The $300 million government program, "Cash for Appliances," which gives consumers rebates on purchases of energy-efficient household appliances, is ramping up in states across the country.
Early Show financial expert Vera Gibbons filled viewers in on it, and spelled out how to maximize your rebates.
According to Gibbons, Cash for Appliances is modeled after the "Cash for Clunkers" program in the sense that it helps to boost the economy and weeds out old appliances that use lots of energy.
1) HOW DOES THIS PROGRAM WORK?
Every state is doing it; each has their own program and criteria and amount allocated to the program. The concept is simple: buy new energy efficient appliances - fridge, dishwasher and washing machine (most states have these appliances in their programs; some more than a dozen that are applicable) - get rebate, the idea is to boost sales, stimulate the economy; get old appliances out of circulation and replace with new energy efficient ones.
2) HOW MUCH CAN YOU GET BACK?
It depends on a numbers of factors - state, appliance and efficiency. Approximately $50-$250, per appliance (more for HVAC systems) rebates available first come/ first serve basis. Not retroactive. To get money, you have to download and print forms at Energysavers.gov and link to your state's program. Mail in the application with proof of purchase, and in abut 4-6 weeks you will receive the rebate in check form or prepaid card.
3) ONE WAY TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SAVINGS IS TO BUNDLE.
In New York state where the program has been extended (and has about eight million dollars left in funding) if you "bundle" by buying three high efficiency star appliances, such as a refrigerator, dishwasher and washing machine, you will receive a $500 rebate, $200 each for the fridge, the washing machine and another $100 for the dishwasher. Plus you save an additional $265 per year on your energy bill. Plus if you recycle your old appliances you get an additional $25-100 depending on the state.
In our case, in New York for example, you would save an additional $55 for all three of these appliances. FYI - some states (15) require that you recycle old appliances in order to get any rebate. And whether using a big retailer to handle recycling, local recycling center, you need to get proof/documentation to get additional money. Plus, by using these new appliances you will save $265 per year savings on your energy bill.
4) CAN YOU COMBINE THIS STATE REBATE WITH OTHER REBATES?
In many cases you can double dip and combine the state rebate with other rebates, such as utility rebates, municipality, manufacturer rebates and even various retail promos.
In Vermont, which starts its program tomorrow, (by the way, if you buy a high-energy efficiency washing machine such as the one Gibbons shows in the segment, you get a $150 state rebate; also a $50 utility rebate (local) and if you buy tomorrow, no sales tax (on items $2,000 or less) this is a one day break only from the sales tax, but its an easy way to save the six percent (that drops the cost of this Electrolux front load washer, which has all the bells and whistles, latest in tech, down by over $100). Plus, you'd save an estimated $130 a year on energy and water bills, assuming you were replacing a 10-year-old top loading washer.
5) CAN YOU APPLY THE FEDERAL TAX CREDIT AS WELL?
Things like heating, cooling, vent systems are eligible for home energy credit-available, thru end 2010- 30 percent back, up to $1,500; credits are valuable because they reduce your taxes dollar for dollar.
APPLICANCES SEEN DURING THE SEGMENT
Superba® Series EQ
Fully Integrated Console
model number KUDE60FV
MSRP $1,399.00 - $1,499.00
Frigidaire Gallery Refrigerator
Model Number FGUS2637LE
Electrolux Front Load Washer
Model Number EWFLS65IMB