Manufacturer and Dealer Incentives
The HVAC business is very seasonal in most of the country, varying slightly by region. As a whole there is a lot more demand for HVAC replacement systems in summer and winter than in spring and fall. This means that manufacturers and dealer compete in the spring and fall to capture what sales volume exists. The savings passed on to customers are often shared by the manufacturer and dealer in structured programs. For instance, as a factory authorized dealer, you may be required to participate in a national program where the advertised incentive is shared to some degree between the manufacturer and dealer. These programs will vary widely depending on the manufacturer but the general structure is common. What this means in short is that the best time to buy a new HVAC system is in the spring and fall between the beginning and end of promotional periods. Promotional periods may vary slightly by manufacturer as well but these periods are generally March 1 through May 31 in the spring and September 1 through November 15 in the fall.
Just like dealer incentives, energy rebates will vary from one energy company to another where some don’t offer much of anything and others are quite generous. It may seem counterintuitive that energy companies would offer rebates — after all don’t they want you to use their energy? That’s true, but they have limited capacity at peak times. These peak times are largely driven by HVAC energy usage. Your HVAC system is one of the highest energy users in your house and peak usage is the middle of the day when everyone is consuming energy. Energy companies do their best to limit peak usage when they struggle to produce enough energy to satisfy demand so it’s in their best interest to provide incentives for customers to conserve as much energy as possible during these peak times.
As such, many energy companies offer rebates when consumers purchase high efficiency products. They also often mandate that a high quality install be completed to get the maximum rebate. A poor quality install has been shown to negate energy savings of otherwise efficient factory products. Always make sure that your installer is capable of supplying the quality install necessary to qualify for the full rebate.
The chart below is representative of the incentives available from Duke Energy for Raleigh, NC in 2018. You should check with your energy company or visit their website to verify the rebates available in your area.
Energy Usage Programs
In addition to rebates provided for purchasing high efficiency products many energy companies go one step further to reduce peak energy load. One such program in the Raleigh/Triangle area of North Carolina is the Duke Energy Time of Use Program. This program provides incentive rates (and penalties) for optimizing energy usage in your home towards off-peak times. From time to time there have been programs that actually included devices to limit peak usage through centrally controlled and metered switches. If that is of interest to you, check with your energy company to see if they offer such programs.
Like the rebates available from the energy company, the Federal government has provided tax incentives in the past for installing or replacing equipment with highly efficient equipment. Through the end of 2016 this tax credit provided for a $300 tax credit for air source heat pumps of 15 SEER or above and package systems of 14 SEER or above and $150 for furnaces with an AFUE rating of 95% or above. These tax credits expired at the end of 2016 and have not been renewed. For more information on the these tax credits visit https://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/2017_non_business_energy_property_tax_credits