When does “Cash for Refrigerators” start in your state?

February 2, 2010

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The State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, also known as "Cash for Refrigerators," has officially started, but whether you can get a rebate yet depends on where you live. The program is being funded with $300 million in federal stimulus money, but each state is operating its own program and has different start dates, budgets, and rules. In general, buyers can earn rebates of $50 to $250 for replacing older, inefficient appliances with Energy Star qualified products. If it's as popular as "Cash for Clunkers," money could run out fast. So if you want to participate, start now by finding out what the deal is in your state.  Programs in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Wisconsin are already in progress. All the rest begin over the next couple of months, according to a Department of Energy (DOE)-sponsored website. Look for these start dates: Check the links above for your state's info before you head to the store. Each state has different rules, such as which appliances are eligible, whether you have to recycle your old appliance or prove that it was hauled away, and how long the program lasts.  Some states require that you buy from a participating retailer. Most programs have  mail-in rebates, but some require you to apply in person for a rebate voucher or allow you to reserve your rebate online before the program starts. For more info, check out EcoRebates, which links to local retailers and tracks the latest rebate news. An Energy Star stamp of approval doesn't guarantee that you are buying the most energy-efficient product in a category -- some appliances go beyond Energy Star criteria. Since Cash for Refrigerators offers an opportunity to cut down on monthly electric bills, it's worth it to do some research to find the most energy-efficient appliances that work for you. In fact, some states base rebate amounts on how efficient your particular product is, so you'll save more up front and over the life of the appliance. Ultimately, how much you save on operating costs by switching to a more efficient appliance depends on which new appliance you buy and the appliance you are replacing. Some examples from the DOE: Save up to $135 a year by replacing a clothes washer that was made before 2000 with a new Energy Star model. Replacing a refrigerator made before 1993 with a new Energy Star model can save you up to $65 a year. Consumer Reports offers tips for finding appliances that perform well and save money on energy. Environmental journalist Lori Bongiorno shares green-living tips and product reviews with Yahoo! Green's users. Send Lori a question or suggestion for potential use in a future column. Her book, Green Greener Greenest: A Practical Guide to Making Eco-smart Choices a Part of Your Life is available on Yahoo! Shopping and Amazon.com. Check out Yahoo! Green on Twitter and Facebook.
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