What’s the most efficient way to heat your home?

Nova Scotians heat their homes in a number of different ways, such as with wood, electric baseboards, heat pumps, oil furnaces or any combination of those options. But what options are the most energy efficient?

The more energy efficient your home is, the more you can reduce your heating bills throughout the colder months. Here’s what you need to know.

What’s the most efficient way to heat a home in Nova Scotia?

The most efficient way to heat a home in Nova Scotia is using cold-climate air source heat pumps. Particularly in shoulder seasons like Spring and Fall, heat pumps are up to three times more efficient than standard electric baseboards that are able to operate at 100 per cent efficiency. It’s also important to note that heat pumps become significantly less efficient at temperatures around -25, so it’s important to have a backup source of heat.

By comparison, other common heating options have lower efficiencies:

  • Wood burning appliances – Typically between 30 – 70 per cent efficient.
  • Oil furnaces and boilers – Between 78 – 94 per cent efficient (depending on age and model).
  • Modern condensing gas furnaces and boilers – Around 95 per cent efficient.

How does energy efficiency impact heating bills?

The efficiency of your heating equipment isn’t the only thing that will affect your energy bills. The type of fuel you use will also have a notable impact. For example, upgrading your old oil furnace to a newer and more efficient model will likely have some cost savings, but not to the same extent as switching from an oil furnace to a heat pump considering the difference in price between oil and electricity.

What are the signs my heating isn’t working efficiently?

Some of the key signs your heating system isn’t operating efficiently include:

  • You’re still cold despite turning the heat up.
  • You can hear or feel your heating kicking in frequently.
  • Your heating is constantly running.

Booking a Home Energy Assessment is a useful first step in finding out what the best heating options are for your home, and what changes you could make to increase its overall energy efficiency.

How else can you increase your home’s energy efficiency?

Switching to a more efficient heating system is just one way to make a home more efficient overall. The construction and condition of your home will also impact how efficiently this system is able to keep it warm.

Having the correct amount of insulation in your walls, ceilings and basement can create a better environment for the heating system, ensuring it doesn’t have to overwork itself to keep your home heated. For this reason, it can be a good idea to complete building envelope upgrades like adding insulation before having a contractor size a replacement heating system for your home.

Clean Energy Financing starts with a Home Energy Assessment to see which improvements will have the biggest impact on the energy efficiency of your home. We help you apply for rebates, pay the contractors for you, and ensure the upgrades will save you enough on your energy bills to cover their cost over time.

Clean Energy Financing is available in 12 municipalities around Nova Scotia. Find out if yours is one and apply today to get home energy upgrades that save you money.