Each year, ComEd gives away $351 million in rebates to consumers who install energy-efficient heating and cooling systems in their Chicagoland and Fox River Valley homes. If you’re ready to replace your heater and air conditioning, keep reading to find out how you can save money, too.
In this article, we’re outlining the items that are eligible for rebates. And, we’ll let you know how to apply and get the most back.
And, by the way, that money’s yours to begin with.
ComEd funds this program through their regular rate charges. Check your bill for the line item reading, “Energy Efficiency Program.” And, since 2008, 708,000 customers have received rebates.
By ComEd’s estimation, those rebates have saved customers more than $4 billion over the past 12 years.
To put this together, we pulled information directly from ComEd’s website, along with the information we receive as a certified ComEd Energy Efficiency Service Provider.
Finally, we reached out directly to Luz Bottechia, a communication specialist at ComEd, in January of 2020. She gave us a few more stats (like the data we mentioned already) and pieces of information to make sure everything here is accurate and up-to-date.
You can apply online for the offers or mail in a copy of the application. To qualify, you must have the unit installed by a qualified service provider. We’ll get into that a little later.
Meanwhile, the models you choose have to meet specific efficiency requirements. Let’s look at those qualifications now.
Energy Star is a program run by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. It certifies whether an appliance is energy efficient or not. And, it’s an important part of why and how ComEd offers these rebates.
To qualify, a furnace or air conditioner, or other product, must produce the same amount of heating or cooling as comparable models. But they must use less energy to do so. And, to determine that, the EPA uses HVAC ratings such as EER, SEER, HSPSF, and AFUE.
That’s a bunch of acronyms at once. But, they’re pretty easy to understand. And, once you do, you can use them to see if the models you’ve chosen qualify for these cash incentives.
These tell you how much energy your HVAC unit uses to provide air conditioning.
It’s important to note that some systems, like ductless mini splits, provide both heating and cooling.
Today, every cooling unit needs a SEER rating of 13 or higher. To qualify for Energy Star, it has to be at least 14.5.
EER requirements are 12 or 12.5, depending on the setup.
HSPF tells you how much energy a heat pump uses to produce heat. Models with 8.2 ratings or higher qualify for Energy Star.
The AFUE is a measure of how much gas or oil your furnace or boiler uses for heating, versus how much gets wasted through the exhaust process.
For instance, an 80 percent AFUE boiler loses 20 percent of the oil it uses through the exhaust.
Believe it or not, at one time, some units wasted nearly half the resources they used. Today, all models must have at least a 78 percent AFUE rating. For boilers, it ranges from 80 to 84 percent, depending on the type.
For Energy Star certification, oil boilers must be 87 percent AFUE or higher. Gas models need at least a 90 percent rating.
Furnaces are a little different. Different parts of the country have different requirements. For Illinois and the northern part of the country, the cutoff is 95 percent AFUE.
To get a ComEd rebate on a new heating appliance , you need a model that fits the requirements and a company that’s certified to install them. Let’s start with the equipment. The incentives are:
Now, there’s the question of installation, and this is important: To qualify for the rebates, you must use a ComEd Energy Efficiency Service Provider.
You can find a list of providers here. And, yes, Compass Heating and Air is on there.
The benefit of a certified provider, along with knowing the work will get done correctly, is having someone familiar with the process and qualifications.
Also, make sure the company you choose is also certified by the brand you’ve purchased.
Again, this helps ensure a good, clean installation. But, more than that, most brands require a certified tech to install the new equipment. Otherwise, they’ll void the warranty.
For the rebate itself, you’ll need to fill out an application and include a significant amount of paperwork. This process includes providing invoices for every item you had installed. Mini splits, for instance, include two or more components, depending on the setup.
You’ll also need to provide an AHRI number that verifies the energy efficiency ratings. It’s a lot to consider, but your certified contractor can help you out.
For the most part, you can receive more than one rebate for the same type of equipment as long as each component meets requirements.
There are two exceptions: A limit of two rebates per household for ductless heat pumps. And, a limit of one smart thermostat per household.
According to Luz at ComEd, the reason why the company — which makes money when you use electricity — promotes energy efficiency is a big-picture idea.
“As the energy provider for Chicago and northern Illinois, ComEd believes it has a responsibility to give people greater power to use energy when they want it, where they want it, how they want it,” she explained.
“That’s why ComEd works to connect individuals, families, businesses, and municipalities with the programs and technologies they need to save energy and money because when people save money on energy, they live better lives, businesses grow faster, and communities thrive.”