For a while there, we had it good. The HVAC industry enjoyed a $1,500 federal tax credit during 2009 and 2010. Many homeowners were aware of this incentive, and higher-efficiency equipment almost sold itself. It seemed silly to purchase standard equipment when the credit paid for the upgrade to high efficiency.
In 2011, this beefy credit was reduced to $300 for compressor-bearing equipment and $200 for furnaces — a nice bonus, but not enough to make an efficiency upgrade a no-brainer. And, as of Dec. 31, 2011, the tax credit expired completely, leaving our industry with no federal incentive on traditional systems (geothermal systems have a tax credit until 2016).