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BC Hydro/Fortis attic insulation rebate increase

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  • Dec 7th, 2018 1:53 am
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BC Hydro/Fortis attic insulation rebate increase

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Savings:
$900 max
For BC residents with BC Hydro and/or Fortis service. Attic insulation rebate is now $900 instead of $600.

I've been looking at increasing my attic insulation from R-20/30 to R-50/60. There's a rebate from BC Hydro and Fortis. It was a maximum of $600 a couple of months ago. It's been increased to a maximum of $900 (as of 28 September).

Rebate formula remains at $0.02 x R-value increase x square footage.

I've been quoted $3,680 inc GST to increase R value from R-30 to R-60. It's about $2,000 to buy 43 bales of Owens Corning insulation from Home Depot and doing it oneself but one does have to haul 4 pallets of insulation + the machine (free to rent with purchase). That'd cost $115 for a Home Depot van whole day rental + gas, and someone who can keep loading the bales. Not to mention I (rather absurdly) need nearly 80' of hose and I'm not sure if the Owens-Corning machines have ones that long..
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Would that increase from 30 to 60 make a big difference though?
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Piklishi wrote: Would that increase from 30 to 60 make a big difference though?
Some. Going from R30 to R60 would cut the heat loss rate in half but half of a small number will be very small.
The actual kWh/annum saving could be calculated based on insulation type, air leakiness and ceiling square footage.
In fact in Rand McNally they wear hats on their feet and hamburders eat people
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Jan 27, 2006
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thriftshopper wrote: For BC residents with BC Hydro and/or Fortis service. Attic insulation rebate is now $900 instead of $600.

I've been looking at increasing my attic insulation from R-20/30 to R-50/60. There's a rebate from BC Hydro and Fortis. It was a maximum of $600 a couple of months ago. It's been increased to a maximum of $900 (as of 28 September).

Rebate formula remains at $0.02 x R-value increase x square footage.

I've been quoted $3,680 inc GST to increase R value from R-30 to R-60. It's about $2,000 to buy 43 bales of Owens Corning insulation from Home Depot and doing it oneself but one does have to haul 4 pallets of insulation + the machine (free to rent with purchase). That'd cost $115 for a Home Depot van whole day rental + gas, and someone who can keep loading the bales. Not to mention I (rather absurdly) need nearly 80' of hose and I'm not sure if the Owens-Corning machines have ones that long..
I just DIY'd 50 bags of cellulose that I brought from Lowes when it was on sale a few weeks ago. A few points:

1. Don't rent the truck from Home Depot. You can easily save $80+ by renting the same size truck from U-Haul from one of their local pick-up points. They only charge $20 for a day and after all the tax and mileage, you'll probably end up paying under $35 provided you don't take their insurance.
2. I decided against blown in fibreglass a long time ago as cellulose is a lot cheaper at the end of the day in comparison to fibreglass. You need approx 2.7 bags of cellulose (using the GreenFiber stuff from Lowes) per bag of fibreglass or in dollar terms - $49.48 of fibreglass covers the same amount as $35.12 of cellulose.
3. Cellulose is not only easier to install, it's also easier when you have to go up into the attic later as cellulose won't cause you to itch like fibreglass.
4. Cellulose reduces drafts better than fibreglass will.

BTW> the Lowe's units do have about 100' of hose.

At the end of the day, I spent under $500 to blow-in 50 bags which moved my insulation in my attic from roughly R24 to about R44. Also, I decided not to use the rebates as I would need to hire a licensed contractor to do the work and I got a quote for $1800 to blow in the same amount of cellulose so the $1,300 savings by DIY'ing it was much better than the $600 rebate I would have gotten.
Last edited by craftsman on Nov 1st, 2018 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Piklishi wrote: Would that increase from 30 to 60 make a big difference though?
I've found over the past few weeks (going from R24 to R44 - low pitched roof so I really couldn't put much more if I still wanted access to much of the attic) that the big difference is not in energy savings (haven't got the latest gas bill yet so it's hard to judge) but in comfort in the upper floors especially when it's away from the central thermostat. Before, the main floor was warm and the upper floors were cooler on cold nights even after balancing the airflow in the ducts. Now, those upper floors are much more consistent with the rest of the house. I'll have to wait until we start getting colder weather to see how effective it is for freezing temperatures.

Another bonus is that with the blown in cellulose it does reduce the drafts from the light fixtures as well as the stone fireplace so there's a bit of extra comfort there.
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Thanks for the U-haul ideal. I have to see if there's one near me (still). I'll take insurance due to the drivers around here.

I understand cellulose does tend to compress as it ages, and I also live in a humid environment (coastal BC) like you so cellulose may not be the best idea. My attic is already insulated with a white fiberglass so I'm not sure if using cellulose on top is any benefit. I spent to much time this spring connecting my kitchen vent hood and doing other insulation work and it wasn't too bad.

The light fixtures are sealed. I just have to check a few others (fans namely) + the bath vent fan housing.

Since our house is big (2,250 s.f. of ceiling according to the estimator), I think insulation will help, and the heat pump won't have to work as hard.

It's about $1,000 savings for me if I did it myself. Still a bit on the fence for this one.
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thriftshopper wrote: Thanks for the U-haul ideal. I have to see if there's one near me (still). I'll take insurance due to the drivers around here.

I understand cellulose does tend to compress as it ages, and I also live in a humid environment (coastal BC) like you so cellulose may not be the best idea. My attic is already insulated with a white fiberglass so I'm not sure if using cellulose on top is any benefit. I spent to much time this spring connecting my kitchen vent hood and doing other insulation work and it wasn't too bad.

The light fixtures are sealed. I just have to check a few others (fans namely) + the bath vent fan housing.

Since our house is big (2,250 s.f. of ceiling according to the estimator), I think insulation will help, and the heat pump won't have to work as hard.

It's about $1,000 savings for me if I did it myself. Still a bit on the fence for this one.
If you see U-Haul vans consistently parked on the side of a local street (ie no-one is moving in or out but for some reason there's always a van or two or three in the neighbourhood), then you have a local place around there. As far as insurance goes, you might already be covered by your car or credit card insurance (ie. ICBC has their Roadstar and many credit card companies offer free insurance on car rentals).

Cellulose doesn't actually compress but rather it settles as the wind catches it and moves it into tighter spaces. Fibreglass's glass fibres tend to hold on better to each other than cellulose does. But the whole issue can be solved by accounting for the settling and blowing in bags of insulation rather than measuring the depth of insulation. All of the cellulose manufacturers do that when you use their coverage calculator for how many bags you need. On the other side of things, many of the cellulose insulation contractors don't but rather talk in inches (ie they will blow in 10 inches) which is typically measured at the time of insulation and won't account for settling. It's been well document on the web and here on RFD that to be the case. Cellulose can be applied on top of any insulation. One benefit would be that the cellulose won't 'stick' as well to the existing fibreglass so it might be better able to fall into the cracks where the blown-in fibreglass may not.

One more thing - your access hatches will typically need to be weather stripped and re-insulated. I've found that my hatches didn't have a seal and there were other leaky areas around the trim. In addition, I replaced the 6 inches of fibreglass stapled to the hatch cover with 6 inches of rigid foam insulation which according to all reports is a much better product even thou the R-value is roughly the same.

If you use cellulose, that $1,000 difference will actually be more.
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I've asked the insulation company to tell me how much they'll actually use. I had this nagging feeling it might happen. I think the original owner who took on the role of general contractor got hooped on this.

The contractor also bundles in the hatch insulation. However, I've since replace the hatch (drywall with fiberglass batts glued on) with a piece of plywood and ~4 layers of foam insulation so it's ~6" thick. Will find a way to latch the hatch down to make sure the seal is good when I use foam insulation strips.

Re: insurance U-Hauls are commercial vehicles and ICBC Road Star/rental vehicle insurance doesn't extend to this (I've inquired/confirmed in the past) and I don't think most CC rental car coverages offer that either. There's a new U-Haul location near me. Still have to pay ~40 km of mileage + insurance which will bring it to 70-80% of the HD rental but I can get a vehicle with a ramp for that price.

I'm still tempted to do it myself.
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should get more quotes to compare
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Batt vs blown insulation for older house? most companies if not all don't do batt for older house for some reason.
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thriftshopper wrote: I've asked the insulation company to tell me how much they'll actually use. I had this nagging feeling it might happen. I think the original owner who took on the role of general contractor got hooped on this.

The contractor also bundles in the hatch insulation. However, I've since replace the hatch (drywall with fiberglass batts glued on) with a piece of plywood and ~4 layers of foam insulation so it's ~6" thick. Will find a way to latch the hatch down to make sure the seal is good when I use foam insulation strips.

Re: insurance U-Hauls are commercial vehicles and ICBC Road Star/rental vehicle insurance doesn't extend to this (I've inquired/confirmed in the past) and I don't think most CC rental car coverages offer that either. There's a new U-Haul location near me. Still have to pay ~40 km of mileage + insurance which will bring it to 70-80% of the HD rental but I can get a vehicle with a ramp for that price.

I'm still tempted to do it myself.
While you are at it, ask the insulation company to quote you using cellulose instead of fiberglass. It should lower the overall cost of the job while allowing you to keep the rebate.

If you do the job yourself, keep in mind that the blower is HEAVY (or at least the cellulose one was) as you have to load the bale of insulation in top causing the machine to be top heavy so the machine is weighted at the bottom. I estimated that the cellulose blower was at least 170 to 200 lbs so it needed three people to move it any distance. Also with that many bags, it will take a full day to blow in. I did 50 bags of cellulose and between the time picking up the truck (which was two blocks away from Lowes), the time to get the cellulose in the truck (they didn't have it ready for me even though I ordered it online for pick-up and they told me it was ready for pick-up), it took me a good 6 hours. Granted I didn't blow at the fastest rate as I didn't want to get the 100' hose clogged but I did blow at approx 80%. So, you should expect to spend a good 8 hours just blowing as I would start early. If you can find 2 buddies to help you, I would do it myself. It's well worth it for the savings in money even if you bought the beer and the dinner afterwards.

Do you have any handles on your hatch? If you don't I would recommend that you install two as it's a lot easier to position the hatch AND gives you a way to pull the hatch tight while you latch it. You can use two simple hook and eye latches like these -
Image
and use the handle to pull it tight while you latch it.
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datasunny wrote: Batt vs blown insulation for older house? most companies if not all don't do batt for older house for some reason.
Simple.... blown all the way for older houses. Blown because each batt is bulky and HEAVY and most attic hatches are small. So, it's hard pushing the entire batt up into the attic before you cut it open and if you cut it open before putting it into the attic, there's a lot of trips up the ladder! So, there's a big savings in labour and time.
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also make sure they dont block the natural air vents in the attic u want the attic to breathe. I remember i had my old house done for like $1200 on a 2200sq ft house from an R32 to R56 and they put these fiberglass soffit things to keep from covering the vents
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hesp wrote: also make sure they dont block the natural air vents in the attic u want the attic to breathe. I remember i had my old house done for like $1200 on a 2200sq ft house from an R32 to R56 and they put these fiberglass soffit things to keep from covering the vents
Very good point. Don't block the soffits guys.

That's a really good price. That means if you got the current rebate, you would only spent about $300?!? I bought $800 bucks worth of roxul comfortbatt R22 to cover 2400 sq feet.
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CDRoot wrote: Very good point. Don't block the soffits guys.

That's a really good price. That means if you got the current rebate, you would only spent about $300?!? I bought $800 bucks worth of roxul comfortbatt R22 to cover 2400 sq feet.
back then i got rebate of 300-500$ cant remember but it was worth it. It took them about 2 hours in total from start to finish.
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I got two other quotes, which were quite a bit higher. The lowest bidder is some sort of chain with locations in SW B.C.

Soffits have plastic film "dams" in most places, fiberglass batts in others (and missing in corners). I will just staple more plastic and use the batts for more insulation.

What plastic is typically used? Vapour barrier? I don't think I have to go the route of the poly (or whatever) corrugated rafter vents.

I think Owens-Corning estimates 5-7 minutes a bag so it'll be 4-5 hours for me if I can get someone to keep loading.
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thriftshopper wrote: I got two other quotes, which were quite a bit higher. The lowest bidder is some sort of chain with locations in SW B.C.

Soffits have plastic film "dams" in most places, fiberglass batts in others (and missing in corners). I will just staple more plastic and use the batts for more insulation.

What plastic is typically used? Vapour barrier? I don't think I have to go the route of the poly (or whatever) corrugated rafter vents.

I think Owens-Corning estimates 5-7 minutes a bag so it'll be 4-5 hours for me if I can get someone to keep loading.
If you have 24" on centre up there, I would go with these - https://www.lowes.ca/insulation-accesso ... 99778.html -
Image
I put them in on half the roof as the other half was 16" in centre... The nice thing about the Durovents is that they block out everything from going in.

I would pad OC's estimate times as that's probably with people who know what they are doing - it won't include stopping and measuring, nor will it include unclogging the blower.
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Mind sharing the chain company you got quote from? thanks.
thriftshopper wrote: I got two other quotes, which were quite a bit higher. The lowest bidder is some sort of chain with locations in SW B.C.

Soffits have plastic film "dams" in most places, fiberglass batts in others (and missing in corners). I will just staple more plastic and use the batts for more insulation.

What plastic is typically used? Vapour barrier? I don't think I have to go the route of the poly (or whatever) corrugated rafter vents.

I think Owens-Corning estimates 5-7 minutes a bag so it'll be 4-5 hours for me if I can get someone to keep loading.
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Just got my Fortis bill for the month of 'October' (Sept 21st to October 23rd).
A few points to note before going to a conclusion:
  • I insulated on October 10th so would have covered a whole two weeks with this bill (or under half the billing period).
  • According to Fortis, the average daily temperature this year for the period was cooler by 1C (11C TY vs 12C LY).
  • Average daily usage GJ was down this year to 0.16 vs 0.18 last year.
  • Total Billing period usage was 5.0GJ this year versus 5.3 GJ last year. In other words, I used a lot less gas this year than last year given the difference of 2 days in the billing period. If we added in those two days by using the average amounts, the comparison would have been more like 5.0 GJ TY vs 5.66 GJ LY (2 days x 0.18 GJ/day +5.3 GJ). Therefore, we saw a rough savings of 0.66 GJ for the month even thou the insulation was only installed for 14 out of the 32 billing days.
So, what the above mean in dollars...

Delivery savings
0.66 GJ at $4.355 per GJ = $2.87

Commodity savings - Storage and Transport
0.66 GJ at $0.758 per GJ = $0.50

Commodity savings - Cost of Gas
0.66 GJ at $1.549 per GJ = $1.02

Carbon Tax
0.66 GJ at $1.7381 per GJ = $1.15

Clean Energy Levy
$4.39 x 0.40% = $0.02

GST
$5.54 x 5% = $0.28

Total estimated savings = $5.84.... Not bad considering that the total bill was $57.24 or a savings of 10% for 14 days when the temperature was colder than the previous period. Note that I also have a tankless gas water heater so a portion of that gas usage is won't be affected by any insulation changes.

Also, I do find it amazing that the Carbon Tax is actually MORE than the price of the gas itself.

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