Category Archives: Appliance economic stimulus

The Unsung Heroes

Appliances matter and their value is on the rise

I’ve never come across a clothes washer that wears a mask and fights crime, and I’ve never used a dishwasher that had superhuman strength or used an air conditioner that could transform into a masked crime-fighting superhero. Basically, I’ve never met any major home appliance that really impressed me. However, the fact remains that I have used all of these and many more on a daily basis, and they have become as ingrained into my way of life as brushing my teeth or taking a shower, which I happily report is a daily routine.

The truth? We need our appliances, as badly as the Gotham needs Batman, and as frequently as the Hulk has a temper tantrum. From the very minute we wake, we use an array of appliances to aid us in our daily battles. In the course of one single day, we use everything from the refrigerator to the dishwasher, with stops at the washer and dryer, shower, sink and microwave oven, just to name a few. If one of these has even a minor malfunction that disrupts our daily routine, our days are forever altered and we just can’t seem to be as effective at work or as happy at home. Essentially, our appliances are the unsung heroes in our lives and silently get us through each and every day, and we give them less attention than we do our cell phones.

This is why appliances matter, and why we all should pay a little more attention to the purchases we make and the care we give to these “aids” of humanity. I urge you to imagine a time where you could not throw your clothes in the washer or dryer, or could not take a hot shower, or even worse, couldn’t heat up a frozen dinner in the microwave. This is a time that we have only read about in history books, but with one malfunction we find ourselves back in an age that we cannot comprehend and could never understand.

GE, Whirlpool and the like all are in the market of dealing out the essentials in our lives, except that we just are not quite aware of it yet. We hear of these companies, but do we actually pay attention to what it is that they are giving us? These unsung heroes stay with us for most of our lives, and yet we continue to disregard talks of outsourcing and the effects that it truly has on our national security. In the wake of the newest tropical storm, and in any time of crisis, it is essential that our own country be able to provide its own with supplies and tools needed to survive such tragic natural disasters. Truth? We still have to wait for most of our supplies to be shipped in to us, and that means putting our very livelihood in the hands of potential enemies. I am not one for debating politics, but I am one for the essence of survival. Why leave anything to another nation to take care of?

Bottom line, appliances are our best friends, for I don’t know any dog that can help me eat. However, it is almost comical to think of them as cherished necessities, yet that is quite essentially what they are.

No, they do not wear cool costumes or fight crime when we sleep, but our major home appliances keep us sane and give us the convenience and luxury that we take for granted every day.

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Manufacturing Needs to Be Major Priority

New report calls into question U.S. dependence on foreign suppliers

This past July a report was filed by former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge and former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Robert B. Stephan in which they called into question the United States’s excessive dependence on foreign suppliers, especially in the wake of a catastrophic event. Essentially, this report stated that the U.S. runs the risk of being dangerously unprepared for serious emergencies due to the off-shoring of critical manufacturing sectors and a reliance on foreign suppliers for products that are needed during a time of crisis.

This report was released by the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) and it states that the U.S. desperately needs to revitalize its manufacturing capacity to reduce vulnerability. What vulnerability, you may ask? The report claims that with an increase in natural and man-made disasters, along with an increase in cyber-attacks and pandemics, the U.S. cannot afford to rely on foreign partners for the majority of critical supplies. “Relying on a potentially hostile trading partner in a time of need puts our national security at risk,” the report states. Does it really though? Are we at risk simply by allowing the bulk of our manufactured supplies to come from other parts of the world?

This is the question we pose to you. Certainly, we understand that the world is full of hostile intentions and hidden motives, but does something as simple as where our supplies come from really pose a potential threat to our national security? If so, how can we combat this? The argument can be made that in times of catastrophe we are certainly much more vulnerable if we have to rely on outside suppliers to give U.S. citizens vital supplies.

Does the solution simply involve a revitalization of American manufacturing? Also, how does this effect larger producers like Whirlpool and Electrolux, considering the recent Department of Commerce decision regarding “dumping?” Will we see an increased separation in business traffic between these two major producers of appliances?

Our reliance on foreign suppliers is a fact, not an opinion. We do rely on foreign suppliers for everything ranging from steel, cement, batteries, and critical high-technology components to every day medical supplies like antibiotics and penicillin. The potential result could be that the U.S. will not have the access it needs to everyday supplies and therefore will experience delayed shipping along with poorer quality of some imported products. But fact ends and opinion begins in deciding whether it is an issue worthy of reaching all of our concerns. Has the time finally come for American manufacturing to take a stand?

Consumers eagerly await final details about the appliance economic stimulus plan

I have noticed a surge if searches for the keywords “appliance economic stimulus” which tells me people want to know more details about the plan and how it will work, especially on how to apply for the appliance rebate. Here’s what I know from reading numerous news article about the “Cash for Appliances” program.

Here’s what I know: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is getting ready to dole out $300 million in economic stimulus money to the states as parts of a plan to get consumers to buy new, energy- efficient, Energy Star appliances.

The program, scheduled to launch sometime in late November, will be administered by each state and the rules governing what appliances qualify, what the rebate amounts will be, and who will keep track of the program must be finalized by the states by October 15.

Right now the program is vague as no national standard exists and each state will run its own cash for appliances program. In fact, most states are seeking input from their constituents. To give your input, contact your state representative or visit your state’s website.

However, according to an article from the Wall Street Journal, “Rebates will be available only for products with the government’s Energy Star label, a symbol that the appliance meets energy efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency and the DOE.”

The DOE is making recommendations to the states on what appliances should qualify and recommends in room air conditioners, clothes washers, dishwashers, freezers, and refrigerators because these appliances offer the greatest energy-saving potential.

Unlike the Cash for Clunkers program, consumers will not have to turn in their old appliances in order to receive the rebate. In fact, thanks to the many programs offered by utility and state agencies across the country, consumers can get even more money by recycling their old appliances.

If you are a California resident, visit the Flex Your Power Website and enter your zip code to find appliance rebates in your area. The Flex Your Power Website is run by a partnership between utilities, residents, businesses, and other nonprofit agencies, all working to save energy.

If you are a New Jersey resident, get a cash rebate of $30 for your working Refrigerators and Freezers in addition to free pick up and recycling. To schedule the pickup of a refrigerator or freezer for recycling, New Jersey residents can call (877) 270-3520 or visit http://www.NJCleanEnergy.com.

Check with your town or city’s recycling program or sanitation service to see if you can get any cash back for your old, working appliance. According to an article from USAToday.com, more than 60 utilities across the nation offer some sort of refrigerator/freezer recycling program.

• To find an appliance or rebate program where you live, visit the ENERGY STAR website at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=rebate.rebate_locator.
• To find additional state or local utility tax incentives or rebates for buying energy-efficient appliances, check the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.

Read about other types of federal tax credit available for energy-efficient home improvements.