Does Your Energy Company Pay You for Efficiency Upgrades?

Earlier this week (just before the large blizzard hit central Iowa), our furnace went out. I took a look and couldn’t diagnose the problem myself, so we called a repairman (ouch). The guy we called was someone who was recommended by a few friends who told us that we’d be surprised how inexpensive his first visit would be.

They weren’t kidding.

The repairman stopped by on Monday morning, took a look at our furnace, and within ten minutes had figured out the problem – it was our thermostat, which had short circuited. He offered to replace it with a programmable one, of which he had several on hand (I’ve mentioned before that programmable thermostats can be a big money saver). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t buy one in this fashion, but he happened to have the exact model that I was considering buying earlier in the year and offered to install it for the same price I was going to buy the thermostat for.

Here’s the kicker: he gave us a form to send to our energy company to get a $30 reimbursement on our next energy bill for the new thermostat.

After that, he offered to clean our ventilation system for $30 – a process that would take about half an hour. Again, I was about to say no, but then he showed me a form for our energy company that, if given a receipt, would give us a $30 credit for having our ventilation system cleaned, making it a wash even if it didn’t help our energy efficiency at all.

And it certainly did. When he started cleaning it, he noticed the air flow was shockingly low. He ran a retrieval tool through our duct work and pulled out a large air filter that had somehow become lodged in our duct work by the previous owner. Once he removed it, finished his cleaning, and turned on the fan, the air flow through the house was tremendous compared to what we were getting before – an obvious improvement over our previous energy efficiency.

After the repairman left, I took a look at the wide variety of rebates and discounts our energy company offers us for doing simple home energy improvements. In fact, it turns out that several things we already did to lower our energy bill could be rewarded with a rebate from the energy company.

It’s basically extra money in my pocket for something I’m already doing.

If you’ve ever thought about improving the energy efficiency of your home in some fashion, whether it’s something simple like putting in new light bulbs or installing a programmable thermostat or something major like putting in new windows, take a look at the incentives offered to you by your energy company. It turns out that many companies offer such incentives to their customers. If you take advantage of those incentives, it swings the cost balance even more in favor of doing a simple energy upgrade, as the up-front cost is now even lower (or, in some cases, zero).

Take a look today. After all, the winter season is one of the best times to improve the energy efficiency of your home, and if your energy company is making it even easier on your pocketbook, now’s the time to make some changes.

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