Energy Star Appliances – Tax Free this Weekend, Oct 5-8

Thanh -- October 2nd, 2007

This weekend, October 5 through 8, is the Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday in Virginia (DNR article, Press Release). Virginians are encouraged to purchase Energy Star products, and can save both state and local sales tax on qualified products that cost $2,500 or less. Eligible products include:

  • Ceiling fans
  • Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs)
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Programmable Thermostats
  • Refrigerators
  • Room Air Conditioners
  • Clothes Washers.

The Energy Star standard set by the US Department of Energy and US Environmental Protection Agency. They are products that use 30% less energy than conventional models. 

During my google-search for more information, I found this blog post which got me thinking. The blogger says:

“… people don’t buy appliances like they buy other products.  Unlike that car you might be persuaded to trade-in for a newer model because of a cash-back offer or that morning cup of coffee you might be swayed to get at Krispy Kreme because of a discounted donut, you buy new appliances only when the old ones break.”

Although I don’t quite agree with everything else the blogger wrote, he/she does bring up a good point – if my refrigerator broke last month, I’d have to get one right away, I don’t think I could wait until this weekend to purchase a new one and take advantage of the tax break. Perhaps there is a better solution to encouraging people/consumers/citizens to buying energy efficient products.  Promoting this year-round? Maybe something like a max/cap on how much a person/household can save each tax year on energy efficient products?

Whatever the case, if you have been thinking about getting a new appliance, I would suggest jumping on this opportunity to save money and reduce energy usage this weekend.

I also found information on another program in which, consumers can save money with federal tax credits on doors, windows, and energy efficient products. These incentives are available through December 31, 2007. The same link will take you to information on tax credits for efficient cars (ends December 31, 2010), solar energy systems (ends December 31, 2008), fuel cells (ends December 31, 2008), etc.

18 Responses to “Energy Star Appliances – Tax Free this Weekend, Oct 5-8”

  1. David Miller says:

    One option ( just a hypothesis), maybe (since Thanh is right about buying on demand instead of on a whim) the plan was to give developers a break on the appliances that they are buying so that the housing market gets a nudge. conspiracy theorist unite :)

    I’m just trying to figure the tax break out.

    I do know that when I bought my water heater I bought my new one not only because it was 40% more effecient and will save me hundreds every year, but also because it was completely tax deductible. (700 dollars later, I have infinite hot water at a fraction of the energy expenditure:)

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  2. Thanh says:

    Here are detailed guidelines and FAQs from the VA Department of Taxation on the tax holiday – http://www.tax.virginia.gov/site.cfm?alias=EnergyStarQualifiedProductsHoliday . Also, only purchases which are noncommercial or for personal use are eligible. Therefore, I assume that developers cannot take advantage of this break (but I’m not an expert on the law and definition of legal terms).

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  3. Kyle says:

    David,
    What brand did you buy? My h20 heater needs to be changed and I need some good ideas from satisified folks.

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  4. David Miller says:

    PowerStar AE125 Electric Tankless Water Heater
    It requires three 30 amp breakers and some serious 4 or 6 (can’t remember) gauge wiring. The wire itself for the 14 ft I had to run it was $180 but my electric bill only went up $10 a month( i had a propane water heater, it was running me $80 a month).
    I got mine from Lowes, had to special order it. This site is where I began my research, http://www.hotwatersource.com/poaeeltawahe.html

    I installed mine (minus the electrical runs) so it cost a little less but it was very easy. It’s just a two foot box that sits on the wall with the wiring and two flex pipes.

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  5. David Miller says:

    Oh yeah, mine was running on one heater (out of three) for the first month without me even knowing, it was still badass. I had tripped the breakers without knowing it.

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  6. David Miller says:

    Thanh, guess my conspiracy theory was a little wacky, imagine that:)

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  7. Kyle says:

    Thanks very much for the great info, I owe you one!

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  8. Laura says:

    I agree with the blogger — encouraging people to buy a major appliance on a whim doesn’t make much sense. I’ll need a new refrigerator in the next 12 months (mine is old, inefficient, and making strange moaning noises now and then), but doing it now to save $35 in tax and losing up to a year of service (and, of course, the entertaining moaning noises) doesn’t add up, does it? (or is it me they’re trying to reach?)

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  9. Kyle says:

    I’m currently putting in all new energy efficient windows and water heater so the timing is perfect for me (which usually never happens…) but I believe that the incentives should be all year long and more then just a “token.”

    A couple of years ago I looked into buying a solar power system that would have taken me completly off the grid. However, because VA does not have and tax credits or rebates for such renewable resource systems, it would have taken me about 20 years to “break even” and make back the the cost of the system.

    Coincidently, 20 years is about the life expectancy of many of the parts, so I would have had to update much of the system at more cost.

    Sadly, the incentives and tax credits in California would have allowed me to pay off the system in 5 years giving me about 15 years of “free” electricity before updating the system.

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  10. David Miller says:

    I’ve visited many solar and wind energy plants but the most interesting visits I mad out west were to homes that charged the grid. Homes that had solar units of some type that charged the grid during the day and drew from it at night. This seems to me to make the most sense because (just as hybrids do) it takes the best of both worlds. Energy pumped into the grid during peak hours (think California and 90+ heat) then drawing from it at night (many east coast utilities utilize vertical power stations (reservoirs that are drained at peak hours on a vertical system similar to hydroelectric dams) to supply during peak hours.

    The entire system exits for many reasons, some to support outdated utility infrastructure, economics for consumers, and environmental issues (which of course are abundant). I would love to see more works done on the graduate level that explore the economics of these ideas for Virginia.

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  11. Kyle says:

    I totally agree that VA, and the country in general, needs to be studying this with more earnest. Unfortunately (please pardon the upcoming synicism), its like the movie “Who killed the electric car?” When forces much more powerful than me would prefer that this technology not become mainstream, then, well, it usually doesn’t.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t there a federal law that requires electric companies to buy back electricity generated by individuals, presumably from alternative sources? If you generated electricty during peak demand times of the day you could get paid a higher rate, and then buy it back to charge batteries or whatever at night during low peak times. Sounds good to me!

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  12. David Miller says:

    An electrical contractor at the fair last year had a trailer setup to do just that. I was impressed that someone in the Valley had that at the Rockingham County Fair. kudos

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  13. Kyle says:

    I think that there would be HUGE interest in the Valley for this kind of technology in all areas of the economy from business, to residential to agriculture. If only the public-at-large could get more info on this very topic maybe they’s ask more questions….and start the ball rolling…..

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  14. wags says:

    I would have been nicer if at least on of the days fell around a government or military payday

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  15. Frank J Witt says:

    Hey guys, need something interesting to read?

    Try this;

    http://www.lp.org/media/article_550.shtml

    Not really sure the LP gets it though.

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  16. finnegan says:

    Practically every time I read something about the LP, it re-affirms the decision I made when I left the LP in 2002.

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  17. Thanh says:

    Geez. On the issue of the government banning incandescent light bulbs, I definitely agree with Frank that I the Libertarian Party does not get it (among other things they don’t get that I will not bring up in this post). Some quotes that caught my attention from the article Frank shared are –

    “I seriously doubt regulating light bulbs was intended to be a necessary-and-proper role of the federal government.” – True, but its not just about light bulbs. And energy use and “manufacture” is not easy. For every bit of energy saved, we are saving the construction of coal burning facilities, gas being piped, coal being mined for and flat topping of mountains, unhealthy and toxic air pollutants, potential climate change, melting of polar ice caps, and changes in weather patterns throughout the world… weather or not some or all of these things could happen as a result of continuing to use incandescents, I find that CFLs are so easy to use that I don’t mind the change.

    “While CFL bulbs are much more energy efficient, to maintain the bulb’s longevity and achieve maximum efficiency, consumers must adhere to proper operating suggestions made by Congress, such as leaving the bulb turned on for at least 15 minutes.” – I don’t like the word “adhere” used in this article. They make it sound like big brother is going to monitor all the CFLs turned on and make sure that you turn them on for at least 15 minutes each time. Personally speaking, all but 5 lights in my house are CFLs and the only ones that take a while to get bright are the ones outside in the winter time because its cold out. (I hope to soon have all the lights in my house as CFLs when we take out the ugly light fixture that came with the house.)

    “The Libertarian Party believes in free market solutions to environmental problems, and vehemently opposes government regulation that interferes with private business and personal liberty.” – This reminds me of a comment Tim made recently in the Voluntary Water Conservation post: “I think that a major problem in our society right now is that we expect government to fix everything but nobody wants to pay any money (taxes) so it can do it.” In this case, we’re not paying taxes, but were asked and now made to use CFLS. The government is only stopping incandescents from being manufactured, which is not the same as the government storming into your house and penalize or arrest you for using them. (That’s the picture that got painted for me in reading the article).

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