Tip No. 1: Replace Your Furnace and Your AC at the Same TimeBefore we delve deep into California’s furnace rebate options (and how to make sure you get the one that’s best for you), let’s make sure that you do all you can upfront to save money during the furnace replacement process. I’ve talked in the past about how much a furnace and an air conditioner costs, but I want to re-emphasize here that the best way to lower the overall cost to replace your HVAC system is to buy and install both units together at the same time. When you have both these jobs done at once, you benefit from a single installation cost. You also have an easier time tracking your HVAC system’s age moving forward. And, you can get matched systems that complement each other. Paying attention to each of these details will save you money down the road.
Tip No. 2: Know Your California Furnace Rebate Financing OptionsOur second tip today is the one most relevant to rebates: It’s absolutely vital for you as a California homeowner to be well aware of all the furnace rebate and financing options available to you. In the Sacramento and Northern California area, there are many opportunities to save when installing a new furnace, but here are my top 5 picks:
- HERO: HERO financing covers up to 100% of a homeowner’s energy efficiency or water-saving home upgrades. The program offers up to a 25-year term with fixed rates and allows folks to borrow up to 15% of their home’s total value to finance green upgrades to their house, like HVAC and furnace replacement costs. It’s a great option for homeowners who know they won’t be moving anytime soon.
- PACE: PACE financing is just like a car loan: It goes towards a specific project, pays for that project in full, and then you pay it off over a period of 5-25 years, depending on the amount borrowed and the rate of repayment you choose. PACE stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy,” and it’s a national program to help homeowners upgrade their houses and save energy. Much like HERO, this is another very solid option for homeowners who will be staying in their home for the foreseeable future.
- CaliforniaFIRST: CaliforniaFIRST is another zero down financing option that makes home improvements possible. Homeowners get a fast approval process and the ability to borrow up to 15% of their property value, with flexible repayment terms of 5-30 years. This is also a government-authorized financing program aimed at helping California homeowners improve their energy efficiency.
- SMUD: SMUD, or the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, is one of the most common providers of electricity in our region—and they just so happen to also offer energy efficiency financing. These loans have a 6.99% fixed interest rate over the course of 15 years and no auxiliary fees, like prepayment fees, closing costs, origination fees, equity requirements, annual fees, or recording fees. On its website, you can also find a number of rebates for all manner of upgrades, almost all of which are centered around energy efficiency.
- Ygrene: Just about anything that improves your home’s efficiency can be covered by the financing program offered through Ygrene, including water efficiency, storm and wind protection, renewable energy, and energy efficiency. It has some of the trappings of the other entries on our list, including fixed terms up to 30 years, payments connected with your property, no upfront payments, and eligibility based on equity.