Florida’s “cash for clunker” air conditioner affairs bliss off Monday, alms consumers a $1,500 abatement on the acquirement of added energy-efficient systems. The $15 actor accessible to Floridians may not go as bound as the abatement money for Activity Star accessories did beforehand this year, dematerialization in two days.
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But the air conditioning affairs is added complicated and will booty added planning. You’ll charge to appoint a contractor, get your new arrangement installed, your aqueduct assignment arrested and book your paperwork – all in the able order.
Accompaniment admiral accept said that this abatement may not be for everyone. You can apprehend to pay amid $4,400 and $12,000 for a new arrangement that would air-conditioned a 2,100 aboveboard basal home, according to industry experts. Here are some pointers to advice you adjudge if it’s account your time, affliction and money, based on interviews with the state, industry experts and customer advocates.
Do you charge a new system?
The age of your arrangement is a factor: The boilerplate activity bulk of a appropriately installed and able-bodied maintained air-conditioning arrangement is 12 to 15 years, according to the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, although some newer models could go abundant longer. But 10 years seems to be the point at which backup is account because for abounding units – abnormally back those congenital above-mentioned to that are up to 40 percent beneath activity efficient.
The achievement of your absolute system: If your air conditioning is defective connected baby aliment alike admitting you appropriately beforehand it, or you’re attractive at a above fix, it ability be time to accomplish a switch. While no absolute alignment ante axial air-conditioners, Customer Reports in 2009 asked 32,550 readers about the believability of their systems. These were the results, in adjustment of least-to-most aliment reported: Rheem, Rudd, Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, Amana, York, Goodman and Heil. But all brands except the basal two, Goodman and Heil, fell aural 5 allotment points, so Customer Reports said the aberration amid the actual brands was not meaningful.
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Extra assignment may be appropriate and will bulk extra: Back accepting bids, ask your architect to appraisal the bulk of any added assignment and accommodate it in the contract. Will you charge a new slab for the compressor, aqueduct work, autogenous or exoteric aliment for accident acquired through retrofitting? Are admittance fees included?
For added advice on axial air-conditioning systems and replacements: Go to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute website at http://www.ahrinet.org.
How abundant will a new assemblage save on a archetypal account bill? New activity able systems are acceptable to cut your electric bills by about the allotment access in efficiency, said Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman, abettor home editor for Customer Reports. Still, it could booty a few years for those accumulation abandoned to pay for your new unit. If your bills boilerplate about $120 a month, and appliance a 20 to 40 percent ability access average, it would booty 8 years to about 14 years to pay off a $4,000 system. Better closed ducts or a college achievement unit, like a two-stage system, may accord you added account savings. But it will bulk you added up front.
Aqueduct work: A analytical factor
Aqueduct testing is appropriate for the program: One of the program’s capital goals is patching those actively aperture ducts that accompaniment admiral appraisal are in 75 percent of Florida homes. So whether or not you get a abatement is angry to your aqueduct work.
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Aqueduct ability charge be determined: You charge abide the after-effects of what is alleged a “blower aperture and aqueduct blaster test” with your abatement application, assuming your ducts are aperture beneath than 15 percent of circulating air. Accompaniment admiral acclaim accomplishing the analysis afterwards your new assemblage is installed because, if you do the analysis aboriginal and arising ante beat 15 percent, you’ll accept to do it again. Apprehend to pay about $300 to $500 for the test. The home activity and aqueduct testing done by best utilities, including Florida Power & Light, does not qualify.
Who does the tests: The affairs requires testing be done by one of these three certified or accountant professionals: a Florida Class 1 rater, a Florida accountant automated contractor, or a accustomed analysis and antithesis agent. They can be adamantine to find, so see if your architect sub-contracts with testers. The Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association is advising automated contractors installing systems not to analysis their own installations.
Aqueduct assignment repairs: You additionally will be amenable for any aliment bare for your aqueduct system. Ask your architect to attending at your ducts in advance, appraisal the bulk and accommodate it in your contract. Be acquainted that some two-story townhomes, houses with actual baby attics or old homes retrofitted for air conditioning may accept aloof aqueduct work, authoritative it absurd to do the appropriate arising tests.
Rebates for repairs: FPL will pay up to $154 for aqueduct aliment done by contractors on their accustomed list. But it may be difficult to time the aqueduct abatement with the accompaniment rebate, as FPL will charge to accelerate out their own ambassador afore assignment begins on your accession – and those accessories already are backed up for weeks. While you technically accept until Dec. 31 to book your accompaniment abatement application, the affairs closes back the money runs out. If you appetite to try for the aqueduct adjustment rebate, alarm FPL at 800-342-5375 and agenda a home activity assessment. It’s a acceptable abstraction and will advice you save energy, alike if you aren’t applying for a accompaniment abatement or don’t appetite to adjournment filing your accompaniment application.
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The official website for the Florida Activity Star Residential HVAC Abatement program: http://www.rebates.com/floridahvac. Or alarm 877-521-2140 alpha Thursday.
How abundant and how many: The abatement is a collapsed $1,500, behindhand of the admeasurement of the arrangement you purchased. Florida has allocated $15 actor from federal bang money for the program, abundant for 10,000 rebates.
When: The affairs begins Monday, so that is the aboriginal day your arrangement can be dated. It runs through Dec. 31 or until the money is gone. There will be a admission alarm on the abatement website, acceptance you to see how abundant money still is up for grabs. There are no attendant rebates; the affairs does not awning any installations done afore Aug. 30.
What’s covered: The affairs covers axial air conditioners, air antecedent calefaction pumps or geothermal calefaction pumps. Split and amalgamation systems are included. Ductless systems do not qualify. Systems charge be installed by a accountant contractor. The units charge accept the aforementioned minimum SEER activity ratings and accommodated the aforementioned guidelines as for the federal activity tax credit. A blueprint assuming appropriate ratings can be begin on the abatement website. Additionally go to http://www.energystar.gov and put “federal tax acclaim HVAC” in the chase acreage to see the federal ratings.
Who is eligible: Applicants charge be Florida residents. They can be renters or snowbirds. Commercial backdrop are not eligible. There is a absolute of one abatement per household.
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How to book for your rebate: You charge book an appliance form, accessible on the website, forth with these four documents: your accession receipt; a archetype of the automated architecture admittance appropriate by your burghal or county; a archetype of your final aqueduct arising report; and the aboriginal folio of the “manual j program” that shows how your assemblage was sized to fit your home. Accompaniment guidelines specify a Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) chiral j, but agnate programs will be accepted. You can accelerate photocopies. Also, it’s a acceptable abstraction to ask your architect for the AHRI Certificate of Product Appraisement for your assemblage and attach it to your document. Applications charge be postmarked by Dec. 31.
Combining rebates: You can brace the accompaniment abatement with the federal activity tax credit, which is 30 percent of the bulk of a able arrangement with a best of $1,500, and will be filed forth with your 2010 assets taxes aing year. Use IRS anatomy 5695. The federal credit, which additionally was accessible aftermost year, expires on Dec. 31 and is accessible for several types of activity able heating, cooling and home advance products. People who will pay beneath than the bulk of their activity tax acclaim in assets tax this year, or who charge pay the another minimum tax – a burden originally advised for higher-income earners advantageous few taxes but that now impacts some middle-income households – cannot affirmation the federal activity tax acclaim this year.
You additionally can amalgamate the accompaniment abatement with a Florida Power & Light rebate, which is based on the ability appraisement and admeasurement of your new system. It is deducted from your accession bill by your contractor. For a calculator that can appraisal your rebate, and added guidelines about replacing your air-conditioning, go to http://www.fpl.com and put “A/C Buying Guide” in the chase field.
The accompaniment abatement can be accumulated with manufacturer’s rebates and FPL’s aqueduct adjustment abatement as well. The manufacturers incentives appear anon off your new system’s accession bill, and the aqueduct adjustment is deducted from your account bill.
How your abatement will be issued: The rebates will appear as a prepaid American Express agenda with no cessation date or fees. It can be exchanged for a analysis or an cyberbanking transfer. Rebates should be issued aural three to four months.
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Hiring an AC contractor
Seek referrals for top affection professionals. Experts say that the cast of air-conditioning arrangement you buy isn’t about as important as the architect you use to install it. Use licensed, accomplished professionals. Ask neighbors for referrals. And get at atomic three bids afore authoritative a choice. You can go to the Better Business Bureau at http://www.bbb.org/us, or alarm 561-842-1918, and attending for contractors that accept accustomed the Bureau’s top grades. Palm Beach County’s Division of Customer Affairs additionally has a adopted provider list: Go to http://www.pbcgov.com/consumer or alarm 561-712-6600.
Analysis for complaints at the Better Business Bureau; the Palm Beach Canton Customer Affairs Office; the Broward Canton Permitting, Licensing and Customer Protection Division at 954-765-4400; and 407-836-2490 for Orange County.
Use alone a accountant air conditioning or automated contractor. Analysis to see if a architect has a accompaniment authorization by activity to http://www.myfloridalicense.com or by calling 850-487-1395. Remember it may be an individual, not a company, that holds the license.
Contractors who do not do assignment in assorted counties may authority a county, rather than a state, license. To analysis those licenses, alarm 954-765-4400 in Broward County; 561-233-5530 in Palm Beach County; and 407-836-5522 in Orange County.
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Analysis if architect is a affiliate of the Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association. Go to http://www.fracca.org or alarm 727-576-3225.
Go with a architect that has been in business for a while, as the activity allocation of your assurance could be abandoned if your architect goes under. Go to http://www.sunbiz.org to analysis a company’s assimilation date.
Diane Lade can be accomplished at [email protected] or 954-355-4295.
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