The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the Stimulus Plan, provided close to £300 million for the purchase of energy efficient appliances. Appliance rebates, funded by this money, are intended to lower the price of Energy Star® appliances, in order to encourage consumers to purchase newer and more efficient appliances. This will help the consumer save money by reducing the amount of electricity used, and will also improve business for home-renovation businesses such as Lowes and Home Depot, who are experiencing a reduction in sales due to the economy.
Refrigerator rebates will be provided for appliances that comply with the Energy Star standards. Appliance rebates will only be provided for refrigerators that have the Energy Star seal, and will only be available at the end of 2009, or early in 2010, according to Energy Star.
There have been questions about the true energy efficiency of some Energy Star refrigerators, because the government does not verify manufacturer claims about the energy use of the appliances. Consumer Reports claims, for example, that one LG refrigerator it tested actually used more than double the energy than was claimed by LG in order to qualify for an Energy Star seal.
Air Conditioner and Dishwasher Rebates
Air conditioner rebates and dishwasher rebates will be issued under the same terms as other appliance rebates. According to the Energy Star website, other household appliances that will be included in the rebate program are heat pumps, boilers, furnaces, stand-alone freezers, water heaters, and clothes washers. These products are the home appliances that use the most energy, and will therefore result in the most value to the homeowner if replaced.
Energy Efficient Appliance Tax Credits
The energy efficient appliance rebate provided by the stimulus package can be used in conjunction with the tax credit currently being offered by the federal government for certain appliances. The purchase of heat pumps and water heaters can result in a federal tax credit of up to 30% of the purchase price for consumers. Combining the appliance rebate with federal tax credits can result in a considerably lower cost to consumers.
Appliance Rebate Program is No Cash For Clunkers
There are various differences between the stimulus cash for appliances program and the cash for clunkers program that ended in August of 2009. First, the amount of the rebate is considerably smaller. (Between 50 and 200 dollars, according to the Energy Star website) In addition, the energy efficiency program does not require the consumer to turn in an older appliance to be destroyed in order to take advantage of the program.
While the lower rebate amount may not be enough to stimulate consumers to purchase a new appliance, the ability to sell their old appliances may augment the rebate enough to justify the purchase for cash-strapped homeowners.