I’ve been working with HVAC systems, window repair and replacement, and insulation installation for quite a few years now. I don’t want to give away my exact age or anything, but let’s just say that I’m old enough to remember a time when one of the only ways to save money on your heating and cooling bills was to just suck it up and run your furnace or air conditioner less than you would have liked. These days, though, things have changed a good deal, and there’s a lot you can do to make your home more energy efficient and to lower your utility costs without sacrificing any temperature-related comfort.
Double pane windows, heat pumps, and newer AC units are all great ways to tackle what we in the business refer to as a whole-home energy approach, which is almost guaranteed to lower your bills without affecting your comfort levels at home. What’s even better for us here in the Sacramento region is that one of our local utility companies, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), has something called the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program which makes it far easier for homeowners to pay for energy conserving home investments that will save them money in the long term.
If paying less on your month-to-month home heating and cooling costs while also burning less energy and helping the environment sounds like something you’d like to be a part of (and who wouldn’t?), well then, as a savvy and responsible homeowner, it literally pays for you to know as much as you can about the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program. It’s definitely one of the better home upgrade rebate opportunities in Northern California.
Eligibility for the SMUD Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program
Making energy efficiency upgrades to your home is an increasingly popular investment for homeowners to consider—and why wouldn’t it be? Everything from double pane window installation to installing a heat pump or a more energy efficient AC unit are all great ways to save money when you’re living in an area like Northern California where our climate includes both hot summers and cool winters that force us to consistently use our HVAC systems.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the equipment investments eligible for the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program:
- Double pane windows: Upgrading to energy efficient double pane windows in your home brings an average reduction in household heating and cooling costs of about $500 annually, according to information from the U.S. Department of Energy. The reason is that poorly sealed windows are one of the most common ways that conditioned air from your HVAC system passes from your home to the outdoors.
- Heat pumps: Installing a hybrid heat pump and propane furnace is a viable choice for Sacramento because that equipment is energy efficient but not suited for regions that are regularly subjected to deep freezes. While it does get cold here, we’re not exactly Chicago or Minnesota.
- Title 24 air conditioners: A Title 24 air conditioner is an AC unit that adheres to our state’s Title 24 residential standards on how energy efficient an AC should be. Since 2008, it’s been mandated that all AC units in California meet these requirements. But, if you haven’t gotten a new HVAC system since then, you’ll need to upgrade. Doing so will make you eligible for the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program, and will also mean that your AC will burn less power when it runs, saving you money on your monthly power bills.
Study up on the SMUD Residential Energy Efficiency Loan Program
This might sound kind of obvious, but the next step here is going to be researchnig online or talking to someone knowledgeable about the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program. I know phrases like “study up” might make you envision homework and epic late-night cram sessions but, thankfully, there are quite a few easy-to-use resources online that can get educate you on the basics without taking up too much of your time.
The one I recommend is the energy efficiency financing section of SMUD’s own website. There are some great features on there that homeowners can use to see if they pre-qualify for financing. You can even go right ahead and submit an application, after reviewing SMUD’s valuable tips for preventing a delay in processing. Finally, another valuable feature SMUD provides on its website is a loan payment calculator to make sure that this whole process won’t strain your budget or break the bank, valuable information to be sure.
Choose a Dependable Contractor Approved by the SMUD Program
Once you’ve decided on a project and have qualified for the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program, it’s time to find a dependable contractor who has both the experience, references, and California state licensing to get the job done.
For your convenience, SMUD has a list of eligible contractors online, which includes Bell Brothers Heating and Cooling, who have completed recent energy efficiency upgrade projects for them. And, SMUD also has a list of tips for you to use when choosing which contractor to hire. The most important factors are references, experience, and availability in your area.
There are two major reasons that we’ve been hearing so much more about energy efficiency these days: homeowners can save money on their monthly heating and cooling costs, and state rebates and other offers are making it more accessible than ever to fund upgrades related to energy efficiency in residential homes. It’s almost silly not to look into whether or not your home is primed, and your finances are eligible, for these financing programs. Just make sure you find a trained and experienced contractor to help you along the way.
Here at Bell Brothers, we have all kinds of experience helping homeowners install energy efficiency upgrades and navigate the SMUD residential energy efficiency loan program process. We’d be happy to help you along your path to saving money, energy, and the planet.
Make sure you get an experienced contractor you can rely on. Contact the HVAC professionals at Bell Brothers today to schedule a meeting with our experts. And, while we’re visiting your home, let us give you a whole house assessment for energy efficiency. We’ll offer recommendations and upgrades that are sure to increase your year-round comfort—and decrease your power bills.
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