Frequently Asked Questions - General

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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 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.

  • How can I get a home energy assessment 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

    ThermalWise (New home evaluations) 877-771-9276
    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.
    • 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.