How to save $600.00 on heating this winter

By Kemar Trepair on October 23, 2020

Winter is coming, so your home's heating system needs to be as ready as you are.

flag-canada-red-white-canadian-winter

Winter is around the corner, which means decreased temperatures. Longer nights, and snowfall. Canada's cold climate makes the effects of this season more pronounced than in many other parts of the world.
In the same fashion, space heating accounts for a remarkable 61.6% of the energy used in the average Canadian home. The various instruments used to achieve said heating include but are not limited to:

  1. Boilers (gas or electric)
  2. Dehumidifiers0
  3. Furnaces (gas, oil, or electric)
  4. Heat pumps (air, ground, ductless)

Whichever heating appliance(s) you’ve chosen to use in your home. Ensuring that it’s in optimal condition. Should be at the top of the to-do-list of anyone seeking to combat the winter chills. Especially considering the amount of money you will inevitably spend to cover energy use.

Boilers


Boilers will typically cost between $4,800.00 - $13,000.00 for purchase and installation. While on the more expensive spectrum of heating equipment. These are energy efficient because you can control the distribution of heat on a room to room basis. Instead of always heating the entire home. Gas boilers rely on the burning of natural gas or LPG(a liquid alternative) to generate heat whereas electric boilers convert electricity into heat. In Canada, some of the top boiler brands include IBC Technologies, Viessman, and Triangle Tube.

Gas boilers cost a lot less to operate, and generate far more heat than their electric counterparts, making them more suitable for larger residences. On the other hand, they are made up of more moving parts, are larger, and produce Carbon Monoxide during operation.
If you have a gas boiler you will have to ensure to install a Carbon Monoxide Detector in the basement. They can be purchased from Canadian Tire for as little as $34.99. A carbon monoxide detector is a safety device that will alert you of a CO leak which left unchecked will lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electric boilers are quieter and produce zero emissions during operations thus making them the environmentally friendly option. These units are cheaper to install, ranging from $2,000 - $8,500.00.
However, the most common potential problem with them(both electric and gas) is that the pipes will freeze if the ambient temperature drops below a certain number.

Furnaces


Furnaces are the most popular traditional heating apparatus in Canada. Two-thirds of all Canadian homes are heated with forced-air furnaces; of those, two-thirds are fired by natural gas, and the remainder by oil or propane or heated electrically.
The relatively inexpensive cost of installation, maintenance, and versatility of these systems accounts for this prevalence. Forced-air furnaces can be modified to function as an air filter, humidifier, and/or ventilator.
The cost of these units (including installation) will typically range between $3000 - $5500.

In Canada, the top value brands are Goodman, KeepRite & York. In the Mid-Range price bracket, you have American Standard, Bryant, & Amana. Those who want the best of the best should look to Lennox & Carrier for their premium furnace needs.
The most common con to furnaces is that the blower fans can be very loud, especially on older models.
Additionally, the energy efficiency of your furnace can vary greatly depending on its age.

The very old models have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of only 60 to 65 per cent, i.e. only 60-65¢ of every $1 you spend on fuel actually contributes towards heating your home. Since 1995, the minimum efficiency level of furnaces on the Canadian market has been 78%.
Presently, there are 2 types of models available; those with 80% efficiency(standard) and those with 90% or better(condensing furnaces). On average, the mid-efficiency models cost $1000 less than their high-efficiency counterparts however they may end up costing you more over time due to increased fuel consumption.

Heat Pumps


Heat pumps are the contemporary renewable resource option for heating one’s home. Air source heat pumps and ground source heat pumps extract heat from the air or ground. The air contains heat that can be used to heat a property evenly. In temperatures below 0°C while underground temperatures sit at a constant 10-15°C. Ground heat pumps will typically cost twice as much as their air counterparts.
The total cost of installing a ground unit, will cost anywhere between $7,800.00-$26,000.00. whereas air units will cost between $6,000.00-$10,000.00. Those on a budget should look to the brands Payne, Ameristar, & DiamondAir.

Ground heat pumps are more energy-efficient because temperatures underground are much more stable since heat is transferred through the ground via the movement of water, and water has a greater capacity to hold heat compared to air.

Thermostats & Energy Star ratings

Thermostats differ from the other equipment mentioned in this article in that they provide no functionality on their own and are always used in tandem with whatever heating appliance(s) you use, provided they can be integrated into a thermostat’s system.

They are supremely useful in regards to energy savings by keeping the temperature at a designated number or range. Utilizing a thermostat to control your residential heating system can reduce your heating bill by around 10%, which may not seem like much but over time will add up to a lot!

Another money-saving step you can take is making sure you purchase ENERGY STAR®certified heating equipment. You can find a directory of certified products here, just ensure to set your market to Canada when filtering products.