Free Appliances for Low Income Families: A Resource Guide
If you’re among the 13.7 percent of families who qualified as low-income in 2021, you probably already know that repairing or replacing a broken appliance can be tough. Appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and other appliances are often expensive to deal with when they inevitably break down, but going without them can be a real hardship.
The good news is there are resources to help find free appliances for low-income families. Keep reading to learn about several different avenues to explore.
Local Low-Income Appliance Resources
Often, the best place to start is to look for grants and assistance near you. Search your local area to find local charities and organizations focused on serving your community.
Many communities have a nonprofit furniture bank that collects and redistributes new and gently used items. In addition to furniture, they may offer appliances as well.
You must meet their requirements to qualify for free items. There are about 80 furniture banks in North America, so search for one near you. if you are traveling a long distance, contact the furniture bank first to confirm that you qualify and they have what you need.
Check in with churches in your area via social media, websites, or online neighborhood groups. Many churches collect used items, including appliances. They may also be able to ask members if they can donate what you need.
Some churches may also have “rummage sales” throughout the year that may include appliances. The prices are low, and all proceeds are often donated to charity.
St. Vincent de Paul
One of the United States’ largest charity organizations is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The motto of this Catholic organization is that “No act of charity is foreign to the society,” which means that they operate a variety of programs throughout the nation.
In some areas, this includes operating resale shops/thrift stores that may include appliances. Search Google for “St. Vincent dePaul shop near me” to check for one in your area.
Talk to your local power and water company to see if they have free or discounted appliance programs. One example is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP’s) Refrigerator Exchange Program. They exchange new ENERGY STAR® rated refrigerators for older qualified models.
This exchange program is free and can save you about $60 a year for refrigerator costs if you qualify for the program. It also reduces greenhouse emissions to benefit the environment. Applicants must meet several requirements to qualify for this program.
If you have access to Facebook, look for the item you need on Facebook Marketplace. People in your area post items they want to sell or get rid of for free.
This provides a good way to find appliances. You can also list your old appliance and sell it to help buy a newer one.
This app is another site where individuals post items for sale. OfferUp shows you items being sold in your area. You will contact the seller through this app.
The seller lists a price, but you have the option to make your own offer. This can help you get what you need within your budget.
Free Appliances for Low-Income Families
Many larger organizations help low-income families get free appliances. In addition, some focus on specific appliances. The following provides a few examples to get your search started.
The Salvation Army is a non-profit organization. They offer support that may include free refrigerators, washers, and dryers to people across America. Their goal is to help low-income families get appliances and reduce utility bills.
You need to contact them and apply for a free appliance voucher. They’ll also ask for documentation to prove eligibility for the program. Once approved, you receive store vouchers.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is another non-profit organization providing financial help for Americans. Their mission is to help with home repairs to makes houses safe.
They provide minor repair services, painting, and weatherization to maintain comfort and increase energy efficiency. All labor comes from volunteers, and the community donates the materials.
Habitat now has donation and home improvement centers across the country. These stores get items from individuals, churches, the government, and other sources.
Local Habitat for Humanity organizations may also operate independently owned Habitat ReStores. Depending on what’s been donated, these stores may sell high-quality appliances at a fraction of the cost. All income is used to help families build and repair safe and affordable homes.
If you need a free or heavily discounted washer, dryer, or refrigerator contact Habitat for Humanity. You can do this in person or online.
Heating and Cooling Appliances
If your heater or air conditioning breaks down, it’s a big problem. Depending on the weather, this can even be a life-threatening situation.
Inefficient systems also increase your monthly utility bills. The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program helps with costs related to heating and cooling.
Besides helping with utility bills, they also fund repairing or replacing systems. Their goal is to increase energy efficiency. This helps highly populated areas where the systems can become overwhelmed during extreme weather events and shut down.
You can find free heating and cooling systems at Habitat for Humanity and the Salvation Army as well.
Online Low-Income Resources
Thanks to technology like the internet and smartphones, in today’s world you can find sites and apps to help you get what you need. In addition, you have the ability to search for free, used, and cheap appliances. The following provides a list of places to start.
Net Wish is different from the average charity or non-profit organization. Their goal is to tear through all the red tape. They use the internet’s power to offer an immediate and direct modest helping hand.
Go to their site and describe exactly why you need help. Then, tell them how you will use their financial aid.
Craigslist is another site where individuals list items they wish to sell. When you start searching the site, it will show you items located in your area.
Go to the Craigslist website. Fill in as much requested information as you can, including your location, what type of appliance you’re looking for, and your budget. (“Free” is a budget, too.)
Next, review the listings. There are often refrigerators, washers, and dryers listed for low prices or sometimes even free. Always look at the product details to make sure you’re getting a working item, and always make sure to practice careful safety protocols when dealing with strangers who you meet online.
A website called Freecycle creates connections between sellers and buyers. You can search this site for free washers and dryers in your area and see if anything comes up.
Again, just be sure to avoid scams and guard your personal safety and information carefully.
Most of us are familiar with eBay, the online shopping site where sellers list items for sale or auction. Individuals post pictures and a description of what they’re selling.
They can set a bottom price and then take bids. The other option is to set a specific price called “Buy It Now.”
Go to the “Major Appliances” section under the “Home & Garden” category. First, limit the seller’s location to the area near you. Then start looking for what you want.
If the item is up for “bid,” you can offer a price and hope you “win the bid” by the deadline. Often this means you can buy what you want for a lower price. Or you may find an item you can afford and hit the “Buy It Now” button.
Once again, be sure to read the description carefully. You can also contact the seller and ask questions through eBay.
Just watch out for scams and remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Varagesale is an app you can download to access a virtual garage sale. So instead of going to a flea market, you can shop for the appliance you need online.
Once you access the app, you’ll need to enter your location. This way, you’ll only see items that are near you.
You can use Facebook to confirm your identity. Stay safe by only interacting with those verified as being in your community.
Also, check the seller’s ratings and how long it usually takes them to return messages. This helps you decide if you want to work with that person.
Another mobile app is Letgo. It lets you search for second-hand items such as refrigerators, washers, and dryers. Once again, you can connect through your Facebook account. Both iPhone and Android phones can download this app.
This site has over 200 million listings and helps you find local sellers. For example, you can type “free” in the search bar to see a list of only free appliances. These sellers also have ratings and reviews posted to help you make a decision.
Do You Need a Free or Low-Cost Appliance?
Having an appliance breakdown causes significant hardship for families. Fortunately, there are many resources to finding free appliances for low-income families.
The information in this article gives you a guide to start your search. Good luck!
Save Money on Your Wireless Phone Service
If you qualify for federal benefits such as SNAP, you also qualify for Lifeline service. Lifeline is a federal benefit program that makes it possible for low-income consumers to receive access to free or heavily discounted communication services. Click here to find out more and apply for this valuable benefit.