Today is Earth Day. While being conscious of our impact on this planet is top of mind, I wanted to let you know about a chance to save energy AND money at the same time.
The state is holding it’s next Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday in a little more than a month. It’s May 28-31, otherwise known as Memorial Day weekend. Since some of these are major investments in your home, I thought it would be good to give you some advance notice.
Here’s the list of items that are part of the sales tax holiday:
- Air conditioners that cost $6,000 or less
- Refrigerators that cost $2,000 or less
- Ceiling fans
- Incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs
- Clothes washers
Just look for the Energy Star logo on any of the above items from May 28-31 to take part. Buying an energy-efficient appliance or energy-efficient parts can cut your electricity use by up to 75% in some cases.
That’s a good goal for Earth Day, right?
I got an interesting flyer in the mail this week from CPS Energy. It was all about the utility’s STEP program, which sets a goal to cut down on energy usage each year. Turns out San Antonio met last year’s goal – and actually exceeded it by quite a bit. That’s good news. CPS Energy says the 2011 energy consumption reduction goal is even more aggressive, so it has some steps you can take to help out:
-Replace any inefficient appliances, when possible, with energy-saving models. (The good news is there are so many rebates available for energy-efficient buys – including the state’s program, which still has about $2 million left.)
-When you’re home, set your air conditioning thermostat between 68-70 degrees during the colder months and 78-80 during the warmer months.
-Repair leaks in your air duct system.
-Get the attic insulation checked out.
-Turn off the lights and ceiling fans when you’re not in a room.
I think we all witnessed the problems of the rolling brownouts during the arctic weather a few weeks back. If we all help cut down on the amount of power we collectively use and make these positive changes into daily habits, hopefully we can avoid situations like that in the future (and save some money on our bills along the way).
Texas’ new energy-efficient appliance rebate program that started last week appears is a big hit. So far, the state is waiting to approve more than $5 million in rebate applications – in just ten days!
The good news is that’s only about 40% of the available money, so there’s still time to get a rebate if you’re interested. (Click here if you want to check the status of a rebate application or find out exactly how much money is left.) The rebates will be available until the money runs out. In other words, it’s first-come, first-serve.
The other timely thing to consider is the federal tax credit that expires tomorrow (December 31). You can get up to a $1,500 federal tax credit for an energy-efficient home improvement. So if you want to take advantage of that credit, you’ll need to act quickly.
Just wanted to keep you updated. Here’s the list of appliances that apply for the new state rebate:
You may have heard the radio ads about a new appliance rebate that’s starting December 20th, a week from today. It’s totally true – and a great deal that’s not going to last long.
Here’s the back-story. The state received a certain amount of stimulus money for rebates to help people buy more energy-efficient equipment in their homes. Texas had money left over from the initial program in April, so it’s starting this second wave of rebates next Monday.
Rebates are available on a first-come, first-serve basis on everything from a new AC unit to water heaters to washers and dishwashers. Here’s the complete list in a chart, courtesy of the Comptroller’s office.
For instance, if someone buys a new AC unit that qualifies, you get $1,000 back from the state as part of this rebate. You’d also get $75 for recycling your old unit with a registered partner. On top of those rebates, you’re eligible for a $1,500 federal tax credit (an offer that expires December 31st) and up to an $800 in rebates from CPS Energy (which also expires on December 31st.
Refrigerators are eligible for up to $250 in rebates from the state, washers up to $175 and so on.
But here’s the deal. This new rebate offer from the state starts on Monday – and will go until the money runs out. That means the earlier you get your forms postmarked and off to the state, the better chance you have of getting the rebate. Many businesses are bracing for a crush of calls since this might be the last rebate offer associated with stimulus money.
So here’s all the information for you to check out.
One of the great things about the Web is there’s a resource for just about everything – especially in our field of air conditioning/heating/home improvement/energy use.
A specific tool I like to tell people about is the Energy Star Home Energy Yardstick. It takes about five minutes and you need the last 12 months worth of utility bills, but it can tell you how your home stacks up in terms of energy consumption, especially regarding your San Antonio air conditioning system. Then you can use the information to determine which home improvement projects may be more important than others.
Check it out and let me know what you think.
We talked last week about CPS Energy rebates for new energy-efficient air conditioners and air duct replacements. Today, we’re talking about rebates for energy-efficient appliances – namely refrigerators. Luckily, these are much easier to explain.
First off – let’s discuss the reasons why CPS Energy offers these rebates. A lot of families keep that old refrigerator after they buy a new one. They move the old one to the garage and use it as a freezer or a second fridge. Problem is those old refrigerators use up to four times the electricity as energy-efficient refrigerators, according to CPS Energy. So you can get paid to recycle them – and end up saving money on your electric bill in the end.
The rebate explanation is pretty straightforward. CPS Energy will have a company come pick up and recycle your old refrigerator, for free. Once that is completed, you’ll get a $35 credit on your CPS Energy bill. Plus, if you buy a new Energy Star refrigerator to replace the old one, you’ll get an additional $65 credit. That’s $100 total.
If that’s not enough, CPS Energy says your electric bill should go down about $150 a year by replacing the old fridge with an energy-efficient one. Click here for more information.
One thing we hear all the time from customers is how confusing it is to figure out which rebates they can get from CPS Energy or from the manufacturer. The bottom line is it IS confusing. There’s a lot of insider language and numbers involved in the process. So over the next couple of blogs, we’re going to break down the rebate process for you – and try to do it in plain English.
We’ll start with the air conditioning and air duct rebates available from CPS Energy.
First off, you will see these two codes over and over: SEER and EER. SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.” It represents how efficiently your new AC unit cools your house. EER stands for “Energy Efficiency Ratio” and shows how efficiently your new AC unit heats your home. Higher SEER and EER numbers mean more efficiency and higher rebates.
A 15.0 SEER AC unit is the lowest that qualifies for a rebate from CPS Energy. With a 15.0 SEER unit, you will get a $110 rebate per ton. One ton of an AC unit cools approximately 500 square feet. So if you have a 2,000 sq. ft. home, you’d need a four ton AC unit. That means you would get a $440 rebate from CPS Energy.
As you go up in SEER and EER ratings, the rebates go up. For instance, if you buy a 17.0 SEER/13.0 EER unit, the rebate is $225 per ton. Using the same 2,000 sq. ft. home example as above, your rebate would be $900.
That’s a lot of numbers, but hopefully the examples help those numbers make sense.
As for air ducts, they are the arteries of the air conditioning system. If they can’t deliver the air, that brand new energy-efficient AC unit is not able to do its job. Air loss is actually the most common problem with air conditioning in San Antonio. People are cooling their attics instead of their home. The good news is air duct rebates are a little easier to understand. Basically, if you get your air ducts replaced, you are eligible for up to $4,000 back, based on your situation. You can also get more rebates if you replace your air ducts AND buy a new energy-efficient AC unit.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call Champion AC at 210.787.2823. Next time, we’ll talk about appliance rebates.