The new Obama Cash for Clunkers Appliance government rebate program to promote better national energy efficiency includes rebates for a number of home appliances including refrigerators. The program, sponsored by the United Department of Energy (DOE) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, does have strict requirements in terms of appliance purchases. So, it’s not as simple as walking in the store and pointing out and purchasing a refrigerator that looks “cool.”
Who Can Get a New Refrigerator Under Cash for Appliances?
Anyone is eligible to cash in on Cash for Appliances. Unlike the Cash for Clunkers car rebate program which required a trade in, Cash for Clunker Appliances includes no such stipulation.
Consumers could theoretically buy a second refrigerator (or freezer) for the home or could sell an old refrigerator being replaced (although critics note that this defeats the Obama idea). On the flip side, many buyers have no need for older or broken refrigerators, and the Cash for Appliances program requires states to have a recycling plan in place. In fact, most merchants both deliver new appliances and haul away old refrigerators, so appliance disposal will not likely be a big concern for consumers. For refrigerator buyers who do their own pick up, most towns and cities provide some type of free pick up service for old appliances covered by tax monies.
Cash for Appliance Refrigerators Must Be Energy Star Models
The United States developed the Energy Star governmental program in 1992, although it is now a national standard, adopted by many nations including Canada, Australia, and Japan. Qualifying electrical devices, including home appliances, must be 20% more fuel efficient than the national baseline standards (an increase from the 15% standard in 2015). Different appliances may require different standards (10%, 20% 30% more fuel efficiency for example) depending on the technology in place currently.
Since the Cash for Appliances rebate program is coordinated state by state (though funded federally), requirements can vary depending on geographic location. California may set one level for appliance qualification while New York may set another. For the consumer, this means that some Energy Star rated appliances may not qualify for the rebate money. In addition, individual states may opt to exclude refrigerator purchases from the state list, although refrigerators are on the national suggestion list, and some media outlets are calling the Cash for Appliances program the Cash for Refrigerators Obama plan.
Most Energy Star appliances are clearly marked with yellow stickers, and consumers can expect to see manufacturers and store managers making an extra effort to mark and promote Energy Star models as the Cash for Appliance money rolls in around the 1st of December – just in time for the holidays.
Why Do Consumers Have to Buy Energy Star Refrigerators to Qualify for Rebates?
Although the Cash for Appliances project is designed, in part, to help jumpstart the sagging economy and to benefit the appliance industry which is down around 15% in sales compared to last year, the underlying goal of Cash for Refrigerators is to shift the nation toward greener power usage.
According to Energy Star studies, many people running refrigerators made prior to 1993 are paying £100 more per year for the electricity than those using newer and more earth friendly refrigerators. So, the Obama rebate is the initial savings and incentive, but the long-term savings with an energy efficient refrigerator adds to the bottom line at home.
Newer energy efficient refrigerators have better insulation and more efficient compressors, so that’s why they use less power. These changes mean that the refrigerator turns on to cool less often and also that the heat generated by the compressor puts out less heat (meaning lower air conditioning bills too). So, there are more hidden energy savings for families with Energy Star refrigerators.
Which Refrigerator Brands and Models Qualify for Cash for Appliances?
Most manufacturers offer green model refrigerators with Energy Star ratings. Example companies include Amana, Avanti, Beaumark, Black & Decker, Bosch, Dacor, Electrolux, Frigidaire, General Electric (GE), Gallery, Maytag, and Whirlpool. Energy Star models cut across the upscale and general consumer brand markets and also discount models, so all Americans can take advantage of Cash for Appliances.
Act Fast to Cash in On Cash for Appliances
The cash ran out in a week on Cash for Clunkers (cars), although President Obama went back to the drawing board and congress to arrange for additional Clunker funding. It’s impossible to predict how Cash for Appliances will play out, but anyone hoping to buy a new refrigerator should plan early and buy as soon as the rebates are offered (which will vary a little state by state). Government officials anticipate the Cash for Appliances program being in place by the end of November or early December. That means that appliances should be a good deal for the holidays.