Replacing an HVAC system or your hot water system can be a significant expense. One way you can reduce costs is by taking advantage of state and local incentive programs which reward buying newer, more energy efficient systems. In addition to these government rebates some manufacturers will also offer rebates and discounts.
Rebates from a utility company? Why would my utility company pay for me to use less energy?
You might wonder why your utility company would provide a rebate or incentive to purchase a new, more efficient HVAC system or water heater. A key reason for these offers is limitations on how much supply the utility company can generate. New power plants and natural gas supply systems are extremely expensive and take years to build. If it’s possible to reduce the amount of demand to stay within their current level of supply, while still ensuring everyone has a comfortable home, they can avoid raising rates or fees for new infrastructure. There are also environmental benefits to reductions in the production and consumption of energy. The main goal of these rebates is to install equipment that uses less energy but still gives you the level of comfort you want.
What are the most popular systems for rebates and why?
HVAC systems are one of the largest users of power and fuel in your home. A new system could reduce your bills by 30%. This combined with any additional rebates could allow the new system to pay for itself in a relatively short period. This significant reduction in fuel and energy demand is why this is the most common rebate. If you are planning on a new system, ask your installer and your utility provider about available rebate programs. Your HVAC company should be able to facilitate the processing of available rebates and maximize your savings.
Improved water heater technology makes the traditional “dumb” tank a prime target for rebates. New systems will run more efficiently and keep hot water ready longer while using less energy. Rebates for water heaters can come from your natural gas, electricity, and/or water utility companies and in some cases the manufacturer themselves. All of the groups offering rebates will benefit from helping you upgrade this system.
What other pieces of equipment could I receive a rebate for?
Most rebates will focus on big ticket items like water heaters and HVAC systems, but there are a few other systems and equipment in your house that could qualify:
- Smart thermostats are a key to running an efficient HVAC system. Adding a programmable thermostat to an existing system can significantly reduce unnecessary heating and cooling. The low cost of some thermostats combined with a rebate can make the cost almost zero to you.
- Toilets are also a major consumer of water in a household. Newer two-step toilets can reduce water consumption since they use significantly less water. This in turn can also reduce the strain on existing public sewer systems, which cost millions to upgrade.
- Irrigation control systems with internet connectivity for your lawn can turn off the system when it’s raining or add an extra sprinkle of water when the weather turns warm.
- Energy efficient windows keep the cold out in the winter and the cool in during the summer. This helps reduce the strain on your existing HVAC system thereby helping to extend its life and will also greatly reduce your utility bills.
- You can also find rebates available on new refrigerators, dehumidifiers, ovens, dishwashers, and faucets.
In summary, anything in your house that requires electricity or water might have a rebate waiting for you to take advantage of.
Where can I find these rebates?
Most rebates are offered by your local utility companies. If you start with a simple online search, you should find most of the current rebates available to you. Other sources to check with are:
- Your HVAC and plumbing team at Sila
- Local hardware stores that offer high efficiency appliances and windows
- Energy conservation groups
- Local Facebook and online community pages
Here are some resources to get you started
CT: Energize Connecticut
DC: District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Utility
Upgrade Efficiently with the DCSEU