When it comes to gaining comfort and cash, as well as having an environmental conscience, there’s nothing like making your home more energy efficient.
We’ve been talking the past few weeks about a variety of energy-saving programs offered through the Grays Harbor PUD, and we’ve got more to talk about today.
Last week we discussed the various rebates available for energy-saving appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryers and heat pump water heaters. But did you know that the Grays Harbor PUD also offers rebates for heating system and weatherization projects for qualifying homes? That is the focus of our column today.
While the no-cost ductless heat pump program that we’ve discussed requires residents to meet income eligibility, the energy efficiency rebate program — like the appliance rebate program — does not. However, we still strongly suggest you talk to Melinda James-Saffron, the director of PUD Power and Energy Services, or her crew before you make purchases to ensure that all requirements have been fulfilled.
“Energy efficiency and conservation not only provides customers savings on their energy bill,” said James-Saffron, “but also achieves the overall mission of the PUD to serve our community with high-value utility services at the lowest practical cost.”
Heat pump and duct sealing projects
If you have a home that has an existing electric forced-air furnace as its primary source of heat, you may be eligible for a rebate of between $1,400 and $1,600 if you convert your heat source to a standard or variable speed heat pump.
Or perhaps you already have a heat pump, but need an upgrade. Between $500 and $700 may be available to you as a rebate for that upgrade. In addition, a ductless mini-split heat pump could yield an $800 rebate through the PUD.
Also, if you undergo a duct-sealing project to make sure that precious heat is not escaping through leaking ducts, you could be eligible for a $250 rebate.
Adequate insulation makes a tremendous difference in making your home more comfortable and cheaper to heat. So, the Grays Harbor PUD also offers rebates for various weatherization projects to help you save more energy.
For ceiling insulation, depending on what level of insulation you already have, you could receive between 75 cents and $2 per square foot of installed insulation. For walls and floors with qualified insulation installations, the rebate is $1 per square foot.
New doors and windows that keep out the drafts are eligible for a $6 per square foot rebate.
Another common energy wasting problem in many homes is folks who don’t know how to properly operate their thermostats. By effectively setting your programmable thermostat, you will not only optimize comfort in your home, but you will also save on your heating bills as well — up to 30%!
One key is to take advantage of the times you’re out of the home by setting a standard “work schedule” on your thermostat. This will ensure the heat stays off while you are away, but turns on just before you return.
If you have a heat pump or electric forced air furnace, you may be eligible for a $100 rebate if you buy a new Smart Thermostat.
While income isn’t a concern for these rebates that encourage energy efficiency, there are a few other requirements and restrictions:
• The primary source of heat in your home must be electric.
• The rebate amount cannot exceed the cost of the project.
• Rebates are not available for ductless heat pumps or weatherization projects in new construction, including additions or in spaces not currently heated.
• A customer may qualify for assistance on a maximum of one heat pump project, one insulation project and one windows project per residence in any 365-day period.
• A maximum of two qualifying Smart Thermostat rebates can be issued per household in households that have two heat pumps or electric forced air furnaces or more. New heat pumps are not eligible.
• A preliminary energy audit of the home by the PUD is required before proceeding with the project. (Don’t worry, it’s free.)
“We strongly recommend getting at least three bids for each project before selecting a contractor,” James-Saffron said, adding that the rebate applications and contractor bids must be submitted to the PUD before any work being done.
In general, we suggest you talk with James-Saffron and her crew if you are wondering if you may be eligible. They are very friendly and are used to walking people through the process.
Contact them at 360-538-6383 or by e-mailing EnergyServices@ghpud.org. (In addition, information about each of these programs is on the PUD’s website: www. ghpud.org.)
Free energy efficiency kit
We have more good news. The PUD is currently offering a free energy efficiency kit while supplies last. Each kit includes:
• Three 9-watt LED bulbs, which help save on your lighting costs.
• A 1.5 gallons-per-minute shower head, which reduces the energy required to heat water.
• A thermostatic shut-off valve, which reduces hot water waste while waiting for the shower.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County. For questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or buying, call 360-533-7828 or visit 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen. Our office is fully ADA-compliant.