Move to the Maritimes prompts energy rethink

Tom MacKenzie and his wife were a little ahead of the curve in moving from southern Ontario to Nova Scotia. About six months before things “went crazy” in 2020 with housing prices spiking and a new urban to rural migration during the COVID-19 pandemic, they decided to trade life in the city for small town life in Pictou County, Nova Scotia – where they both were raised.

“When we bought the house we are in now, houses in the area had been for sale for three years,” he says. “Now if a house goes up in New Glasgow, it’s gone in a week.”

Much of the new demand has come from people moving down from Ontario, looking for a simpler and more outdoors lifestyle, he says. The Mackenzie’s had lived in Hamilton for 24 years.

“In our neighbourhood there’s a couple from Windsor, Ontario. They’re settling in pretty well. I was talking to a couple at Canadian Tire the other day that moved from Niagara Falls; they’ve found the winter here crazy.”

The Mackenzie’s bought a 3,000 sq ft, 140-year-old historic home in New Glasgow. On top of their to-do list after closing day was taking a close look at their new home’s energy needs and possible solutions. Their new purchase, like most homes in the area, where natural gas is not available, was heated with oil.

Tom has insights into the various energy options available through his work with Wolseley Canada, a national distributor of plumbing, HVAC/R and PVF products. The couple chose propane, not just for heating, but for their appliances too.

“For us, it was really about trying to maximize propane wherever we could in the home. It’s single source, fairly clean and environmentally friendly. So, we wanted to be able to use it wherever we could.”

“Unlike oil, it’s not so dirty and doesn’t create the anxiety around if something happens with one of the tanks,” he says.

The transition from oil to propane was smooth, he adds, and he doesn’t hesitate to recommend the switch to others.

“I had a conversation with a neighbour the other day who has a house similar to ours.

She is on oil, and we talked about price of oil, and the higher efficiency of propane…I’m absolutely in support of it and talk often about the advantages.”

“It was an easy decision for us.”