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Should my employer cover utility costs of my HVAC system if I’m working from home now due to COVID-19?

In response to “stay-at-home” orders issued by Governor Gavin Newson of California to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, commonly known as COVID-19. Many employers have been asking, even requiring employees to work from home indefinitely. 

For you this may at first seem like a dream at first. And then you realize that your kids (should you have any) are also mandated to stay home from school. That also may seem nice at first but for many, it’s adding to a very hectic home/work life. And then… it gets HOT! 

First Scenario: If you are one of the many homeowners in Orange & LA County with air conditioning, you’re doing okay. Until you get your first months electric bill from So Cal Edison (most likely). Whoa!! We heard from a customer who called us for an A/C repair in Anaheim, CA that their bill in June went from $120 last year to over $300 this year. That’s when you realize that your employer has been footing that expensive HVAC electric bill and saving you money by not having to run it during the weekdays.

Second Scenario: You don’t have a/c at your house in Huntington Beach. You never have and only rarely needed it so you just got by. You are used to being in an air conditioned office during the heat of the day, at least during the week. For the most part, you can come home in the evenings when it’s cooler, open up the windows, crank up the fans and enjoy a cool beverage. Toughing it out and sleeping in a warm room at night. But not now. Now you are home during the days and trying to work of all things. And it’s hot!

So what are your options? Should your employer reimburse you for some or all of your HVAC related electric bills at your Anaheim home/office? Should your employer help with the cost to add A/C to your Huntington Beach home/office? Let’s explore…

Unfortunately, based on our brief research, the answer is most likely NO. For example, general office supplies such as pens, paper, lamps and furniture are generally not reimbursable unless the employer requires the use of specific types of supplies. Although printer paper and ink may be reimbursable when paperless work is not possible. And there is nothing that we can find specifically about an employer reimbursing you for HVAC related utility costs in California.

Fortunately, if you do want to upgrade the efficiency of your home in Orange County’s HVAC system and So Cal Edison is your utility provider for electricity. They are helping. Offering rebates up to $3,000 per household.

So Our Advice

Read up on California Labor Code Section 2802. “Google” around a bit, ask some colleagues and prepare yourself for a conversation with your employer. If you want to bring it up, do it respectfully and in a non-threatening matter. Treat it more like a conversation. And when your ready to upgrade your homes A/C & Heating system, call Command Comfort. We can save you a lot of money on your existing HVAC related utility costs or design a high-efficiency ductless or hybrid HVAC system to add to your home. Command Comfort is one of the few HVAC contractors in Orange County to be approved to offer the aforementioned So Cal Edison rebates for upgrading or adding a high-efficiency A/C or Heat Pump system in your home. There has never been a better time to buy or upgrade your homes HVAC system. Instant rebates are being offered up to $3,000! Call us for more info.

Either way, best of luck to you during these unprecedented times. Hopefully you have a very generous boss and wonderful kids who will safely be in school again soon. 

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