Are HomeWarming upgrades accepted by insurance companies?
The HomeWarming program uses retrofit and upgrade materials (insulation, draft-proofing, etc.) that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada, and which meet or exceed standards of performance. Safety for participants is a top priority for us.
Licensed, professionally-trained installers use safe, long-lasting materials that meet or exceed the National Building Code of Canada.
Insurance providers determine what products they insure. If participants have concerns about how upgrades might affect their home insurance policy, we recommend they contact their insurance provider.
Is sprayfoam insulation effective and safe?
The safety and comfort of our customers is a top priority.
Thousands of upgrades using sprayfoam insulation are performed safely and securely across Canada every year. We use products that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada, and which meet or exceed standards of performance. Sprayfoam (and any required thermal barrier) is a very effective product that helps make your home more energy efficient — saving you money. It’s especially effective in damp environments.
The HomeWarming program uses retrofit and upgrade materials (insulation, draft-proofing, etc.) that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada. Our products are installed by professionally trained technicians.
If participants have concerns about how upgrades might affect their home insurance policy, we recommend they contact their insurance provider.
Why must I leave my home for 24 hours after spray foam is installed?
Spray polyurethane foam, commonly referred to as just spray foam, needs time to set and cure after being applied. During the spraying and setting period, the product releases chemicals into the air that could be harmful if breathed. The chemicals leave the home naturally, but professional installers will advise that you and your pets vacate the home for at least 24 hours to be safe.
Afterward, some people may notice that odours persist for a short time, which is natural, should not be harmful, and should subside. If you notice a smell, it is always best to discuss with the installer.
The health risks of spray foam are all related to its application, which is why only professionals with appropriate personal protective equipment should be present for its installation and in the home for the first 24 hours after installation. Spray foam must be installed at a rate that allows the product to properly cure and release any harmful chemicals immediately. The home should be well ventilated during that period to help speed-up this process. You do not need to worry about spray foam impacting your health as long as you and the installer follow these well-defined industry protocols.
Where does the money for the HomeWarming program come from?
HomeWarming is offered by Efficiency Nova Scotia as part of a broad, province-wide initiative to provide energy efficient upgrades to income-qualified homeowners.
HomeWarming is proudly sponsored by the Province of Nova Scotia.
The Province is committed to helping the more than 22,000 low-income homeowners lower their energy bills through this investment.
Over 16,000 households have benefited through HomeWarming and previous low-income programs since 2007, when government began funding them through various initiatives.
Is the program really free?
Yes. If we discover that upgrades like draft-proofing and insulation will substantially help substantially reduce your heating and power bills as well as make you feel more comfortable at home, we’ll install the upgrades at no cost to you. (Seriously – if you qualify, it’s free and really not too good to be true.)
I know someone else who was in HomeWarming, and their house got a lot more work done. Why?
Every home gets recommendations based on a comprehensive energy audit. We look for the best combination of energy-saving upgrades. And since every house is unique, this combination may look different from one house to another.
For example, an improved heating system may not be a good recommendation if a house has very poor insulation and requires draft-proofing; there is no need to spend your hard-earned money heating the backyard, so we focus on these improvements first.
And we do not have an unlimited budget, so we do have to make some hard decisions – there are participants and homes that might get priority over others.
Am I disqualified if I have a home business?
No. As long as your business occupies less than 50% of the building area and you are still under the income eligibility levels, you can apply to HomeWarming. If you are not sure, feel free to call us.
Do I have to book the contractors myself?
No. We will manage the sub-contractors for you. We work with experienced, safe and, whenever possible, local companies who know the energy efficiency industry.
What if I disagree with the recommendations you make?
You are not required to move ahead with any upgrades we recommend. If possible, we will work with you to explore changes to the suggested plan, within the confines of the program and our energy efficiency analysis.
We understand that some people may not be happy with what we can offer. We do not have an unlimited budget, so we do have to make some hard decisions – there are participants and homes that might get priority over others.
I own a mobile home. Does that qualify?
Most mobile homes do qualify! If you are not sure, you can call us.
I don’t own a home, I rent an apartment – can I apply?
Not at this time. We recognize that many Nova Scotians living on a lower income are renters. However, rental situations are complex. For example, we want to make sure that savings are passed on to renters. We are exploring rental options and will update the program if possible.
In the meantime, you can refer your landlord to the Affordable Multifamily Housing Program. If eligible, as a tenant, you will enjoy the benefits that come with living in a more energy efficient building.
How much will I save on heating and power?
This is a difficult question to answer, as every house is unique. The age of the home is also an important factor – for example, newer homes tend to be better insulated, while older homes can have limited insulation or no insulation at all. That’s why it is a challenge to give an average amount you will save after participating in HomeWarming.
However, many homes see their EnerGuide ratings improve substantially, and many homes have become 30% more energy efficient – or even higher. Many report saving on their bills, and say they feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
What happens if I decide to sell my house during the process?
When you apply, we will ask you to confirm that you are not planning to sell your house for at least 12 months. If you do sell your house within 12 months, your participation in HomeWarming will be cancelled.
Who sets the low-income figures? I think they are too low.
These figures are adjusted each year and based on Statistics Canada’s low-income qualification figures. While we acknowledge that these don’t always encompass the full range of situations that people find themselves in, we need to use consistent eligibility criteria.
I earn too much money and don’t fit in the low-income cut-off figures. Are there other programs I can get involved in?
We encourage you to look at the programs offered by Efficiency Nova Scotia. Some municipalities also offer low-cost financing for energy efficiency and cleaner energy upgrades. And Nova Scotia Power offers a financing program for heat pumps.
You might also want to check out the Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP). It helps with the cost of home heating for low-income Nova Scotians who pay for their own heat. Rebates range from $100 to $200.
What is the process if I qualify for HomeWarming?
After your application is approved, the process is easy:
- Home Energy Assessment: A Certified Energy Advisor will evaluate your home and determine the upgrades needed to make your home substantially more energy efficient and comfortable.
- Home Upgrades: Then, they will call you to set up appointments to make the upgrades approved for your home (please note: some homes may not be suitable for upgrades).
- Final Assessment: When all the upgrades have been completed, they will come back and perform a final assessment of the improvements made to your home.
We will take care of everything for you. All you have to do is be home for the evaluations and while the work is being done.
What’s the difference between HomeWarming and other housing programs in Nova Scotia?
HomeWarming is targeted at homeowners in Nova Scotia who are living on a low income. If you qualify and we believe there are things we can do to help, we work with you to determine the best energy efficiency upgrades for your home – and we have them installed at no cost to you.
Some municipalities also offer low-cost financing for energy efficiency and cleaner energy upgrades.
Have there been other programs like HomeWarming?
Yes. HomeWarming is built on previous low-income energy efficiency programs run by Efficiency Nova Scotia. From 2006 to 2014, over 7,000 homes received energy efficiency upgrades. The program known as HomeWarming started under that name in late 2014.
Over 16,000 low-income Nova Scotians have now had energy efficiency upgrades to their homes since 2007, when government began funding them through various programs.