Frequently Asked Questions

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  • I’ve submitted a rebate application some time ago but have heard nothing back?

    The average processing time for rebates is 6-8 weeks. If the rebate is approved, your electricity account will be credited and the next bill will be noted with the rebate program, and amount of the rebate. If the rebate is not approved, we will notify you in writing, either by mail or email depending on how the rebate was submitted.

  • How much money can you save for each degree that you turn down the thermostat?

    How much you save depends on how warm you keep your home and therefore on how much energy you consume for heating. Generally you can expect to save about two percent on your energy bill for every degree Celsius you set back your thermostat.

  • What does the term “R-value” mean?

    R-value is a measure of how well a material resists the passage of heat. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the insulating material and the more effective insulation is in keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulation should always be judged by R-value rather than inches, as different insulation materials have different R-values per inch of thickness.

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  • How long does it take to process a rebate?

    Rebates are processed within approximately 6-8 weeks.

  • Am I able to receive a rebate for a residential property I own that is currently rented to tenants?

    Yes, for all residential programs except Instant Rebates and Appliance and Electronics, the homeowner is the only person eligible to receive a takeCHARGE rebate.

  • I heat my home with oil, what programs am I eligible for?

    Customers heating their homes with oil or wood are eligible to participate in the Appliance & Electronic, HRV, and Instant Rebate programs. If an additional heating source is used, and your home has a minimum annual electricity usage of 15,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) you may also qualify for the insulation and thermostat rebates.

  • My home was just recently built, does it qualify for a rebate?

    New homes are eligible for the Appliance & Electronics, HRV, Thermostat and Instant Rebate programs. Homes connected to the electrical grid on or after January 1, 2014 are no longer eligible for the Insulation Rebate program due to changes in the National Building Code which requires all new homes in Newfoundland and Labrador to have higher levels of insulation.

  • What type of insulation material qualifies for a rebate?

    board, loose fill blown in, and spray foam. Check out the Insulation Rebate page for more detail on minimum R-value requirements in different areas of the home.

  • Why are certain LEDs eligible for the Instant Rebate Program and others not?

    LEDs are the most energy efficient choice when it comes to lighting for your home. We recommend choosing ENERGY STAR® certified LED bulbs, because products carrying this label have to meet high standards for efficiency, lifespan, and light quality. These bulbs will have lower chance of being defective, and will generally last longer without having to be replaced. For these reasons, we only provide a rebate on ENERGY STAR certified bulbs.

  • I can’t find my appliance or TV on the list of eligible models. Why are some models eligible for a rebate and others not?

    takeCHARGE encourages customers to purchase products that have energy efficiency specifications exceeding the norm in the Newfoundland and Labrador market, and our minimum rebate requirements reflect this. Many commonly sold products will not qualify because we only recommend products that meet the highest standards of energy efficiency. Eligible models are extremely efficient and exceed ENERGY STAR® to ensure even greater energy savings for our customers.

  • How do I apply for a rebate for my home?

    For all residential rebate programs except the Instant Rebate Program, you will need to fill out an application and provide a copy of your receipt confirming payment.

    You can fill out the application online and upload images of your receipt, or print the application form from our website, attach the receipts and forward it by mail. The application and online form can be found on the individual program pages of the takeCHARGE website

    During Instant Rebate Program campaigns, you will receive the rebate automatically at the cash when you purchase eligible products at participating retailers, and no application is required.

  • I’ve submitted a rebate application some time ago but have heard nothing back?

    The average processing time for rebates is 6-8 weeks. If the rebate is approved, your electricity account will be credited and the next bill will be noted with the rebate program, and amount of the rebate. If the rebate is not approved, we will notify you in writing, either by mail or email depending on how the rebate was submitted.

  • Is there a rebate for heat pumps?

    takeCHARGE does not offer a rebate on heat pumps, but customers of Newfoundland Power can apply to finance the cost of purchasing and installing electric home heating systems, including heat pumps.

    Once you have been given a quote for the cost of installation, there is a loan application process which can be completed online or by calling one of our Customer Account Representatives at 1-800-663-2802. Learn more about Newfoundland Power’s financing.

  • Should I set back the temperature of my heat pump at night?

    Unlike baseboard heaters, the thermostat for a central heat pump should be set at a comfortable setting and not readjusted. This is because frequent temperature adjustments will increase the use of the less efficient backup electric resistance heating system, reducing overall system efficiency.

    A ductless mini split system can be set back at night or during the work day if the home is vacant for an extended period of time as it does not have a built in, back up heating system. Just ensure your original heating system – be it electric baseboards or oil heat – is on a lower temperature setting than the heat pump.

  • Who should install heat pumps?

    The heat pump should only be installed by an experienced installer; specifically, a certified refrigeration and air conditioning mechanic and a certified electrician. The installer should perform a full heat load analysis to ensure the unit selected is properly sized for maximum efficiency and performance. You should only hire reputable contractors that will provide written contracts to do this type of work. Here is some more information on hiring contractors.

    http://www.hiringacontractor.com/pdfs/Online%20Brochure%20EN%20Final.pdf

  • What are the different types of heat pumps?

    The most common type of heat pump in Newfoundland and Labrador is an air source heat pump. This could be either a ducted unit designed to heat an entire house through the use of air ducts, or a ductless mini-split heat pump, which is designed for zoned heating. Ground source heat pumps, designed to heat the entire house are less common, requiring a significant upfront investment, albeit with a greater efficiency than air source heat pumps.

    For homeowners interested in installing a heat pump in an existing home, the ductless mini split heat pump is the least expensive and most common choice. A ducted air source heat pump makes more sense for new builds or homes with existing duct work.

  • How efficient are heat pumps compared to baseboard heaters?

    Baseboard heaters are 100% efficient, converting 100% of the energy used to heat. Heat pumps can be as much as 200% to 300% efficient, supplying the same amount of heat for much less energy.

    The efficiency will vary depending on a number of factors including the type of heat pump, the specifications of the individual unit, and the outside temperature. Correct sizing and installation of the heat pump is essential to achieving maximum potential energy savings, so be sure to hire a professional installer.

    In Newfoundland and Labrador, because of our heating dominated climate, one of the most important things to look for in a heat pump is a high Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). We recommend a HSPF of 10 or higher for mini-split heat pumps and 9 or higher for multi-split heat pumps.

  • Are there benefits to using “smart” internet connected programmable thermostats that can be controlled by a mobile device or computer for my baseboard heaters?

    Yes, although more expensive than regular programmable thermostats, these devices are often easier to program and provide details of the energy used by individual heaters.

  • What rooms in my home should have programmable thermostats?

    The main living areas of your home that are most frequently occupied such as the family room, living room, or kitchen will receive the greatest benefit from programmable thermostats. For less used areas, such as the laundry room, hallways, porches and spare bedrooms, non-programmable electronic thermostats are often sufficient.

  • Should I install energy efficient electronic or programmable thermostats?

    Absolutely.  Conventional dial thermostats can cause large temperature swings that can make your home too warm or too cold.  Energy efficient electronic thermostats will reduce the temperature swing in your home to less than 1° Celsius.  And don’t forget, rebates are available on your purchase of electronic and programmable thermostats.

  • Is there an “ideal” temperature setback recommendation?

    It is recommended that reducing the temperature by 5 degrees Celsius at night or when nobody is at home will provide optimal comfort and efficiency, without a high risk of moisture problems.

  • Should I turn my thermostats down at night?

    Yes, turn your thermostat back by five degrees Celsius at night and whenever you are away from home for more than eight hours.

  • How much money can you save for each degree that you turn down the thermostat?

    How much you save depends on how warm you keep your home and therefore on how much energy you consume for heating. Generally you can expect to save about two percent on your energy bill for every degree Celsius you set back your thermostat.

  • I’ve heard that you can make a home “too airtight” – should I be concerned about this?

    Today’s homes are more energy-efficient because they follow standards mandating better insulation and airtightness. However, without an appropriately designed, installed and maintained ventilation system, homes can be under-ventilated. Air leakage is not ventilation. A lack of controlled ventilation can lead to a build-up of moisture, odors, bacteria, fungi and combustion gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Ventilation prevents excessive build-up of these and other indoor contaminants that can affect your health and comfort and damage your home.

  • Is it better to caulk my windows and doors on the inside or the outside?

    Any large gaps on the outside should be weatherproofed to keep rain out, but the inside is generally the best place to caulk to keep the heated air inside, along with any water vapor that could condense in a cold wall cavity.

  • Why does moisture form on the inside of my windows in winter, and how can I minimize the amount of moisture?

    Condensation will occur whenever warm air hits a cold surface because warm air can hold more water vapor than cold air. If you have single-paned windows, adding storm windows will keep the inner pane of glass warmer and reduce the amount of condensation. Monitoring your indoor humidity and keeping it in the range of 40 – 50% (even less in very cold weather) will also help.  You can reduce the humidity level in your home by installing a heat recovery ventilator.  A dehumidifier may also help. If you purchase a dehumidifier, be sure to purchase an ENERGY STAR® model as it will use 15% less energy – you can save $10 on energy efficient dehumidifiers during Instant Rebate campaigns.

  • What ENERGY STAR® Windows should I buy?

    Not all ENERGY STAR choices are the same. Some are more energy efficient than others due to a number of factors, like how much heat they trap inside and how much heat from the sun they let pass through.

    Picking the right ENERGY STAR window also depends on where you live. Each of these windows is certified for one or more climate zones in the ENERGY STAR rating system (Zone 1 is the warmest and Zone 3 is the coldest). Newfoundland and Labrador has two climate zones under this rating system and it’s important to know what model is certified for the zone you live in.

  • What is ENERGY STAR® Most Efficient?

    The ENERGY STAR Most Efficient designation recognizes the most efficient products among those that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label in the current calendar year.

  • What are ENERGY STAR® Windows?

    ENERGY STAR certified windows are certified by an independent accredited agency for energy performance and insulating glass durability. These certified products often have longer warranties than conventional products. Products that are certified for the zone in which you live—or colder—are the best energy performers of all makes and models on the mainstream market. They meet strict technical specifications for high efficiency—without compromising features or performance in other areas. In fact, ENERGY STAR® certified windows, doors and skylights can decrease your energy costs by about 6% saving you about $75 a year.

  • Do windows play a part in insulating my home?

    Yes. Today’s windows are better designed and more insulating than ever. Windows fall into two main categories: operable—windows that open in some way, either on hinges or by sliding and non-operable (also called fixed)—those that do not open.

    When it comes to energy efficiency, non-operable windows are the most airtight. Among operable windows, hinged windows (awning, casement, hopper or tilt and turn models) are typically the most airtight because the closing mechanism helps pull the window tight against the frame.

    In fact, ENERGY STAR® windows, doors and skylights can decrease your energy costs by about 6% saving you about $75 a year.

  • Are there companies that can perform an in-home energy assessment?

    Yes, there are several that can perform this service:

    AmeriSpec Inspection Services (New and existing home evaluations)
    709-687-4673
    nl.east@amerispec.ca
    homeinspectionstjohns.com

    Energuy Canada Ltd. (Existing home evaluations)
    1-888-228-5422
    appointments@energuycanada.ca

    Sustainable Housing (New and existing home evaluations)
    1-877-722-2842
    info@sustainablehousing.ca
    http://www.sustainablehousing.ca/

    ThermalWise (New home evaluations)
    709-763-9276
    info@thermalwise.ca
    http://thermalwise.ca/

     

  • Where in the house are air leaks most likely to be found?

    A few areas of the house deserve special attention, but don’t limit your detective work to just these places. From inside the main living areas check the following:

    • Window panes for tightness, and around both the window sash and the window casing
    • Around the door, including the threshold and around the door frame
    • Electrical outlets, including those on interior walls
    • Exhaust fans and vents. These should vent to the outside and close properly when not in use
    • Corners where two walls meet with an imperfect seal
    • Light fixtures in the ceiling
    • Interior trim and baseboards
    • Cracks in the wall finish or ceiling
    • The joint where a wood frame wall joins a masonry wall or chimney
    • Doors and hatches into unheated attics
    • Fireplace dampers and fireplace bricks
    • Around chimneys
    • Behind bathtubs and under sinks
    • Above sliding pocket doors
    • Around plumbing pipes and ductwork
    • Around the plumbing stack and any other pipes entering the attic
    • Around wires or ceiling light fixtures that penetrate the attic
    • Around ducting that enters the attic from inside the house
    • At the junction of the ceiling with interior wall partitions
    • Along any shared walls
    • Ceiling areas over bathrooms and stairwells
    • Where the wood frame wall (sill plate) meets the masonry (concrete or stone) foundation or where joists penetrate the masonry wall
    • Any holes or gaps where the electrical lines, plumbing, gas lines or oil fill pipes go through the external walls
    • Leaky ducts or poorly fitted hot air registers or cold air intakes
    • Cracks in the foundation wall and slab
    • Floor drains
  • Can I insulate over recessed lighting fixtures (pot lights)?

    Only if the fixtures are Insulation Contact rated fixtures designed to be covered with insulation. Otherwise you should maintain 7.5cm (3 inches) of clearance around the fixtures and leave the top of the fixture uncovered to avoid potentially hazardous heat buildup within the fixture.

    The only acceptable way to insulate older, Non-Insulation Contact pot lights is to use a recessed light cover, made of fire safe material or build a sealed box over them and then cover the sides and top of the box with insulation. Minimum box dimensions shall be either 35cm wide x 1.2m long x 30cm high (14″ W x 48″ L x 12″ H), or 53cm wide x 74cm long x 30cm high (21″ W x 29″ L x 12″ H).

  • Can I compress a 6 inch (R-20) batt to fit into a 2″x 4″ cavity? Will it be more effective than using a 4 inch (R12) batt?

    While insulation batts are easily compressed, the R-value will be significantly reduced – it is best to use the correct thickness and not compress the insulation. You should also avoid storing heavy materials on top of attic insulation for the same reason.

  • What is a “vapor barrier” and how important is it?

    A vapor barrier is a material that resists the passage of water vapor and is an essential aspect of the insulation project. A properly installed vapor barrier (on the warm side of the insulation) will minimize the chance of water vapor condensing inside your wall insulation, which not only reduces the insulation’s effectiveness but can also cause damage to your home.

  • I’m considering having vinyl siding installed on my home. Will this reduce my heating and cooling costs?

    Vinyl siding alone is not an insulation material and therefore will not reduce your heating and cooling costs. To improve the energy efficiency of your home, you can install rigid foam insulation on the exterior walls underneath the new vinyl siding. Your municipal council should also be contacted before beginning any home renovations.

  • Is it better to insulate the attic floor, the roof, or both?

    Unless you are finishing the attic for living space, you should insulate the attic floor to contain the heat within the living space below.

  • What is the best type of insulation to use in my attic?

    Either loose fill (typically fiberglass or cellulose), batt insulation (usually fiberglass), or spray foam will work well.

    Batt insulation is easier to install yourself; if possible, install the new insulation perpendicular to the attic floor joists to reduce heat loss through the joists. Loose fill insulations are typically installed with a blower machine. For a DIY project this can be rented from most hardware stores or you can hire a contractor to complete the work. Spray foam will need to be installed by a trained professional.

  • How much insulation should I have in my attic?

    Attics should be insulated to a minimum of R-50. We recommend R-60 if you live in Labrador.

  • I’ve always heard that “heat rises”. Why do I need to insulate my floors?

    Actually, warm air, which is less dense and therefore lighter than cold air will tend to rise above cold air as a result of air pressure. Heat transfer will occur in all directions, because heat moves from areas of high temperature to areas of low temperature, including through the floor of a heated space to an unheated basement.

    If your home is built over a crawlspace or unheated basement, you can lose a lot of heat downward through the floors. Insulation will help reduce that loss and also make your floors feel warmer in the winter.

  • How much insulation should I have under my floor?

    Floors over unheated crawlspaces or basements should be insulated with no less than R-30. Cantilevered floors (overhangs over open air) should have the space between the sub-floor and the soffits fully insulated to at least R-31 and have rigorous air sealing. If your home has a basement containing your heating system or other sources of heat, you should insulate the basement walls to at least R-18, rather than insulating the floor above.

  • What is the difference between “R-value” and “RSI value” for insulation?

    Both are a measure of how well a material resists the passage of heat, R-Value is the imperial measurement and RSI is the metric equivalent. To convert RSI to R-value multiply by 5.67826; to convert R-value to RSI divide by 5.67826.

  • What does the term “R-value” mean?

    R-value is a measure of how well a material resists the passage of heat. The higher the R-value, the slower the rate of heat transfer through the insulating material and the more effective insulation is in keeping the home warm in winter and cool in summer. Insulation should always be judged by R-value rather than inches, as different insulation materials have different R-values per inch of thickness.

  • If the walls and ceiling of my home are well insulated, do I really need to insulate my basement?

    Uninsulated basements are a significant source of heat loss and can account for up to 30% of a home’s heat loss. Basement walls should be insulated to at least R18.

  • Why does moisture form on the inside of my windows in winter, and how can I minimize the amount of moisture?

    Condensation will occur whenever warm air hits a cold surface because warm air holds more water vapor than cold air. If you have single-paned windows, adding storm windows will keep the inner pane of glass warmer and reduce the amount of condensation. Monitoring your indoor humidity and keeping it in the range of 40 – 50% (even less in very cold weather) will also help.  You can reduce the humidity level in your home by installing an HRV unit. A dehumidifier may also help. If you purchase a dehumidifier, be sure to purchase an ENERGY STAR model as it will use 15% less energy. Rebates are available on ENERGY STAR® dehumidifiers during Instant Rebate campaigns and high efficiency HRVs year round.

  • Will a fan over my range help remove moisture when I’m cooking?

    Yes. Kitchen hoods installed directly over the range capture heated air, moisture, smoke, and odors, while a fan exhausts them through ductwork to the outside. An easily removed and cleaned filter traps grease. A kitchen range hood should be at least the same width as the cooking surface it will serve and be mounted directly over it at a height of 18 to 30 inches above the burners.

  • How can I reduce high humidity levels and condensation in my home?

    The first step is to reduce the humidity level by controlling the amount of water vapor that goes in the air. The following suggestions will reduce the humidity levels in the home:

    • Disconnect any humidifiers.
    • Cover any earth floors in basements or crawl spaces with a moisture barrier.
    • Install a sump pump to remove excessive moisture from the soil under the slab.
    • Fix all water leaks into the basement.
    • Don’t allow any standing water in the house or against the foundation wall.
    • Make sure the ground slopes away from the foundation wall and that there are properly functioning eavestroughs around the house.
    • Ventilate kitchens and bathrooms during use by using exhaust fans. Showers, humidity, cooking and people produce large quantities of moisture on a daily basis.
    • Use a dehumidifier especially in damp or new basements.
    • Install a Heat Recovery Ventilation system and ensure that it is always on.
    • Rebates are available on ENERGY STAR® dehumidifiers during Instant Rebate campaigns and high efficiency HRVs year round.
  • I’ve heard that you can make a home “too airtight” – should I be concerned about this?

    Today’s homes are more energy-efficient because they follow standards mandating better insulation and airtightness. However, without an appropriately designed, installed and maintained ventilation system, homes can be under-ventilated. Air leakage is not ventilation. A lack of controlled ventilation can lead to a build-up of moisture, odors, bacteria, fungi and combustion gases such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Ventilation prevents excessive build-up of these and other indoor contaminants that can affect your health and comfort and damage your home.

  • What’s the difference between an HRV unit and an air exchanger?

    The heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is the proper choice in colder climates where there is excessive humidity during the heating season. An HRV keeps the home supplied with a steady flow of fresh outdoor air. As stale, warm air is expelled, the heat recovery core warms the incoming fresh, colder air before it is distributed throughout the home. The result is a constant supply of fresh air and and greater home comfort.

    An air exchanger just does that – it exchanges the warm stale air in your home with fresh cold air from the outside and there is no heat recovery meaning that when this cold air comes into your home, your heating system will have to work harder to heat it.

  • What is controlled ventilation?

    Controlled ventilation is the process of supplying a house or room continuously with fresh air. Ventilation reduces excess moisture and unhealthy indoor air pollutants. Properly designed and installed ventilation increases home comfort. The best way to ventilate your home is with a Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) system. This system consists of four basic parts:

    • a means of exhausting stale air and excess water vapor
    • a means of supplying fresh air
    • a way of distributing the fresh air throughout the house
    • controls for operating the ventilation system

    To maximize the benefits of your HRV, it is strongly recommended to have it properly installed by an HRAI certified installer.

  • Should I shut off my water heater if I plan to be away from home?

    If you are going to be away for more than a week, it is a good idea to turn off the water heater. If the water heater is electric, you can shut off the circuit breaker.

  • How do I check the temperature settings on my hot water tank?

    First, turn off the power supply to the hot water tank by switching off the circuit breaker for the tank. You will find the temperature controls behind an access panel on the side of the tank. There are usually two controls, one for each heating element.  Set both elements to the same temperature.

    For health and safety reasons you should set the temperature to no less than 60°C (140°F).

  • What size water heater should I have?

    It depends on your family size and lifestyle.  For an average family of four, a 150 litre (40 US gallon, or 33 Imperial gallon) tank should be sufficient.

  • How can I reduce the amount of hot water energy used in my home?

    There are a number of ways to reduce hot water energy usage in your home.

    • Make sure your hot water tank is set to the proper temperature–60°C (140°F)
    • Set your dishwasher to energy saver or water saver settings.
    • If you are considering purchasing a new dishwasher or clothes washer look for ENERGY STAR®. Certain energy efficient clothes washers qualify for a $100 takeCHARGE* rebate.
    • Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water.  Clothes still get clean and the cold water setting helps reduce fading and wrinkling.
    • Install an aerator in your kitchen faucet.
    • Make sure the dishwasher or clothes washer has a full load before starting.
    • Install high performance showerheads and faucet aerators. Save $10 on high performance showerheads during Instant Rebate campaigns.
    • Fix leaky faucets.  A little drip can add up.
    • Take a shower instead of a bath.  A five minute shower with an energy efficient showerhead will use less hot water than a bath.
  • Aside from adjusting the temperature, are there other easy ways I can save on water heating?

    The simplest way to save is to use less hot water. Use high performance showerheads, wash clothes in cold or warm water instead of hot, and only run full loads in your clothes washer and dishwasher. You can get a takeCHARGE rebate on qualifying energy efficient washers year-round and on showerheads during Instant Rebate campaigns.

  • What is the best temperature setting for my water heater?

    For an electric water heater, set the thermostat to 60°C (140°F). This is the recommended temperature for health and safety. Bacteria can grow at lower temperatures, and above this, you run a high risk of scalding as well as wasting energy. Check the temperature at the faucet.

  • How important is it to insulate my electric water heater?

    Unless your electric water heater is located in an unheated basement or crawl space, it is not important to insulate the tank. A better energy efficiency investment is to insulate the first two metres of the hot water pipe leading from your water heater with pipe insulation.

  • What color light is available in LED light bulbs?

    LED light bulbs come in variety of different colors such as warm white or soft white, cool white or bright white and natural or daylight.  Light color is measured on a temperature scale called Kelvin.  The lower the Kelvin number, the light will appear more yellowish and the higher the Kelvin number, the light will appear more white or blue.  Some LED light bulbs have a temperature scale on the package showing the color of light in the package.  Others will simply state the color of the bulb on the package in writing.  When choosing an LED light bulb be sure to consider where the light bulb will be used in your home and also to read the packaging carefully.  Learn more about how to pick the perfect LED bulb.

  • Why should I choose ENERGY STAR® certified LED lighting products?

    When choosing products look for ENERGY STAR.  Energy Star qualified lighting products meet strict quality and efficiency standards that are tested by accredited labs and certified by a third party.   They also meet high quality and performance standards in the areas of color quality and light output.

  • Should LEDs be used in enclosed fixtures?

    There are LED light bulbs available that can be used in enclosed fixtures.  However, the majority of LED bulbs will indicate on the package that they are not to be used in fully enclosed fixtures.  Using an LED light bulb in an enclosed fixture when it is not recommended by the manufacturer may cause the bulb to overheat and fail early.  It is important to read the packaging carefully to find out what type of fixture the bulb can be installed in. Also the packaging should say if the bulb is meant to be used indoor or outdoor and if it is designed to be used in wet or dry locations.

  • What is the correct way to dispose of compact fluorescent bulbs?

    Because CFL light bulbs contain a very small amount of mercury they should be disposed of safely.  Many municipalities have implemented household hazardous waste collection programs which allow residents to drop off their hazardous waste at designated locations and times.  Other municipalities have household hazardous waste depots that accept hazardous materials.   Check with your local municipality or waste management authority about the requirements for recycling and to get more information on what programs are available in your area.

  • Are LED bulbs dimmable?

    Yes, they can, but not ALL LED’s are dimmable. LED bulbs must be designed to dim and they are not compatible with all dimmer controls designed for incandescent bulbs. Be sure the packaging states it is a dimmable bulb and choose dimmer switches that are compatible with LED light bulbs.

  • Can I do anything to reduce my lighting costs?
    • Use only the amount of light you need and turn off lights when they are not in use.
    • Install lighting controls such as timers and motion sensors to ensure your lights are off when you don’t need them.
    • Choose the lowest wattage bulb that will provide the amount of light that you need.
    • Light Emitting Diode (LED) is an excellent alternative to standard incandescent light bulbs. LED light bulbs use at least 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and last at least 15 times longer.
    • Rebates are available on timers, motion sensors, dimmers and LED bulbs during Instant Rebate campaigns.
  • Is it a good idea to vent my clothes dryer inside to capture the extra heat in the winter?

    Definitely not. The heated air blown out the vent also contains all of the moisture that has been removed from the clothes. This moisture can cause problems ranging from excessive condensation on windows to long-term structural damage.

  • Can I save by unplugging appliances that are not in use?

    If the appliance has an “on/off” switch, turning it off has the same effect as unplugging it. Extra refrigerators or freezers should be unplugged when not in use.

  • Are there any simple ways I can save energy and money with my dishwasher?

    Run full loads whenever possible (this also saves water), and use the “air dry” setting or open the door after the cycle is completed instead of using the “heated dry” cycle.

  • How can I save energy and money on washing and drying clothes?

    Wash laundry in cold water and line dry whenever possible for the greatest savings. Washing your clothes in cold water can save you over $175 a year. Line dry your clothes for additional savings. Also, be sure to use the appropriate water level setting. Avoid over drying and always run full loads. Need a new washer? Certain energy efficient models qualify for a $100 takeCHARGE rebate.

  • Can I save energy by using a microwave or toaster oven for cooking and defrosting frozen food?

    Yes. Microwaves are excellent for defrosting and reheating cooked food, and use much less electricity than an electric range or oven. Toaster ovens also use less and are good for heating or cooking small quantities of food.

  • What is the purpose of the EnerGuide labels on appliances, and what do they tell me?

    These labels allow you to compare energy costs of comparable appliances. Most will have a horizontal scale showing the least efficient model, the most efficient one, and where that particular appliance falls on the scale. The labels also have a table that allows you to estimate your annual energy cost based on current electric rates. As with kilometer ratings on automobiles, your actual cost may vary depending on usage.

  • I have a separate chest freezer. Is this costing me a lot to run, and how can I cut the cost?

    The older the model, the more energy it will use.  The only way to avoid this cost is to eliminate the freezer.  If you are purchasing a new chest freezer, choose an ENERGY STAR® model for the best energy efficiency. Plus you may be eligible for a $100 takeCHARGE rebate.

  • Are there any simple, inexpensive things I can do to save energy with my refrigerator?

    Yes. Make sure the door gasket fits snugly to keep the cold air inside, clean the coils (located either on the bottom or the back) regularly, and avoid overfilling the refrigerator – there needs to be enough room for the cold air to circulate.

  • How can I reduce the cost of operating my hot tub?

    Be sure to invest in an energy efficient cover. 50% of heat loss comes from the top of the tub. Look for thicker covers that have a higher R-Value to reduce heat loss through the top. As well, make sure to keep on top of cover maintenance. Heat loss happens much more rapidly once a cover becomes water logged or experiences UV damage.

  • I often need to use a dehumidifier to control excess moisture in my basement. How can I reduce the cost?

    Use dehumidifiers only as needed. In mild weather, try opening windows and using either natural air circulation or fans to dry up any excess humidity. You can also purchase an ENERGY STAR® dehumidifier. They energy efficient models are eligible for a $10 during Instant Rebate campaigns.

  • I’ve heard that waterbeds use a lot of electricity. How can I reduce the cost?

    The best way to save energy and money is to keep the bed covered, keeping the heat in.

  • Does an electric blanket use much electricity?

    Very little, and it is much less expensive than keeping the whole house warm while you sleep.

  • Where can I find information about the Home Heating Rebate program?

    Information on the Home Heating Rebate program can be found on the Department of Finance website or by contacting the department toll-free at 1-877-223-7432 or by email at homeheatprogram@gov.nl.ca

  • How can I get an energy audit done on my home?

    Be sure to choose only NRCan Certified Energy Advisors. There are several companies in Newfoundland and Labrador that perform this service:

    AmeriSpec Inspection Services (New and existing home evaluations)
    709-687-4673
    nl.east@amerispec.ca
    homeinspectionstjohns.com

    Energuy Canada Ltd. (Existing home evaluations)
    1-888-228-5422
    appointments@energuycanada.ca

    Sustainable Housing (New and existing home evaluations)
    1-877-722-2842
    info@sustainablehousing.ca
    http://www.sustainablehousing.ca/

    ThermalWise (New home evaluations)
    709-763-9276
    info@thermalwise.ca
    http://thermalwise.ca/

     

    If you decide to use one of the firms listed above, be sure to ask about rebates and grants, how to qualify and the expected overall cost of the audit. Prices may vary depending on audit details.

  • What are some of the best ways to save energy and help reduce my electricity costs?

    There are many things you can do to save energy. Remember, all things can add up. These are a few suggestions:

    • Ensure you have at least R 18 insulation in your basement walls and R 50 (R 60 in Labrador) in your attic. If not, upgrade the insulation levels. You could be eligible for a takeCHARGE rebate.
    • Seal around vents leading to the exterior of your home with caulking and weather-strip all exterior doors.
    • Use low-flow showerheads to reduce your home’s hot water usage. You can get a $10 rebate during Instant Rebate
    • Insulate the first two metres of the hot water pipe leading from your hot water heater with pipe insulation.
    • Replace incandescent light bulbs and exterior floodlights with LEDs. They use at least 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb and lasts up to 25 times longer. You can get up to $5 back on LED bulbs during Instant Rebate
    • Buy ENERGY STAR® appliances. The ENERGY STAR symbol identifies the models that are the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly. Certain energy efficient appliances are eligible for a takeCHARGE rebate.
    • Turning off computers, home office equipment and electronics when not in use will reduce wasted energy.
  • What factors affect my electricity usage and costs?

    There are many variables that can cause your electricity costs to fluctuate each month:

    • Weather: Cold winter days and seasonal winds can cause you to require more heat during the winter.
    • Bill Period: The number of days in the billing period can affect your bill.  Your daily energy consumption may remain stable, however, if your bill covers a longer period it might look like you’ve used more electricity.
    • Increased energy use:  If you have a new baby, live-in relatives, tenants or houseguests you may experience higher energy use.
    • Changes to your home: A new home office or hot tub can contribute to higher energy use.  Or, if you are renovating, you will use more energy during renovations to heat and run your home.
    • Winter or seasonal: Throughout winter the days are shorter, so lights are on for longer periods of time. Holiday lighting also adds to your energy consumption. Dehumidifiers will use more electricity in the summer when the outdoor humidity levels are higher.
    • Appliance use: Aside from your heating system, the following appliances are likely to be the biggest energy users in your home: portable space heaters, electric water heaters, refrigerators and dehumidifiers

    Remember, you can save money by making wise energy choices and purchases. Look for the ENERGY STAR® symbol.

  • What do I need to know about building permits, codes and standards before I start energy-efficient renovations to my house?

    While you’re at the planning stage, check with your municipality’s building department to find out which permits you’ll need. This varies from province to province but usually special permits are required for any changes to plumbing, heating and electrical wiring. Building permits are also required for any excavation, additions, changes, or alterations to the walls of a building. The purpose of the permit process and the related inspections is to ensure that the work on your home meets provincial or municipal requirements for health and safety, and that is structurally sound. Often, building codes will state that products or installation methods must conform to a certain standard.

  • Does my business qualify for a custom incentive?

    If your business has a commercial account, you may qualify for an incentive. Please contact us before starting your project to see if you qualify.

  • What incentives are available for my business?
  • I own my own business. Are there useful tips to help me save energy and reduce my electricity costs?

    Most smart businesses strive to keep their costs low — and that includes saving on energy.  Many of the standard household conservation tips on our website are also applicable to businesses. LED bulbs work in desk lamps and table lamps, and a computer monitor left on wastes just as much in an office as a teen’s bedroom.

    The following are additional ideas that businesses should consider to help reduce energy costs:

    • Install occupancy sensors in areas like storerooms and warehouses.  These can save up to 40% on associated energy costs by turning lights on and off when someone enters and leaves a room. You can also get a takeCHARGE rebate when you install occupancy sensors.
    • Install aluminum reflectors on fluorescent tube light fixtures to increase the effectiveness of lighting.  This often allows for lower wattage and/or fewer bulbs.
    • Replace traditional EXIT signs (which by law must be lit 24 hours a day) with newer light emitting diode (LED) signs or retrofit kits.  You’ll be replacing an energy waster of up to 30 watts with as little as 2 watts and can get a $20 rebate.
    • Turn equipment off.  Contrary to what some people may think, computers, monitors, photocopiers and appliances all consume more energy if you leave them running instead of turning them on and off.  You will see real savings if you turn them off at the end of the day and for extended periods like weekends and holidays.
    • Buy ENERGY STAR® computer systems, monitors and electronic products. The ENERGY STAR® label identifies the most energy efficient products available.
    • Lower room temperature set points during un-occupied periods such as evenings and weekends. A programmable thermostat will achieve this automatically – Just set it and forget it! Programmable thermostats are also eligible for
    • Keep ducts and heaters free from obstruction.
    • When buying or replacing fluorescent lighting, use high efficiency T8, T5 or tubular LED’s.