Thermostats: Basic to High Tech...The Choice is Yours!

Remember when it was a simple task to buy a child a toy?  The biggest choice in deciding on a doll, for example, was the clothes it was wearing.  My niece asked for a doll for Christmas, but it was a specific doll that could crawl, laugh, cry, eat and need a diaper change.  I looked at dolls for what seemed to be an eternity before finally deciding on one.

Believe it or not, you might feel the same way when you look at thermostats today!  Most thermostats are digital.  Outside of that, there are lots of options to choose from.  To make it a little less overwhelming, check out our feature breakdown below to help you make the best choice for your home or office:

Basic Thermostat:   A basic digital thermostat will accurately control the temperature in your home or office.  This type of thermostat has buttons which can move the temperature up and down.  It is not programmable so the buttons are used to manually change the temperature as needed.  It's ideal to have a thermostat that shows two readings:  a set temperature (what you want it to be) and an inside temperature (what it actually is).

Programmable Thermostat:  A programmable thermostat is a digital thermostat designed to allow the user to set programs to control the temperature of the house or office.  There are two types of programmable thermostats:

  • 5/2 Programmable:  This type of programmable thermostat allows Monday-Friday to be set on one program and Saturday-Sunday to be set on another program.  This is a great option for people who have a set work schedule Monday-Friday.  Here is a sample program for a 5/2 thermostat:  6am temperature set to 70 degrees (comfortable when you wake up in the mornings).  8am-5pm temperature set to 65 degrees (lower temperature when no one is home to save on utility costs) 5pm-11pm temperature set to 70 degrees (comfortable while at home).  11pm-6am temperature set to 67 degrees (save on utility costs while sleeping).  A different program could then be set for Saturday and Sunday when you are home during the day.
  • 7-Day Programmable:  This type of programmable thermostat allows a different program to be set every day of the week.  This is a great option for people who have flexible work schedules.  You may work from home one day, volunteer at your child's school one day and work in an office one day.  This type of programming allows each day to be scheduled according to your time at home and away.

There are some additional differences to these types of programmable thermostats.  A 7 day often has a touchscreen, whereas a 5/2 programmable will have buttons.  Some thermostats may also show the indoor humidity level.  This is a great feature to quickly know if you need to adjust your humidifier.

Wi-Fi Thermostat:  This is a digital, programmable thermostat which has Wi-Fi capability so the thermostat can be controlled through a phone, tablet or computer.  This is a great option for people who travel or for those that simply enjoy having the latest technology!  Additional features available on a Wi-Fi thermostat compared to a programmable thermostat include weather forecast, humidity control (meaning the humidifier can be controlled through the thermostat), usage charts, and alerts.  HVAC equipment manufactures are even offering Wi-Fi thermostats that can communicate with high efficient equipment.  One of the biggest benefits to this is an alert that will be emailed to you if there is a problem with the system.

Technology has come a long way!  What's the best fit for you?  We install all types of thermostats so please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions!


Tax Credits Are Back for High Efficient HVAC Equipment!

It seems that the fiscal cliff news had the attention of most Americans.  Did you know that as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which was signed in early January 2013, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credits were retroactively reinstated?  To say that simply, the federal tax credits that expired at the end of 2011 are back!  The tax credits are available for energy efficient improvements made to your home between January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2013.  What exactly does this mean for you?  What qualifies as high efficient?  How much are the tax credits?  How do you claim the tax credit?  It's time to dish the details!

What does this mean for you?  If you purchased certain high efficient equipment or made high efficient improvements in 2012 or plan to make a high efficient purchase in 2013, you may be eligible for this federal tax credit.  Improvements include the installation of high efficient furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps.  Other eligible improvements include high efficient water heaters, windows, doors, insulation, and some roofing materials.  

What qualifies as high efficient?  Qualifying equipment includes 95% or higher efficient gas furnaces, split system air conditioners that achieve 16 SEER and 13 EER, split system electric heat pumps that achieve 15 SEER, 12.5 EER and 8.5 HSPF and advanced main air circulating fan (found in gas, propane, or oil furnaces) that use no more than 2% of the total energy usage of the furnace.  Your heating and cooling company will provide you with an AHRI certificate which certifies that the new equipment meets these specifications.  

How much are the tax credits?  The tax credit is $150 for qualifying furnaces, $300 for qualifying air conditioners, $300 for qualifying heat pumps, and $50 for qualifying fans.  The total amount of the tax credit is capped at $500.  If the tax credit was taken in the amount of $500 in a previous year, you can't take it again.

How can I claim the tax credit?  The tax credit is claimed on your 2012 or 2013 taxes, depending on the year the improvement was made.  It's always best to consult with your accountant to properly claim the credits.  Since the tax credits are retroactive and available to be claimed on 2012 tax returns, the IRS is having to update their system.  Therefore, if you're claiming the tax credit, you  may not be able to file your taxes before the end of February.

If you are considering new HVAC equipment, now is the time to consider high efficient.  In addition to the federal tax credits, most utility companies are still offering rebates for high efficient equipment as well.  Also take into consideration the energy savings over the years and it really adds up!  Feel free to contact Renee at 317.430.1716 or renee@LCSheatingandcooling.com if you have questions or would like to discuss.