Frequently Asked Questions

HomeWarming can help many Nova Scotians save money on heating bills, feel more comfortable year-round, and reduce their carbon footprint. It might sound too good to be true, but if you qualify, it really isn’t. We’re sure you have some questions, so check out these FAQs.

Click on a question below to see the answer.

  • Are HomeWarming upgrades accepted by insurance companies?

    The HomeWarming program uses retrofit and upgrade materials (insulation, draft-proofing, etc.) that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada, and which meet or exceed standards of performance. Safety for participants is a top priority for us.

    Licensed, professionally-trained installers use safe, long-lasting materials that meet or exceed the National Building Code of Canada.

    Insurance providers determine what products they insure. If participants have concerns about how upgrades might affect their home insurance policy, we recommend they contact their insurance provider.

  • Is sprayfoam insulation effective and safe?

    The safety and comfort of our customers is a top priority.

    Thousands of upgrades using sprayfoam insulation are performed safely and securely across Canada every year. We use products that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada, and which meet or exceed standards of performance. Sprayfoam (and any required thermal barrier) is a very effective product that helps make your home more energy efficient — saving you money. It’s especially effective in damp environments.

    The HomeWarming program uses retrofit and upgrade materials (insulation, draft-proofing, etc.) that were successfully tested for compliance with the National Building Code of Canada. Our products are installed by professionally trained technicians.

    If participants have concerns about how upgrades might affect their home insurance policy, we recommend they contact their insurance provider.

  • Why must I leave my home for 24 hours after spray foam is installed?

    Spray polyurethane foam, commonly referred to as just spray foam, needs time to set and cure after being applied. During the spraying and setting period, the product releases chemicals into the air that could be harmful if breathed. The chemicals leave the home naturally, but professional installers will advise that you and your pets vacate the home for at least 24 hours to be safe.

    Afterward, some people may notice that odours persist for a short time, which is natural, should not be harmful, and should subside. If you notice a smell, it is always best to discuss with the installer.

    The health risks of spray foam are all related to its application, which is why only professionals with appropriate personal protective equipment should be present for its installation and in the home for the first 24 hours after installation. Spray foam must be installed at a rate that allows the product to properly cure and release any harmful chemicals immediately. The home should be well ventilated during that period to help speed-up this process. You do not need to worry about spray foam impacting your health as long as you and the installer follow these well-defined industry protocols.

  • Where does the money for the HomeWarming program come from? 

    HomeWarming is offered by Efficiency Nova Scotia and Clean Foundation as part of a broad, province-wide initiative to provide energy efficient upgrades to income-qualified homeowners.

    HomeWarming is proudly sponsored by Nova Scotia Power and the Province of Nova Scotia.

    Nova Scotia Power volunteered to fund $37 Million for a 10-year, low-income energy efficiency program for electrically heated homes to be delivered by the Clean Foundation. The cost of the program will be a charitable contribution by the company, and not recovered from ratepayers. This support started in 2015.

    The Province of Nova Scotia continues to fund non-electric low-income energy efficiency programs, delivered by Efficiency Nova Scotia. The Province is committed to helping the more than 22,000 low-income homeowners lower their energy bills through this investment.

    So far, over 11,000 households have benefited through HomeWarming and previous low-income programs.

  • Is the program really at no charge?

    If we discover that upgrades like draft-proofing and insulation will substantially help substantially reduce your heating and power bills as well as make you feel more comfortable at home, we’ll install the upgrades at no cost to you. (Seriously – if you qualify, it’s free and really not too good to be true.)

  • I know someone else who was in HomeWarming, and their house got a lot more work done. Why?

    Every home gets recommendations based on a comprehensive energy audit. We look for the best combination of energy-saving upgrades.

    Plus, every house is unique. For example, an improved heating system may not be a good recommendation if a house has very poor insulation and requires draft-proofing; no need to spend your hard-earned money heating the backyard, so we focus on these improvements first.

    And we do not have an unlimited budget, so we do have to make some hard decisions – there are participants and homes that might get priority over others.

  • Am I disqualified if I have a home business?

    No, as long as your business occupies less than 50 per cent of the building area and you are still under the income eligibility levels, you can apply to HomeWarming. If in doubt, give a shout.

  • Do I have to book the contractors myself?

    No, we will manage sub-contractors. We work with experienced, safe and whenever possible local companies who know the energy efficiency industry.

  • What if I disagree with the recommendations you make?

    There is no obligation on your part to move ahead with recommended upgrades. If possible, within the confines of the program and the energy efficiency analysis, we will work with you to explore changes to the suggested plan.

    We understand some people may not be happy with what we can offer. We do not have an unlimited budget, so we do have to make some hard decisions – there are participants and homes that might get priority over others.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

  • I own a mobile home. Does that qualify?

    Most mobile homes do qualify! When in doubt, call us.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

  • I don’t own a home, I rent an apartment – can I still be involved?

    Not at this time. We recognize that many Nova Scotians living on a lower income are renters. However, rental situations are complex as we want to ensure savings are passed on to renters, for example. We are exploring rental options and will update the program if deemed possible.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

  • How much will I save on heating and power?

    This is a difficult question to answer, as every house is unique. The age of the home is also an important factor – newer homes tend to be better insulated, while older homes can have limited, or no, insulation. That’s why it is a challenge to give an average amount you will save after participating in HomeWarming.

    However, many homes see their EnerGuide ratings improve substantially, and many homes have become 30 percent more energy efficient – or even higher. Many report saving on their bills, and say they feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

  • What happens if I decide to sell my house during the process?

    HomeWarming has the expectation that you will not sell your house within 12 months at a minimum. If you sell your house within a year, your participation in HomeWarming is cancelled.

  • Who sets the low-income figures? I think they are too low.

    These figures are adjusted each year and based on Statistics Canada’s before-tax low-income qualification figures. While we acknowledge that these don’t always encompass the full range of situations that people find themselves in, we need to use consistent eligibility criteria.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

  • I make too much and don’t fit in the low-income cut-off figures. Are there other programs I can get involved in?

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

    We’d encourage you to look at the programs offered by Efficiency Nova Scotia. Some municipalities also offer low-cost financing for energy efficiency and cleaner energy upgrades. And Nova Scotia Power offers a financing program for heat pumps.

    You might also want to check out the Heating Assistance Rebate Program (HARP)It helps with the cost of home heating for low-income Nova Scotians who pay for their own heat. Rebates range from $100 to $200.

  • What is the process if I qualify for HomeWarming?

    Once you are qualified, the process is easy:

    1. Home Energy Assessment: A Certified Energy Advisor will evaluate your home and determine the upgrades needed, if any, to make your home substantially more energy efficient and comfortable.
    2. Home Upgrades: Then, they will call you to set up appointments to make the upgrades approved for your home (please note: some homes may not be suitable for upgrades)
    3. Final Assessment: When all the upgrades have been completed, they will come back and perform a final assessment of the improvements made to your home.

    We will take care of everything for you. All you have to do is be home for the evaluations and while the work is being done.

  • What’s the difference between HomeWarming and other housing programs in Nova Scotia?

    HomeWarming is targeted at homeowners in Nova Scotia who are living on a low income. If you qualify and we believe there are things we can do to help, we work with you to determine the best energy efficient upgrades for your home – and we have them installed at no cost to you.

    If you qualify for HomeWarming, you may also qualify for other programs. We’d encourage you to look at the offerings of Efficiency Nova Scotia and Housing Nova Scotia, for example.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

    Some municipalities also offer low-cost financing for energy efficiency and cleaner energy upgrades.

  • Have there been other programs like HomeWarming?

    Yes. HomeWarming is built on previous low-income energy efficiency programs run by Efficiency Nova Scotia and Clean Foundation. From 2006 to 2014, over 7,000 homes received energy efficiency upgrades.

    The program known as HomeWarming started under that name in late 2014.

    There is a website you can visit that provides information on various free energy assistance programs that could be right for you. It’s called EnergyAssist.ca. Just answer a few simple questions – it’s easy and confidential – and it will tell you about the programs (for homeowners and renters) that you may be eligible for.

Are you eligible?

Clean Foundation and Efficiency Nova Scotia offer low-income homeowners free energy efficiency improvements that can help them feel more comfortable while reducing heating and power bills. And these upgrades are provided at no-cost thanks to the generous support of Nova Scotia Power and the Government of Nova Scotia. Why? Because a house is a structure. A home is warm.

Find out if you're eligible

Contact Us

We’re ready to help.

You can speak confidentially with a Service Advisor about your eligibility by calling HomeWarming at 1-877-434-2136 (toll free) or by filling in the form. Intake will be completed by Efficiency Nova Scotia to provide an easy process for all applicants.

 

Media

If you would like to speak to HomeWarming, please email us at media@homewarming.ca

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