EUCLID, Ohio -
First it was cash for clunkers, now many Ohioans have been waiting to buy that new washer or refrigerator with the hope of taking part in cash for appliances.
Ohio announced Wednesday, the appliance rebate program will start March 26.
Customers have been holding out for the state's appliance rebate program, but experts say that waiting to replace that old refrigerator or dishwasher with an energy efficient one can cost them valuable savings now.
An 18-year-old refrigerator replaced with a new Energy Star model today could pay for itself in four to five years in electric savings.
Customers may not be able to pre-buy and the state is only offering a set number of rebates for each item:
* Refrigerator -- 26,172 at $100 each
* Clothes Washer -- 24,428 at $150 each
* Dishwasher -- 20,938 at $100 each
* High-Efficiency Gas Water Heater -- 15,703 at $100 each
* Electric Heat Pump Water Heater -- 2,094 at $250 each
The amount of time the 89,335 rebates will last will depend on how quick the response is. The program will run on a first come, first serve basis until they run out.
Here is an example of potential savings: a clothes washer on sale for $599 with the $150 state rebate is now $449. With an additional purchase of the dryer, the manufacturer will kick in another $100 for a total of $349 for the washer.
An older washer fills for two cycles, which could add up to 55 gallons of water for one load, while a new Energy Star washer will only use 17 gallons for the same load. The washer also saves on electricity and is easier on clothes.
Experts indicate that there are good manufacturer and other rebates out now that would not punish customers for waiting. The potential energy savings for a purchase now can also offset the rebate amount.
The state is still finalizing details with appliance retailers and hopes to launch a customer service line soon.
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