A new air conditioner (A/C) is a large investment, so you may be wondering how you’re going to pay to replace it, especially now, with summer on the horizon. It may come as a surprise to some that you don’t have to pay for it all at once; in fact, there are several ways you can get assistance to help reduce your out-of-pocket cost. Below, you will find resources to help you apply for grant money and other ways to help finance a new air conditioner.
First, though, you have to figure out the answer to one “burning” question.
Do I Really Need to Replace or Should I Just Repair my Air Conditioner (A/C)?
While repairs and regular maintenance are essential to extending the life of your A/C unit, there is a break-even point where industry professionals would advise you that the cost of the repair isn’t worth it, based on a number of reasons. For example, if your A/C unit is over 10 years old and has not been properly maintained, it may need to be replaced. Regular maintenance of your system is essential to extending the life and maintaining the quality of your A/C unit. Most brands of air conditioner (A/C) units, if well maintained, can easily last over 15-20 years. At Energy Stars, we offer an annual maintenance membership plan that is low cost and is an extremely effective way of keeping your A/C unit at peak performance.
Another huge consideration in repair versus replacement is if the current system is operating with R-22 refrigerant. A majority of units that are over 10 years old use this type of refrigerant. Beginning January 1, 2020 the manufacturing of R-22 has been prohibited throughout the world. If your current unit is using R-22, then it may be time to think about replacing it. With this ban on new production of R-22, the cost of R-22 will continue to climb. If your system is leaking R-22 or develops a leak, repairing it or even just getting your unit going, could cost a lot of money. It is at this point in time, where you need to really shift your thinking into replacing the system rather than repair it.
7 Ways to get Grant Money or Financing for Your new A/C Unit:
1. Check for Home Energy Incentives
Today’s air conditioners are designed to perform at peak energy efficiency with higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) ratings than ever before. These new A/C units are designed to keep you comfortable and keep your cooling bills low. Because of these huge energy savings, you can now get help from your utility providers that have efficiency upgrade programs. We will help you through the paperwork and fill out the requests for incentives that help you pay for new HVAC equipment. You may also be able to get help paying for a new furnace or add other energy saving measures like insulation and air sealing.
Programs like the Ameren Illinois Home Efficiency Program are based on your income, how many people live in your home, and the current energy efficiency of your home. If you are approved for this program, you can have a significant amount of your project paid for by Ameren Illinois.
Ameren Illinois also offers instant rebates for high efficiency equipment installs through their Standard HVAC Program. If you are not familiar with this process, contact us and we can help.
Missouri Utility On-bill financing program provides utility customers an additional way to finance energy efficiency upgrades to their property. These programs help customers to invest in energy efficiency upgrades for various equipment. At the moment, Spire is the only utility in the St. Louis region that is offering an on-bill financing program to customers to help them finance energy savings.
Spire and Ameren Missouri are also both offering significant rebates when a homeowner decides to upgrade their equipment to a new high efficiency system. If you are not familiar with what is available to you, contact us and we can help!
2. HVAC Manufacturer Incentives and Rebates.
All HVAC equipment manufacturers advertise savings periodically and so do their dealers. We also offer savings from time to time and have them listed on our specials page. This is an easy way to upgrade your unit and get a lower cost from the dealer or HVAC manufacturer.
3. Check With Your Homeowners Insurance if you have storm damage.
Another way to get your A/C unit replaced for free or at a lower cost, is to check your homeowner’s insurance policy. If your A/C is down because of normal wear and tear, your insurance will not pay for it. However, if it is seriously damaged after a storm or accident, your homeowner’s policy may cover the cost.
4. Credit Cards
Credit cards can be a great way to get your system with less frustration. Sometimes credit cards offer a short-term solution, especially if it has a higher interest rate. A credit score hit could be something you wish to avoid. So other financing options might not be the best for you at this time. Going through a refinance, trying to build your credit score and more could all be reasons to use a credit card. Some cards offer low or no interest rate promotional periods, when you transfer a balance to another company that might be worth exploring.
5. Options for Soldiers and Veterans
Active duty soldiers and veterans can get assistance covering emergency expenses from organizations that partner with military aid societies.
American Red Cross – Hero Care Center will help active duty service members, a member of an activated National Guard or Reserve unit, an immediate family member of a service member in the above two categories, or a military retiree or spouse/widow(er) of a retiree. Emergency expenses can include costs related to the repair or replacement of a central air conditioner. Call the American Red Cross at 1-877-272-7337 or submit an online application to determine your eligibility.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society offers emergency financial assistance to active duty Sailors and Marines. They provide funds to help with a wide range of financial needs, including essential home repairs. They can help with the costs of repairing and replacing the air conditioner. Start by contacting your nearest NMCRS office.
If you are a veteran planning to buy a home, the Veteran Loan Center can help finance the addition of energy efficient appliances to your mortgage, even on a pre-existing house.
6. Programs for senior citizens
If you’re 62 or older and low-income, the United States Department of Agriculture offers grants and long-term, low-interest loans to fund various home improvements, including the repair or purchase of an air conditioner. With this program, applicants may receive a grant of up to $7,500 or a loan of up to $20,000 that is repayable over 20 years at a 1% interest.
7. Air Conditioning Financing
Staying comfortable this summer shouldn’t be based on your budget. That’s why there are many ways to finance your air conditioner. One way is to go through the HVAC contractor you’re working with on your project. At Energy Stars, we have many financing options on our finance page. This is one of the best ways to secure financing, because your contractor will already have a relationship with the financing company.
Financing is a great way to get a new A/C because you’ll also get:
- Low monthly payments
- Competitive interest rates or no interest rates
- No down payment required
When you sign a financing contract, be sure that you understand all of the terms, such as your interest rate, length of contract, and any other conditions that apply. Keep in mind that it may be best to finance your A/C if you plan on staying at your current home for a while.
We hope this information has been helpful as you make decisions about your A/C Unit. When you’re ready to replace or repair your A/C Unit, call Energy Stars Heating & Cooling Co. in IL at 618-477-8337 or in MO at (314) 287-5353.
Looking for ways to pay for a new furnace? You might want to read our blog: How to Pay for a New Furnace This Winter.