A friend of mine recently had all of us over to his house for a barbecue. It was one of those wonderful Sacramento summer afternoons when the heat finally lets up for a few hours and you’re able to sit out on the patio and enjoy a cold drink. We got the grill all lit and going, made up some burgers, sat back, and started to relax. That’s when I noticed that one of my friend’s back windows was broken, and that he had covered it up with cardboard.
Being the curious type—and also a window repair and installation specialist—I just had to ask him what happened. My friend told me that he’d been playing catch with his son and the ball had gotten away from him and gone through the window. In my line of work, I hear similar stories all the time. My friend also said that he and his wife were saving up to get the window fixed, but that they wanted to go ahead and wait until they could afford to replace every last window in their house. Wait? I said. Why wait when there are so many free window replacement programs in California, or at least window replacement programs that offer financing to pay for the upfront cost of new windows.
These free window replacement programs in California require no money out of pocket at the time of installation, and they’re available to a pretty wide range of homeowners. That’s why I strongly believe that every last California homeowner should know as much as they can about them. With that in mind, let’s get to it and take a look at how these window replacement financing programs work—and which ones should be your top choices.
How Free Window Replacement Programs in California Work
Now, we’ve talked quite a bit in the past about ways to tell if you need new windows, but what I want to talk about today is what to do once you’ve made the decision to go ahead and get them installed, specifically focusing on the free window replacement programs in California that can help you with the upfront bill. These programs are pretty similar in how they work, so I’d like to start with a brief summary of the basics that are usually involved.
In general, these programs pay for the entirety of your window installation costs upfront; no money down and no interest. The biggest requirement is that the windows you choose have to be energy efficient, as these programs are all aimed at making homes in our area more environmentally friendly.
These programs are available to almost all Northern Californians who own their homes, and they are generally offered with up to 25-year terms and fixed rates, allowing folks to borrow as much as 15 percent of their home’s value. You ultimately pay back your financing for these programs through your annual property taxes.
And yes, all of these programs are a bit complicated. That’s why my strongest piece of advice for all of them is to get help from an experienced contractor before you begin the application process. An experienced contractor can help you with any questions you might have, and they can also make sure that you’re purchasing dual-pane windows, or another energy efficient option that guarantees you qualify for the financing programs.
The Best Free Window Replacement Programs in California
Now that you know how these free window replacement programs in California work, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the individual options. There are five, to be exact, including:
SMUD’s Free Window Replacement Program
If you live in Sacramento, you may recognize the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, or SMUD, as the folks you pay your utility bills to. Yes, it’s the same company. SMUD offers you money back or rebates on your new windows, provided that they are SMUD approved. A local contractor is your best bet for ensuring you meet all the qualifications.
The HERO Window Replacement Program
In general, I find that most folks have at least heard of this next one, which is the Home Energy Renovation Opportunity program, or HERO. HERO can finance your energy-efficient window installation project up to 100 percent. The terms, as I mentioned above, can extend for as long as 25 years with no interest. This makes it a great option for many Californian homeowners, but you should still work with a local contractor to ensure that it’s right for you and your unique home.
California’s PACE Window Installation Loan Program
Your next choice to consider is the Property Assessed Clean Energy program, or PACE, which is a public-private partnership that makes it pretty easy to pay for new windows. Like HERO, you pay for this one through your property taxes, so the loan is tied to your home, rather than directly to you.
The Ygrene Energy Fund Window Replacement Program
In addition to being the most fun to say, the Ygrene Energy Fund is another one that offers 100 percent financing for energy efficient windows. Of course, like the others, I advise that you work with a local contractor when considering this one, but an upside here is that once you’ve submitted your application, Ygrene lets you know within 30 minutes whether or not you’ve been approved.
CalFIRST’s Window Replacement Program
The final entry in our list, CalFIRST, is a lot like the other four in that it helps you pay for 100 percent of your energy efficient window installation costs up front, and that you should also work with a local contractor to ensure that it’s a good fit for you. I think that’s especially important with this program, though, given that it’s the newest option of the five on our list.
How to Choose a Free Window Replacement Program in California
As I’m sure you noticed, the one thing that all five of the top free window replacement programs in California have in common is that they are best utilized with the help of a local contractor. So, that’s obviously the step I recommend you take first. Once you’ve found your contractor, you’ll have an expert who can help guide you through this sometimes hard to navigate landscape.
…the one thing that all five of the top free window replacement programs in California have in common is that they are best utilized with the help of a local contractor.
I, obviously, suggest that you go with Bell Brothers as that guide. Of all the window installation and repair experts in Sacramento, we’re the most well-versed in these sort of programs. We’re also a long-time fixture in the community, with a track record of helping thousands of homeowners like yourself take advantage of these programs.
At Bell Brothers, our trained HVAC professionals would love to help you navigate the top free window replacement programs for California homeowners. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
Wondering how to finance your home upgrades—like new double pane windows? HERO is a unique financing option that helps California homeowners afford energy efficient upgrades to their home. Contact Bell Brothers, a HERO-approved contractor, to learn more. Our local HVAC, plumbing, and window specialists will walk you through the entire process, from applications to installation.
Image courtesy Dzmitrock