Something as simple as applying weatherstripping to doors and windows to prevent drafts can keep your house warmer this winter and save you money on your hydro bill. (Photo credit: BC Hydro)

Something as simple as applying weatherstripping to doors and windows to prevent drafts can keep your house warmer this winter and save you money on your hydro bill. (Photo credit: BC Hydro)

BC Hydro offers free upgrades for eligible qualifying customers

Renters can also apply for free energy saving kit to help them improve efficiency and save money

BC Hydro is once again offering an opportunity for people living in an income-qualified household to apply for free upgrades to help improve the comfort and efficiency of their home through the Energy Conservation Assistance Program.

Homeowners and renters who are a BC Hydro account holder living in a detached home, townhome, duplex, or manufactured/mobile home, and who meet the income qualification, are eligible to apply.

Anyone who books an appointment for free energy saving upgrades before Dec. 31 will receive a $25 grocery store gift card at the time of the appointment. Applications can be made online or via mail, and should be made as soon as possible in order to ensure that an appointment is scheduled before the end of the year. This offer is only applicable to customers who are approved for the program.

Successful applicants will be visited by a program energy coach, who will visit your home to review your home’s energy use with you. The energy coach will install energy saving products throughout your home, which may include LED bulbs, faucet aerators, high-efficiency shower heads, and door weatherstripping. Some homes may also qualify for an ENERGY STAR refrigerator, insulation in their walls, attic, and/or crawlspace, or a high-efficiency gas furnace.

The energy coach will provide an overview of all the free products installed, and will also offer personalized energy saving advice and tips.

If you are a renter in an apartment or condo in an income-qualified household, you can apply for a free energy saving kit to help save you energy and make your home more comfortable all year round. Each kit includes simple, energy-saving products that you can install yourself. With this kit, you can seal up the drafts around your home, save on lighting costs, and reduce your home’s water use.

The kit contains LED bulbs; weatherstripping to reduce drafts around windows and doors; high efficiency shower heads; water-saving tap aerators; an LED night light; a fridge and freezer thermometer; and a step-by-step instruction guide to help you install each product. You can customize your kit during the online application process, based on the specific needs of your home.

A BC Hydro customer in Kamloops, who lives in a 1970s-era duplex that had become increasingly drafty over the years, says that her home is much more comfortable and energy efficient after her free home energy assessment and upgrades.

“I knew that nothing had been done as far as energy goes,” Lynn says. “I wasn’t even aware of energy conservation when I did renovations 18 years ago.” Lynn knew she had to do something, but lives on a fixed income, and did not have a lot to spend.

She found information about the Energy Conservation Assistance Program with her BC Hydro bill and made an application. Two weeks later she got a letter from BC Hydro saying her application was approved, and a program contractor called to arrange a free home visit.

“The energy evaluators showed up. They answered my questions and kept me up to date with what, when, and who would be doing each job,” she says. “It was really interesting and I learned a lot about how to save energy.”

The evaluation revealed a few surprises for Lynn. Her fridge was inefficient, windows and doors were inadequately sealed, and insulation was either deteriorated or missing completely. Her contractors installed a new bathroom fan, insulation in her attic, and a number of faucet aerators. Air leaks were sealed, weatherstripping was added, and Lynn also qualified for an ENERGY STAR refrigerator.

The upgrades were completed before winter started, but she could feel a difference right away. “The house is warmer. I noticed that right off the bat,” she says, adding that she quickly noticed a difference in her heating bills, too. “Being on a fixed income, it’s a big help.

“The program came along at the right time. I hope other people take advantage of it.”

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