SMUD Suspends Certain Rebates Due to COVID-19

SMUD Suspends Rebates

Sacramento County Utility Companies Navigate the Effects of the Coronavirus: What It Means for You

At the beginning of 2020, Sacramento county residents were offered lucrative rebates for choosing to upgrade their HVAC systems to a more carbon-free fuel source.   Since the downturn of the economy in America, businesses, even utility company SMUD, have been oozing money.  SMUD has had to focus more on taking care of customers who can’t afford to pay their bills during the epidemic.  This is putting pressure on the source of funding for the 2020 rebates.  SMUD is even suspending certain rebates.

Getting to Carbon Neutral

As SMUD utility company guides its customers with a plan called electrification, their goal is to follow California’s mandate to become carbon neutral in the next 20 to 30 years.  One way of doing this was to incentivize their Sacramento County residents to stop using fossil fuels to heat their homes.  Various options for upgrading a home’s HVAC system exist.

Reduced and Suspended SMUD Rebates on the Horizon

Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, however, half of the rebates have been suspended, at least until the end of the year.  The others have been reduced but still offer an exceptional rebate opportunity for switching from gas to electric.  Customers can still work with their contractors to get these upgrades until the funds run out.

Measure Current Rebate Effective May 29
Air conditioner with gas furnace upgrade $1,500 Suspended
Dual fuel HVAC upgrade $2,500 Suspended
Heat pump HVAC upgrade – electric to electric $1,500 $750
Heat pump HVAC upgrade – gas to electric $4,000 $2,500

In March, we told you about the reductions in water heater rebates.  We let our readers know those rebates would only be around until the funding source ran out.  We’ve also been telling our customers who are looking to upgrade their HVAC systems that the HVAC rebates wouldn’t be this rewarding for long.  By the end of summer, we at Fox Family thought the rebates would be depleted. 

Timing is Everything

There is still time to get your HVAC upgrade project done this year, and there are some great financing options we offer to get them done. But again, time isn’t on your side.  Get in on these rebates now while they exist, because we don’t see them being around, or at least this fruitful for long.

SMUD’s Heating and Cooling Rebates for Your Sacramento County Home

SMUD Suspends Rebates

SMUD Rebates for Sacramento County in 2020

Back in September of 2019, SMUD, the electric company here in Sacramento County, announced the start of its new rebate structure for homeowners getting certain types of new HVAC systems.  They’re doing this as part of their effort to make improvements to their current HVAC program and consolidating it into a larger program called Advanced Home Solutions.  Stay tuned, because you’re about to get some great information about how much you can get back from SMUD on your upcoming HVAC project!

Intro

Hi, I’m Greg Fox from Fox Family Heating and Air.  We’re located right here in Sacramento County.  I’m super excited to tell you about SMUD’s new rebate they’re giving to those of you who decide to go one of a couple of different ways with your upcoming HVAC project.

But first, let me fill you in on why SMUD is changing things up.

If you remember the summer of 2019, SMUD began their Time-of-Use rates which really elevated the cost to use our appliances in the 12 to 5 pm and 5 to 8 pm time frame.  Through research, they noticed everyone’s air conditioning systems were the main culprit of electricity usage during that time.

To SMUD, it costs them 2 to 3 times more to provide electricity during those summer peak hours versus non-peak hours.  As the demand and cost to produce power has increased, it’s become way more difficult to provide electricity to the end-user during peak hours.  So, they began their Time-of-Use campaign to deter folks from using electricity during those peak times.

In a discussion we had with SMUD representatives recently, it makes sense.  If people didn’t start using less electricity, SMUD would need to build more infrastructure to meet the demand.  And you and I both know those costs would be passed on to us.  We’re already blessed with some of the lowest rates in California, and I can see SMUD is just trying to keep it as low as possible for us.  They’re a not-for-profit company which helps in that aspect.

So why the new structure?

SMUD’s self-made mandate is to be net carbon neutral by 2040.  That means the way they deliver power to us won’t involve adding to the stock of greenhouse gases that affect our atmosphere, by 2040.  Their current mix is about 50% non-carbon emitting as of 2019.  This goes in line with the bill Governor Brown signed in 2018 which set the goal of phasing out all fossil fuels from California’s electricity sector by 2045.

The old rebate structure was all about efficiency ratings which used terminology like SEER and EER ratings.  14 SEER, being the lowest system available we could install in California had no rebate available.  For most HVAC companies, if you spent a little more you could get a 16 SEER system which gets you a $500 rebate.

If you upgraded even higher to the 18 SEER air conditioner, you could get a $650 rebate.  The reason they offered a little more for these was because of efficiency.  Most AC systems 17 SEER and higher offered 2-stage technology.  So, it would have like, a medium-high stage around 60 to 70% of its capacity and a 100% stage.  Anyone knows that if we use a speed that is 30% lower than a unit’s full capacity, it will save you money on your electric bill.

An even more efficient system, the 19 and 20 SEER, and even up to 25 SEER variable speed units have capacities that swing from 20 to 100% capacity depending on the demand during that time of day.  Those units also got a $650 dollar rebate under the old rebate structure.

Looking Forward

This is all in the past!  The new rebates are much better!

14 and 15 SEER systems (basically any system that is only a single-stage system) no longer have rebates for them.

Now, any 2-stage system, whether you have an all-electric heat pump or a gas/electric system is going to qualify you for a $1500 rebate.  So, what does this mean?  Let’s say your old system is a single-stage, or for that matter an old 2-stage system.  If you upgrade your new system to ANY 2-stage or variable speed system, you’ll receive the $1500 rebate in the mail 4 to 6 weeks after the job is installed.

One stipulation on the furnace for these 2-stage systems is they have to be installed with a 90% AFUE furnace.  So, in our homes we have two types of furnaces, either 80% or 90% AFUE furnaces.  An 80% furnace results in 20 cents of every dollar you spend floating out of the flue pipe that goes through your roof.  That means more gases escape to the atmosphere and contribute to global warming than, say, a 90% furnace.  Remember the goal of these rebates for our Sacramento utility company is to help reduce our carbon footprint.  More efficient furnaces will help get us there.

Package units on the roof or the side of the house are included in this as well.  If you replace your current system with a 2-stage package unit (with air conditioning,) you’d receive the $1,500 rebate as well.

A Higher Rebate

Now here’s an even higher rebate.  If you currently have a natural or propane gas-fed furnace, whether it’s an 80% or 90% furnace, with pretty much any air conditioner (and this includes package units, too) and you were to switch over to an all-electric 2-stage or variable speed heat pump, you’d be eligible to receive a $4000 rebate.

This rebate also applies to ductless or mini-split technology.  You may have seen these units that mount on a wall or the ceiling of your house or hotel rooms you’ve stayed in.  They even have these types of mini-splits that are ducted so you don’t have to see the units from your room.  They’re mounted in the attic very similar to unitary systems you’re used to already in your homes.  As long as the ductless system serves the “whole house,” you get the rebate as well.

Whole House?

What does the “whole house” mean?   It means the main living areas.  So, the living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, dens, lofts, and other rooms like your man caves or ma’am caves (not in the garage.)  So, this list isn’t comprehensive, but you get the idea.  Areas of the home that are commonly lived or slept in.

Rooms that aren’t required are the bathrooms, laundry room, utility room, and other small rooms that people wouldn’t consider to be “their room.”

Any combination of wall mounts, floor mounts, ceiling cassettes, or ducted heads fits this category.  Even if you’re not serving the whole home, but maybe just adding one to supplement the central air system you have now, there’s a $200 rebate for each head you have installed, up to $800.

So, does this count if you currently have no central heating and air?  Maybe you have a couple of window units and a wall furnace that serves the house.  YES!  This is considered a “full cut-in” where we convert your home, so it has central heating or ductless technology like we just talked about.  In that case, it would be a $4000 rebate if you installed any 2-stage or variable speed HEAT PUMP system.

Dual Fuel Systems

The utility company is getting ready to implement another option to the rebate structure which will include dual-fuel systems.  It’s looking like the rebates for those systems with 2-stage or variable speed technology will be around $2500.  Dual fuel systems could be another discussion altogether, but I’ll just say this:  they use gas heat to provide the “emergency” heat your normal heat pump system would use, which uses up a considerable amount of power.  And it’s very common for that feature on your heat pump system to come on during the coldest days of the year.

In most cases, you pay your contractor the price of the job, and then receive your rebate from SMUD in 4 to 6 weeks after the job is installed.  Of course, your contractor IS going to have to pull a permit for this to qualify, so make sure you work with a legitimate HVAC company like Fox Family Heating and Air, right here in Sacramento County.  We pull permits on all of our installs.  Remember, any time you alter the electrical, plumbing, roofing, or structure of the house, a permit should be pulled.

All Electric Heat Pumps

SMUD says HVAC systems are the most expensive items to run in your home.  They’ve seen a 30% to 70% reduction in energy usage in homes with 2-stage or variable speed HVAC systems.

So, why should you consider going to an all-electric heat pump now?  It reduces our community’s carbon footprint, there’s the 30% to 70% reduction in electricity usage, and the near future is heading this direction anyway. By becoming an early adopter of this net carbon neutral campaign, customers can take advantage of these fantastic rebates that are available NOW, that most likely won’t be there when it becomes mandatory in new homes 20 years from now.

There are some costs associated with upgrading your HVAC system from a gas-electric system to an all-electric heat pump.  Most notably, the wiring to your outdoor unit will stay the same, but your wire to the indoor unit will likely need to be upgraded to a little bit bigger wire since it will be providing 240 volts instead of the 120 volts that’s already there.  The amp draw on heat pumps increases significantly in the wintertime, which is specifically related to the heat strips that are used during the coldest months of the year.

Summary

I really hope this explains everything you needed to know about SMUD’s new rebate structure.  I like the way they’re thinking.  Reducing our carbon footprint is crucial for not only ours but generations to come.  If you have any questions about this or any topic regarding your heating or air conditioning system and you’re here in the Sacramento area feel free to contact us.

Thanks so much for stopping by and we’ll see you next time.

There are Still Air Conditioner Rebates for 2020? It’s True!

HVAC Rebates

SMUD HVAC Rebates for Sacramento

Did you know that our local utility company still offers some HVAC rebates for air conditioners installed in 2020? It’s true!  If you live in Sacramento County in California, you are connected to SMUD’s electrical grid.  SMUD is offering some valuable rebates, and you can get yours when you upgrade your old HVAC system to a new one in 2020.

Because of COVID-19, SMUD’s well known dual fuel HVAC upgrade and their air conditioner with gas furnace upgrade have both been discontinued for 2020.  But you can still get a $2,500 rebate when you upgrade your current gas/electric.  And an electric to electric upgrade will get you a rebate of $750.

Update!!  Update!!

Starting August 11, 2020, the $2,500 rebate will rise slightly to $3,000. I’m truly shocked to hear this.  If anything, I would have thought the rebate would go lower as the year went along.  The heat pump to heat pump upgrade remains at $750.

Proof Variable Speed Electric is Better

Mitsubishi Air HandlerThe Mitsubishi variable speed systems save real money!  We recently replaced a Folsom customer’s gas furnace and evaporator coil with an SVZ-KP36 electric air handler.

He received a $4000 HVAC rebate from SMUD for the upgrade. That rebate is now “only” $2,500 since COVID has drained money from the pool of funds SMUD had for these rebates.  But still, $2500 is amazing!

We installed the system in February 2020.  I called him at the end of July to give a reference for us to a customer who was wanting to talk to someone who has made the switch from gas/electric to an all-electric variable speed system.  It didn’t surprise me when he said he had already saved about $150 in electric bills this summer.  And as I write this, we’re not even to August or September yet.  Truly amazing!

Because these systems run at such low speed and amperage, this translates to better comfort levels at lower prices! What’s even better is these Mitsubishi systems are about the same prices as a mid-tier “typical” HVAC system, so you’re not paying an arm and a leg for this uber-premium system. 

Can I Just Change the AC Condenser?

The HVAC rebates are available on 15 through 20 SEER AC systems and above in 2020.  A question I get a lot is, “can I just change the AC condenser outside?” The answer to that question is, unfortunately, not.  We have to install the complete matching system, which includes a furnace, evaporator coil, and condenser.

The furnace will come with a blower motor with enough technology to reach 16 SEER efficiency.  A constant torque motor is needed to achieve this rating for you successfully.  Fortunately, almost every new system manufactured in 2020 will come with this motor already in it.

Shoot for High-Efficiency

Earlier systems could be manufactured with the classic PSC motor with a capacitor, and those are in a lot of homes around the greater Sacramento area.  But they don’t achieve the ratings AHRI expects for high-efficiency, so they’re being phased out as more efficient systems are developed.

The evaporator coil near the furnace also needs to be replaced, as the new systems have more coils and more surface area to remove heat and humidity from your home.  An older evaporator coil is typically too small to achieve those higher efficiency ratings.

Fox Family Will Process Your Instant SMUD Rebate

This year when you’re buying your new HVAC system, I want you to think about using this rebate offered by the local utility company.  Take advantage of the instant rebate you’ll receive from SMUD.  Fox Family takes care of getting that for you when we change out your system.  We simply get your account number from you and submit your application.  A few weeks later, you’ll get your check in the mail for immediate use.

16 SEER systems will cost more than 14 SEER systems, but you’ll get better cooling for less money spent to get that nice cool air on those 100-degree days.  Taking cash off the price of your new HVAC system puts money back into your pocket!

Call Fox Family with Your Questions

If you have any questions about the HVAC rebates this year offered by SMUD, our local utility provider for electricity, let me know in the comments down below, or you can call or text us anytime at Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning.  We service the entire Greater Sacramento area.  Book online and we’ll come out and give you an honest opinion of how your system is running, and let’s see if you could really save some money by purchasing your new high-SEER air conditioner.

These HVAC rebates are real, and they belong in your pocket in 2020.  I hope this answers your questions about the rebates offered by SMUD when you buy a new air conditioning system in Sacramento County.  Please let me know your thoughts on this down below in the comments.  Thank you so much, and we’ll see you back here on the blog next week!

Don’t miss these related videos:

Heat Pump Water Heater Rebate Reduction from SMUD Puts Pressure on Customers

SMUD’s rebate structure is one of the most generous ones around, especially compared to those available from PG&E.  But those rewards for going green won’t be around forever. 

SMUD’s Rebate Program Manager, Michael Corbett, in coordination with Efficiency First California, has developed a fantastic way to take care of emergency appliance replacements individually while still qualifying for the rebates.  The replacements include water heaters, HVAC systems, ductwork, insulation, and making your home “electric ready.”  In the past, the $13,000 total in rebates required replacement of all these items at once.  You’re now able to take care of these one at a time.

Rebates Won’t Be Around Forever

As the timeline shortens for mandatory building code changes in new homes, utility companies won’t have to provide these great rebates.  The heat pump water heater rebate reduction is an example of that.  SMUD encourages participating contractors like Fox Family Heating and Air to let folks know these rebates won’t be around forever.  They should take advantage of them before funds run out.

Everyone involved in SMUD’s new rebate structure has seen success.  In fact, in just two years, the volume of heat pump water heater installations through SMUD’s program has increased by 1,000%.  It’s been so successful, the funds to support these incentives are running out! 

SMUD Rebate Reductions

Starting April 1, 2020, the rebate for changing your gas water heater to a heat pump all-electric water heater drops by $500.  The $3,000 rebate will now be $2,500.  The $1,000 rebate for upgrading your electric water heater to a heat pump style water heater will now be $500.

Applications must be submitted and approved by March 31st, 2020 to receive the previous $3,000 or $1,000 SMUD rebate.  The utility company processes rebates on a first-come, first-served basis. Your project must meet the efficiency standards of the program as well as other terms and conditions. These include using a participating SMUD contractor and pulling a permit with the city or county.

For questions regarding the program, please email [email protected] or call 916-209-5117. For questions about your project or to schedule an installation, contact Fox Family — we’re ready to help!