Feb. 12, 2010 -- Cash for Appliances is a government program through which consumers can get hundreds of dollars in rebates for the purchase of new energy-efficient appliances and making certain home improvements.
But the offer of cash back is for a limited time only. The federal government has allocated $300 million under the 2009 stimulus bill for Cash for Appliances, and the program lasts only as long as the money does.
Each state will receive money from the federal government's allotment, the energy department said.
Wendy Bounds, a columnist with the Wall Street Journal, said the Cash for Appliances has already started in Michigan, New York and other states. The program may be coming to your state very soon, she added.
Bounds answered several questions about the program:
Q: How big are the rebates?
A: The appliance rebates range from $50 to $250, per appliance. Only purchases that replace an existing appliance are eligible for a rebate, and rebates will be issued only for products that were bought during the specific time period established for eligibility, she said.
Q: How do I get a rebate?
A: Rules vary by state.Click HERE to find out more about the programs in your state.
Q: How long does it take to receive a rebate?
A: The rebate will arrive in about four to six weeks, Bounds said. The payment will come in the form of a check or a prepaid card.
Q: Do I have to recycle my old appliance to get rebate?
A: Some states do require that you recycle your old appliance, but many that do so will offer an additional rebate. Many national chains, such as Sears or Lowe's, will take your old appliances and help you to fill out rebate forms, Bounds noted.
Be sure to keep your receipts, proof of purchase information and recycling documentation. Your state's program may require all of those to collect your rebate.
Many Appliances Qualify for Money Back Program
Q: Which appliances are covered?
A: Boilers, central air conditioners, washing machines, dishwashers, freezers, furnaces, heat pumps, refrigerators, room air conditioners and water heaters are all on the list, but each state will have its own specific list of qualifying appliances, Bounds said.
In general, though, the appliance you purchase must at least be Energy Star-rated. While such appliances may cost a little more, they should pay for themselves with savings on your utility bills, she said.
Q: Am I allowed to combine the government rebate with other discounts?
A: Some stores are offering manufacturer rebates or retail promotions on the same appliances that are covered by the Cash for Appliances program. Typically, you can combine the new appliance rebate with the other rebates, Bounds said.
She also said there's a federal energy efficiency tax credit, one that gives you a dollar for dollar credit on your tax bill, for certain energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment, and for water heaters.
There are more details at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency. To find out more, click HERE to visit the organization's Web site.