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Your money Q&A: Can I get the $1,500 federal tax credit for my AC?

I live part of the year in Florida, where I installed an energy-efficient air conditioning unit. My question is, will that qualify for the $1,500 federal tax credit? – Boynton Beach

The answer depends upon you. The federal tax credit – up to $1,500 or 30 percent of the cost of a qualified central air conditioning system – is good for installations through Dec. 31, but only at your principal residence. You can’t take this credit for second homes.

If instead of an AC unit you’d chosen to put in a solar system, the credit for that does apply to second homes. That credit will continue to be in effect through the end of next year.

Anyone considering an energy-efficient upgrade at home should take a look at what the credit applies to and the rules for suing it. To see what's included, go here.

Need help with a money problem?
Columnist Harriet Johnson Brackey is working with South Florida financial advisors to get answers. Submit your questions at or call 954-356-4628. To see previous questions, visit


Categories: Personal finance questions and answers (36)
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Any update on the $1,500 FL AC rebate. I read recent article in this paper that said the FL legislature was debating the issue? I think I sumbitted mine within the first 2 weeks of the program but never received any verification and the rebate telephone number is not working.

Well, on Nov. 17, here's what my colleague Julie Patel reported. The governor signed the m easure into law the next day. hjb.

Some consumers will now get help paying for the pricey energy-efficient systems they purchased expecting state rebates.
Florida lawmakers Tuesday accepted $31 million in federal stimulus money for consumers who applied for rebates on energy-efficient air conditioning and solar systems. It's not enough money to pay for as much as the two state rebate programs intended, but it will help most who applied in time.
State legislators also unanimously agreed to repeal a requirement that home sellers disclose the strength of their properties to withstand hurricanes starting next year.

AC rebates

Consumers who bought or had a contract for a qualifying air conditioning system when the state's "cash for clunker" program was active - from Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 - will receive a $1,500 rebate if they meet the requirements and apply by Nov. 30.
Lawmakers approved $31 million in federal funds for energy rebates by a unanimous vote in the House and a 36-2 vote in the Senate. Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to sign the bill because he pushed for approval of the stimulus money. He will have 15 days from the time the bill lands on his desk to consider it. About 3,000 people have applied for the rebates.
"We have an obligation to uphold promises that the government makes...even when those promises were made prematurely," said Rep. Seth McKeel, R-Lakeland.
About $2.5 million of the federal funds is expected to be used for the air conditioning rebates.
Solar energy rebates
The rest, an estimated $29 million, will go to consumers who were approved by the state to receive rebates for solar energy systems they installed in their homes and businesses.
About 13,000 home and business owners are on the waiting list for the Florida Solar Rebate Program, which expired June 30, but "nobody knows how many have been approved" for rebates, said Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton.
The catch?
There's only enough stimulus money to pay for a portion, probably half, of the rebates consumers were expecting.
The program had intended to provide people with $500 rebates for solar water heaters, $100 rebates for solar swimming pool heaters and $4 per watt of energy from solar panels, limited to $20,000 for homes and $100,000 for businesses.
"This is not the fix that we want to have. But what it does is give us that bridge" until legislators can consider providing full rebates during the regular legislative session that starts in March, said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.
Senators opposing the solar rebates said they may benefit people who can afford solar systems at the expense of all taxpayers.
Sen. Larcenia Bullard, D-Miami, was one of two senators who voted against accepting the federal money.
The Florida Energy & Climate Commission runs the programs and can answer questions at 850-487-3800 or

This information is WRONG. As per the official website,

The HVAC or geothermal system must have been purchased or contracted for purchase with a Florida-licensed contractor between August 30, 2010, and September 14, 2010.

The new HVAC or geothermal system must be fully installed before November 30, 2010.

A complete application (with four required documents included) must be submitted to our rebate administrator on or before November 30, 2010.

Many people rely on thh Sun-Sentinel for information. You would think a reporter whose job it is do research, would actually do it

Just a note: This is about the federal tax rebate. Not the Florida one. The federal one. That is mentioned twice in this Question-and-Answer, but some readers seem to have not noticed.

As a matter of fact, it was mentioned THREE times, Harriet. Once in the title, once in the question, and once in your answer.

Some people are just too quick to criticize.

I stand corrected! and I don't mind. Thanks.....

I learn a lot from this post,thank you!

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Don’t cry because it is over, smile,because it happened.

You provide enriched information for us,thank u.

Expericence is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards. (Law Vernon, British writer)


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About the author
You've got the job of managing your money. No one in school taught you how. But you and I, we can teach each other, how to handle it, how to save for retirement, how to make money last, how to educate the kids, how to make a budget work. The conversations I have with my readers are fun. Money's important, but discussing it does not have to be boring.

Harriet Johnson Brackey Harriet Johnson Brackey, the personal finance columnist for the Sun Sentinel, is an award-winning business reporter. Her columns for 2008 were named "The Best in the Business," a national award chosen by her colleagues at the Society of American Business Editors and Writers.

Brackey has worked at Business Week magazine and at USA TODAY, where she was a founder and part of the original staff of the Money section at the country's first national newspaper. After nearly 11 years there - spent covering the 1980s bull market, the insider trading scandals, the 1987 crash - Brackey left Washington, D.C., and came to The Miami Herald. She spent the next decade writing a column about personal finance that chronicled the stock market's Internet boom and bust, as well as the popular Money Makeover features.

Brackey also has done commentaries for Marketplace Money, which airs on National Public Radio and The Nightly Business Report which is broadcast on more than 250 PBS television stations nationwide. She also has been a radio guest on WLRN’s Miami Herald News.
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