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Replacing your Furnace or Water Heater

 Natural Gas or Electric?

The energy used in Ontario comes from various sources including electricity from the grid, natural gas, propane, gasoline, diesel fuel, oil and renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass. All these sources have different costs per unit of usable energy and produce various amounts of greenhouse gases per unit of energy consumed.

In Burlington, the City reports that the residential housing sector consumes about 37% of all energy of which about 65% is used for heating homes. Natural gas, oil and propane produce much more greenhouse gas emissions than grid electricity. When a gas furnace or water heater (gas or electric) need to be replaced, electric alternatives are available that will result in lower greenhouse gas emissions and help control global warming. We’re still gathering data on this topic but here is what we’ve found so far.

Comparison of Heating/Cooling System
  • When it’s time to replace your gas furnace and electric air conditioner, a modern technology heat pump can be considered. It provides both heating (without a secondary source) and cooling for about the same price.
  • The annual operating cost is about the same as a high-efficiency gas furnace and electric air conditioner, because a heat pump is 200% to 300% more efficient even though the cost of electricity is twice that of natural gas.
  • The greenhouse gas emissions in Ontario are about half as much when using electricity from the grid instead of burning natural gas, since Ontario's coal-fired generation plants have now been shut down. A heat pump further cuts the emissions in half by operating at 200% efficiency resulting in one quarter of the emissions of a gas furnace.
Water Heater Replacement

When it’s time to replace a water heater, heat pump units are also available that save money and reduce pollution.

Come back regularly as we develop more details on this topic and can provide guidance on equipment and their capital and operating costs.


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