Friday, July 20, 2012

Make Old Toilet More Efficient / Replace your Water Faucet, and Save Precious Water

Here's Two Environmentally Friendly Ways to Save Water!

Make Old Toilet More Efficient
Typically older toilets hold anywhere from 3.5 to 7 gallons of water. The newer models are made more efficient by only using 1.5 to 3 gallons per flush. But not everybody can afford to buy a new toilet right away. And chances are you will need a plumber to install it. You can use this as a temporary fix to permanently save money. This really costs nothing and can save loads on the energy bills.

How to:
Get a clean, used 12 oz. plastic water bottle or two. Be sure to remove any paper or exterior labels.
Fill your dry water bottle with sand.
Place the lid on the water bottle and be sure bottle is dry and sealed.
Remove the lid to the water tank on your toilet.
Flush your toilet so that the tank is nearly empty and immediately place your filled bottle(s) into the tank.
Check to ensure that the bottle is not floating and is not blocking your stopper. Additionally, verify that the water is properly shutting off when the tank is full. Replace the lid on the toilet water tank.
If your tank is larger, you can try a larger bottle.

For more on this project, go to and see this Associated Content article. Copyright 2010 CBS. All rights reserved.

Updated Bathroom Faucet
A simple faucet replacement can easily update the look of a bath or kitchen without having to spend a fortune. Faucets run anywhere from $30 and up and can be installed in less than an hour.

How to:
Using a wrench, take the old faucet from the sink and take it to the store with you to be sure to purchase a proper replacement
Remove any old plumber's putty or caulk
Add new faucet with gasket or plumber's putty
Add Teflon tape to the hookups for a tight fit
Tighten down the nuts being careful not to twist the hookups.

The most important thing to keep you from running back and forth to the hardware store is to make sure you have the proper size. I recommend taking the old one off and taking it with you to the store. You'll need an adjustable wrench and this basin wrench to get up into the tight spaces. Make sure you have turned off the water supply and drained out the sink before you do this or you'll end up with water everywhere. A TOOL WORTH IT'S WEIGHT IN GOLD IS CALLED A BASIN WRENCH. IT COSTS $12.

For more on this project, go to and

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Integrated Space Heating & Water Heating System Coming Soon!

Integrated Space Heating & Water Heating System   Coming Soon!
The complete system for home heating, cooling and water heating powered by tankless technology. Featuring  the new RHWB Hydronic Air Handler with a variable speed ECM-X13 motor for operational cost savings. For more information contact your Rheem representative - 

House Smart Home Improvements - 604-585-2020

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Good News is: You Can Reduce Your Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Almost 4.6 Tonnes Per Year.

  ....You Can make a Difference!

 From House Smart Home Improvements.

Today, 17 percent of all energy used in Canada goes toward running our homes. Every time we use energy from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, we produce greenhouse gas emissions. By using less energy in our homes, we help reduce the production of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and harm our environment.
Now days, homes that are more than 25 years old have the potential to save an average of 35 percent of their energy use. Homes that are more than 50 years old could achieve even greater savings – an average of 38 percent.
Since 1998, more than 270,000 property owners have used NRCan’s energy efficiency program to help identify and solve home comfort problems and plan their energy efficiency retrofits. NRCan data show that if these property owners undertook all the retrofits recommended, they would reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by almost 4.6 tonnes per year, per house.

home exterior
Photo: Home Depot

Being environmentally conscious has become a daily part of modern life. From eating organic to recycling, there are a myriad of ways you can reduce your carbon footprint -- or the negative impact your daily activities have on the environment.

One of the biggest ways to shrink your carbon shoe size -- and save money -- is to reduce the amount of energy you use at home. This doesn't mean installing solar panels or opting for a wood-burning stove. Nobody expects you to live like a pioneer.


Replacing your old windows with new vinyl windows and doors from House Smart Home Improvements can help lower heating and cooling bills in the home. Vinyl products also tend to have a longer life cycle than other frames (such as wood or aluminum). The resistance of vinyl to rot, decay and insect infestations means the product will last longer in a home, requiring less frequent replacement. All these factors combined illustrate why vinyl windows are considered friendly products for the environment.

Vinyl windows are not only extremely durable and highly energy–efficient, they're also an excellent “green” home-improvement solution. The vinyl used in making vinyl windows has an extremely smooth finish to keep the windows from discoloring over time. Vinyl windows will never become brittle and require practically no maintenance.
Today, more windows are made of vinyl than any other material, including wood and aluminum. That's because it's the best material for designing and producing windows that provide the benefits homeowners like you want—such as energy efficiency, security, durability and low maintenance.
Vinyl is also a good choice for helping to protect our environment because it doesn't emit toxins and is a highly recyclable material. Much less energy is used to manufacture vinyl windows than aluminum products, and no trees need to be cut down to make them. Vinyl windows help reduce greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, which increases Canada's energy security.

Aside from vinyl window installation from House Smart Home Improvements, there are several easy, cost-effective adjustments you can make as a resident that will have a surprisingly big impact on the environment.

  ~Following Tips by:  Megan Mostyn-Brown

1. Switch Your Lightbulbs.

Everyone knows that shutting off the lights is a big energy saver. But what's a homeowner to do when the lights are on? Trading standard lightbulbs for energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs or LED lights not only saves you money on your electricity bill, but also helps to reduce the amount of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

led light bulb
Source: Home Depot

2. Insulate.

Heat loss is a huge contributor to the size of your home's carbon footprint. Insulate the attic and basement to keep from heating the great outdoors. Seal up any holes or cracks in your walls and make sure your windows close tightly.

Insulate your home
Source: Home Depot

3. Unplug.

Your home is filled with vampires. Not the sparkly, blood-sucking kind you see in movies, but the kind that secretly siphons energy. This includes appliances, laptops and phone and computer chargers. Even when not in use, these items draw out energy. Unplug them and the problem is solved.

Plug in adapter
Source: Home Depot

4. Switch to Vacation Mode.

If you're heading out on vacation, give your home a break as well. Close all of the windows, unplug everything and switch big energy producing items like your water heater to "vacation" mode. This mode makes the water heater pump out warm water instead of the piping hot kind.

5. Change Filters.

Old filters make items like air conditioners and furnaces work twice as hard. Switch the filters regularly and you'll get better quality air at half the price.

air filter
Photo Source: Home Depot

 Implementing these changes to your home routine may take a little getting used to. However, your lower energy bill and a healthier environment make it all worth it.

Is it time to have your Home Energy Audit?

Canadians who participate in the federal government's ecoENERGY Retrofit Program are eligible for up to $5,000 to help make their homes more energy efficient. After an evaluation, your home will receive an energy efficiency rating and areas of improvement will be identified. It's a great way to pinpoint exactly how much energy your home consumes and get a financial leg up on making improvements.

To set up your Energy Audit and for a Free In-home Estimate, call or visit House Smart Home Improvements today:  604-585-2020

Friday, July 6, 2012

Are You Eligible for Both Provincial and Federal Grants?

As a homeowner, am I eligible for Government Grants to save money on heating costs, and make my home more energy-efficient? YES! Can I be eligible for both provincial and federal incentives? The answer is YES. Here is the latest information with common questions and answers about government grants in BC to upgrade your home and make it more energy efficient. Let's go green and save!

Blog provided by  - House Smart Home Improvements.
For a free consultation with answers to any of the following questions call us at:


Can I be eligible for both provincial and federal incentives?
Yes.  You can be eligible to receive incentives from both the provincial LiveSmart BC and federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes programs as long as you meet other eligibility criteria for these programs. 

I have already accessed incentives from either the LiveSmart BC or ecoENERGY programs. Am I eligible for incentives through the current LiveSmart BC program?
No. In order to provide as many British Columbians as possible access to limited government funds the current LiveSmart BC incentives are only available to participants who have not previously accessed incentives through either the LiveSmart BC or ecoENERGY programs.

I have already had an initial (pre-retrofit) assessment but have never accessed incentives from either the LiveSmart BC or ecoENERGY programs. Am I eligible for incentives through the current LiveSmart BC program?
Yes, however you must have a new baseline energy efficiency assessment after April 1, 2011.  Only upgrades undertaken after this new baseline assessment will be eligible for incentives. You will not be eligible for another LiveSmart BC assessment subsidy for this new baseline.  The cost of your new baseline will be up to $325 plus taxes and travel in some areas.

Am I eligible to access LiveSmart BC incentives more than once for the same property?
No. Eligible participants can only participate in the new LiveSmart BC program once for each property they own.

Can I access LiveSmart BC incentives for upgrades to a rental property or a property that is not my primary residence?
Yes. As long as you meet other eligibility requirements, you can access incentives for these types of properties.

I participated in the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program and the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program in a previous home. I now own a new home. Am I eligible for incentives under this program?
Yes. The first step to becoming eligible for incentives in your new home is to have a home energy assessment by a Certified Energy Advisor, like House Smart Home Improvements.

A previous owner of my home participated in the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program and/or the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program.  Am I eligible for incentives under this program?
Yes. The first step to becoming eligible for incentives in your new home is to have a home energy assessment by a Certified Energy Advisor. To find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area click here.

About the program and how to participate

How do I apply for LiveSmart BC?
Your House Smart Home Improvements Certified Energy Advisor will handle all the paperwork in applying for provincial incentives after the post-retrofit energy assessment.
Is there a provincial maximum for energy efficiency?
No, there is no provincial maximum. You will receive provincial incentives for all eligible upgrades made to your home.
Are the incentives based on how much I spend for upgrades?
No. The amount you receive is based on the individual upgrades completed. A specific incentive amount will be calculated for each qualifying upgrade so the rebate is based on the total qualifying upgrades completed.
Does the new equipment I am installing have to have a higher efficiency than the original equipment to qualify for incentives?
Must the new equipment I am installing be more efficient than the original equipment to qualify for incentives?
Will I be taxed on the efficiency incentives I receive for my upgrades?
How long will it take me to receive my incentive cheque?
The data used to process incentive payments for the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program is initially processed by the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program.  This program structure allows significantly reduced administrative costs for the LiveSmart program, however, it also requires the LiveSmart program to wait to process incentives until after the file has been processed by the federal program.
Due to the reintroduction of the federal ecoENERGY Retrofit – Homes program this summer the LiveSmart program has experienced significant delays in receiving customer data from the federal program.  The reintroduction of the federal program also required significant changes to the LiveSmart software system to calculate and process customer incentive payments.  Unforeseen difficulties with these updates have resulted in substantial delays to some participants’ cheques.  We apologise for any inconvenience these delays have caused. 
This matter is the Program’s top priority.  We are close to resolving the issues and expect to begin mailing cheques soon.  If you have not yet received your incentive by the mid-March please contact the LiveSmart call centre at 1-866-430-8765 for an update on the status.  The LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program office will be prioritising customer payments by post-retrofit assessment dates, with the earliest customers being paid first.
Thank you for your continued patience on this matter.
When does the LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive program end?
This program currently has funding until March 31, 2013.
Can I participate in the LiveSmart BC program more than once?
You are only eligible to participate in the program one time for each property you own. Only participants starting the program on or after April 1, 2011 are eligible for the current incentives.

Building type eligibility

Does it matter how old my house is?
Yes it does. New construction is not eligible for the LiveSmart BC program. While any home that has had an occupancy permit for at least 6 months can become eligible, houses built before 1985 will benefit the most as they have the most potential for energy improvements.
Are mobile homes eligible for the incentive program?
Yes. Mobile homes are eligible.
I live in an apartment/condo complex. Am I eligible for incentives?
Multi-unit residential buildings are not eligible for the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program.
I am building a new house. Am I eligible for incentives and assessments under this new program?
No. The Efficiency Incentive Program only targets existing housing. However, BC Hydro and FortisBC have incentive programs for new housing.

The energy assessment

Why do I have to have an assessment to be eligible for incentives? What benefits will the assessment provide?
The home energy assessment:
  • provides independent third-party energy efficiency advice for existing homes;
  • handles the paperwork to ensure eligibility for incentives from the Province, Utility Partners and the federal government if the timing of upgrades is eligible;
  • provides you with an energy efficiency rating label of your home that can increase the home’s resale potential by providing evidence of “invisible” energy improvements in existing homes;
  • provides the home’s estimated energy consumption, energy efficiency recommendations and the estimated reductions in energy use should each recommendation be implemented; and
  • allows you to make informed decisions on improving the efficiency of your home over the short- and long-term.
How long does it take to have an energy assessment completed?
The initial (pre-retrofit) energy assessment will take approximately two hours to complete. The follow-up (post-retrofit) energy assessment will take approximately one hour.
How much does an energy assessment cost? Is this cost reimbursed?
The total cost for an initial (pre-retrofit) energy assessment is up to $325.00 plus taxes and travel in some areas. The LiveSmart BC Incentive Program covers $150.00 of the cost directly to the assessment providers, so the cost to the homeowner is no more than $175.00 plus taxes and travel in some areas. Assessment providers are contractually bound to charge no more than $175 to homeowners for the base service of the initial energy assessment.
The follow-up (post-retrofit) assessment also costs about $150.00. The price of this assessment is set by the assessment providers and may vary. This cost is covered by the homeowner.  It is recommended that homeowners request a quote for the follow-up assessment, including travel, at the time of the initial assessment.
What quality assurance procedures are in place for Certified Energy Advisors?
Natural Resources Canada reviews customer surveys and files and conducts on-site reviews of Certified Energy Advisors.
Will I need to provide personal information? What privacy guidelines are in place?
Your personal information will be needed to process your grant application. Your personal information is protected under the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and under the federal Privacy Act. To coordinate incentives offered by LiveSmart BC and our utility partners, personal information will, if applicable, be shared with your utility provider to determine grant eligibility offerings provided by BC Hydro and FortisBC. Utility Providers are also required to protect your personal information.

Incentive Cheques for the previous LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive programs

I have completed my follow-up assessment under the previous LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive program.  When can I expect to receive my incentive cheque??
If you completed eligible upgrades and had a follow-up assessment under the previous program and have not yet received you cheque you can contact our call centre can investigate the status: 1-866-430-8765.

This information is directly from the British Columbia Live Smart BC Website, courtesy of House Smart Home Improvements. Visit today, or call us at 604-585-2020.