"Tampa Electric's Heating and Cooling program lets you earn a rebate when you replace your old, inefficient air conditioning system with a new, energy-efficient system that meets our energy-saving standards. This program is available to all residential customers.”
The full details of the Heating and Cooling program can be found here. And you can get air conditioning rebates from TECO of up to $135 with qualifying systems of 15 SEER or higher! Another one of TECO's air conditioning rebates is called the HVAC Motor Replacement Program
“Tampa Electric's HVAC Motor Replacement program was developed to improve your home's heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system. The program, available to residential customers, enables you to earn a $115 rebate when you have your existing heating and cooling system retrofitted with a high-efficiency electronically commutated motor (ECM). The high-efficiency motor is designed to make your system operate more efficiently and help reduce your energy costs.”
The full details of that rebate can be found here. But this article is not intended to promote TECO’s rebates programs. Instead, the purpose is to let our readers know that energy efficiency pays off! We’re using TECO as an example because we live in Tampa. But according to energy.gov, utility companies across the country are offering incentives for homeowners to make the transition to energy efficiency.
Now you air conditioning rebates may come with an energy efficient AC system. So let’s bring up the Florida PACE program again. The PACE program allows contractors like us to offer consumers like you a financing alternative to make clean energy upgrades to your home possible. These upgrades may include new roofing, windows, insulation and of course our specialty: air conditioning! And the financing can be obtained at no upfront costs to qualified property owners!
This is 2018, and the transition to clean energy is happening all over the world. Aside from helping protect the environment, clean energy saves homeowners money. And we’ve mentioned this a million times but we’ll say it again: today’s air conditioning systems are manufactured by higher standards of energy efficiency. So if your AC system is of a certain age, it’s an obsolete energy chugger. And you’re wasting money by keeping it.
We’ll skip the sales pitches and shameless plugs here (sort of). But we have ways to get you easy, affordable financing for a new energy efficient air conditioning system. So we'll leave you with a simple call-to-action:
Winter is almost over and as spring approaches, Florida will start feeling the heat. And if you live in the Sunshine State, you know how high energy bills get when you start working your air conditioning system harder.
Energy efficiency pretty much sells itself. However, people who have an air conditioner that works may be reluctant to invest in a brand new high efficiency system. We’re going to tell you why it’s worth it.
Keeping your home cool during hot Florida weather can be expensive. But you already know that because you live in Florida, right? And if you read our blog, you know by now that energy standards have changed. This is especially true for HVAC manufacturing. Old air conditioning systems were notorious energy suckers, and times have changed.
Think about Hummers. As popular as these vehicles once were because they were stylish, spacious and imposing, people stopped buying them because they consumed too much gasoline. And then they were discontinued in 2010 and became obsolete. The same could be said for any AC system manufactured more than a decade ago. While they may still work, they’re obsolete when it comes to energy efficiency standards.
We don’t really need to sell you on energy efficiency. But if you’re wondering whether or not it’s worth investing in a high efficiency air conditioner, here are some questions to consider:
This question doesn’t have a solid answer. However, when running a high efficiency air conditioner, you’ll notice a decrease in your energy bills over time. And any money you save on your energy bills is a return on investment, so you will see the value as time goes on.
If patience is not a virtue you possess, you may be inclined to buy a cheaper AC system. And that’s fine, but you'll also take a financial hit over time in higher energy bills. Or you may be reluctant to buy a brand new energy saving AC system because you just can’t afford it right now (we’ll get to that later). We get it. Or you just don’t see the benefits of long-term savings, and that’s OK. We're not here to pressure you into anything.
If you really need an answer about how fast you’ll get a return on investment, there are statistics out there. However, every AC system is different. Cooling needs also vary and we don't want to provide inaccurate information about how fast you could get your money back. What we do know is that modern air conditioners have proven to be more efficient than older AC systems. And the value of buying one will prove worth the investment over time.
Excellent question, especially for those who don’t care about saving money. The benefits of a high efficiency air conditioner go beyond energy savings. Today’s AC systems are designed to not just lower energy bills, but to improve indoor air quality too!
Before we get to that, we’d be remiss not to mention that if you have an older AC system, you may have to replace it anyway. That’s because older AC systems run on R22 refrigerant. Unfortunately, R22 (freon) is not considered environmentally friendly. And the process of phasing it out has already begun. The US Environmental Protection Agency is enforcing the complete elimination of R22 refrigerant by 2020. So if you have an AC system that runs on R22, you’re going to end up replacing it anyway.
Most newer AC systems run on a more eco-friendly refrigerant called R410A. This type of refrigerant has become the new standard. So if you have an AC system that runs on R22, you’ll no longer be able to replace or replenish the refrigerant in a couple of years. You might be able to run your system, but if it has a freon leak, no AC technician will touch it. That's because there will be no R22 refrigerant left to replace it with. And if by some miracle you find some available, it will cost you a fortune to obtain it once it’s been phased out.
Now that we got the refrigerant thing out of the way, let’s talk about indoor air quality. As mentioned before, high efficiency air conditioners do more than save you money. Modern AC systems better control the cleanliness of the air. They also do a better job of controlling humidity, temperature and odor. These things combined are known as indoor air quality. And poor indoor air quality can negatively affect your health and your comfort.
With evolving HVAC technologies come more advanced air filters. Today’s air filters are made to better clean the air you breathe. They have what’s called a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV rating. An air filter’s MERV rating measures the overall effectiveness of air filters. So the higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration. Newer AC systems are designed to operate with higher MERV air filters, which provide better protection against dust and other airborne contaminants. Air filters have to be changed out regularly, of course. But higher efficiency air filters last longer and do more to protect your AC system from losing airflow.
If you've done research about high efficiency air conditioners, you've probably come across other acronyms besides MERV. One of those acronyms is SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. Basically the higher the SEER, the more efficient the AC system. Older AC systems may come with SEER ratings of 12 or less. And a rating that low is considered extremely inefficient by today’s energy standards.
Modern AC systems can run at lower power for longer periods of time and keep the air moving through your home. And good airflow means good indoor air. So the higher the SEER, the better the indoor air quality.
Opinions vary on what a good SEER rating is. But the rule of thumb we use (and this may change as HVAC technology evolves) is that if the SEER on an AC system is lower than 13, it’s not energy efficient. SEER ratings today can go as high as 25. And while the SEER rating is not the definitive way to determine which AC systems are the most efficient, it’s a great indicator for knowing if you’re getting your money’s worth!
Energy efficiency labels like ENERGY STAR® are a good way to spot a high efficiency air conditioner. And another acronym you should be aware of is EER, or Energy Efficiency Ratio. The EER (not to be confused with SEER) measures cooling capacity vs energy consumption. Obviously like the SEER, the higher the EER, the more efficient the air conditioner. Knowing all these identifiers is a good way to make informed decisions on buying a high efficiency air conditioner.
Other factors to consider include customer reviews; longer operating life; extended warranties; added value to your home; and available financing options. Speaking of financing options, have you heard of the Florida Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE program? We offer PACE program financing assistance to qualified Florida property owners. That includes financing for high efficiency air conditioners at no upfront costs to those who qualify!
Now that we got our PACE pitch out of the way, we’ll leave you with this: most experts agree that if your AC system is a decade of age or older, it's time to replace it. Reduced cooling capacity, excess noise, increasing energy bills, worn out parts and other age factors should influence your decision on buying a new AC system. And if you care about the environment, know that high efficiency air conditioners are also designed with eco-friendliness in mind! So not only would you be getting a return on investment, but you would be doing your part to protect the environment too!
PACE is relatively new, but word has been spreading to Florida homeowners fast! The PACE program began in California about a decade ago and became a massive success. Other states followed suit by adopting it, and Florida jumped onboard the PACE train! The Florida PACE program helps qualified property owners get financing for energy efficient improvements and upgrades at no upfront costs. This may include new roofing, solar panels, spray foam insulation, impact windows and energy efficient air conditioning systems (we’ll get to that).
The Property Assessed Clean Energy program is a huge success in Florida and continues to grow! The demand for PACE is high because it offers a great fixed interest and repayment alternative to traditional financing options. It has also allowed qualified homeowners an easy and affordable way to obtain financing for clean energy living. This saves them money, increases property values and helps protect the environment!
Becoming a PACE-approved contractor comes with strict requirements. And any contractor that wants to offer PACE financing must pass through a thorough screening. This includes a review of the contractor’s status with the state Contractor Licensing Board, as well as positive online reviews. Contractors must also abide by the rules of the program, which comes with strong consumer protections.
We Floridians can’t live without air conditioning, especially during the hot summer months! And PACE program financing can cover the costs of energy efficient improvements such as a new air conditioning system at no upfront costs.
So if you qualify as a property owner for PACE program financing, you can get an energy efficient AC system that practically pays for itself! And as we recently announced, Super Heat & Air is now an approved Florida PACE program contractor! That means we have another way to offer you affordable financing for a new air conditioning system. So if our regular financing methods aren't the right fit for you, we may be able to qualify you for PACE program financing instead!
Today’s air conditioners are manufactured with higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios, or SEERs. The SEER rating of an AC unit is the relative amount of energy needed to provide a specific cooling output. So if your AC has a SEER rating of 13 or less, it might be time to upgrade to a more energy efficient system.
And if your AC unit is more than 5 years old, it doesn't meet today’s higher energy efficiency standards. Air conditioners lose efficiency and chug more energy for a variety of reasons. These include the loss of cooling capacity; a lack of regular maintenance; dirty or leaky ductwork; improperly sized AC units; etc. AC systems approaching the decade mark in age were manufactured under subpar energy efficiency standards. So if your AC system is old or outdated, it's a major cause for lack of energy efficiency. And it’s probably running with R-22 refrigerant, which is obsolete and being phased out completely.