Buy Appliances Tax-Free

If you're in the market for new appliances you could get some of them tax-free this weekend. As Laurie Johnson reports — the state is offering a sales tax holiday to promote energy efficiency.

The Energy Star Sales Tax holiday should not be confused with the state's annual sales tax holiday for things like clothes and school supplies. That weekend takes place late in the summer just before the start of school.

State Sen. Rodney Ellis says this weekend strictly applies to things like dishwashers, refrigerators, air conditioners and even ceiling fans.

"They all have the Energy Star logo on the packaging, so for consumers, those are the products that you're going to look for. To get an Energy Star label, an appliance must meet rigorous energy-efficiency and water-efficiency standards set by the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. These appliances use less energy and less water than regular appliances and thus help consumers save money each month on their utility bills."

Ellis sponsored the bill to create the sales tax holiday. He says it will save consumers about $3 million in taxes this weekend. But he says more importantly energy efficiency is the cheapest, quickest way to reduce energy consumption.

"One reason why this is so important is it gets us to focus on energy-efficiency. I guess even when the next census comes out what will we be — three, four percent of the world's population and using 25 percent of the world's energy. That's not sustainable and I'll tell you a little secret, it's not right either."

The tax-free weekend starts on Saturday and runs through midnight on Monday. There are some restrictions — it doesn't apply to A/Cs over $6,000 or refrigerators over $2,000. For a link to a complete list of eligible appliances and rules, visit Texas Powerful Smart-dot-org.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...