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FAQs

1. What is the Home Insulation Energy Savings Program?

NB Power’s Home Insulation Energy Savings Program provides financial incentives to homeowners of electrically heated homes who make eligible energy efficiency upgrades to their homes.

2. How does it work?

To qualify for financial incentives through the Program, homeowners must have a Home Evaluation. The Home Evaluation is needed to determine the levels of insulation and air leakage present in the home prior to beginning upgrades, and to determine the amount of insulation added and air leakage reductions achieved after upgrades are completed. This information is then used to determine the financial incentives for which you are eligible.

3. What is the cost to participate?

Homeowners are responsible for paying a $210 fee +HST to the Energy Advisor at the time of the Pre-Upgrade Evaluation.

4. What types of homes are eligible to participate?

Homes and duplexes are eligible to participate in the program. These include detached homes (typical 'single family'), semi-detached (side-by-side duplex), row housing units, and stacked duplexes (two units, one over top of the other). Homes with a basement apartment or granny suite are also eligible. Buildings with more than 2 units are not eligible.

Homes must have electric heating equipment of one or more of the following types:

  • Electric baseboards in at least half of the rooms;
  • Heat pump(s) (air-source, ground source, water source, geo-exchange);
  • Electric boiler;
  • Electric forced air furnace;

5. What are the financial incentives?

There are two incentive levels:

  1. Contractor Installed Upgrades - for homeowners who hire contractors to install the upgrades on their behalf,
  2. Do-it-yourself - for homeowners who choose to perform their own upgrades and do not hire a contractor.

To receive the Contractor incentive amount, homeowners must provide a receipt for installation services.

See incentive tables in the Program Guidelines for more information.

6. What information is required on receipts in order to qualify for incentives?

In order to determine the proper R-value of insulation installed (DIY or Contractor installed), homeowners must provide receipts showing insulation manufacturer, product type and product name.

To receive Contractor installed incentives, receipts must also show:

  • Invoice/Receipt header (quotes or statements of work include proposed work and price estimates only and do not confirm services provided)
  • Invoice/Receipt #
  • Invoice/Receipt Date
  • Contractor (or Company) Name
  • Contractor (or Company) Address
  • Customer Name
  • Detailed description of services including R-Value added, insulation type, upgrade area in the home, HRV Model, e.g. "added R-60 blown cellulose in attic".
  • Total amount charged

To be eligible for the Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump Bonus, the following is required on the receipt:

  • Contractor Name
  • Heat Pump Technician
  • Licensed Electrician
  • Manufacturer
  • Indoor and outdoor model numbers
  • AHRI Number

For a copy of a sample invoice, click here.

7. What documents do I need to participate in the program?

Homeowners are required to complete the online registration tool or, for homeowners who do not have access to the internet, to call NB Power and a Customer Service Representative will complete the registration for you on your behalf. All of the documents required to participate in the program will be provided to you either via email when you register for the program, or – if you do not have access to the internet – by your Energy Advisor during your Pre-Upgrade Evaluation.

The only additional information required will be copies of the receipts at the time of the Post-Upgrade Evaluation.

8. You mentioned that the program registration is electronic. Are there any paper forms or documents?

All information and forms used in this program will be electronic; signatures will be collected electronically on either a portable computer or other device during your home evaluations. All of the software used as part of this program is secure and all information collected is subject to the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act of New Brunswick.

9. How do I get started?

Fill out our registration form to begin.

10. How much does a Home Evaluation cost?

NB Power subsidizes the cost of home evaluations. Your cost is $210+HST for a Pre-Upgrade Evaluation and no cost for a Post-Upgrade Evaluation.

11. Can I begin to do work before I've had a Home Evaluation?

No. You must wait until you receive and sign your Pre-Approval Form as only upgrades listed on this form will be eligible for incentives.

12. Can I do the work myself?

Yes, you can do the work yourself but the incentives paid will be a lesser amount. See incentive tables in the Program Guidelines for more information.

13. What are ductless mini-split heat pumps?

Ductless mini-split heat pumps are a type of home heating technology.  A heat pump actually takes heat from the air outside and brings it into your home using a series of pumps and compressors.

During the summer a heat pump can cool your home by taking the heat from inside your home and moving it outside. Heat pumps can heat or cool your home using ductwork - like a furnace - or they can be ductless.

A ductless heat pump has no ductwork.  Instead it has a supply head mounted on the wall inside your home to supply heat into the room. A split system means it has two pieces: one for the outside of your home, and one for the inside. Mini just means that it is smaller in both size and heating output than the bigger whole-home heat pumps.

While fully ducted heat pumps may be the best heating option for new homes being built or those with existing ductwork, the rebate being offered in this program is for ductless heat pumps only. They are a wise choice for the many homes in New Brunswick  that rely on electric baseboards for heat and that do not have a fully ducted, central heating system currently.

14. Should I consider a heat pump?

NB Power’s Home Insulation Energy Savings Program offers incentives for making your home more efficient through insulation and air sealing.

Before considering installing a ductless mini-split heat pump as a supplementary heating system, consider investing in upgrades that will ensure your home is energy efficient and less costly and easier to heat. When a home has well insulated walls, attic and basement and has a high level of airtightness through air sealing it will require less energy to heat or cool and it will stay warmer or cooler longer no matter what type of heating system you have.

Ductless heat pumps are a great option for many homes in New Brunswick. They offer many advantages including energy savings on heating costs, two to three times higher efficiency than electric baseboards and the option of air conditioning in the summer.

Even though most of your heating needs will be met by the heat pump in the areas where it is installed you will still need to keep your current heating system in working order to provide a source of back up heat if the temperature becomes extremely cold and the heat pump can no longer work efficiently.  Most heat pumps require a back-up heating source when the temperature drops below -10°C (even systems rated to -20°C can only provide 60-80% of your heating needs at low temperatures).

15. How can I get the heat pump bonus?

To trigger the Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump Bonus, the following criteria must be met:

  • At least one qualifying major insulation upgrade must be performed (i.e. attic, main walls, or basement walls insulation);
  • Participants who perform at least one major insulation upgrade are eligible for ONE heat pump bonus per home regardless of how many heat pumps they may already have or plan to install;
  • The ductless mini-split heat pump must be installed by one of the participating contractors in the NB Power network, and must be on the approved eligible products list;
  • A certified Refrigeration and AC Technician and Electrician must perform the installation and provide the homeowner with a detailed receipt, complete with indoor/outdoor model numbers, manufacturer, AHRI number, name of the technician and electrician. Please visit http://www.nbpower.com/heatpump to find a qualified contractor from NB Power’s Contractor Network near you;
  • The qualifying heat pump must be installed on/after October 1, 2016;
  • To qualify for the $500 bonus, qualifying heat pumps must have a minimum SEER  of 18.0 and a minimum HSPF  of 10.0, be ENERGY STAR certified, and be rated by the manufacturer for operation at or below -25°C. Click here for a list of qualifying heat pumps: https://www.nbpower.com/media/209317/eligible-products-july-1-2016-en.pdf.

 

16. What should I consider when buying a cold climate heat pump?

A cold climate heat pump is a special type that is designed to still work at temperatures at or below -25°C.  Since a heat pump works by taking heat from outside and bringing it into your home, the colder it is outside, the less effective the heat pump becomes.  Cold climate heat pumps use special technology to still work at low temperatures.  While most heat pumps can still provide some heat at temperatures below -10°C, cold climate heat pumps are rated to provide anywhere from 60-100% of your heating needs at -20°C – and some systems can still provide up to 75% of your heating needs at temperatures as low as -30°C.

Cold climate heat pumps are a great solution for New Brunswick Homeowners to help them reduce their heating bills year round, but also to take the edge off of those high January and February heating bills when outdoor temperatures drop below -15°C.

Due to their ability to provide both heating and cooling, heat pumps are becoming very popular. But not all heat pumps are the same. Some are actually designed to perform better as an air-conditioner, but aren’t that great at providing heat during harsh New Brunswick winters. 

When looking for a heat pump for our New Brunswick climate you need pay attention to the Heating Season Performance Factor or the HSPF.  The higher the HSPF, the more energy you’ll save. Many manufacturers will advertise products as having a high SEER, which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This is a measurement of cooling efficiency.

Don’t buy products based on their SEER rating – look for the HSPF.

To help homeowners determine how their heat pump compares to others on the market, the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) has created a rating system that breaks heat pumps down into three categories based on their performance:

CEE Tier 1 Good Entry level model HSPF 7.4
CEE Tier 2 Better Average model HSPF 7.8
CEE Tier 3 Best High Performance model HSPF 8.7 (Best Energy Savings in Winter)

17. What kind of warranty is offered with ductless heat pumps?

Your heating contractor can provide you with warranty information for the various brands of heat pumps. Warranties can range in coverage and length – from 5 to 12 years.

18. Do ductless heat pumps require any maintenance?

As a homeowner simply changing filters and keeping coils clean is most of the maintenance required.  During winter you may need clear snow and ice away from the outdoor unit to ensure it can work properly and go through a regular normal defrost cycle.

19. Should I ask about a service plan?

Yes. You should ask the company what they offer for a service plan. Some companies offer free service within the first year, others offer $99/year general maintenance, etc.  Make sure you know what is/isn’t covered under their warranty and service plan to ensure there are no unexpected costs.