Going Green To Get Some Green

Friday was a day I’d been awaiting for weeks.  It was the start of the appliance rebate program in Florida.  The program is part of the stimulus package.  There’s a 20% rebate on the price of an Energy Star appliance and $75 if they haul the old one away.  (Each state has its own policies.)

First was “Cash for Clunkers.” We missed out on that because Susie’s Mazda needed just 1 MPG less to qualify.  That was the bad news.  The good news: we would have bought a Toyota, which is now part of the recalls.

So when I learned months ago about the appliance rebate program, from a friend in the Governor’s Energy Office, I was excited.  Susie’s Mazda is running fine but our dishwasher gave up many months ago.

It was the original dishwasher (70’s gold color), which means it served well for 30 years.  Mainly because we hardly used it since buying the house 20 years ago.  With only two of us, Susie hand washes the dishes.  All two of them. But when there’s company and I serve appetizers, salad, entrée, and dessert then a dishwasher sure is nice.

I began researching dishwashers a month in advance.  After checking reviews, I found that Maytags are well rated. (We have a Maytag refrigerator.)  And, Maytag was running its own rebate on selected dishwashers.  I decided on a model with a $50 rebate.

After checking prices online, it seemed Lowe’s had better prices.  But I decided to see what Home Depot was offering.  Ka-ching!  They were offering an extra 10% off.  (Later, I learned Sears offered 30% off but no free delivery / haul away.)

The model I had selected listed at $500 at Home Depot (HD) and the 10% discount brought it down to $450.  The stimulus rebate will give me 20% off the $450, bringing the price down to $360.  Then, there’s another $75 rebate from the program for hauling the old dishwasher off, (free delivery and haul off from HD) so now the price drops to $285.

Lastly, there’s the $50 rebate from Maytag, for another price reduction to $235.  Oh, and in April Discover (which I have) is offering 5% cash back on home improvement store purchases up to $400. So I’m paying with my Discover card for another $20 off for an absolute final price of $215, excluding taxes. Yes, I am the KING of deals!

Thursday evening, we went back to HD to do the paperwork.  That way, I just walk in early Friday morning on the way to work, pay for it, and leave because I expect there will be a mob.

There’s a problem.  The model I had picked out is no longer available.  There were three “in the warehouse” when we visited on Tuesday. Now, they’re gone! We managed to find another model with the same features for the same price.  But…no $50 Maytag rebate.  Price is now back up to $265.  I can live with it.

Friday morning, I arrived at HD at 6:30 AM and was relieved not find many vehicles in the parking lot.  The early bird rebater gets in and out without a wait! ( The local paper reported about 30 folks waiting at hhgregg before 6 AM.)

But as I reviewed the paperwork after the sale, I didn’t see anything documenting that HD would haul off the old dishwasher.  Without that, I wouldn’t receive the $75 “haul off” rebate.  That took about 25 minutes to straighten out.  (Moral: don’t trust others to look out for you when money is involved… verify!) I still arrived at work 30 minutes early.

My biggest concern from the beginning was the 11 AM Friday opening of the rebate website for obtaining a priority number.  Rebate requests with priority numbers are handled first.  If any funds are left over, the other folks can get in line.  I was convinced that when 11 AM arrived, the rebate website wouldn’t be able to handle the crush.

I was right.  I tried to log on at 11:01 and received a “cannot connect – the website is experiencing problems” error message.  I tried every five minutes and was finally able to connect at 11:35.  But it was sloooow….

Three registration attempts resulted in nothing happening for a good 30-45 seconds before a “server busy” error message popped up and I was taken back to the registration screen.  At least my information wasn’t lost.  After I was finally able to register, I had the same problem trying to get a priority number.  I received a priority number after an excruciating 25 minutes. (Later, I read that the website was receiving 300,000 hits per second right after it opened at 11 AM.)

After receiving my priority number, I noticed that a “balance countdown” area of the screen showed about $15 million remaining from an allocation of $17 million.  At 1 PM, I was curious about the balance and went to the website.  No problem connecting.

The balance was now down to $7 million.  That’s $10 million accounted for in two hours!  At 8 PM, the balance was $3.6 million. At 7:15 PM Saturday evening, it was down to about $405,000.

Thursday morning, I’ll mail in the rebate forms after getting the dishwasher’s serial number following delivery Wednesday.  I can track the rebate’s status online.  By  the time summer arrives, I should have $165 towards a vacation in the form of a prepaid AmEx card.  I’ll need it…I’m looking at a week in New York City during September.

(I have a prioirty number but I need cash now!)

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7 responses to “Going Green To Get Some Green

  1. Well I knew this junker appliance deal was coming but couldn’t make our dead dishwasher last any longer. It leaked about half a gallon on water on the tile floor around the island and started to stink. So we did the due diligence and bought a $440 GE dishwasher on sale for $400 less $35 rebate less GE retired employee discount of another $50 so it was $315. The difference is that we payed another $80 for delivery, removal and installation. So we spent what we saved to have someone else do the hard part. You did not mention if you intend to set it up yourself or have someone else do that.

    We love the dishwasher, it is super quiet, energy efficient and takes a month load of detergent so that is one less step each night. We hand wash nothing and have many family dinners with 10 to 12 people so ours only last about 10 years.

    Now as to the process of buying I saved about 5 hours (my estimation) off your time. When I actually billed my time I used a flat rate calculator of $75 hour so……….by my estimation I saved $375 of time thus making the whole thing free. (and I’m not even blonde)

    Such a deal:)

    • > if you intend to set it up yourself

      Yes, I will do the setup. Not that difficult. I already disconnected the old dishwasher. Now I just reconnect it backwards…!

      Basically, just reconnect the drain hose to the new dishwasher, reconnect to the hot water line, reconnect the electrical wires, and then screw in the two top screws that hold it to the counter.

  2. We had a similar plan and milked our fridge as long as we could, but like PT, no luck – auuugh! Well played sir, way to stick to it!

  3. You did your homework and it sure worked out in your favor. A little bit of work involved, but sure seems worth it!

  4. I trust your hook up was uneventful and it is operating fine now?

  5. The new dishwasher has all connections in the front, unlike the old one which had them in back. So it was a bit trickier hooking up in front.

    Because the drain hose comes from the front, it is just a few inches too short to make it to the garbage disposal. There’s an ‘extension” but it came with a “squeeze” clamp, which I don’t like.

    So went to Auto Zone and picked up a “screw” radiator hose clamp. Will install that today but won’t try it out until next Saturday. Don’t want to spoil my Sunday if there’s a problem!

  6. “The new dishwasher has all connections in the front, unlike the old one which had them in back. So it was a bit trickier hooking up in front.”

    Thats why I paid for installation. That and the tile floor in the kitchen is the hardest substance known to man and my knees and neck problems cost more to fix than the installation. I love DIY projects,( just shocked the well and interior pipes today ) but dishwasher installation is a thing of the past for me.

    I understand the Sunday thing completely.

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