Smart $aver® Eligibility and FAQs
Smart $aver Eligibility
For any new or existing Duke Energy residential, single-family home in North Carolina, these requirements must be met to receive applicable rebates.
- Air conditioners or air-to-air heat pumps must be 14 SEER or higher. Geothermal heat pumps must be 11.5 EER or higher.
- New heat pump or air conditioner must include an electronically commutative fan motor (ECM) on the indoor furnace.
- Heat pumps must have an HSPF of 8.2 or higher.
- Qualifying systems must be installed on or after June 1, 2009.
- See gas conversion to heat pump restrictions below.
If you have additional questions about the Smart $aver program, please call 1-866-785-6209.
Note: Duke Energy reserves the right to change the Smart $aver program requirements and incentives at any time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What single family homes are eligible?
Residential homes eligible for Smart Saver include single family homes, condominiums, town homes, duplexes and mobile homes. Multifamily homes are not eligible.
What are the restrictions for heat pump incentives when converting from natural gas heat?
Existing home, heat pump restrictions:
Duke Energy will pay incentives for a qualifying heat pump, if the home currently has electric heat, propane heat oil heat or any other non-natural gas heating system.
If a home is currently heated by a natural gas furnace, the program will follow these guidelines:
- Pay on a qualifying air conditioner (AC), regardless of heating system fuel type.
- Pay on qualifying heat pump (HP) when a home is currently heated by a natural gas HVAC system if the new HP is used as part of a dual fuel system that uses natural gas as the supplemental heat source.
The definition of “currently heated by a natural gas furnace” means that a home or portion of the home is heated by any type of central heating system that uses natural gas as the fuel, including forced air furnaces and boilers. Natural gas appliances that are not considered a heating system include natural gas fireplaces, natural gas non-ducted radiant, portable or room wall heaters, natural gas stoves and/or ovens and natural gas clothes dryers.
New homes heat pump restrictions:
Duke Energy will pay on a qualifying heat pump, if the new home has no natural gas available.
If natural gas is available at a new home the program will follow these guidelines:
- Pay on a qualifying air condition (AC), regardless of heating system fuel type
- Pay on qualifying heat pump (HP) where natural gas is available if a HP is installed as part of a dual fuel system that uses natural gas as the supplemental heat source.
The definition of “if natural gas is available” means a gas distribution main is available on the property at the time construction begins on a new home and where only a natural gas service line needs to be installed for the new home to be served.
What is a SEER/EER?
These are energy efficiency ratings for heat pumps and air conditioners. The higher the number, the less energy the system uses. Make sure the unit you purchase has a SEER/EER rating certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). See the links at the top of this page in the right column for more information on SEER and AHRI.
What is an ECM fan motor?
The electric fan in your indoor furnace is responsible for a good portion of your heating costs. Older, standard furnace fans use much more energy than new energy efficient ECM fan motors. Sometimes called a “variable speed” fan, an ECM fan also offers many other features for added comfort in your home. An ECM fan motor on your indoor furnace is required for each qualifying air conditioner or heat pump.
What is an HSPF?
HSPF is an energy efficiency rating for heat pumps. The higher the number, the less energy the system uses in winter heating. Make sure the unit you purchase has an HSPF rating certified by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). See the links at the top of this page in the right column for more information on AHRI.
Will my new ENERGY STAR® qualified heat pump or air conditioner qualify my home as an ENERGY STAR home?
The ENERGY STAR home certification for new homes requires several components of your home to be energy efficient before it is certified. The heating and cooling system is a major component, but other items must also be upgraded. See the EPA’s http://www.energystar.gov website for details.
Does Duke Energy offer a special electric rate for Smart Saver customers in North Carolina?
There is no special rate tariff for Smart Saver customers. However, a Smart Saver heating or air conditioning system in a new home will help qualify your new home as an ENERGY STAR home. DOE certified ENERGY STAR new homes in North Carolina are eligible to receive Duke Energy’s lower ENERGY STAR rate. To qualify for the lower ENERGY STAR electric rate, you will need to notify a Duke Energy Customer Service Representative at 1-800-777-9898. The builder, HERS rater or customer can apply for this rate. Proof of ENERGY STAR Certification will be requested.
What is a Participating Heating Dealer?
Heating contractors who have completed Duke Energy’s Participating Heating Dealer sign-up form are eligible to offer the Smart Saver program including customer rebates. Participating dealers will complete your Incentive Application and be familiar with all other program requirements.
What is a Participating Builder?
Home builders who have completed Duke Energy North Carolina’s Participating Heating Dealer and Builder Sign-up form are eligible to receive the Builder incentives. Participating builders who have successfully completed at least one Smart Saver installation and have received an incentive will be included in the Participating Smart Saver Builder list.
Who receives the Smart Saver incentive from Duke Energy?
Existing Homes – The $200 Smart Saver incentive for existing homes is a customer incentive. Heating dealers are also eligible for separate incentives for qualifying existing home installations.
New Homes – The Smart Saver incentive for new homes is a Builder’s incentive. The incentive may be assigned to the homeowner with builder's approval and signature (initials) on the appropriate line on the Incentive Application Form. Homeowners building their own homes are considered the builder if there is no other professional home builder involved.
Should my heating dealer be certified?
Duke Energy recommends that your HVAC technician have a current heat pump and/or air conditioning certification. Heating systems installed by a certified technician helps to ensure maximum efficiency, comfort, and reliability.
Is duct insulation important?
Exposed ductwork in your attic or garage can lose up to 50% of the energy supplied by your heating and cooling system. Ask your heating dealer where your ducts are located. If they are in an unconditioned area such as the attic, we recommend you or your contractor cover these ducts with at least six inches of insulation.
How much can I save with a new Smart Saver system?
Open this link for Estimated Smart Saver Savings. Savings are illustrative only; Duke Energy does not guarantee savings.
If you'd like additional information on how much you may save with a new Smart Saver heating system, our Home Energy Center provides tools and calculators to estimate energy usage for many appliances including heating and air conditioning systems.
How do I apply for a Smart Saver rebate?
Your participating heating dealer or builder will submit your Incentive Application for you and will provide the necessary details that will allow your new system to qualify.
When can I apply for Smart Saver rebates on a new home?
You can submit an application for Smart Saver rebates on a new home after both of these events have occurred: 1) the HVAC system including the outdoor unit is fully installed and working, 2) the new home has the electric meter installed on the home.
What types of residential HVAC refrigeration systems qualify for Smart Saver® incentives?
The following residential refrigeration technologies qualify for incentives assuming the matched components achieve 14 SEER, can be verified with an AHRI reference number and include an ECM fan motor for the home’s air distribution system: Heat Pump (HP) or AC split systems, HP or AC single package (self contained) systems, geothermal heat pumps including direct geoexchange systems.
The following systems do not qualify for incentives regardless of the size of unit or the efficiency - Through the wall room HP or AC, Window HP or AC, Mini Split HP or AC, Portable HP or AC, and Evaporative AC.
Smart $aver® is a trademark of Duke Energy Corporation or one of its affiliates.