Best furnace to lower your heating bill

Electric, oil, propane or natural gas?

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by

From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.

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There’s heating bills! How big they grow may depend on the type of furnace you own. Let’s compare:

How much it costs

 

Home Economics Sept 2016 - best furnace

Need to know

The average lifespan (in years) of a modern gas furnace is: 15 to 20 years.

People assume furnaces will last 25 years or more but that’s no longer the case, says registered home inspector Rob Parker. “Older furnaces are less complicated and could last up to 30 years, but can cost twice as much to heat your home,” says Parker.

Overall Efficiency

Home Economics Sept 2016 - best furnace

The AFUE measure

The Annual Fuel UtilizationEfficiency rating tells you how much heat a furnace produces compared to the energy it uses to produce it.If an older furnace operates at 50% AFUE, 50 cents of every dollar spent is, well, going up in smoke.

6 comments on “Best furnace to lower your heating bill

  1. This article is NOT helpful. You need to modify it, or add a footnote listing the prices you used to calculate the costs.
    What is the price per kWh for electricity? What is the cost per GJ for natural gas? What are the costs per unit for propane and oil?
    Prices vary widely across Canada. Electricity for example ranges from $0.07 to $0.16 per kWh.

    Reply

  2. Would have to seriously disagree with this article. We put in a gas furnace in one home and 3 years later when we moved we had to install a propane furnace in the new house as gas wasn’t available and th furnace cost was almost identical. I also think the costs for the 2 types of heating are way out.

    Reply

    • Hi Krista,
      The costs were based on a comparison of a 2,400-square-foot home in Southern Ontario. Will the costs change depending on where you live? Absolutely! In Quebec it’s usually much cheaper to use electricity. In Ontario, heating with electricity would put a serious dent in your wallet. Also, you need to factor in that moving from one one home to another means exchanging one set of circumstances (say, new windows and doors and sealed cracks, for another, say a not-so insulated home). The aim is to prompt homeowners to investigate ways of heating and furnace upgrades. Is there a better option based on where you live and what you live in? While an upfront cost of a new installation may seem insurmountable, seeing the savings on an annual basis can help put those upfront costs into perspective.

      Reply

  3. First – Incorrect. Propane is not 100% efficient.
    Converting a GJ of natural gas to KW, natural gas is still a fraction of the cost of electricity.
    Best bang for the buck – 95%+ efficiency furnace, with a heat pump for the shoulder seasons.
    You really need to consult a LICENCED home heating contractor, not home inspectors.

    Reply

    • Hi Kitty,
      Yes. There is a cost to convert propane but the furnaces for propane are on par as the high efficiency furnaces used for natural gas at around 97% to 98%. There is also a cost to convert electricity, but that cost is done well before it reaches the heating element, so the efficiency of electric is 100%.

      Reply

      • The infographic shows propane at 100% efficiency.

        Reply

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