Cash for 'Coolers, (Dish)Cleaners and Much More'

When buying a foreclosure or other distressed real estate, oftentimes, household appliances need replacing. This can be an expensive addition to the move-in process, however some relief can now be found.

Remember not too long ago we saw people racing to dealerships to trade their old cars in?. The reason for the rush: the Cash for Clunkers incentive program from the federal government.

Now, a similar program has been launched to get homeowners to update their appliances. When you do away with an old, energy-guzzling refrigerator or dishwasher and replace it with an energy-efficient new white wonder, you can get a rebate of up to $300 from the Government.

Launched on April 1st of this year, this is far from a Fool's joke. The program's purpose is to help spur economic activity and reduce energy consumption.

The money is being funneled to each state according to population; California will receive over $35 million in funding. Eligible products include refrigerators, washers and air conditioners.

Louisiana will receive over $4.2 million, and the list of eligible products goes beyond fridges and freezers to include solar water heaters, gas furnaces, air source heat pumps, dishwashers, etc.

You can find a full map of the allotments by state here.

While the program was meant to run until February 2012, rebates are offered on a first-come, first-serve basis and it's likely the money will be spent soon. The rebate program has already closed for these states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Texas.

In Idaho, the state has seen over 10% of its 1.2 million allotment spent in the first two weeks of the program.

Virginia is about to launch its program soon. Rebates will be limited to one per household, and consumers will have 60 days to make a purchase and apply for their rebate. The biggest rebates will be for heat pumps ($300), with gas furnaces ($250) close seconds. Virginia's allocation is $7.45 million.

This program is available to residential consumers, with each state having their own requirements.

Consumers can combine the state rebate with federal tax credits for a product.

The Department of Energy hopes to reduce energy waste by replacing old, energy guzzling appliances for more efficient Energy Star machines. (On average, older refrigerators cost about $80 per year to run, compared to new Energy Star models that cost only $30 or so.)

Jill Notini of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says this stimulus certainly will help a depressed home appliance industry, which has seen sales drop by double digits two years in a row.

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