About the program
The Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program will help low-income and vulnerable households improve thermal comfort by offering rebates to upgrade gas heaters, electric heaters, wood heaters and homes with no heating with energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners.
These upgrades will improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable residents, provide jobs for trades people, produce broader environmental benefits by reducing gas emissions and improving local air quality, and pave the way for the electrification of Victorian households as the state transitions to a renewable energy future.
Under the program, eligible households can receive:
- $1,000 towards the cost of an energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner,
- $200 towards the cost of decommissioning an outdated gas heater (if an existing gas heater is being replaced), and
- $500 towards the cost of upgrading a switchboard (if an upgrade is required to install the rebated reverse-cycle air conditioner).
What is thermal comfort?
Thermal comfort is when you feel neither too hot nor too cold, especially indoors. Our health, wellbeing and productivity are all affected by thermal comfort.
Am I eligible?
To be eligible for this program households must:
- replace an existing gas, fixed electric, reverse-cycle air-conditioner that is older than 7 years, wood heating or no heating with an energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner,
- install a reverse-cycle air conditioner from the Home Heating and Cooling Upgrades Program by an approved ,
- be an owner-occupier household with an approved concession card, or with a combined household income of less than $90,000.
Before you start your application, we recommend that you review the FAQs below.
The Victorian Government will provide rebates to help households install energy-efficient reverse-cycle air conditioners to replace their old gas, electric and wood-fire heater or where there is no heating system.
A reverse-cycle air conditioner can heat as well as cool and is one of the most efficient ways to heat your home in winter. In cooling mode, it extracts heat from the indoor air and moves it outside, via pipes connecting the indoor and outdoor units. In winter it 'absorbs' heat from the outdoor air to warm the air inside.
Households will benefit from improved comfort, including by having efficient cooling to deal with summer heat stress. Improving comfort for households in summer and winter will also provide important health benefits for individuals with illnesses associated with respiratory disorders such as asthma and individuals who are prone to heat stress.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners are also safer than many gas and electric systems and mitigate the risk of burns or monoxide poisoning.
There are also wellbeing benefits. Reverse-cycle air conditioners are more cost effective to run allowing users to have guests more frequently thus reducing social isolation. They also allow for families to be more active at night, for example allowing for children to study longer into the evening.
If used correctly a reverse-cycle air conditioner is the cheapest way to heat and cool your home. The thermostat and timer provide control for comfort and energy savings.
- Cooling - save up to 10% for each degree that you increase the air conditioner’s temperature.
- Heating - save up to 10% for each degree that you decrease the air conditioner’s temperature.
It is recommended you set your temperature between 18°C to 20°C. Every 1°C higher will add around 10% to your heating bill.
The most efficient way to use your system is by zoning it. This allows you to split the house into different zones, so that you can limit it to only heat the areas you’re using. Look for the model that suits the layout of your house and has the right capacity for your needs.
The program will be available to low income and vulnerable households, targeted to ensure the program helps those who need it most.
Currently owner-occupier households with an approved concession card, or with a combined household income of less than $90,000 are eligible. In late 2021 we will expand the program to include renters.
Individuals can now apply directly via this link. Those living in Community Housing organisations please note that the rollout of the program will be designed with leading industry and welfare agency experts to ensure it reaches those who are most in need.
No – households must confirm they are eligible before buying a reverse-cycle air conditioner, and rebates will not be paid retrospectively.
The cost of the system that best suits your home depends on the size and orientation of the area you wish to heat and cool.
Several households have opted for a 6kW energy efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner which is approximately $2,100 including installation in terms of out-of-pocket costs.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners installed through the HHCU program must be installed in the primary living area of a home unless special circumstances require it to be installed in a bedroom or other location.
Upgrade type Decommissioning requirement Fixed gas Decommission Reverse-cycle air conditioner (older than seven years) Decommission Wood heater No action Ducted gas No action No heater No action
The old, inefficient system should be decommissioned. Decommissioning means that your old heating system is safely made inoperative by removing the electrical supply or capping access to gas. Removal will be at the discretion of the householder and by agreement with Installers to avoid unnecessary “make good” costs.
Yes - reverse-cycle air conditioners are the most efficient, proven technology that costs less to run and delivers dual benefits of heating and cooling.
Reverse-cycle air conditioners can only be installed by . Approved suppliers are air conditioner installers licensed by Energy Safe Victoria and the Victorian Building Authority where relevant. Plumbing and gas fitting work can only be done by plumbers licensed by the Victorian Building Authority and Energy Safe Victoria where required. All installations in Victoria are required to have relevant compliance certificates.
will need to work inside your home and will come and go, as various tradespersons may be involved. They may also need to turn off your power for short periods. Your electrical wiring and switchboard will be checked for safety before proceeding. Your old heaters will be safely disconnected but will not be removed.
The program will be delivered by Solar Victoria and build on the successful safety measures put in place to protect consumers and workers under that program. Installations in Victoria are only permitted by licensed installers and must include compliance certificates. including Energy Safe Victoria, Victorian Building Authority and WorkSafe Victoria will step up their regulatory activity to ensure Victoria’s high safety standards are maintained.
Residents from retirement communities and lifestyle villages can apply, provided they meet the eligibility criteria. However they should first speak with the site management, their body corporate or property manager to ensure that installations by HHCU Approved Suppliers are permitted on the property.
Reviewed 11 July 2022