Friday, May 10, 2013

Lowering Your Utility Bills...a House Smart Article by Janice Naisby

We just replaced our 30-something-year-old windows. Late last summer, during a particularly vicious thunder storm, with rain driving horizontally at our south facing elevation, one of the living room windows created an interesting fountain effect from water driving through the rotting wood.
With basins strategically placed, the decision to replace was irrefutable. The porosity of the windows also meant that severe air infiltration problems were clearly impacting on our heating and cooling bills.
Simultaneously, we made the move to replace the equally-aged furnace, water heater and air conditioning units with energy efficient models. Apart from being voracious energy guzzlers, the furnace, in particular, was close to giving up the ghost completely - not an event to entertain on a cold mid-winter day. I noticed an immediate drop in energy consumption after installation of the new HVAC system and I am looking forward to another drop in energy bills now that the windows have been replaced.

There are a number of other, less expensive, energy saving solutions that we will be implementing to impact positively on our family's energy consumption. These include caulking and weather-stripping around doors to eliminate drafts. Heat-generating appliances will be used at night during the summer months when temperatures are cooler. Cold water laundry washes will save on hot water consumption and air drying clothes conserve power. There is nothing nicer than the smell of laundry that has dried courtesy of a solar power. Ceiling fans will be installed to supplement the air conditioning unit - air movement helps to enhance cooling. By putting computers on standy and unplugging phone chargers and camera battery chargers we will conserve energy. Our programmable thermostat helps to avoid heating or cooling an empty house or closes off rooms not being used at all. air filters will be replaced regularly - dirty filters restrict air flow, increasing consumption.
Our next move will be to replace the front and side doors with more energy efficient models and improve insulation levels in the attic. The ceiling fans will be installed in the catherdral ceiling in the lving room - date still to be determined.
We are all capable of effecting small changes in our lifestyles to reduce gas and hydro consumption, which eases the stress and strain on our wallets and lightens the load placed on utility companies.

By Janice Naisby, Editor-in-Chief 


Sherry's Review

5 Star Review
  • 5 Star Rating
  • 5 Star Rating
  • 5 Star Rating
Summary: Very Happy With our New Windows
Review: Very professional, and out in a windows have brought our house into the 21st century. We will recommend HouseSmart to anyone who asks.
  • Reviewed By: Sherry R.
  • Review Date: 02 Nov 2012
  • Reviewer Location: Abbotsford, BC
Visit House Smart Home Improvements or call 604-585-2020 to set up your Free Consultation Today.
When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades, give us a call. We do the job right. 604-585-2020

Current Rebates Available for Home Improvements


Eligible Upgrades and Incentives – April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014

The first step to become eligible for incentives is to have an energy efficiency assessment of your home. To find a Certified Energy Advisor in your area call 604-585-2020 and set up a Free In-Home Consultation from House Smart Home Improvements today.

Up to $1,200 for Exterior Wall Insulation from Fortis BC Rebates..Plus More!

With support from utility partners, FortisBC and BC Hydro, the LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program is continuing until March 31, 2014. Rebates are available for insulation, air sealing and more.

Available incentives

The following home energy efficiency upgrades are eligible for incentives:

Air sealing and ventilation

  • Up to $400 for air tightness upgrades
  • Up to $25 for an ENERGY STAR® bathroom fan


  • Up to $1,200 for exterior wall insulation
  • Up to $1,000 for basement insulation
  • Up to $600 for attic insulation
Contact House Smart Home Improvements for a Free In-Home Consultation. Our expert will explain all of the rebates available to you and walk you through the steps you need to take. Call Us Today at 604-585-2020.

How to apply

Pre-retrofit evaluation

Hire a Certified Energy Advisor to perform a pre-retrofit home energy assessment by December 31, 2013.
House Smart Home Improvements can set you up with the right adviser during your Free In-Home Consultation. Call 604-585-2020 Today.

Do your retrofit. Keep your receipts.

Choose, purchase and install eligible improvements. The more upgrades you implement, the more money you can receive, and the more energy you can save.

Post-retrofit evaluation

Complete your renovations and obtain a post-retrofit evaluation assessment by March 31, 2014. Your advisor will apply for the incentives on your behalf.

What is a Home Energy Assessment?

Performed by a Certified Energy Advisor licensed by Natural Resources Canada, a Home Energy Assessment identifies improvements you can make to your home's space and water heating, cooling, insulation, air leakage and other energy uses that could result in hundreds of dollars in energy savings each year. Your home will also receive an EnerGuide® for Houses rating. In addition to saving energy, you'll also be helping to minimize your carbon footprint.
A typical assessment involves the following steps:
  • a walk-through assessment of your home's insulation, heating and cooling systems and other energy uses
  • a blower door depressurization test to identify leaks and drafts
  • a personalized Energy Efficiency Evaluation Report and EnerGuide for Houses rating

Terms and conditions

These incentives are subject to revision and will be paid in accordance with the Terms and conditions in place at the time of the homeowner’s second energy assessment.


Contact House Smart Home Improvements for a Free In-Home Consultation. Our expert will explain all of the rebates available to you and walk you through the steps you need to take. Call Us Today at 604-585-2020.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

If You had a Retrofit Energy Assessment Prior to April 1, 2012, You May be Eligible for Additional Rebates for upgrades!

New LiveSmart BC Rebate Program 

If you have had a pre-retrofit energy assessment or a post-retrofit energy assessment prior to April 1, 2012, you may be able to re-enter the LiveSmart BC program for additional rebates for upgrades!
LiveSmart BC has partnered with BC Hydro and FortisBC to provide a new phase of subsidies for energy assessments and rebates for making energy efficient upgrades to British Columbia homes.

In this program, rebates for upgrades are available:
  • For insulation and air sealing upgrades (not space or water heating systems or other upgrades). See  grant chart for details.
  • For homes that are heated primarily with electricity, natural gas or propane supplied by either BC Hydro or FortisBC. Electrically heated customers served by local municipal utilities within the service territories of BC Hydro or FortisBC (electric) are also eligible.
  • Homes primarily heated by wood, oil, or other fuels at the time of the pre-retrofit energy assessment are not eligible. Homes heated primarily by natural gas or propane that is not supplied by FortisBC are not eligible. If you are in a home heated with oil, we encourage you to check out the FortisBC incentive for upgrading to an efficient gas heating system. 

To access rebates, there are three simple steps:
  1. Complete a new pre-retrofit assessment ($300, as program re-entrants are not eligible for energy assessment subsidies)* by December 31, 2013.
  2. Complete eligible upgrades, and keep all receipts.  Be sure to check the LiveSmart BC website to ensure that your upgrades meet all requirements of the program.
  3. Complete a post-retrofit assessment ($150)* before the March 31, 2014 deadline.

*Tax not included. Additional fees may also apply.

Call House Smart Home Improvements today to have one of our friendly professionals answer any of your questions. 604-585-2020


House Smart Home Improvements

Max. LiveSmart BC Rebate







Featured Local Government Incentives

More Energy Efficiency Incentives: Grants, Rebates, Discounts

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Replace Your Aging Water Heater and be Eligible for a Rebate up to $500! Until December 31, 2013

Replace your aging water heater with a qualifying natural gas ENERGY STAR model and you could save on energy costs, plus you’ll be eligible for a rebate of up to $500.


Heating water typically takes between 20 per cent and 35 per cent of your home’s total energy use. So it makes sense to install the most efficient model you can afford. Natural gas water heater efficiency is usually measured by an energy factor (EF) rating. The higher the EF rating, the more efficient the water heater. To qualify as ENERGY STAR, gas-fired water heaters must achieve a minimum 0.67EF rating.

Keep the tank, add some savings

ENERGY STAR non-condensing storage tank models have an EF between 0.67 and 0.70 making them more efficient than standard storage tank models (typically between 0.50 and 0.62 EF) operating in many homes today. As these models aren’t as efficient as tankless and/or condensing technology, their price point is more affordable.
Some model numbers are similar, however, efficiency ratings may differ. Please check our qualifying water heater list prior to making your purchase. Note: the John Wood model JW850S40ES is 0.62EF and is not on our qualifying list. The John Wood model JW850S40ES2 is 0.68EF and is on our qualifying list.

Go tankless to boost efficiency

ENERGY STAR tankless models have an EF between 0.82 and 0.99, making them much more efficient than standard natural gas storage tanks typically found in homes today. They also take up much less space, freeing up valuable square footage.
Tankless models don’t store hot water, so they may not be able to meet many simultaneous demands like a storage tank can. Before deciding if you want to go tankless, consider the ways you use hot water at home, including appliances, faucets and the number of people using hot water at any given time.

Tankless not for you?

Consider a hybrid or condensing storage tank. Hybrids offer the best features of a tankless model with the added convenience of a small storage tank. Condensing storage tanks provide all the benefits of a traditional gas-fired storage tank, but at a much higher efficiency. You won't find an energy factor if you choose one of these technologies, but you will find a thermal efficiency (TE) rating. Rebate qualifying condensing storage tanks and hybrid water heaters will not have an ENERGY STAR® label at this time (both technologies are currently under review to be eligible for the ENERGY STAR label).

Available rebates

Water heater type​ ​Efficiency rating* ​Rebate
Storage tank​ ​0.67 - 0.69 EF ​$200
Non-condensing tankless​ 0.82 - 0.89 EF​ $400​
Condensing tankless​ 0.90 - 0.99 EF​ $500​
Condensing hybrid ​ 90 - 99% TE ​ $500​
Condensing storage tank​ 90 - 99% TE ​ $1,000​
*Ef - energy factor; TE = thermal efficiency

Still not sure?

Deciding which technology is right for you can be tough. It’s a balance between how much you want to spend and how much you hope to save over time. You’ll likely pay more for a water heater with a higher EF or TE rating, but your utility costs should be lower.
    The professionals at House Smart Home Improvements can answer all your questions about water heaters during your free in-home visit! Call House Smart Home Improvements today at 604-585-2020. 

    How to apply

    1. Review the terms and conditions on the reverse side of the applicaiton form.
    2. Purchase a qualifying water heater and have it installed by a gas contractor registered with the BC Safety Authority (BCSA), for example  House Smart Home Improvements.
    3. Complete your application form and include a copy of the invoice showing details of all work performed, the purchase date, make and model number and the installation permit number.
    4. Submit the completed and signed application with the invoice to (or let House Smart Home Improvements handle the details for you! 604-585-2020) :

      ENERGY STAR Water Heater Program
      PO Box 9090
      Surrey, BC  V3T 5W4
    5. If you qualify, we’ll mail you the rebate. Please allow a minimum of 90 days to process.


    • 0.67 EF, Tankless & Hybrid and Condensing storage tank water heaters must be purchased between January 31, 2013 and December 31,  2013.
    • Applications must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2014.
    • Applications must be submitted within 60 days of purchase.


    Read the frequently asked questions, and/or call House Smart Home Improvements today at 604-585-2020.

    Call for Free Home Estimate:
    House Smart Home Improvements
    Phone: 604 581 1904 / Fax: 604 581 1985

    Get an 800 Dollar Rebate on your Energy Star Model Now until July 1, 2013!

    Get $800 when you replace your old furnace (or boiler) with an eligible ENERGY STAR® model

    Is your old furnace guilty of stealing your energy? Then convict your energy offender and replace it with an eligible ENERGY STAR model that's 95 per cent efficient or higher. You could receive an $800 rebate. But hurry! You must pre-qualify for your rebate by July 1, 2013.

    Pre-qualify first

    As this is a pilot program rebates are limited. Therefore in order to qualify for the rebate you must apply for a pre-qualification code before you purchase your new furnace or boiler. If your application meets all other terms and conditions, this code could get you a rebate.

    What makes a furnace or boiler high-efficiency?

    Today’s high-efficiency natural gas furnaces and boilers are up to 98 per cent efficient. To be eligible for the rebate, the model you choose must be ENERGY STAR rated and at least 95 per cent efficient for furnaces and 94 per cent efficient for boilers.

    Why replace your old furnace or boiler?  

    Just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s working efficiently. So convict it and put it away for life. You could get an $800 rebate and perhaps some peace of mind, knowing that your new heating system is more efficient and you’ll be saving money and energy for years to come.

    Emergency replacements and repairs

    Your old heating system must be in working order to qualify for the $800 rebate. Furnaces and boilers deemed unsafe to operate and not repairable, or requiring repairs over $1,000 in pre-tax dollars (including parts and labour), do not qualify for a rebate.

    This Information brought to you by Fortis BC via House Smart Home Improvements.


    Call House Smart Home Improvements Today at 604-585-2020
    Or Visit One of our professionals will gladly explain of all the new government incentives and help you take the proper procedures, during our Free In-Home Energy Assessment.