Upgrading an outdated HVAC system in your home can get costly. However, just because it still works, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a more energy efficient system. The initial cost of the equipment and installation will be more than covered by the savings from your energy bill. And if this is not enough of an incentive, don’t forget about the energy efficiency tax credits, rebates and loans offered to homeowners like you to help offset the costs of home improvement. Here are some of them you should definitely take advantage of if you are planning on or have recently completed HVAC upgrades.
FEDERAL TAX CREDITS
Many categories of HVAC equipment that carry Energy Star label qualify for certain tax credits. One of the current federal tax credits that expires in 2016 covers 30% of the equipment and installation cost for geothermal heat pumps, small wind turbines and solar energy systems. The equipment you purchase has to meet certain specifications to be eligible for this credit.
Several tax credits expired at the end of 2013 and were not extended by the Congress. One of these expired credits offered rebates on the energy-efficient HVAC equipment—10% of cost up to $500. While this incentive is not available at the moment, it may come back in the future, so it helps to monitor legislation when it comes to tax credits.
STATE AND COUNTY-LEVEL INCENTIVES
Many states, including Maryland, are striving to become more energy efficient. That’s why they’ve adopted programs and incentives to encourage homeowners take the steps to getting rid of inefficient HVAC equipment and moving toward renewable energy, such as wind power, solar power and geothermal technologies.
If you need help paying for your HVAC upgrades, Maryland’s Be SMART Home Program offers up to $25,000 in financing toward energy-efficient home improvements. The eligible improvements include, among other things, insulation, furnace repair and replacement, as well as geothermal systems. For low-income households with combined income lower than 200% of the federal poverty level, there is a Weatherization Assistance Program that can help cover some of the costs of increasing energy efficiency.
UTILITY REBATE PROGRAMS
Sometimes, your local electric company can also offer rebates. If you are serviced by Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), you may be eligible for one of the rebates under their Smart Energy Savers Program. Depending on the degree of your HVAC improvements, you can expect to get anywhere from $100 to $1,800 in rebates from BGE. However, one of the requirement is that the work is performed by a Maryland HVAC contractor participating in the program, such as Cool Breeze.
BGE customers can also get a complete home energy audit for $100 to identify any areas for improvement. This might be useful if you just purchased a new home or have ongoing HVAC issues.
STAYING UP TO DATE ON TAX CREDITS
Tax credits, incentives and rebates come and go. A tax credit you wanted to use last year may no longer be valid, while your state could have created a new incentive that just took effect. Here are a few resources you can check every now and then to see if anything changes in the tax credit world:
And if you need help evaluating energy efficiency of your home, repairing old equipment, upgrading HVAC systems or conducting preventive maintenance, you know who to call for residential HVAC services in Maryland. Cool Breeze is also a participating provider in BGE incentives, and if we know of any tax credits you could use, we’ll be sure to share to help offset your costs.