The program started at 8 a.m. Friday and was set to last until April 25 or until the funds were gone. It was so popular the $6 million allotted for the program was gone by 7 p.m.
For more information, log on to www.illinoisenergy.org or call 877-782-7005.
Serious shoppers got to the stores early Friday morning.
The Sears at North Riverside Mall opened at 6 a.m. to accommodate those who wanted to take advantage of the Cash for Appliances rebate.
""We have been waiting for a program like this since 1979. We have a washer that is 1979, a Kenmore. It's time. And a good deal," said shopper Celinda Moore.
Sears, like other retailers, is offering other discounts on top of the rebate.
"There has never been anything like this before. Right now, Sears recognizes the value and hard work of the consumer. The 30 percent off the Energy Star product is unmatched and unheard of in our history," said Sears' Eric Thompson.
At a the Best Buy on North Avenue, Governor Quinn said the program is good for the environment and helps on a couple of other fronts.
"It helps stimulate the economy, gets consumers with a little more confidence and having more money in their pocket is the best way to do that," said Quinn.
"Not only does this help save money up front, but potentially long-term, they can save a whole lot more on the energy bill, and [we are] really excited about what this does for the customers and the environment," said John Curley at Best Buy.
The government rebate program was good for a 15-percent instant discount on energy-efficient:
- clothes washers
- freezers and
- room air conditioners.
The program was part of the federal stimulus plan, and in the first four hours of the Illinois Cash for Appliances program, $20 million in appliances were sold.
Some customers at Grants Appliances on Chicago's Northwest Side sought a local company to make their purchase.
"That's one of the reasons we came here, because it's more of a local company instead of the bigger box retailers," said shopper Chris Sagastume.
"Be prepared. Get your savings and get it taken care of," Grants Appliances' Torrine Hunter.
Shoppers were advised they would have to make their purchases in person, not on the phone or online.
Click here to see the list of retailers participating (listed by city)