How to Get PG&E and SMUD Rebates for HVAC Systems in the Sacramento Valley
Maybe you’re looking around your home, wondering how you can make your utility bill lower. Maybe you’re eyeing low-flush toilets, concerned about the environment and the water crisis. Maybe you have a goal of a zero-energy home and want to make it happen as efficiently as possible. If any of these sound like you, then rebates should be a part of your game plan.
Rebates are money that you spend and then get back from the government or the utility company because they approve what you spent the money on. Say you buy that low-flush toilet for $100. Because it saves water, your utility company might reimburse you part of the cost — say, $40. Now you’ve spent $60 on a toilet, which could be about the cost of a regular toilet. The great thing about rebates is that they’re offered for all kinds of stuff — equipment, appliances, and home-efficiency upgrades. This can make your projects much more affordable, as long as you’re doing something that the utility company, your city, county, or state offers a rebate on.
First Things First
Readers of the last rebate post will know that the first step is getting a free home energy-efficiency consultation from a really good contractor. This should feel less like a sales pitch and more like an information session with a knowledgeable expert.
It’s vital that you do your work through a contractor because that’s the only way to get most rebates. They’ll know what you can get rebates on and what you can’t. Responsible contractors will also have a third party inspect the work plan and verify that you’ll actually receive the rebates you want. When the work begins, a certified contractor must do it or you won’t be able to get the rebate.
Heating and Air Rebates
While we do windows and plumbing as well, we’re first and foremost an HVAC company — a lot of the rebate work we do involves HVAC equipment and systems. Which rebates we perform will vary widely based on the house and the client’s needs, but there are a few we find ourselves going back to again and again because they provide great bang for the buck.
One of our go-to rebate techniques is to insulate the attic. It’s a cost-effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency and that’s vital. Not all rebates are about new technology; in fact, it doesn’t make much sense to install energy-efficient equipment in a home that isn’t energy-efficient enough to really benefit. This also goes for working on attic ductwork. Even if the rest of the ducts in the house need some work, we start in the attic because a lot of temperature loss occurs in this area of the home. PG&E offers rebates on both of these kinds of work as does SMUD.
When we do suggest installing energy-efficient equipment, we pay attention to the SEER rating. This describes how energy-efficient a piece of equipment is. A SEER rating of 14 or higher is the standard now, but we’ll often try to go higher — after all, SMUD pays a rebate for doing so.
It’s important to remember that not all whiz-bang technology is created equal — for example, liquid-chill air conditioners may sound cool, but they’re a pain to repair and keep running. When you decide to install new equipment, do some research and work with a contractor you trust. They can help you find the right equipment that’s reliable, high-quality, and high-performing.
There are less rebates for increasing efficiency of existing plumbing systems than there are for HVAC systems. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth fixing up your plumbing before installing other equipment — even if that work isn’t rebated, it will increase the life and effectiveness of anything you install down the road. But there are several rebates for plumbing and tank insulation, which may be worth your time if you’re looking at plumbing equipment rebates.
There are rebates for equipment like water-saving toilets, washers, and dishwashers; the best rebates are for hot water heaters. Heat-pump water heaters are a great piece of technology that may be new but are already tested in the field and in many homes. More energy-efficient than other model of water heating, these devices work great and do so at a much smaller energy cost than regular water heaters. You’ll find rebates from both PG&E and SMUD for heat-pump water heaters.
Tankless water heaters are also very energy-efficient (and most offer near-immediate delivery of hot water). Conventional storage water heaters are a little trickier to rebate, but PG&E does offer some rebates on these devices as well.
We’ve been talking a lot about windows lately. Both SMUD and PG&E offer rebates on double-paned windows. These can ease the burden of cost on the sometimes expensive process of window replacement. Like attic insulation and duct sealing, window replacement is focused on improving your home’s energy efficiency. They’ll help keep heat in during the winter and heat out in the summer, possibly lowering your utility bill and increasing the lifespan of any HVAC equipment in your home. As mentioned at the start of this blog, it’s important to make sure your home is energy-efficient before installing HVAC equipment, or you’re not getting the full benefits of the new system.
Get Started on Your Rebate
We know this is a lot of information to process, and if you look at the SMUD and PG&E rebate pages, you’ll realize we haven’t even covered a quarter of the possible rebates. These are just a few of the ones we see people benefiting from again and again; once you get your own home efficiency analysis, you’ll know exactly which ones will work for you and which ones won’t.
The most important thing to take away is to work with a contractor who takes rebate work seriously. If you have any questions or concerns — or want to schedule your own free home energy efficiency analysis — contact us today! We’re the No Surprise Guys, we’re Sacramentans through and through, and we get more rebate money for our clients than any other contractor in the area. We look forward to working with you.