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Can You Heat Your Home Without Gas In Ottawa?

Can you heat your home without gas in Ottawa, Canada? This is a very popular question, as climate change is a hot button issue, with Canada setting steep goals on lowering emission rates over the coming years.

This article will delve into the environmental impact of reducing fossil fuel consumption, the reality of heating a home in our climate, the costs of heating with electricity and the overall pro’s and cons of heat pumps.

Canada has vowed on the world stage to reduce our carbon emissions by a whopping 80% by 2050. With these ambitious goals, the government has identified the largest contributors to carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels for heat accounts for 45% of Canada’s emissions. Of that 45%, nearly half is pinpointed as residential and other private sector home/water heating. As illustrated with the infamous carbon tax, the government is attempting to crack down on fossil fuels as a primary source of heating.  More and more communities in Canada and the United States have legislated the use of electricity for home heating in new developments and incentivize builders to eliminate gas meters on new build homes. 

The reality of heating our homes throughout the winter is a cold and harsh one.  In 2019 there were numerous weeks wherein Ottawa ranked as the coldest capital on Earth, averaging throughout the year as the 7th coldest capital city on the planet!  This puts a major emphasis on heating our homes efficiently, while also not breaking the bank to do so. Historically, heating homes with natural gas has been the most cost-effective method for Canadians.  This may change in the coming decades but for now the major reason to switch off natural gas, propane or oil is an environmental one. 

There are many methods in which to heat a home solely on electricity.  Electric baseboard heat has been a popular method for decades and is commonly seen in apartments, condo’s and homes that have do not have the infrastructure for forced air gas (ductwork). A study conducted in 2017 by Enbridge gas, estimated the average cost to heat your home in Ottawa on electricity was $2,793 annually as opposed to the $900 annually spent by those utilizing natural gas.  These numbers are beginning to fluctuate with the introduction of the carbon tax alongside with massive strides being made in technology associated with electrical heating. 

For those members of the public that strive to aid in the reduction of carbon emissions, the easiest place to start is their own dwelling.  The popularity of air source heat pumps has skyrocketed in the Ottawa area recently and has given rise to a new generation of environmentally friendly homeowners.  With the massive increase in technology and efficiencies it is beginning to become a more viable option for those living in the Ottawa area.  There are heat pumps on the market that can produce heat down to -30C and allowing us to utilize them for large portions of the year and use electric back up heat only in the depths of winter. 

Pros and Cons of Air Source Heat Pumps in Ottawa

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly: Heat pumps run solely on electricity and do not need the burning of fossil fuels to create heat 
  • Safety: Though modern furnaces and boilers come equipped with many safety features, overall an air source heat pump is considered a very safe solution as it does not create carbon monoxide to produce heat
  • Cooling: All air source heat pumps work like air conditioners and can operate in both heating and cooling. This means you eliminate the need for an air conditioner and also can enjoy the incredibly high efficiency rates in cooling modes
  • Quiet: Most high-end air source heat pumps are virtually silent. These units are much quieter than a typical air conditioner
  • Low operating costs in cooling: With nearly double the average efficiencies of a standard air conditioner in Ottawa, you reap the benefits throughout the summer 

Cons:

  • High upfront costs: Air source heat pumps can be more of an investment than a standard gas furnace
  • The need for back up heat: If the goal is to reduce carbon emissions, you will still need to have either baseboard heaters or electric heating banks in an air handler to ensure that the house is comfortable in the coldest of days
  • Lifespan: Air source heat pumps generally have a life span of 12-20 years whereas the average furnace last 15-25 years

In conclusion, the answer is YES!!! You can heat your home without the use of fossil fuels.  This may cost you more and also require the use of backup heat but in the end if your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint this may be the first step towards that goal.

Call AirZone today at 613-592-5770 to book a free consultation to discuss the viability of an air source heat pump! 

For more information about the heat pumps available from AirZone HVAC Services and their benefits please visit our heat pump page.
Ottawa Heat Pump - Mitsubishi Zuba Central

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