Are you struggling to figure out the best way to heat your home this winter? Do not worry you are not alone! As technology continues to advance drastically the options can seem limitless. We believe every home and homeowner are different and there are huge pros and cons to the many different options. We have delved into the topic below by dividing the options into fuel sources and investigating the methods involved with each different fuel type. Furthermore, we have broken out the styles of heating that include ducted forced air, ductless forced air, radiant heat.
Using Wood To Heat Your Home
The old tried and true method! Wood is used in fireplaces, stoves and even furnaces/boilers! Fireplaces can create a beautiful ambiance but may not be the most efficient way to heat. These systems can be much more expensive to run than other methods. The biggest downside to wood systems is the amount of labour involved. The labour associated with prepping, maintaining and feeding wood fired systems is often the reason people steer away from this more antiquated technology. Environmentally this is the least friendly and least sustainable heating source.
Natural Gas Home Heating Method
Far and away the most economical way to heat your home in the Ottawa area. If you live in an area that has natural gas available, chances are you and your neighbors are utilizing natural gas. Historically, natural gas is the lowest cost per BTU in Ontario and is very convenient to use. Homeowners may look to move away from natural gas due to the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels as well as the rising costs of natural gas.
Propane Gas For Rural Home Heating
Rural areas surrounding Ottawa tend to utilize propane to heat their homes. Much like natural gas it is convenient as a delivery company can fill your tanks and as a homeowner it is as easy as turning on the thermostat. Propane bills can be prohibitive as the fuel source is much more expensive than natural gas. Furthermore, running out of propane in the middle of the winter is a common occurrence and can be very nerve wracking. We see many propane users slowly transitioning to heat pump technology to offset rising propane costs.
Oil Fuel Source For Heating
Fuel oil was a very popular heating source for many decades throughout Canada. Over the years many people transitioned to natural gas or propane due to the higher efficiencies available with these style furnaces. Oil furnaces tend to be less efficient and are often described by technicians as “a dirtier” alternative to natural gas. Oil burning by products are worse for the environment than natural gas or propane. Furthermore, oil is not a cheap fuel source for homeowners and historically costs more per BTU than other options.
Electric Home Heating Method
Heating your home using strictly electrical sources is becoming more and more popular. By far the most environmentally sustainable method of the sources we have discussed. Ontario has lagged behind other provinces due to the historically prohibitive price of electricity. With technological advancements (discussed below), electrical heating is becoming a popular and viable option. Once again, natural gas heat tends to be more economical to operate. Homeowners must decide the balance between being environmentally friendly and higher operational costs.
Hybrid Heating (Using a Combination Of The Above Methods
For many homeowners, hybrid systems create the perfect balance between environmental stability and operational costs. Technically, a hybrid system is any heating option that combines two of the above fuel sources. That being said, the most common hybrid system is one that combines electric heating with another fuel source. Items such as electric heat pumps paired with gas, propane or oil furnaces allow the home to utilize electricity as a heat source for the majority of the year and a fuel when temperatures get very low.
Types of Home Heating Systems Typically Found In Ottawa
Ducted Forced Air
The most common style of system within city limits is ducted systems. This style of heating utilizes tin ducted systems to distribute heat throughout your home. If you already have ductwork in the home, chances are you will continue to use a ducted system. All of the above fuel sources can tie into a ductwork infrastructure. Natural gas furnaces are the most common piece of equipment that tie into the ductwork. You can also have furnaces attached to ductwork that use propane, oil, electricity or wood. Furthermore, you can have heat pump systems such as air to air, geothermal or air to water heat pumps that integrate with your homes ductwork.
Ductless Forced Air
Ductless air conditioners and heat pumps are becoming extremely popular in the Ottawa area. These systems do not require any ductwork and are very customizable to install. These ductless heat pumps are some of the most efficient equipment on the market, making them highly sought after and eligible for rebates. You can use these systems as a supplement to your current heating system or as the primary heating source for your home. If you have ductless heat pumps as the primary heat, it is advisable to have a backup heat for the very cold days. Ductless heat pumps use only electricity to move heat and are very environmentally friendly.
Radiant heat is a style of heat distribution that utilizes radiators or in floor tubing. This option is popular for older homes and newer homes that are looking to avoid bulkheads or ductless indoor heads. Many people appreciate the aesthetics of infloor radiant heat as it is invisible except for thermostats. Radiant heat is generated by boilers that can be fueled by any of the sources we discussed earlier. Hybrid boiler systems are becoming popular as well. We will install a boiler that feeds infloor heat in a basement but also feeds an air handler. This means we can utilize heat pump technology in the air handler while using radiant heat in other areas of the home. Boiler and rad technology has come a long way and we can now heat old homes quite efficiently without redesigning the infrastructure of heritage homes.
Since there are so many different methods and combinations of heating, it is always advisable to discuss with a professional. In home estimates from AirZone are always free, allow one of our expert designers to discuss the best options for you or your home!