Cash for Appliances rebate program

November 16, 2009 9:22:14 AM PST
Appliance companies like Whirlpool, Electrolux and GE are all experiencing a severe slump in sales due to the weak home construction market. They are hoping a federal rebate program, much like "Cash for Clunkers," could change all that. And that means it's a golden opportunity for consumers. Is your clothes dryer on its last spin cycle? There may never be a better time to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model. Officials say $300 million of federal stimulus money has been set aside for appliance rebates that will cover refrigerators, dishwashers and washers and dryers. Bob Markovich is with "Consumer Reports" magazine.

"You can get up to $250 rebate from your state per appliance," he said. "So let's say you get $100 rebate. You're looking at additional utilities rebates, you're looking at sometimes additional state rebates. And you're also looking at big discounts, because appliance sales are something like 25 percent off what they were during the housing peak."

To qualify, you must buy an Energy Star appliance. Fortunately, more than 50 percent of all appliances have an Energy Star rating, so you will have a big selection. In addition to the rebate, the new refrigerators or dishwasher could save you up to $100 a year in energy expenses. The program will launch in November, with government funds available starting November 30. With the Cash for Clunkers program, car dealers were overwhelmed by the response, selling close to 700,000 vehicles in just one month. Sales associates like Richard Conran at Sears are expecting a boost.

"We are actually, because we already have customers coming in to look specifically for the Energy Star items," he said. "And now, since we have the rebates going, it's probably going to increase a lot."

Sears is so convinced there is going to be a rush to buy appliances under the government program, they have set up three computers so customers can see exactly how much their rebate will be and file for it right in the store.

Rebates range from $50 to $200, but each state has their own program. Retailers will have all the details, plus don't forget to check with your utility company, as many are offering additional rebates.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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