Some victims may get aid with replacing appliances

Published 12:25 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Homeowners and small-business operators who are victims of Hurricane Irene may dramatically cut the cost of replacing storm-damaged appliances with new, energy-efficient Energy Star appliances through the special North Carolina Hurricane Appliance Replacement Program.

North Carolinians in designated Hurricane Irene disaster counties may receive grants to cover much of the cost of replacing home or business heating and cooling systems, water-heating systems and other Energy Star home and business appliances. The grants are funded by $1.4 million from the federal recovery act.

“We are aggressively working to secure any assistance that’s available for families and businesses that need to get back to normal,” Gov. Beverly Perdue said. “The HARP program will help ease the burden of recovering from the storm.”

Only small-business owners and homeowners are eligible for the HARP assistance. The old appliance must replaced by an Energy Star-rated appliance and be recycled if it has not otherwise been disposed of or lost because of the hurricane.

Residential consumers must be replacing appliances in their primary residences. For small businesses and nonprofits, they must have 20 or fewer employees to qualify.

Consumers seeking assistance must provide information required by the U.S. Department of Energy, including name, address, telephone number and electricity provider. In addition, eligible consumers will need to provide the date the appliance was purchased, product price, name and location of the retailer, the type of product, the manufacturer and the model number.

The $1.4 million will be distributed through applications made online via the N.C. Energy Office website, on a first-come, first-served basis. The website will indicate whether funds are still available. After all of the available funds have been reserved, a waiting list will start. Appliances eligible for the assistance include central air-conditioning systems; gas furnaces, heat pumps; gas storage water heaters, gas tankless water heaters, heat-pump water heaters, solar water heaters, refrigerators, clothes-washing machines, dishwashing machines and freezers. Receipts must be dated on or after Aug. 28.

As of Sept. 12, residents in FEMA-designated disaster counties were eligible for HARP.

Consumers may go online or call a special telephone number to start the application process to receive their assistance. The link to the North Carolina HARP can be found at

Look for the blue Energy Star logo. Consumers without Internet access may call toll free to 1-877-826-8571.

Those applying online will receive a confirmation page that should be printed, signed and mailed to the listed address, along with a copy of the sales receipt. That information must be sent within 15 days of applying for the assistance.

Consumers applying by telephone will be mailed the confirmation sheet and must return it by the listed date. The assistance will be sent in the form of a prepaid debit card that may be used toward purchases at stores that accept debit cards.

The following is a list of qualifying appliances, the Energy Star criteria and assistance amounts:

  • Central air conditioner: Split system unit with SEER of 14.5 or more and EER of 12 or more Single-package unit with SEER of 14 or more and EER of 12 or more, $1,000;
  • Gas furnace: AFUE 90 percent or greater, $1,000;
  • Heat pumps: Air-source split system with SEER of 14.5 or greater and EER of 12 or more air-source packaged unit with SEER of 14 or greater and EER of 11 or more ground-source open-loop system with EER of 16.2 or more ground-source closed-loop system with EER of 14.1 or more ground-source DX EER system of 15 or greater, $1,800;
  • Heat-pump water heater: Energy factor 2.0 or more, $400;
  • Gas storage water heater: Energy factor 0.62 or more, $400;
  • Gas tankless water heater: Energy factor 0.82 or more, $700;
  • Solar water heater (electric back-up): Solar fraction 0.5 or greater, $500;
  • Solar water heater (gas back-up): Solar fraction 0.5 or greater, $500;
  • Refrigerator: Energy Star-rated, $500;
  • Clothes-washing machine: Energy Star-rated, $300;
  • Dishwashing machine: Energy Star-rated, $200;
  • Freezer: Energy Star-rated, $200.