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Everything to Know About Heating Systems

Everything to Know About Heating Systems

Interior renovationsEverything to Know About Heating Systems

Choosing an efficient heating solution shouldn’t be taken lightly. Prior research is super important to ensure you’re choosing an appliance that meets your home’s heating requirements while maintaining reasonable energy expenses. Are you looking for an effective heating solution, yet uncertain about the ideal choice? Check out our guide to gain insight into the various devices, features, and price ranges. 

Types of Heating Solutions

different heating solutions

Source: Canva

Canadian winters are quite harsh and cold. As a result, during that time of the year, most Canadians find themselves pondering over the same concern: finding a heating solution that’s both efficient and cost-effective. There are several heating solutions available on the market, each with its set of characteristics and features. Here’s a list of heating systems to help narrow down your search for a heating appliance that best suits your home.

Electric Heating 

electric baseboard heater

Source: Canva

True to its name, electric heating is a heating system that relies on electricity to function. While being efficient, quick, sustainable, and eco-friendly, this type of heating solution requires little maintenance. Its installation is rather simple too. Furthermore, individual temperature settings can be managed within the home. Some systems can even reach the desired temperature within minutes. Due to their numerous advantages, electric heating solutions amount to roughly 85% of new heating systems installed in the province of Quebec. However, this type of device has a few downsides, notably in terms of energy costs, which may become quite a hefty expense. And, using an electric heating system can possibly dry out the ambient air in the rooms in which it’s used.

There are several models of electric heating solutions available:

  • Electric baseboard heater: Especially common in modern homes, and costs are affordable compared to other devices.

  • Wall-mounted convector: Also known as a convector heater, is shaped in such a way as to mimic a chimney and has a more powerful and significant thermal speed compared to baseboard heaters.

  • Floor heating: Installed beneath the flooring, this system radiates heat by warming up the air’s surrounding mass. These masses store the heat and gradually release it. 

  • Fan heater: This heating device efficiently heats individual rooms in a home. It’s easy to install, durable, and quick—it can be installed in various areas of the home.

  • Electric furnace: This system has the capacity to generate all the energy required for thermal efficiency in homes. This heating system is ideal for homes with existing ductwork and can be connected to an air conditioning system. Its price tag typically falls between the $2,400 and $3,600 range. 

  • Electric boiler: When compared to other types of heating solutions, this one is super economical and generates clean energy.

Natural Gas Heating

gas heating system

Source: Canva

Natural gas heating differs due to its use of non-renewable fossil fuels derived from the decomposition of animals and plants that existed millions of years ago. This type of heating system functions by way of gas. Its method of operation consists of pushing air into a warm air generator. Aside from being clean and eco-friendly energy, natural gas is easy to use and can be cost-effective. It can generate enough heat in very little time to warm an entire household, without so much as drying out the ambient air. However, note that gas combustion does emit health-hazardous particles. What’s more, purchasing the equipment has a rather steep initial cost compared to other heating systems. Plan on spending about $4,800 to $7,920.

There are several natural gas heating systems available:

  • Natural gas water boiler: The efficiency level of this system has been well-established. Natural gas water boilers are rather low maintenance and easy to use. 

  • Under-floor heating: This type of system is installed beneath the flooring and can heat an entire room by gradually releasing heat

  • Gas fireplace: Unlike wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces emit very few fine particles. You can customize it at will. 

  • Forced warm-air distribution system (central furnace): This device centralizes ambient air temperature in all rooms of a house and guarantees decent thermal efficiency

Oil-Fired Heating System

oil-fired heating system

Source: Canva

Oil-fired heating systems were extremely popular at one point in Quebec. Oil is a hydrocarbon issued from petroleum refining processes, made with carbon and hydrogen. It offers excellent energy efficiency and allows for even air distribution throughout homes. However, using this system can cause dwellings to have a strong odour of oil and its noise level can be bothersome, and that’s without accounting for fuel costs (roughly $1.65 per litre of oil) as well as the potential for leaks

Here are a few examples of oil-fired heating systems: 

  • Oil stove: This one benefits from not needing electricity to function, which lessens heating costs. 

  • Oil boiler: Opt for more modern models since they aren’t as loud and generate very few greenhouse gasses to safeguard the environment and limit unpleasant odours.

  • Oil furnace: This type of heating system is usually paired with a heat pump for better results. It heats up all rooms in a home in record time. 

Attention: Oil-fired heating solutions have been banned from new constructions since December 31, 2021, and will be prohibited from sale after December 31, 2023.  

Heat Pump 

heat pump heating system

Source: Canva

This heating solution harnesses a renewable energy source from within the earth. It’s powered by electricity and involves absorbing and transferring cold or warm outside air inside the home through a pump. Heat pump heating enables converting cold air into warm air, and warm air into cold air. As such, it functions as an air conditioner during summertime, and as a heater during wintertime. However, installation and maintenance fees can be quite expensive. Expect to pay between $2,300 to $5,000 for the procurement and installation. This heating system might prove insufficient during periods of extreme cold, necessitating another heating method for optimal performance.

Among the heat pumps available:

  • Air-to-water heat pump: This heating system generates both warm and cool air, upon demand. It’s low maintenance and works akin to a refrigerator

Solar Air Heating System 

solar air heating system

Source: Canva

Solar heating is a system that uses the sun’s heat to warm a home and produce electricity. This type of system derives heat from a clean, renewable energy source and can generate up to 30% of the heat needed over a one-year period. A solar panel generates roughly 70% of domestic hot water, but installing numerous panels is necessary to make a significant impact, heating-wise. Note that this type of heating solution isn’t as efficient during wintertime, as it relies on solar heat to function properly. This means that, during that time of year, the energy produced by the sun isn’t very significant due to weather conditions, and the thick atmospheric layer slows down the sun’s rays. Solar heating absolutely must be supplemented with another heating system, such as a heat pump or boiler.

There are several different types of solar heating solutions:

  • Under-floor heating: It’s installed beneath the flooring in select rooms. It diffuses heat via a circuit located beneath the floor and provides added thermal comfort. 

  • Forced-air system: This type of heating system offers a combination of efficiency and swiftness, and significantly reduces energy expenses.

How to Choose to Right Heating System

With the plethora of heating systems available on the market, choosing the solution that best suits your needs and your home’s characteristics can be challenging. To make an informed decision, it’s important to consider several factors prior to going ahead and purchasing a system.

  • Square footage to heat: The home’s square footage and the number of rooms to heat are determining factors in choosing the system’s efficiency.

  • Your budget: Heating system prices vary based on the solution chosen. Prior to purchasing, consider what you can afford, installation fees, system maintenance, and energy use. All these factors must be considered. 

  • Comfort: A lot of the heating systems available on the market are quite noisy, while others emit an unpleasant odour. Also, some are more aesthetically pleasing than others. Take these factors into consideration as well when choosing your heating system.

To help guide your decision, we highly recommend perusing our heating system-related articles: 

How to Choose Between a Wall-Mounted or Central Heat Pump

Comment choisir le bon modèle de plancher chauffant ? (English version to come)

Comment choisir un radiateur électrique ? (English version to come)

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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