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31 May

WHEN DOUBLE-DIPPING IS OKAY

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Perhaps you remember the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza catches someone double dipping in the salsa. While this is considered unsanitary and bad manners, some forms of double dipping are okay.

Sometimes two levels of government want you to do something, so they offer you an incentive. The idea is that people’s behavior over time changes and it becomes the norm to do this.
Several years ago when I was having my furnace cleaned and serviced, the service man told me that the firebox had rusted and fumes could flow through my home. He turned the furnace off and told me that I needed a new one.

At the time, the local natural gas company was offering discounts on furnaces for people who switched over to their company. The local electricity provider offered lower rates to people who bought a heat pump and the federal government had a program to encourage people to become more energy efficient. As a result, I was able to triple dip – I got a discounted more energy efficient furnace with air conditioning and a new lower rate for electricity.

That program is gone now but there are others that you can benefit from. At this time Alberta residents are being bombarded with ads and flyers from window companies. They say that if you replace your windows now you can qualify for a $1,500 rebate through the provincial government. What they are not telling you is that you can double dip. If you get an energy audit before the windows are replaced and you apply to your mortgage default insurance company , whether it’s CMHC, Genworth , or Canada Guaranty, you may qualify for a 15% rebate on your premium ! On a $400,000 mortgage with 5% down you pay $16,000 in fees. How nice would it be to get $2,400 back?

The programs vary from province to province and cover windows, hot water tanks, appliances. You can check out what’s available here or ask your Dominion Lending Centres mortgage broker for more information. Go ahead and double dip.