is addressed right away, this problem isn’t too complicated to solve on your own. The solution is often as simple as removing the object from the unit. Due to the nature of the equipment and the sharp blades within, you need to be sure you do so in a safe manner. Our licensed plumbers outline the steps to follow to remove objects stuck in your garbage disposal.

  • Turn off the power to your disposal. Turning it off at the wall switch is not enough – cut power to the unit at your home’s electrical panel.
  • At the bottom of your garbage disposal, there is a small hex-shaped hole. Using the hex wrench, which is also called an Allen wrench, included with your unit, insert the Allen wrench into the hole.
  • Turn the wrench clockwise. Doing so turns the disposal’s flywheel, which helps to break up the material jamming the blades.
  • Once you feel the resistance release and are able to turn the flywheel with ease, the jam has been eliminated. Use a pair of tongs or pliers to reach into the garbage disposal from the drain to pull out the offending object. And remember, never put your hands down the drain.
  • Make sure to pull out the Allen wrench and turn the power back on by resetting the circuit breaker at your home’s electrical panel.
  • Turn on the disposal at the wall switch. If it runs, flush it with hot water for about a minute to clear out any debris left down in the unit.

Call Douglas for Plumbing Help!

If you notice the garbage disposal humming when you flip the switch but can’t fix the jam or don’t know the cause, call your plumber for assistance. Douglas Cooling & Heating helps homeowners throughout Birmingham, AL with plumbing repairs for garbage disposals as well as other components of a home’s plumbing system. Contact us today to schedule a service call.

 

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Is a UV Air Cleaner Safe?

May 25th, 2023

Are you looking for ways to improve the indoor air quality of your home or business? One option that has gained popularity in recent years is the use of UV cleaners. These devices use ultraviolet light to kill airborne microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, and improve the overall air quality in your space. You may be wondering, is a UV air cleaner safe to use? The HVAC specialists at Douglas Cooling & Heating explain how a UV air cleaner works and some of their benefits and drawbacks.

How Do UV Cleaners Work?

UV cleaners work by emitting ultraviolet radiation, which is harmful to microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. When these microorganisms are exposed to the UV light radiation, their DNA gets damaged, which then prevents them from reproducing and spreading. This effectively kills the harmful particles and improves the air quality in your space.

There are two primary types of UV cleaners: stand-alone units and integrated systems. Stand-alone units are portable and can be placed in any room or area where you want to improve the air quality. Integrated systems are part of your HVAC system and work to clean the air as it circulates through your home or business.

Can UV Air Cleaners Be Harmful?

Some people may be concerned about the effects of UV light exposure on humans. After all, too much exposure to UV radiation from the sun can lead to skin damage and even skin cancer. However, UV cleaners are designed to emit a specific wavelength of UV radiation that is not harmful to humans. Additionally, the UV radiation is contained within a small internal chamber of the device or your HVAC system, which means it cannot escape into the air or spread throughout your space.

It’s also important to note that the amount of UV radiation emitted by these devices is not enough to penetrate the skin or eyes. So, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and use your UV cleaner as directed, you should not experience any harmful effects.

UV air cleaners are sometimes referred to as UV air purifiers. There are a variety of different air purifiers on the market today. Some air purifiers generate ozone which can be dangerous to your health. However, UV light technology still produces ozone, but in such small quantities that it generally is not harmful to humans. HEPA air purifiers or air cleaners that use air filters instead of UV lights are generally considered safer and ozone free.

Benefits of Using UV Cleaners

Using a UV air cleaner in your home or business can provide a number of benefits. First and foremost, it can greatly improve the overall air quality in your space. By killing harmful microorganisms, you can reduce the number of airborne allergens and irritants, which can improve symptoms for those suffering from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

UV cleaners can also help to reduce odors and improve the overall cleanliness of your space. By eliminating harmful bacteria and mold spores, you can reduce the risk of unpleasant smells and keep your space looking and smelling fresh.

Finally, using a UV air cleaner can help to extend the life of your HVAC system. By reducing the amount of harmful bacteria and mold spores in your air ducts, you can prevent the buildup of dirt and debris, which can strain your HVAC system and lead to increased energy bills. This can ultimately save you money in the long run.

Call Douglas Cooling & Heating to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality Today

When it comes to finding the right air purifier, air cleaner, or air filtration system for your home, you may be surprised to find that there are more options available than you realize. Talk to Douglas Cooling & Heating today to learn more about how UV air purification can benefit your home, or to find a system that would best meet your indoor air quality needs. Schedule an appointment for an indoor air quality assessment today.

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Are Heat Pumps Suitable for Alabama’s Climate?

May 22nd, 2023
new-heat-pump-indoor-and-outdoor-units

A quick bit of research about heat pumps can easily tell you that they’re excellent for providing cooling in any climate. What’s a little harder to determine is just how well they work at providing heating.

If you’re considering getting a heat pump in Alabama, you need to know precisely what to expect from it in our climate. Is it a reasonable choice? Will it provide all the heating you need? Here’s some specific information to help you form your own conclusions.

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Understanding SEER2 and the Benefits of Upgrading Your HVAC System

May 15th, 2023
efficiency

If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, you may have heard about SEER2. But what is it, and why should you care? In this post, we’ll explore what SEER2 is, the benefits of upgrading your HVAC system to SEER2, and the new standards being implemented this year.

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Increase Your Usable Square Footage with a Mini Split

May 8th, 2023
couple-on-couch-enjoying-temperature-control-with-a-mini-split-air-handler

If you’re looking to make the most of your home or business without building an addition, you might have been eyeing a garage, unfinished basement, or attic space and wondering what it would take to turn that into usable living or working space.

In Alabama, it’s critical to keep the temperature and humidity under control in order for people to be comfortable in the space. What’s the best way to do that while making room for your expanding family or business? You can cool the space and lower humidity with a mini split AC. 

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What is the Inflation Reduction Act?

May 1st, 2023

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a federal program that provides tax incentives for certain home improvements that increase energy efficiency. One of the most common and effective upgrades that homeowners make is improving their home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.

By upgrading to a more energy-efficient HVAC system, you not only save money on your energy bills but also qualify for a tax credit under the IRA. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how you can utilize the IRA to upgrade your home’s HVAC system and benefit from the tax credits available.

We’ll also cover the eligibility criteria, types of HVAC systems that qualify, and steps to claim the tax credits. So, whether you’re planning to upgrade your HVAC system or just curious about the tax benefits of energy-efficient improvements, read on to learn more.

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