The state of Florida is offering a $1500-per-household rebate for efficient air conditioner and heat pump replacements under the Florida ENERGY STAR® Residential HVAC Rebate Program. The rebates are available for systems that are contracted after August 30, 2010 and meet duct testing and efficiency requirements. The program ends December 31, 2010 or when $15 million in rebate funds are depleted.
The Florida ENERGY STAR® Residential HVAC Rebate Program is designed to encourage existing homeowners to replace their old energy-inefficient heating and cooling system with a properly-sized energy efficient system and to ensure that their heating and cooling duct system has minimal leakage.
Each home must have their ducts tested to assure they are not extremely leaky, in order to receive the rebate. The required duct test must be performed after installation. If your ductwork is difficult to access in order to make repairs, then you may want to have your ductwork tested prior to signing a contract to participate. Most homes will have ducts that pass the test, while others will have leaks that can be repaired.
Most Class 1 Residential Energy Raters have the equipment and are certified to test the duct system. Find a list of energy raters at http://www.energygauge.com/search.htm (select ‘Class 1 Res’ in the search filter).
If your ductwork is found to be extremely leaky, such that you won’t be eligible for the rebate, you may want to consider the expense of replacing or repairing the ductwork. If your current ductwork is extremely leaky and in a confined attic space with limited access, you may even want to consider a new duct system installed below your ceiling, so the ductwork is in the conditioned space, saving an extra 5 to 10%. Some homes have exposed ducts, while others build a second drop-down ceiling around the ductwork.
In addition to Class 1 Energy Raters, the state rebate program allows for Licensed Mechanical Contractors and Certified Test and Balance Professionals to verify the duct tightness. In order for those professionals to learn how to test, FSEC is offering a two-day course on duct testing, Duct Testing 101.
Information and registration for the Duct Testing 101 course are available at http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/ducttesting101
Full Energy Rater training is available at http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/cont_ed/bldg/erater.php.
Information about the full requirements of the Florida ENERGY STAR® Residential HVAC Rebate Program can be found at http://www.rebates.com/floridahvac/.