Energy rebates, incentives, and tax credits for energy conservation improvements

When you combine the various financial incentives that are available for new air conditioning and heating equipment with lower monthly energy bills and fewer repairs, you may be able to recover much, if not all of the cost of a new HVAC system in a reasonable amount of time.

To take advantage of most of the energy rebates and financial incentive programs, you will likely have to buy new air conditioning and heating equipment or have energy efficiency improvements made to your home or building. Energy rebates and financial incentives are rarely offered on repair of equipment. The following list gives some commonly available ways to save money:

  • Municipal or commercial utility energy rebates on new energy-efficient HVAC equipment or energy conservation improvements.
  • IRS income tax credit.
  • No or low-interest loans from government programs: city, county, regional, state and federal.
  • Zero percent interest and deferred payment offers from equipment manufacturers.
  • Off-peak season discounts of various types from local air conditioning and heating contractors and/or manufacturers.

A local source who coordinates the available financial incentives
If you prefer to receive an estimate of the total savings through the various discounts, rebates, and special financing quickly from a single source in your local area use our links on the right. These links go to the pages listing local air conditioning and heating contractors and resources in each major U.S. city. Many of these companies have employees who coordinate the financial incentives from all sources for you. Why? These programs are an all-around win: You get a lower price or payments on a new system; coordinating the discounts and financing helps local air conditioning companies install more new systems; your utility company can plan their peak electricity loads more effectively; and less energy is consumed—meaning less pollution and greenhouse gases go into our atmosphere.

Online resources for HVAC and energy conservation incentives
If you would rather drill deeper into financial incentives for energy conservation online before contacting a local air conditioning and heating company to learn what is available through them, here are some websites to provide more in-depth information:

University of North Carolina Solar Energy and Interstate Renewable Energy Council

Energy Star Award Winners

Energy Rebates
Energy rebates for high efficiency air conditioning and equipment and energy conservation improvements can originate from several sources, including your local utility company or municipality, and the equipment manufacturer. Some rebates are delivered by “instant” savings through your local contractor or dealer. To receive the other type of rebate, you will have to sign or mail in a form to receive a check in the mail after some processing time.

The U.S. government has a rebate program available through the Energy Star program.

Energy Tax Credits
Improvements from the federal government for income tax credits typically fall into categories mentioned below:

  • Improvements must be installed in or on the principal residence of the taxpayer and must be located in the United States.
  • Total credits for qualifying heating and cooling, energy-efficient windows, insulation, doors, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment in the home can receive a tax are limited to $500.
  • Those who install solar energy systems for electricity or heating water can claim an added credit of 30 percent of the cost, up to $2,000. No credit allowed on improvements that affect swimming pools or hot tubs.

Other Discounts and Incentives
If you can plan to buy your air conditioning and heating system in the spring or fall, when demand for repairs and emergency service are lower, you will be more likely to receive an off-peak season discount. The can originate from either your local HVAC contractor or their equipment manufacturer or supplier.

After you have participated in all the available off-invoice discount and rebate programs, you may prefer to finance the remaining balance. Here, you will likely be offered a variety of options. A few examples are:

  • Zero % interest for a specified amount of time. (such as “12 months same as cash”.)
  • No payments until…some date in the future. (Note: interest might accumulate and have to be paid later. Be sure to understand the terms).
  • Combination of zero interest and no payments until a specified date in the future.
  • Low interest loans. Below market interest rate loans can be subsidized by parties such as your local utility, the equipment manufacturer, or a government agency.

Be sure to read and understand the terms and conditions on all financing.