Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Energy upgrades? The power company may help

Many utility companies offer rebates and credits to help pay for programmable thermostats and other upgrades.

By Karen Datko Dec 30, 2009 9:52AM

This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.


Recently, just before a 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 was.


They weren’t kidding.


The repairman stopped by on Monday morning, took a look at our furnace, and within 10 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 I was considering buying, and offered to provide and install it for the same price I was going to buy it 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 a half hour. Again, I was about to say no, but then he showed me a form for our energy company that, if accompanied by 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 very low. He ran a retrieval tool through our ductwork and pulled out a large air filter that had somehow become lodged in it. Once he removed it, finished his cleaning, and turned on the fan, the air flow through the house was tremendous compared with what we'd been 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.

  • Bing: Find your utility company online

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 upfront 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.


Related reading at The Simple Dollar:

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.