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12 min read

Heating Renovation Guide: The Go-To Checklist

12 min read

Heating Renovation Guide: The Go-To Checklist

Heating Renovation Guide: The Go-To Checklist

With the cold front rearing its ugly head, we’re again going about storing our summer clothes, flip-flops, and barbecue gear. Out come the thick duvets, coats, and boots. But above all, we’re firing up the heat!

According to statistics, more than 31% of households in Quebec use gas-fueled heating solutions to stay warm. About a year ago, the Government of Quebec announced a ban on installing and repairing oil-fueled residential heating systems. This ban will come into effect on December 31, 2023, and will also prohibit replacing oil-fueled boilers with another heating appliance requiring fossil fuel in existing buildings. 

We’ve published several articles about the different heating systems via our blog. Naturally, there are a lot of aspects to consider when pondering over changing a heating system. That’s why we’ve created a guide and a memory aid to help you better prepare for your heating system repair or installation project. 

This guide will be useful if you want to broaden your understanding of available options.
 

BEFORE JUMPSTARTING THE WORK

heating renovations

Source: Canva

You have to be well prepared to ensure the work is efficiently carried out and doesn’t stretch on for an extended period. Take the necessary amount of time to ascertain your needs, figure out your budget, and find the contractors you’d like to collaborate with. 

Not sure whether it’s time to change your heating system? It’s always tough, especially when you have to account for all the various system costs. Furthermore, you’ll have to hire a professional to install the new system. All the more reasons why so many people tend to wait until the last minute to jumpstart such a project.

Replacing your heating system is quite a binding procedure, but it genuinely has its upsides. Don’t overlook any of the warning signs! 

Heating Project Keywords

Service life

There’s nothing more normal than a heating system losing its efficiency over the years. Even if you’re a stickler in terms of maintenance, these appliances degrade over time. If your system has 20-plus years of service, it’s very likely that its time has come and should be changed. 

Energy savings

Nowadays, more energy-efficient and eco-friendly devices are sold on the market compared to earlier years. They have the added benefit of reducing energy bills and using renewable energies. 

Maintenance

When meeting with contractors, remember to also inquire about maintenance requirements for your heating system as well as any related fees.

Installation cost

We suggest meeting up with two or three contractors to compare projected costs. Don’t forget to consider the value for money factor and the amount of services offered in the provided quotes. 

Environmental consequences

Some heating systems have a more significant environmental footprint compared to others. Natural gas, for example, is a fossil fuel which, when extracted, transportation and combustion generate enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses, further contributing to global warming.
 

Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine Your Needs

heating renovations

Source: Canva

Still undecided about which heating system best suits your lifestyle? Before investing your hard earned money and regretting it shortly thereafter, you have to ask yourself hard questions to better ascertain your needs. 

Will the heating system be replaced in its entirety or partly?

It may be that your home’s heating system works rather well, but can’t heat all the required areas. You could, for example, benefit from a hydronic heating system in your common areas, but maybe your hallway, entryway, or other areas could really benefit from an additional heat source. If so, you may want to consider installing electric baseboards strategically in areas where your central heating system isn’t as efficient. 

What are my aesthetic preferences?

Some heating devices, like electric baseboards, blend in quite well with the rest of the décor. Other factors to consider are noise pollution, air quality, etc. 

Will I have to hire a professional to clean and maintain the system? 

To ensure the proper functioning of your heating system, it’ll have to be properly and regularly maintained. Make sure to inquire as to how often the heating system needs to be maintained, if it has to be cleaned by an industry professional, their per-service rates, etc. 

All Things Budget 

The required budget may vary greatly based on the following:

  • Type of heating installed

  • Number of devices required

  • Installation complexity 

  • Contractor’s rates

Therefore, it’s rather hard to pinpoint precise fees to determine the total cost. 


Check out this article to get a better idea about the related costs of installing distinct heating systems: 

Do you need a permit when undertaking a heating renovation project?

heating renovations

Source: Canva

In most instances, heating systems aren’t usually grouped amongst home renovation projects that require permits. However, nothing should ever be taken for granted, and you should still check your municipal website or call up your city to ensure this information is valid for your particular situation.

Check out this article to learn more about home renovation projects requiring building permits (in French only).

Working with a Contractor

Changing your heating system is a venture that requires the skill set and expertise of a qualified and reputable company. Prior to hiring the services of a professional, seek out a few different companies and request a quote from each to compare prices and different services offered.  

TYPES OF HEATING

heating renovations

Source: Canva

The Benefits of a Hot Water Heating System

This type of heating is still very much used in numerous homes throughout Quebec, especially in century-old buildings. While it dropped on the popularity scale over time, it’s more or less attributed to its installation cost being much more significant compared to other heating systems. 

Clean air

Unlike fan-forced heating and old ventilation systems, hot water systems limit dust dispersion, pollutants, and allergens throughout the home. This makes it an ideal option for individuals with respiratory-related issues and/or allergies.

Noiseless

This heating system, when properly set, is very quiet. 

Budget-friendly

The costs incurred by its use are less steep than those of a traditional, electric baseboard heating system, making it more economical in the long run. 

Low maintenance

When properly maintained, a hot water heating system can last about 50, maybe even 60 years. 

However, you’ll have to hire a professional service provider to clean and maintain your boiler and the system as a whole. 


Check out our article to know what you should consider in terms of efficient hot water heating system maintenance:

The Benefits of Electric Baseboards

Nowadays, electric baseboard heating systems are the most common heating system found in Quebec households across the board. 

Such a system can be perfectly concealed in a compact casing, made with shock-resistant material, great performance, and easy maintenance, amongst other perks. This heating system’s new-age characteristics go a long way to explaining the popularity of electric baseboards in Quebec households. 

Easy installation

This heating system is relatively easy to install. However, you’ll still need to hire an electrician; they’ll be able to install it in the blink of an eye. 

Adjustable

Electric baseboards function independently from one another. Therefore, they have the added benefit of being controlled based on the needs of any given space. The temperature in every room can be controlled using thermostats, allowing you to reach the desired level of comfort based on the given needs.  

Service life

Electric baseboards require little maintenance, and their low maintenance will allow them to perform efficiently for years. Typically, this heating system will last for at least 25 years. 

Space-saving

By and large, this heating system is quite compact. Therefore, it can be installed even in tiny or fully furnished rooms. Baseboards can be installed just about anywhere in a house or apartment. 

Thermostats: Minor factor to consider

Manual thermostats…if you know, you know! Typically, HVAC specialists highly recommend changing them for new generation models: smart thermostats. With these, you can meticulously set and control the desired temperature in every room while still heating efficiently. 


To learn more, check out our article about electric baseboards:

The Benefits of Radiant Floors

heating renovations

Source: Canva

Even with a functional heating system, during cold winter days, keeping your feet warm can be a hard feat. By installing radiant floor heating, you’re choosing a comfortable and evenly heated living space. 

It’s a floor-based heating system that’s acclaimed for its efficiency but also the comfort provided. Even though its installation is more costly compared to a radiator heating system, the equipment used for the former is more modern and healthier for your whole family. 

There are two types of radiant floors:

  • An electric floor heating system uses infrared waves to heat the floors and nearby walls. 

  • Hydronic floor heating uses liquid-filled pipes and said liquid is pre-heated using a heat pump or boiler. 

Comfort

One of the main advantages of radiant floor heating is undoubtedly the uniform warmth. 

Space-saving

A heated floor system benefits from its underfloor installation, which is a completely concealed heating apparatus. 

Noiseless

A radiant floor system is completely inaudible since it doesn’t have a motor or air circulation system. This commodity is highly regarded by noise-sensitive individuals and people suffering from dust-related illnesses or different allergens.

Check out this article to learn more about it:

The Benefits of Biomass Heating Systems

heating renovations

Source: Canva

You might begin hearing more about using forest biomass for heating purposes. Hailing from renewable resources, meaning, as a population, we're contributing to conservation efforts. 

Biomass is made from plant matter and non-fossilized organic matter (like straw, waste wood, grass, household waste, and animal waste). It has zero commercial value and is best recycled instead of disposed of. 

Biomass combustion is considered carbon neutral, meaning its use preserves environmental balance. The burning resource rejects the same amount of CO2 into the atmosphere that it absorbs during its lifetime. 

Cost-effective

The cost of biomass remains relatively low and stable.

Sustainable

The use of biomass isn’t detrimental to the environment.

Renewable

In Quebec, biomass is primarily issued from forest industry-derived waste.

Respiratory health

Paired with a high-performance device, biomass emits 12 times fewer fine particles into the air than oil and slow-combustion stoves.


To know all about biomass heating, check out this article (in French only).

The Benefits of Different Heating Systems

There are all sorts of heating systems, which are, let’s face it, indispensable to get through the harsh Canadian winters. Heating systems can generally be categorized under two models: water-fed or air units. 

These two models operate with a heat generator, either a heat pump or furnace, to transmit heat to the terminal (radiator, radiant floor). 

Fan-forced electric furnace

Silence, efficiency, and safety are THE three keywords to retain when defining this heating unit. 

A fan-forced furnace, or a “forced-air furnace,” replaces the standard electric furnace. The standard model was traditionally installed in a building’s basement to ensure a natural hot air circulation upwards. 

  • Ensures uniform temperature throughout the home

  • Can be connected to an existing network

  • Potential of adding other features (fan, air purifier, heat pump, etc.)

  • Silent system

  • Consumes little energy
     

Boiler

Not unlike a furnace, a boiler is used to generate heat. However, it heats water or steam (depending on the model) instead of air. The hot water (or steam) is then driven through the ducts to the heating apparatuses. 

  • Cost-effective

  • Eco-friendly

Ductless heating

A ductless heating system uses gravity convection. Usually, the heating system is installed in the walls or beneath the flooring. 

Ductless heating units can run on gas, oil, or electricity. You can also choose a model equipped with a thermostat. 

However, more and more ductless heating systems are heat pumps. What are those, you ask? A heat pump is a device that brings in outside air inside a dwelling by compressing it. 

  • Compact

  • Easy installation

  • Energy-efficient

  • Efficient during winter and summer

Check out our article about the various heating systems to know which model best suits your needs (in French only).

The Benefits of Space Heaters

Space heaters can be handy, given the sheer amount of poorly insulated apartments out there. If it weren’t for the wide-ranging options retailed, purchasing a 120-volt electric space heater would be pretty straightforward. 

Regarding pricing, it pretty much goes hand in hand with the device's efficiency. And, as is often the case with electric heating, to prevent unforeseen issues, best inquire about energy consumption.

Portable

Space heaters are portable. Therefore, you can use the device where and when you need it. 

Variety

There are numerous models on the market. Therefore, you can most likely find a device that suits both your budget and aesthetic requirements. 


Check out this article for more information (in French only).

HOW TO SURVIVE A HEATING SYSTEM CHANGE

Changing a heating system can be a hectic project, especially if you’re planning on swapping the entire system and its accompanying devices. Therefore, it’s the type of project that could affect your daily life for a few days. 

To sidestep too many inconveniences, consider drawing up a plan to help you stay on track with your daily habits. If you happen to work from home, you could, for example, consider another area in which to work during the duration of the work to ensure the noise isn’t negatively affecting your productivity. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I staying put while the work is carried out?

  • How long will the work take (if everything goes according to plan)?

  • Do I have a Plan B in case it takes longer?

What else should be considered?

When you’re ready to request quotes from select contractors, take advantage of the situation and ask for your home’s insulation to be ascertained. If you think your heating system isn’t adequately heating your home, even though it’s working at full speed, the insulation might be at cause. 

Inquire about the different grants available. Through Energy Transition, the provincial government offers the Chauffez vert program to encourage people to turn to greener energy. 

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, the Government of Quebec is actively promoting energy transition as a means to fight against climate change.

The Chauffez vert program was initiated for homeowners and allows qualifiers to save up to $1,275 when replacing their oil-fired central heating system with green energy like electricity. Considering that you need at least six electric baseboards to heat an apartment, this grant could cover 70% of installation costs. 

Lastly, to wrap this up and help you make the best choice possible based on your situation, carefully consider the following factors:

  • Your heating and domestic hot water energy requirements

  • The availability of the chosen energy

  • Its cost

  • The system’s comfort level

  • The pollutants emitted

Get 3 quotes for your heating system renovation

RenoQuotes.com can help you get quotes for your air conditioning and heating project. If you submit your project, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes) and get estimates from trusted professionals. 

Dial 1-844 828-1588 to speak with one of our customer service representatives.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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