Cash for Clunkers – Stimulus Money for Air Conditioning Units


First there was Cash for Clunker cars. Then there was Cash for Clunker appliances. With little fanfare and a lot of hassle, Cash for Clunker air conditioning units starts Monday.

Following many months of speculation, state officials announced last week that Floridians can earn a $1,500 flat-fee rebate for replacing their central air conditioning systems with a more energy efficient unit.

Funded by the Governor’s Energy Office, the program will run through the end of 2010 or until the $15 million allocated runs out. The money, which comes through federal stimulus funding approved last year, will cover only 10,000 rebates. By comparison, the cash for clunker appliances program was funded for approximately 70,000 rebates.

Obtaining a rebate will be more complicated than it was for the new refrigerators, dishwashers and other items that tens of thousands of Floridians bought during the wildly popular cash for clunker appliance program earlier this year. The Energy Star air conditioning program is tied to duct system inspections. Homeowners must provide proof their ducts leak 15 percent or less after their new units are installed, and pay for tests and required repairs.

State officials warn that approximately 12 percent of homes may not qualify, as their ducts cannot be accessed for repairs. “It is strongly recommended that the homeowner discuss any concerns with a Florida-licensed installer before pursuing this rebate,” the rebate website explained. After expenses, the rebate should put at least $800 in the pockets of most Floridians.

A few details on the Cash for Clunker air conditioning units program:

1,)  Am I eligible for the program? Rebate applicants must be a Florida household resident. Commercial properties are not eligible.

2.)  Will I qualify if I recently installed a new air conditioning unit? No, there are no retroactive rebates. Contracts must be signed on or after Aug. 30, 2010.

3.)  What air conditioning units qualify? The program covers central air conditioners, air source heat pumps or geothermal heat pumps. Units must have SEER energy ratings equal to or greater than 16 for central split systems, 14 for central package systems, 15 for air source split systems and 14 for air source package systems. The systems must be new and cannot be installed in homes under construction.

4.)  What is a duct inspection? Air conditioning duct work must be inspected and certified as leaking no greater than 15 percent after the new system is installed. Said inspection must be performed by a Florida Class 1 rater, a Florida licensed mechanical contractor, or a recognized test and balance agent.

5.)  What if my duct work is inefficient or cannot be repaired? Florida residents should have a contractor inspect the general condition of their duct work before signing a contract in an effort to determine rebate eligibility and financial feasibility of replacement.

6.)  How do I apply for a rebate? Florida residents must submit an application form along with (1) an installation receipt; (2) a copy of the mechanical building permit required by your city or county; (3) a copy of the final duct leakage report; and, (4) the first page of the “manual j program” that shows how the new unit was sized to fit your home. Rebates forms are available online, must be postmarked by Dec. 31, 2010 and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

7.)  May I combine the state program with other rebates? Yes. The energy rating requirement for the Florida program is equal to the federal energy tax credit at 30 percent of the system price and a maximum of $1,500 each. Consumers can file for both, in addition to any power company rebate and/or manufacturer’s rebate. Combine them all and potentially save in excess of 50 percent on a new central air conditioning system while at the same time, reducing your energy bill.

8.)  How will my rebate arrive? As with the cash for clunker appliance program, rebates will be given as an American Express prepaid card. The card can be exchanged for a check or an electronic funds transfer.

For more details on the Cash for Clunker Air Conditioning Units program, Florida residents may visit http://www.rebates.com/floridahvac

Source:  The Credit Report with Bill Lewis – Highlands Today, an edition of the Tampa Tribune.  http://www2.highlandstoday.com/content/2010/aug/29/cash-clunkers—stimulus-money-air-conditioning-un/

William E. Lewis Jr. & Associates is a solutions based professional consulting firm specializing in the discriminating individual, business or governmental entity. To learn more, tune into “The Credit Report with Bill Lewis,” a daily forum for business and financial news, politics, economic trends, and cutting edge issues on AM 1470 WWNN.

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