I want to share an opportunity I had in 2023 that took normally bad news and through the luck of timing, made a gigantic silver lining.
So in the first half of 2023, I moved into my first house, which brought a whole buncha...trips to the Federal Way and Auburn Tool Libraries. A yard, lawncare, weeds, trimming, all the pain in the butt things that 65.8% of Americans are used to. I hate it all and want to replace the whole thing with sand and rocks, but that's not what this post is about. More importantly is that we were BLESSED with failing home appliances, and I'll tell you why this RULES.
Our inspectors refused to service the dying furnace because of its age, warned us about the old gas water-heater, and a month after moving, we discovered the stove elements burn bright-orange when switched on, regardless of setting. I still cry over those burnt tamales that I was supposed to be steaming.
So, in addition to the 'are-you-sure-bro?' 2023 Monopoly money mortgage, we tucked in some provisions into the loan to buy new appliances. I hate natural gas. It's flammable, it smells bad, and energy tech has delivered appliances that are WAY more efficient (Youtube link) than burning dead dinosaurs. Thankfully, the Inflation Reduction Act brought a ton of cash (Youtube link) for people opting to make their homes energy efficient.
I'm about to give some financial details for feasibility...
The IRA brings large rebates that offset your taxes to every American household. I think it's like $1000 for energy-related upgrades and improvements per year for the next 8 years. I work full time, so should see a difference in a few months when I settle taxes with Uncle Sam.
The timing of moving/buying for me means those failing appliances are being replaced by 100% electric! Most recently was a $700 induction range. We took a precaution to upgrade the outlet and lead to the breaker panel for an extra $600 from our local electrician, but some of you might not need that. Induction ranges are really efficient and also burn food into your pots and pans WAY less often, so you spend less time cleaning.
I got 7 solar panels that are connected to two heat pumps that take care of 75% of my 1000sq ft house. The room that doesn't get heating/cooling currently has a space heater and it'll be up to me to figure out how to cool it. Worst case? I'll get another heat pump!
We had the attic insulated and installed a solar-powered fan to vent the attic and keep it dry and circulated. This will likely extend the life of the roof by at least 10 years. I'm told a new roof is like $50,000.
We had our circuit breaker upgraded to one that can monitor how much energy I'm using, and surge-protects the entire house.
We installed an air-quality monitor that I couldn't opt out of. I'm not real big on this.
These things (solar panels, 2 heat pumps, circuit breaker, air quality monitor, and attic insulation) came in a package deal for about $40,000 which, next to a new mortgage, is only slightly insane. The payments on the loan work out to $350 per month for the first year, then drop to $250 per month. At the same time, our energy bill was cut from a whopping $220 to $90 per month, even during 2023 winter. That high figure was from our first month while we learned what a thermostat and gas-powered central heating was. I have since shut the furnace completely off. So I can say that in a 1000sq ft home, this $40,000 package saved $100 per month on my electric bill. You could say that'll take 33 years to break even on the investment, but there's financial value in extending the roof, cutting gas consumption, and we were due to spend at least $10,000 on a new furnace, which we can skip now.
You might have success contacting your local electricians and getting bids to do this work for less than what we got a loan for. Talk to a credit union, as some of them have special loans for energy upgrades. A little legwork on your end might net you the things I got at a more agreeable price. I'd highly recommend using the IRA (as in Inflation Reduction Act) savings calculator to see what appliances may be worth changing in your living space!
Full acknowledgement that this is a massive investment and I had probably the best possible timing that anyone could have. We both make just under the average salary in the state, according to the 2022 census. I got started at RewiringAmerica.org, a nonprofit org that acts as a hub for REBATES and info about why you should ditch gas like I did. And to finally circle back to rebates, there are a handful of upfront rebates on efficient appliances, but it's first come first serve, hence the title of this post: GET'CHER REBATES! If there's any kind of referral, I've signed my name as the author of this post!
Next appliance? Heat pump water heater and I can say goodbye to natural gas completely!