Air conditioning rebates start Aug. 30
A/C replacement could net $1,500
BY LAURA RUANE
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August 23, 2010 runs through Dec. 31, or until $15 million in federal stimulus money runs out.
What's cool about this program is that some consumers will manage to stack this rebate atop
another from Florida Power & Light - and also get1:10 A.M. - A state "cash for clunkers" rebate for
home central air conditioning systems debuts Monday, Aug. 30.
You can check out all the details at rebates.com/floridahvac, but here are some highlights:
The rebate is a flat amount of $1,500, put on an American Express prepaid card. It is intended to
encourage people to replace their older, less-energy-efficient systems. The rebate program a
federal energy tax credit.
For some purchases, there might also be a manufacturer rebate. The combination could pay back up to half of what some systems cost.
Some A/C contractors, though, are worried about how quickly and cheaply consumers will be able to
meet the requirement of getting their ducts tested by qualified people.
"There are very few people set up to do that kind of work," said Suzanne Warnky, certified air
conditioning contractor and owner of Warnky Heating & Cooling, North Fort Myers. Depending on
conditions, testing could cost as much as $1,000, Warnky said.
On the plus side, the rebate program "generates interest in air conditioning replacement from people
who might not have been interested before," Warnky said.
Also, there's still available a federal energy tax credit available to buyers of qualified, energy-thrifty
central air conditioning systems. That credit - 30 percent of the system price or a maximum of $1,500- expires at year's end.
Florida Power & Light customers also are eligible for yet another rebate from the electric utility. The
amount varies according to price and energy efficiency of the models purchased.
Starting prices for new air conditioning systems range from $5,500 to $7,500, according to Mike
Hendershott, corporate sales manager for Fort Myers-based Home-Tech.
As many as 12,000 consumers will benefit from the new rebate program, according to the Florida
Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association.
The rebate interests Teri Cooper, 62, of south Fort Myers.
"I have a system that's 7 years old, and not that energy efficient," Cooper said. By combining the
rebate with FPL's rebate and the federal tax credit, "you could get an $8,000 system for something like
$4,000," Cooper said.
However, A/C contractor Warnky warned that homeowners must be able to pay for the systems
and installation, with no guarantee they'll get the state rebate.
Further, some homes have leaky ducts that are inaccessible or otherwise impossible to repair
Said Warnky: "It's unfortunate (the program) is not going to help a lot of consumers who need it the
TO QUALIFY FOR PROGRAM
To qualify for Florida's Energy Star residential HVAC rebate:
· Go to rebates.com/floridahvac to read all instructions. A rebate form may be downloaded from
· Purchase and install a central air conditioner, airsource heat pump or geothermal heat pump that
meets federal energy tax credit standards.
· Purchase and install the system between Aug. 30 and Dec. 31.
· Get your ducts tested. This must be done by a Florida Class 1 rater, a Florida-licensed mechanical
contractor or a recognized test and balance agent.
· Duct leakage can be no more than 15 percent to the outside. If it's more, repairs must be made.
· Submit the rebate application form and four additional documents specified on the rebate website.
· Applications must be postmarked on or before Dec. 31. Funding is limited: The first applications are more likely to get rebates.
SOURCE: Governor's Energy Office