Heating can account for more than half of a home’s hydro bill, and up to a third of the heat from a home escapes through windows.
What a waste!
If you’re thinking about replacing your old windows with new, more efficient ones, wouldn’t a government grant for windows help?
Well, you’re in luck! Because there are indeed programs that offer rebates or other incentives to households that buy qualified windows.
But you need to meet all the eligibility criteria and follow the correct steps to get the most benefit from the incentives…
In this comprehensive guide, we show you all 29 government incentives for windows across Canada, and provide you with some insider tips for making the most of these little-known programs.
Let’s jump in!
5 Tips for Maximizing Your Window Rebates
Some programs offer homeowners incentives to upgrade their windows with more efficient windows.
However, they may require that you have an energy assessment of your home completed before and after your upgrades, and there may be other upgrades you need to install before you qualify for the incentive.
To ensure your new window journey is as smooth as possible, remember these important tips:
Keep your Assessment Records & Files
Keep your assessment records and files up to date and together as some programs require that you send in a copy of your pre-upgrade assessment outlining recommended upgrades, a checklist for the work completed, and a copy of the post-upgrade assessment before you qualify for a rebate.
Property is Eligible
Make sure that your property is eligible for the upgrade. If you are planning to upgrade your windows in a vacation home or cottage, you may or may not be eligible for the rebate.
Keep Original Receipts
?Keep all your original receipts and product information, as some incentives require that you provide the original receipt and product model number of your windows.
Keep Retailer Invoice
Keep your retailer invoice that included information such as the installation address, the number of windows installed, the brand of window bought, the name of the manufacturer, the type of windows bought, and the date of installation.
Windows May Have Different Requirements
Each program that offers rebates on new windows may have different requirements. Make sure your new windows meet the specific minimum requirements set out by each individual program. Most programs will provide a list of eligible windows for you to choose from.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the different programs you might be able to take advantage of, beginning with the nationwide CMHC Green Home Program:
9 Tips for Making Old Windows Work
While it would be nice to be able to replace old windows with new, energy-efficient windows, that’s just not always an option.
When you just can’t upgrade to new windows just yet, be sure to follow these tips to save money, reduce your carbon footprint, and just plain stay warmer:
Use Insulator Film
Use insulator film in the winter. This is a clear, thin plastic film much like plastic wrap that you can install yourself in under an hour with nothing more than a hair dryer and the provided double-sided tape. Find it in any hardware store.
Install Efficient Storm Windows
Consider looking into purchasing and installing high-efficiency, low-emissivity (low-e) storm windows. Though they are less effective than brand new windows, they cost less, and you can buy permanent, seasonal, or temporary versions. They help by creating an insulating air space between the two window layers.
Use Blinds or Curtains
Always use blinds and/or curtains. Though you want to make sure that they don’t completely block the air surface across the window, blinds and curtains can help you reduce drafts and heat loss. Look for thermal curtains to reduce the most heat loss.
Repair Window Caulking
Add or repair and replace window caulking and weatherstripping. Window frames are one of the biggest sources of heat loss in a home, so use caulking to fill up holes and cracks in non-moving windows and use weatherstripping on movable windows. When choosing weatherstripping, ask the staff at your hardware store for the most appropriate type.
Add Another Layer of Glass
Try adding another layer of glass to an existing window. It takes more care and precision than replacing a window, but it can be done, and it’s cheaper.
Secondary glazing can also help reduce heat loss. At the same time, it also helps reduce outside noise.
Replace the Sash
You can also replace only the sash that holds the window glaze. Make sure you use wood, hollow or insulation-filled vinyl, or fiberglass to help reduce the transference of cold inside and heat outside.
Upgrade the Frame
Another option if you don’t want to replace a whole window just yet is to upgrade the window frame only. By choosing a frame with a Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) label, you will let less air out of your house.
Install Window Inserts
If all else fails and you can’t or don’t want to shell out for new windows, whether because of the cost or the charm of old windows in old houses, these days, you can simply install window inserts. These are much like storm windows, but they are installed on the inside of the house.
You can even install them yourself with no tools because they use a compression system, so they just pop in and out. The inserts also have weatherstripping around them to stop drafts and reduce noise.
3 Important Things to Remember When Buying New Windows
With all the rebates and incentives available countrywide to help you purchase new windows so you can be kind to both yourself and the environment, it’s easier and more affordable than ever before to give those new windows a shot.
Before you dive in though, make sure you do your homework so you get the right windows for you, your home, and your incentive:
1.) Make sure you look for the ENERGY STAR label!
This label tells you that you are getting an energy-efficient window. Because ENERGY STAR labels are divided into categories based on climate, you can be sure that by choosing the matching ENERGY STAR label for your climate zone, you are getting the perfect window for you home, wherever you live.
ENERGY STAR labels are given based on one of two standards—ER ratings or U-values. ER ratings are based on the overall efficiency of the window; therefore, a higher rating is better. U-values tell you how much heat is lost out the window; therefore, a lower number is better.
2.) You have choices!
There are many different window manufacturers to choose from (and many different ways window manufacturers achieve the ENERGY STAR standard). This means they all do the same thing in the end, but use different technologies to get there:
3.) Don’t forget about the frames!
Aluminum, wood, vinyl, combination, and fibreglass frames come with different costs but, as with ENERGY STAR labels on the windows themselves, also come with different levels of effectiveness.
So now that you’re armed with all this information, why not look into upgrading your windows? It will help to lower your heating and cooling costs, increase your home’s comfort level, and reduce your carbon footprint!
And if those weren’t enough reasons, choosing the right new windows can also reduce condensation, lower outside noise, and protect your belongings from sun damage.
Check out the rebates in your area and get started on a greener, more energy-efficient path!