If we learned one thing from recent Texas drought, it’s that water conservation must begin at home.  Where better to start than those older, water-hogging clothes and dish washers?  During a Texas sales tax holiday scheduled Saturday through Monday (May 28-30), families can save money on qualifying water-efficient and energy-efficient appliances.

This year, the tax break applies to both water-efficient products and also Energy Star products. The Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts estimates Texans will save about $8.7 million in state and local taxes during the sales tax holidays.

“Anyone who has lived through a Texas summer knows that this is the time of year when our state is hit by peak demands for both water and electricity,” said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar. “These two sales tax holidays, both set for Memorial Day weekend, give Texans the opportunity to save some money while upgrading their homes and businesses with energy-efficient appliances and water-conserving products.”

This is the first year the state has offered the tax holiday on water-efficient appliances after the Texas Legislature approved the measure in 2015.

If you are in the market for new appliances, the sales tax holidays, combined with annual Memorial Day weekend sales sponsored by many stores, make this a prime time to shop.

Products that display a WaterSense label or logo can be purchased tax free for personal or business use. These include showerheads, bathroom sink faucets and accessories, toilets, urinals and landscape irrigation controls.

The sales tax holiday also applies to water-conserving products used or planted for conserving or retaining groundwater, recharging water tables or decreasing ambient air temperature to limit water evaporation. Items that qualify for the exemption include soaker or drip-irrigation hoses; a moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system; mulch; and plants, trees and grasses. These items can only be purchased tax free for personal use.

There is no limit to the number of water-efficient or water-conserving products you can purchase. For a complete list of items and more information on the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday, go to the Texas Comptroller’s website.

During the Energy Star sales tax holiday (taking place at the same time), Texans can save on qualified air conditioners priced at $6,000 or less, refrigerators priced at $2,000 or less, as well as ceiling fans, florescent light bulbs, dishwashers, humidifiers, and clothes washers (dryers are not included, according to the Comptroller’s office.

According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, washing clothes accounts for 15 to 40 percent of water use in your home. Before 2010, clothes washers used an average of 30 to 45 gallons of water per load. A typical family of four generates more than 300 loads per year. High efficiency washers significantly reduce the amount of water used per load, saving up to 6,000 gallons per year. And don’t worry that less water means less clean clothes. These washers actually do a better job cleaning clothes, while also saving energy, requiring less detergent and reducing wear on clothes. For more information, visit go here

New dishwashers also use less energy and water to operate. An efficient dishwasher uses an average of 23 gallons per session less than hand washing. For more on dishwashers, go here.  

General information about other appliances and fixtures is available here.

There are big savings to be reaped from energy- and water-efficient appliances, and these are also better for our environment.

Estimated annual energy and water savings for qualifying products are (according to the U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency):

  •          Central air conditioners, 15 percent energy
  •          Room/window unit air conditioners, 15 percent energy
  •          Refrigerators, 10 percent energy
  •          Ceiling fans, 60 percent energy
  •          Compact florescent light bulbs, 80 percent energy
  •          Clothes washers, 25 percent energy, 40 percent water
  •          Dish washers, 5 percent energy, 15 percent water
  •          Dehumidifiers, 15 percent energy

The tax holiday applies to items purchased via the Internet or catalog items as long as they are purchased between 12:01 a.m. Saturday and 11:59 p.m. Monday.

Layaway plans can also be used if the final payment is made during the exemption period, even if delivery is scheduled to be made later.

For more information, visit the Texas Comptrollers webpage here.  

If you are looking to save money and also conserve water/energy by installing new appliances, May 28-30 is a great time to upgrade your home.