Uncle Sam Paying Big Bucks for Your Crusty Old Fridge

“Cash For Appliances” Headed to DC, Maryland, Virginia

If you think you are an expert on the Appliance Clunker program, think again. The "Cash for Appliances" programs haven't kicked off in our area yet, and the details seem to constantly be changing.

So listen up, here's what we know:

Your washer needs to clean up its act. That heat pump isn’t keeping you warm any more during cold winter nights. No problem. The government wants to pay you to replace it.

The Department of Energy has a $300 million incentive for America to get rid of old appliances and buy more energy-efficient models.

The program is dubbed by some people as “Cash for Appliances” because it resembles the “Cash for Clunkers” program rolled out last year.

Federal officials hope the draw of saving money will translate into the nation saving energy.

The rebate program has already come and gone in several states, but you aren't too late if you live in the metro area. The program is scheduled to begin in late April in Maryland and Virginia, and sometime in May in D.C. 

Be warned: The program is not retroactive. So, you can’t get money back for something you bought before the program launch date. Also, each state is doing things a little differently, so you might need to do a little research before you start shopping. Not only is the process a little different in each state, but the appliances that are part of the rebate program also vary.

So where did the cash-strapped government get all that money to buy your noisy washing machine?

The $300 million comes from money set aside from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Some states are giving more money than others, depending on how many people live there.

Virginia gets to distribute $7.45 million among its residents. Theirs is scheduled to start sometime in April. You will have to go online and fill out a rebate application BEFORE you go shopping.  This way, you'll reserve your share of the federal cash and Virginia will make sure they don't oversubscribe and promise more money than they have to give.

To get the rebates in Virginia, you must be a VA resident and also make your purchase in Virginia.

Virginia’s rebate program applies to Energy Star appliances including refrigerators, clothes washers, gas furnaces, water heaters and air source heat pumps. Rebate amounts vary according to the appliances.

Maryland’s been given $5.4 million of the federal stimulus money. The program is scheduled to start in late April, and will end when the money runs out.

You must be a Maryland resident to get the rebate, and you must purchase your appliance at a Maryland store.

Eligible products in Maryland include refrigerators, clothes washers and heat pump water heaters with the Energy Star logo. 

Energy Star electric heat pump water heaters can put an extra $300 in your pocket in Maryland. It’s about $100 for a super-efficient clothes washer and $50 for super-efficient refrigerators.

In Maryland, the program is going to be run hand in hand with the utility companies. That means you'll get your federal rebate AND a utility rebate by filling out the same form and sending it in to the utility company you already have an account with. Once you send that in, you will get a check in the mail.

In the District, only a little more than $500,000 is available from the federal stimulus for appliances. A date has not been set for the program launch, but expect it to begin in late spring.

You can purchase your appliances outside of the District, but you must be a D.C. resident to get the D.C. rebate.

Rebates in D.C. are based on the level of energy-efficiency in the appliances. Depending what clothes washer you purchase, you can get $100-$125 back. With dishwashers, you can expect and extra $50-$75 in your pocket. If you get a new, energy efficient refrigerator you'll get $50 back, plus you can get an addition $50 rebate from PEPCO. If you buy an electric pump water heater, expect a $300 rebate.

Also, to take part in D.C.’s program, you must have proof that your old clunker appliances are being recycled.

There’s one thing that all of these programs have in common: once the stimulus money runs out, you’re out of luck.

For more information on Maryland's program: http://www.energy.maryland.gov/documents/ApplianceRebateProgramFAQupdated3-10-10.pdf

For more information on Virginia's program: http://www.dmme.virginia.gov/DE/ARRA-Public/ARRA.shtml

For more information on D.C.'s program: http://www.green.dc.gov/green/cwp/view,a,1244,q,463305.asp

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