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Consumers Get Stimulus Dollars For Green Appliances

There was Cash for Clunkers and tax credits for home buyers. Now there's a rebate for consumers who buy more energy efficient appliances. As part of WOSU's Following the Stimulus Money Series, WOSU reports on how you can get some green for "going green."

Does your refrigerator run all the time? Do you have an old top-load washing machine? If so, you might be in the market for a new, more energy-efficient appliance.

And you're in luck. Ohio received $10.4 million in stimulus funds to help consumers buy greener appliances. The Ohio Appliance Rebate Program starts today.

The rebates are only good for Energy Star-rated refrigerators, dishwashers, clothes washers and water heaters.

You can get $100 back on fridges, dishwashers and high-efficiency gas storage water heaters. Clothes washers have a $150 rebate. And rebates on electric heat pump water heaters are $250.

Before purchasing your appliance, though, the Ohio Department of Development suggests getting a rebate reservation number at OhioApplianceRebate.com . The ODD's Bethany Close explained why.

"What that will do is will guarantee they get a rebate. They'll then have 72 hours to go out and purchase an appliance and redeem their reservation number. And it's about the only way we can guarantee that rebates will still be available," Close said.

Michael Haynam manages the hhgregg store on Sawmill Road.

The store has signs posted promoting rebate-approved appliances and their rebates, and it's bringing in extra staff. And Haynam said the store is offering additional help.

"We'll actually be taking the customers to the internet to show them where to sign up, first off to make sure the money is still available. Sell them the product and then take them back to the website to redeem it as well as provide them with the recycling form to them that needs to be signed by the delivery company," he said.

To get shoppers to use rebates at their stores, retailers also are cutting their own prices. hhgregg put appliances on sale. Sears offers an extra 15 percent off all appliances, plus an additional 10 percent of if you use its credit card.

Home Depot has cut its prices 10 percent on more expensive appliances.

So, if you add up all the incentives the stores are offering, buyers can save up to $350 dollars on a washer or refrigerator.

But, you're not done yet. Once the appliance is delivered, you have to mail in the rebate form along with the original proof of purchase, the original receipt and proof that the old appliance was recycled. The Ohio Department of Development's Bethany Close.

"One thing that we do want to make sure everyone knows is the whole purpose of the program is to recycle your inefficient appliances," she said.

If the retailer does not offer haul-away services, Close said there are options. The rebate website lists 50 Ohio recycling facilities and has a proof-of-recycling form.

So how long will it take to get back that rebate check? Close said that depends on how many people take part in the program, but give it about ten weeks.

Click here to view our Following the Stimulus Money blog.