Act fast to grab appliance rebates

HOUSTON There are a lot of details about the plan, but the main thing to remember is that you must apply for the rebate starting April 5 and those rebates may be gone within hours.

The Texas Energy Star program cannot come soon enough for appliance retailers.

Ross Vaughn with Kiva Kitchen & Bath said, "It has been a tough, tough, tough time during this recession."

The $23 million in rebates will likely spur spending, but retailers say they expect the vouchers to be snapped up quickly.

"It could go hours, it could be all gone by noon of the first day," said Vaughn. "It could go that fast."

Texans can start registering for the Energy Star appliance rebates beginning at 7am Monday. Vaughn says consumers should not wait a minute to register for the rebate.

He said, "The state is expecting the money to go out fast. We are expecting the money to go out fast so I would not wait."

The rebates vary from appliance to appliance, but only Energy Star rated devices qualify for the money. Consumers must replace a functioning appliance in order to get the rebate and they must choose the kind of appliance they will replace when applying for the rebate. Consumers can get two rebates per household.

Even if you miss out on the rebate, you can still find deals on appliances. Stores will be matching the rebates or cutting the costs of Energy Star appliances during the purchase period.

Mark Mynar with Home Depot said, "We will be doing 10 percent off the Energy Star appliances in addition to the rebates that are going on."

Some stores are starting the sales this weekend.

"If you need it now, come on in, come on in, we'll give you the rebate," Vaughn promised. "For example, if the rebate is $240, we'll give you the rebate instantly."

The rebate is tied to your address, so the appliance has to go in the place you put down on the rebate application. After you buy the appliance and send in the completed forms, the state will send your rebate check to you. So you don't get any money until after the appliance is in your home.

The rebates are about $240 for refrigerators, $150 for washing machines and around $120 for dish washers. There's another $75 per appliance for consumers who send the old appliances to a certified recycling center.

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