Rebates are available to consumers who want to switch or supplement their electric heat with wood or wood pellets, but there’s only enough provincial government money to help a limited number of customers.
About 300 Nova Scotians have already qualified for rebates to convert to wood or pellet stoves.
“We’ve got rebates for wood and pellet stoves. Those are 20 per cent rebates up to $900,” Josh McLean, program manager with Efficiency Nova Scotia, said.
“And we also have rebates for wood or pellet central heating systems. The savings there generally range from 40 to 60 per cent and can be upwards of $6,000.”
Homeowners should be aware only the most energy-efficient stoves and appliances are eligible for the rebate and home insurance costs often rise when you start burning wood.
With the days getting colder and a seven per cent increase in the Nova Scotia Power bill coming, many people are thinking about the most economical way to heat their home.
Figures supplied by the province suggest electric heat is more expensive than burning wood pellets and more than twice the price of firewood.
Average home heating costs for one year:
• $2,100 for electricity
• $1,650 for pellets
• $825 for wood
Homeowners may be concerned about an adequate supply of wood pellets. There were widespread shortages in 2009 and since then a pellet mill in Upper Musquodoboit closed.
“Pellets have definitely become a lot more popular, but there’s a lot more producers, too. Shaw Resources, for example, is one of the big producers around here,” McLean said.
Nova Scotia is producing about 10 times more the amount of pellets than needed, so a lot are shipped out of province, he said.
When it comes to what’s greener, burning pellets in energy efficient stoves means fewer emissions than burning coal to deliver electric heat.
The rebate program can handle up to another 300 households that want to reduce their power bill.