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City rebates sweeten front-loading washer deals
Judy Sonke of Manteca’s independently owned Sears appliance store shows off a front-end loading washing machine at her Manteca Marketplace location. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Rising PG&E and water bills have a much smaller impact on people like Judy Sonke.

Sonke uses a high efficiency (HE) clothes washing machine that is designed as a front loader to cut her water use by 75 percent plus slash $11 off her PG&E bills each year.

“It has the added benefit of getting them cleaner,” Sonke said.

Sonke sells both traditional washers and front loaders at her Sears appliance store in the Manteca Marketplace. A typical HE washer sells for about $190 more than the comparable-sized top loader.

However, the actual cost difference once two available rebates are factored into the equation brings it to within $20. That extra $20 is recouped within six months in lower water bills alone for a typical Manteca family

The City of Manteca likes how effectively the washers reduce water consumption and is offering $100 rebates on 42 models by eight different manufactures. Most of the HE washers on the list, though, are Kenmores. There are 23. Kenmore can only be purchased at Sears that also carries several of the other brands on the list as well.

Washing machines rank in the top four water uses in a home with landscaping leading the way followed by toilets and then showers/baths.

The HE washer is also seen as a critical addition to California households as the state enters a third year of drought.

Due to the energy savings, PG&E is offering a $75 rebate. Virtually all of the models it gives rebates on are also on the city’s list.

Besides reducing electricity on non-gas washer, it also helps reduce gas use as the HE machines require less.

The theory behind the rebate is simple. It is less expensive to reduce water consumption than for the city to expand water treatment facilities or for PG&E to pay for peak power loads.

Sonke noted the HE washer doesn’t agitate clothes which reduces wear and tear. The traditional washers work on the principle of shaking dirt to the top of the tub while a HE gently spins it in a circle.

The result is less wrinkling and a more thorough cleaning. Sonke noted some HE models have a steam cleaning version.

“It does eliminate the need for me to take silk and finer fabrics to the dry cleaner,” Sonke noted.

Even without the rebates, the water and energy savings over the life the HE washer typical exceeds the difference. That is based on today’s charges for electricity, natural gas and water. If the costs of water and energy increases so does the savings.

Perhaps more important is the HE’s reputation for cleaning better and running quieter.

Sonke estimated about half of the households in Manteca probably use HE washers already.

The city also offers a rebate for up to $100 for the replacement of older in efficient toilets.

The rebate forms for both the washing machine and toilet are available at the Public Works Department at the Manteca Civic Center complex, 1001 W. Center St.

On Tuesday, the Public Works Department staff confirmed there was still washing machine rebate money available. Call the city at 239-8460 for details.