The Cash for Appliances Program

In addition to the many other credits and programs included in the stimulus bill was a small allotment for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. It’s taken months, but the credit will soon be available. Here’s how it works:

How to Apply for Cash for Appliances

Unlike Cash for Clunkers, the First-Time Homebuyers Credit, and the New Car Tax Credit, which were administered by the Federal government, the Cash for Appliances program will be administered by the individual states. The states have until tomorrow to submit their plans and then will receive their disbursements by November 30th, just in time for the holiday sales. Visit regularly to find out which local utilities or state agencies will be operating your state’s program.

How Much You Can Get

The total allotment for the program is $300 million, which will be divided up among the states. The states will then determine how much of a rebate to offer for each appliance they’ve chosen to include in the program. Expect most rebates to be somewhere between $50 and $200.

How Long It Lasts

The duration of the program depends entirely on how long it takes us to use up the money. Some states may run out of money earlier than others. If you intend to use the rebate, I would shop for new appliances the first weekend the program is announced. That should be sometime between October 15 and December 1, 2009. I’m hopeful that the program will last a little longer than Cash for Clunkers because the rebates are significantly smaller. At an average of $150 per rebate, that would be two million appliances.

How It Affects Other Rebates

The rebate will have no impact on manufacturer rebates, unless they decide to stop offering them. The rebate will be in addition to any other rebates currently being offered by your local utilities. For example, I would receive $65 for buying an energy-efficient refrigerator, and $35 for recycling my old one. Any Cash for Appliances rebates will be in addition to this $100.

How It Affects Other Credits

If you buy a new, energy-efficient heating or cooling units, you can also qualify for a Federal tax credit. The Cash for Appliances program doesn’t change this, so start getting estimates and planning your budget if your HVAC units are due for replacement – you could save a lot more by combining all available rebates and credits.

Qualifying Appliances

The specific appliances that qualify will depend on the program created by each state. The appliances must at least meet EnergyStar standards, but states can be stricter if they choose. The appliances must also be those that use the most energy and have the most potential to save energy, such as:

  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Heating and cooling units
  • Water heaters
  • Washing machines
  • Dishwashers

You’re not going to get a rebate for your toaster oven. You’ll notice that the biggest gas and electricity hogs – dryers and ovens – aren’t on the list. The government has determined that these are mostly equal in energy use across all brands and there isn’t a technology available that would significantly reduce their demands.

Recycling Your Old Appliances

Unlike Cash for Clunkers, you don’t have to turn in your old appliances, however, you might get an additional rebate for doing so. Check with your local utility to see if they offer anything for picking up your old stuff.

My husband and I were planning to buy a new fridge in November, because ours makes very bad noises. Now we’re planning to wait until the rebate comes out because every little bit helps.

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