February 22, 2010

This could be the year you buy the best portable air conditioner or refrigerator with the help of a Cash for Clunkers program in your state.

The Department of Energy has prepared an interactive map
showing such programs around the country. Some will be starting this spring or around Earth Day in April. The rebate programs are funded by you, the taxpayer, through the Energy Department.

Here are some of the states that are doling out the most cash:

California, $35 million
Florida, $17 million
Illinois, $12 million
Michigan, $9.5 million
New Jersey, $8.3 million
New York, $18.7 million
North Carolina, $8.8 million
Ohio, $11 million
Texas, $23 million

The only state that has already closed its program is Kansas.

(No doubt these programs will also spark a small run on appliance advertising, as we saw in the auto Cash for Clunkers blitz.)

Since the states are running these programs, there are no uniform rules about which appliances will be included or how much the rebates will be.

Msnbc.com explained:

“Last year’s ‘Cash for Clunkers’ vehicle program was run by the federal government, so the rules were the same in every state. This appliance rebate program is being handled at the state level. Each state decides which appliances qualify, the size of the rebate and when the purchase must be made. Some states have already launched their rebate programs. Many others start in April.

“For example, Connecticut offers a $50 rebate on qualifying refrigerators and $100 on washers. In Rhode Island the rebates on these same appliances are $150. Consumers in Nevada and New Mexico can claim $200 on a fridge.

‘” ‘These state programs can be quirky and you really have to check the fine print’ advises Tom Watson, a green projects manager for King County, Wash. ‘But this is a terrific opportunity to save some big bucks on energy-efficient appliances.’

“The U.S. Department of Energy allocated the $300 million in stimulus funds based on each state’s population and specific rebate program. For instance Ohio receives $11 million while Alaska gets $658,000.

“What happens to [the] old appliance? In some states you can do what you want with it. You can recycle that old refrigerator, sell it, donate it to charity or move it into the basement or garage. “

The Department of Energy said:

“More than 70% of the energy used in our homes is for appliances, refrigeration, space heating, cooling, and water heating. Replacing old appliances and equipment with those that are ENERGY STAR® labeled can help American families save significantly on their utility bills. Each state and territory may select its own set of ENERGY STAR qualified products to rebate. DOE has recommended that states select from among the following appliances:

  • “Boilers
  • “Central air conditioners
  • “Clothes washers
  • “Dishwashers
  • “Freezers
  • “Furnaces (oil and gas)
  • “Heat pumps (air source and geothermal)
  • “Refrigerators
  • “Room air conditioners
  • “Water heaters”

The Energy Department provided some related questions and answers, which you can find in the piece linked to above.

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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
Al Tompkins

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