The ad seemed too good to be true: Buy a new-fangled GE Geospring Hybrid Water Heater for $999, and get back a $750 cash rebate, plus a $300 federal tax credit:
Surely, this neighborhood appliance store is hiding something critical like you have to buy a furnace too.
Well, there is a ton of paperwork and fine print (like what type of heater it must replace, and where you are putting it), but the offer as stated is valid in Massachusetts through participating utility companies. And similar but not always as generous rebates are available in other states too.
Utility companies across the country are trying to promote the installation of energy efficient appliances, and providing rebates for that purpose is a big incentive for consumers. The federal government also has a $300 tax credit for an actual dollar-for-dollar reduction in your federal tax bill when you install certain energy efficient products. (You are only allowed up to $500 in these federal tax credits, so if you have already used them up on say energy efficient windows, you cannot get an additional credit for these water heaters.)
To see what rebate, if any, applies to the purchase of a super energy efficient water heater, use this lookup from GE. It will tell you how much you can qualify for both in state and federal programs.
These programs are not limited to GE brand super efficient water heaters, so do compare features of other brands. Because this type of water heater uses principles of a heat pump, GE says it can save you $325 a year. Are the savings claims true? Consumer Reports tested an older model a few years ago, and did find significant energy savings year after year. You can do your own calculation here based on local electric rates to see what your savings might be. Here is general information about this heater.
Remember, of course, that you will have to pay for installation by a licensed plumber. And, the $999 sale price for the GE hot water heater appears to end on February 20.
The moral of the story: if an offer sounds too good to be true, on rare occasion, it may be the deal of a lifetime.