Here in Canada, we really need our furnaces to work! Winter here is no joke, and it also eats up nearly two-thirds of the average homeowner’s annual energy bill.
This means that anything that can boost heating efficiency is a win-win for every homeowner we’ve ever met – including ourselves!
But the days when you would call up your HVAC service and simply order a new furnace are long gone. This is because today you have all kinds of choices!
You can choose from electric, solar, geothermal, oil, wood, gas (natural gas) or propane furnaces. Which is the smartest choice? Find out why we are big fans of natural gas and propane furnaces!
61 Percent of Your Energy Bill Goes to Home Heating
Canadian homeowners report that, on average, a whopping 61 percent of their annual energy costs go to fund just one home expense: winter heating.
61 percent is a lot of energy!
Let’s take a closer look at what most homeowners say they are spending on heating costs. (You can use this general example to plug in your own numbers to see what you are spending.)
The typical homeowner’s annual energy bill hovers around $2,358.
61 percent of $2,358 is $1,438.
So that is just over $1,400 per year devoted to home heating.
This is also where the fuel type your furnace system takes can really impact your financial bottom line!
Cost Comparison of Five Common Heating Fuel Choices
At this point, you are likely wondering how each heating fuel choice ranks in terms of energy costs. It likely won’t surprise you to learn hydro (electricity) is the most costly across the board.
But where do the other options rank, dollar for dollar?
Heating oil is the second priciest fuel option, as well as the least green-friendly. But in some more rural areas, oil is still a necessary choice due to availability.
Propane is both cleaner-burning and more economical than heating oil, although setup costs can be steep. But once installed, propane has a lot to recommend it, especially during the stormy winter season’s notorious power outages.
Hybrid heating options such as air source, water source or geothermal source heat pumps can be a happy mid-ground for some homes, with a lower electricity draw and high efficiency output.
Natural gas is a natural choice for homeowners living in near-city and urban areas. It is also the most popular choice for both availability and affordability reasons.
So as a general guideline, electricity will be the most expensive, with heating oil a close second. Hybrid systems can mitigate some of the costs of using electricity for heating. Propane is a more economical option than heating oil for rural and semi-rural areas and natural gas is a consistent favorite wherever it is available.
Cost Comparison of Heating Equipment
One mistake many first-time heating equipment shoppers make is focusing on choosing the most affordable fuel source to the exclusion of choosing an affordable heating appliance or vice versa.
Both the cost of your furnace or heating equipment and the cost of the fuel it requires must be factored in to make the most affordable long-term choice.
In nearly every case, purchasing an electric-powered furnace is going to be the most economical in terms of the equipment. But hydro prices can make short work of any front-end savings you enjoy.
Similarly, if the furnace or heating equipment you want to purchase is going to require major renovations during installation, it may not be cost-feasible to make the switch dollar for dollar.
A common example is the water source or geothermal (ground source) heat pump. Some of these systems can deliver up to 400 percent energy efficiency – literally creating extra energy in a way similar to how solar power becomes income-producing. But the cost of installing these systems is always going to require a major investment.
In the same way, if you want to use a forced air furnace system and your home does not already have a system of ducts in place, this can be a pricey upgrade.
Hybrid systems typically fall in the middle, with an air source heat pump being a popular and affordable choice.
Propane heaters are also still on the pricier end, whereas natural gas furnaces today are within range of being as economical as electric furnace systems.
Why We Love Propane and Natural Gas Furnace Equipment
Propane and natural gas have a lot to offer when compared with electricity.
For starters, both will continue to provide your home with uninterrupted heat even during power outages. Both are widely available throughout Ontario and each is more economical to purchase than either oil or electricity.
Both propane and natural gas are cleaner-burning than oil or wood and are a great match for today’s high efficiency propane and natural gas furnaces, which can easily deliver up to 96 percent energy efficiency!
Both propane and natural gas furnaces are simple to install and set up as long as you already have the required fuel delivery infrastructure in place (propane tank or natural gas lines).
And if you enjoy the ambiance of a fireplace during the winter months, either propane or natural gas can readily power your gas fireplace/insert all winter long.
4 Benefits of Upgrading to a New Gas or Propane Furnace
Our line of Bryant, Coleman and Goodman gas and propane furnaces can deliver these four benefits right from day one:
- Improved thermostat control with a programmable thermostat
- Boosted energy efficiency that lowers monthly utility bills
- Increased heating reliability, especially during winter power outages
- Better overall heating evenness and indoor air quality from room to room
Get in Touch
Could you use some expert guidance to identify the most economical, sustainable choice to heat your home or workplace this winter? We can help!