As the province of New Brunswick continues to transition towards a greener future, the government has introduced a new program to help homeowners make the switch from oil to heat pumps. The Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Grant, also known as OHPA, is a grant program that helps homeowners make their homes more energy-efficient and reduces their carbon footprint by offering financial assistance in the form of a grant. This program is part of the government’s energy efficiency strategy and aims to make New Brunswick homes more efficient, more comfortable, and more affordable to operate.
The program allows eligible homeowners to receive up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of purchasing and installing a high-efficiency heat pump system. This grant can help offset the upfront costs associated with upgrading to a new heating system, saving homeowners money in the long run. By replacing an old oil heating system with a heat pump, homeowners can significantly lower their energy bills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the overall comfort of their homes.
The OHPA program is currently available to residents of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick residents eligible to pre-register for the program on the Canada Greener Homes Grant (CGHG) website. Nova Scotians and Islanders can receive up to $5,000 in a grant from OHPA and an additional $5,000 from the CGHG program. The long-term goal of the program is to encourage homeowners to transition away from oil furnaces to more efficient electric heat pumps. However, the removal of the oil furnace and/or oil tanks is not a requirement of the program.
While the initiative is commendable, homeowners must exercise caution before pulling out their oil heat system and relying solely on a cold-climate heat pump as their primary and/or only source of heat. Cold-climate heat pumps are more efficient and environmentally friendly, they have limitations in extreme weather conditions. Even the most efficient heat pumps may fail in extremely cold weather, and this is why it is important for an alternative heat source to be available. Homeowners must consider installing and/or maintaining baseboard heaters and/or other types of units to ensure a backup heating system is in place.
Another crucial factor to consider is the insurance implications of having a cold-climate heat pump as the primary and/or only source of heat. Insurers may have concerns about the risk of freezing pipes, especially if a customer’s only source of heating is a heat pump. Homeowners may be expected to provide additional information on their heating sources, such as electric baseboard heating, in-floor radiant heating or wood/propane fireplace. It is advisable to check with your insurance carrier and report any of these additional heat sources to confirm eligibility. Having a complete picture of a customer’s home heating setup will allow insurers to provide the right coverage and mitigate any potential risks.
In conclusion, the Oil to Heat Pump Affordability Grant (OHPA) is a fantastic initiative by the Federal and Provincial governments to help homeowners transition to more efficient heating systems. However, homeowners need to be cautious when replacing their oil heat system with a cold-climate heat pump as their primary and/or only source of heat. This limits the markets available to them for insurance, which is why it is recommended to maintain or install baseboard heaters and/or other types of units. If you have questions about your home insurance while using a heat pump as your primary heat source, please reach out for guidance and support.
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