It’s expensive and time consuming to make changes to your home.
For each improvement you plan on making, you research companies, get quotes and do comparisons, and then you apply for financing or save up money.
We’re often asked is how to get the most rebates possible for the improvements you will be making.
In this article we review the steps to get the most out of your home energy rebates in 2023, within your budget.
Decide on your Must Haves
It’s pretty common to have a list of things you want to change about your home.
If you want to be happier with changes you will make, an important early step is to understand what you want to change and why. Changing a home usually means that compromises will be made and unexpected bumps will be encountered along the way. If you focus on what you must have, then you will find that bumps which impact things that aren’t mandatory become less stressful.
Do some research to find out which companies you may want to work with, and get written quotes. To help a company prepare their quote, share as much information as you have about the changes you want to make. Make sure you ask questions and find out what each company’s assumptions are. If your change is urgent, it’s a good idea to ask about the company’s availability.
Using your list of must haves and the quotes for these changes, you can prioritize what work you will be doing.
When it comes to rebates and loans, there can be an element of timing. Some rebates must be implemented within a certain period of time after your initial EnerGuide assessment. You can apply for some rebates and loans many times in their effective period.
To avoid disappointment, find out which changes have constraints and which don’t so you can prioritize and plan.
Once you know your must haves and their related energy rebates, you can prioritize and set your budget. Depending on the types of changes you plan on making, you can reduce some financial stress by adding a buffer to the quotes you receive.
Here’s some examples of different sizes of buffers
- No buffer: you are replacing something and a company has provided you a fixed price quote that includes all changes they will be making, and includes up front pricing on how they will handle unknowns. If you budget at the top of the quote range you are given, you don’t necessarily need an additional buffer.
- Some buffer: you are making moderately complex changes and some of the quotes you receive list dependencies on other companies or trades to finalize a scope of work, or provide hourly rates with a cost estimate but no fixed price. Consider budgeting at the top end of the ranges you are given in the quotes, and then add 20% or more for unknowns.
- Lots of buffer: you are making complex changes and there’s a lot of unknowns or dependencies. If you’re putting in a new bathroom in a basement and there’s no existing connection and a new line needs to be added to connect the bathroom to the house’s sewage outlet, a lot can be discovered when the foundation is opened up that can range from nothing to very expensive. Consider budgeting at the top end of the range, add 30-40% buffer, and get agreement on a process to handle unknowns.
How can I find out about rebates and grants
Here’s some links to help you find out about rebates:
- Read relevant sections of Natural Resources Canada’s Keeping the Heat In to find out more about good home construction.
- Get information about you home’s energy use through an EnerGuide home evaluation.
- Ask questions during your EnerGuide home energy evaluation and read your home’s Renovation Upgrade Report.
- Check out Better Homes Ottawa to find out more about resources to help you improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.
Check out our resources as well!