Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Home Improvement Rebates

For Homeowners

Does DWHR work if my family takes baths?

When you draw a bath, you move the hot water through your hot water heating device with no water going down the drain. When the bath is over, the warm water would go through the DWHR device; however, since no hot water is being asked from your hot water heating device, there is no cold water flowing through the DWHR device into the hot water heating device, so any recovered heat does not reduce the amount of energy needed for hot water heating.

How is DWHR beneficial?

First and foremost, a DWHR device will reduce the amount of energy required to heat the same volume of water when used in a constant flow cycle (i.e. showers). The device silently and passively recovers heat and reduces the energy required to heat water requiring no maintenance.

How difficult is DWHR to install?

A plumber with experience installing DHWR devices can install them in 2 to 3 hours. They will need to access the main plumbing stack so if it is enclosed behind a wall, additional effort would be required to gain access to the plumbing stack.

How do I connect my showers to the DWHR device?

Your showers are the main driver of the energy savings and rebates. Showers are connected to a home’s plumbing stack and most DWHR devices replace a portion of the plumbing stack. You can find out how many of your showers are connected to a common stack by running a shower, then checking to see if you can hear or feel the water rushing through the 3–4” black ABS pipe going to the sewer.

Am I mixing my waste water with incoming clean water?

No. The cold, clean water coming into your home is always separated from the waste water being used to heat it.

How does DWHR work?

Hot water that you’ve used in your dishwasher, washing machine or shower (most valuably) goes through your home plumbing system to the sewer, along with the energy used to heat it. A DWHR system replaces a portion of your home’s plumbing system with a conductive material (usually copper) that transfers the heat from the waste water to the incoming water. Consequently, less energy is required for your water heating system to get water from the municipal line (or well) up to the temperature you need for dishes, clothes or personal hygiene.

I installed a DWHR system last year, is my installation eligible?

Only projects started after February 1, 2018 are eligible for participation. Installations prior to the launch of the new measure cannot be claimed for a rebate since the rebate did not influence your decision to purchase the system and energy savings associated with your retrofit can not be applied to this program.

How do I apply for my DWHR rebate?

Like other rebate applications through Home Improvement Rebates, you’ll need to select a Participating Contractor who is provided training on how to submit claims. The contractor will photograph the plumbing stack before the installation of the DWHR system, photograph the plumbing stack after the installation of the DWHR device and collect your signature on a customer release form. They will share all of this information along with the invoice for the work with the program administrator. Once submitted, it will be reviewed and once approved you’ll be asked to review the claim details, to confirm the spelling of your name and address, and to accept the program Terms and Conditions.

How much will I get in rebates for my DWHR system?

Like other rebate categories in Home Improvement Rebates, your specific rebate is based on the estimated energy savings based on calculators created from NRCan’s residential energy modelling software (Hot2000). Rebates will be impacted by the size (diameter and length) of the DWHR system you choose, the flow rate of your showerheads and how many shower drains DWHR device is connected to (i.e. in some homes, two showers drain through the same plumbing stack). Your contractor will be able to give you a precise rebate estimate based on the specific opportunity in your home.

How are the rebates calculated?

This is a performance-based energy retrofit program that pays rebates based on modeled energy savings. The energy savings calculations are based on NRCan modelling standard. Essentially, the more energy your upgrade saves, the larger the rebate.

Can I retrofit my heated garage or workshop since it’s useful space for me?

The energy savings calculations are based on NRCan modelling standard. Garages or other outbuildings are not included as part of the heated envelope for energy modelling and energy savings calculations and are therefore not part of the program.

Why aren’t additions or new construction included?

While we encourage builders and contractors to embrace best energy practices, this program is focused on energy reduction. Since new construction and new additions are new energy loads they represent an increase in energy demand and are therefore not included in this retrofit program designed to reduce energy consumption.

Do I have to use a contractor to get the Home Improvement Rebates?

Yes, you will need to use a participating contractor to qualify for the Home Improvement Rebate. Please refer to our Registered Contractor list to find a contractor in your area.

We have established a network of contractors to choose from that meet specific requirements to participate. We want to ensure they are a registered business and that they have the appropriate insurance before they enter your home. These contractors will be trained to facilitate the application process on your behalf. Once you have been approved, the cheque will be sent to you, the property owner, directly.

What will happen after I’ve found a contractor?

The contractor will explain the options for the program and, depending on the type of installation, will determine the energy savings and subsequent incentive amount available under the program guidelines.

How do I get a rebate for my insulation upgrade?

Once you select your registered contractor, they will gather the required information necessary to pre-qualify you for the rebate through an online calculator and the rebate amount will be provided. Once the work is completed, the contractor will provide the paid invoice, photos of the before condition and the after condition to be reviewed for accuracy. Once approved, a cheque will be issued directly to the homeowner. The whole process should take six to eight weeks.

How do I get a rebate for my tankless hot water heater or triple glazed low-E argon windows?

Once you select your registered contractor and the work is completed, the contractor will provide the paid invoice, photos of the before condition and the after condition to be reviewed for accuracy. Once approved, a cheque will be issued directly to the homeowner. The whole process should take six to eight weeks.

Is there a requirement for an Energy Efficiency Alberta representative to visit my home after the insulation work is completed before my rebate is issued?

Third Party Evaluators will complete spot audits at randomly selected homes to confirm the work completed is consistent with the rebate being claimed. The purpose of this visit is to ensure quality of work, to verify the work completed matches what was indicated in the application and gain feedback on the experience with the given contractor. Selected homeowners will be contacted by one of Summerhill’s Customer Service Representatives, who will work with the homeowner to schedule a convenient time for the evaluator to confirm the work. This will occur within six months of the claim submission.

How will my personal information be handled and by whom?

Personal information will be handled under the provincial government’s privacy legislation and regulations. Any contractor employed by the Government of Alberta is obligated by law to meet these standards.

Why can’t I do the work myself?

A contractor-led program helps to ensure that the work being completed is done in line with building code expectations and industry best practices. Considerations of if and how this program can be expanded to do-it-yourself may be considered in the future by Energy Efficiency Alberta, but there is no program currently for do-it-yourself renovations.

By employing contractors, Energy Efficiency Alberta is also able to employ standardized measurement protocols to accurately determine the amount of energy savings that will be realized through the installation. The energy savings realized can be translated into greenhouse gas reductions, which in turn can be used to help determine the effectiveness of the overall program.

For Contractors

How do I get the contractor incentive for DWHR?

Contractor Incentive rules

  1. The Incentive will be paid to approved Participating Contractors in a single cheque;
  2. The Incentive will be paid for valid Drain Water Heat Recovery claims submitted after February 1st, 2018 and submitted by March 25th, 2018. The incentive will be calculated automatically, there is no additional application required;
  3. Complete claims on behalf of homeowners, consistent with HIR submission requirements will need to be submitted by Sunday, March 25th;
  4. The incentive is for $250 per successful submission to a maximum of 5 units ($1250 max incentive) per Participating Contractor;
  5. A single cheque will be mailed to each contractor within 6-8 weeks of end of the Launch.
I’m a contractor already included in the home builder database at Municipal Affairs. Do I have to go through another process to be considered as a registered contractor for this program?

Yes, registration is required for participation in this program and can be started by clicking here.

Do contractors provide the rebates to customers?

No. Customers receive the rebate directly from Energy Efficiency Alberta. The rebate is only calculated by the contractor through the contractor portal’s software.

What are the contractor qualifications?

Each contractor must meet the following criteria to qualify:

  • Fully licensed (Legally registered business in the province)
  • Have current liability insurance and Worker Safety insurance
  • Be registered with WCB
  • The business has Prepaid Contractor and/or Direct Selling license(s) consistent with the Fair Trading Act, as required.
  • Required to participate in future training as it becomes available to maintain their status in the network.
I am a contractor. How do I get on your list of registered contractors?

On the Energy Efficiency Alberta website, there is a portal for contractorsto register to be a participating contractor. Each contractor must meet the contractor qualifications, which includes participating in future training as it becomes available. Additional criteria for tankless hot water heater installers include a Plumber’s Certificate and a Level 2 Gas Certificate.

What if I give the customer the incorrect information about the rebates?

The consequences are similar to under-quoting the work. Neither the government nor Summerhill will be responsible for program misrepresentation by contractors. A remedy should be sought between the contractor and the homeowner.

A customer is calling me saying they received a rebate for the wrong amount. Should I pay them?

Summerhill manages the rebate budget and the issuance of the cheques. There are quality assurance measures in place to ensure the customer receives the correct rebate amount. If somehow the customer receives the incorrect rebate amount, Summerhill would look into how this error occurred, and if the customer is correct they would issue another rebate for the outstanding balance.