Cash-for-clunkers for air conditioners: Government offers $1,500 tax rebate to replace old AC units
By JEFF OSTROWSKI
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
The automotive cash-for-clunkers program has ended, but Uncle Sam still wants you to get rid of another gas guzzler, namely that old air conditioner that cools your home.
The federal government is offering a tax rebate of up to $1,500 to encourage homeowners to replace old AC units with more efficient systems. Add Florida Power & Light rebates of up to $1,930 and annual power-bill savings that could reach into the hundreds of dollars, and buying a new unit looks like a smart deal.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
How much a typical AC system might cost, and how much you’ll save:
3-TON UNIT: $5,000
Tax rebate: $1,500
FPL rebate: $585*
Annual power-bill savings: $450**
Pays for itself in six years
4-TON UNIT: $6,000
Tax rebate: $1,500
FPL rebate: $780*
Annual power-bill savings: $600**
Pays for itself in a little more than six years
* FPL rebate based on an AC with a SEER rating of 16
** Annual savings based on replacing a unit carrying a SEER rating of 10 with a new unit rated at 16
Sources: A&H Services, Florida Power & Light
TWO IMPORTANT RATINGS FOR AC UNITS
What is SEER?
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is most commonly used to measure the efficiency of a central air conditioner. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system. SEER measures how efficiently a cooling system will operate over an entire season.
To qualify for the tax credit, a unit must have a SEER rating of 16 or higher.
What is EER?
Energy Efficiency Ratio is a measure of how efficiently a cooling system will operate when the outdoor temperature is at a specific level (95 degrees Fahrenheit). The higher the EER, the more efficient the system.
To qualify for the tax credit, a unit must have an EER rating of 13 or higher.