Smart heating systems for comfort and convenience.
16 June 2023,
Smart heating systems for comfort and convenience.

In most parts of Canada, the winters are very cold and unpredictable. Thus, heating is expensive! 

Although energy costs are lower than in other countries, Canadians spend around 64% of their residential energy consumption on heating their homes! The heating bill for an average home is estimated at $200 for smaller homes to $500 or more for larger homes.

Thus, when the time comes to replace your existing heating system or to choose one for the home you are building, it is important to take the time to evaluate your options and make the right choice.

To help you find the best heating system, Compare Home Quotes presents all the information you need to make a smart choice. 

Do you prefer to entrust this choice to an expert in the field or to obtain sound advice QUICKLY, FREE, AND WITHOUT COMMITMENT? Fill out the form on this page and you will be able to compare the best heating systems on the market!

Source : Évolution de l’efficacité énergétique au Canada de 1990 à 2010, Ressources naturelles Canada.

Criteria for choosing the right heating system

Criteria for choosing the right heating system.

When the time comes to choose your heating system and your heat distribution system, there is no shortage of options (these are detailed below)!

Making a choice is not easy, but certain criteria can guide you in your decision:

For heating renovations

To change the heating system in an existing house, it is important to take into account the current installations. If you already have ventilation ducts for a forced air heating system, installing a heat pump could be the simplest and least expensive choice…

Additional costs

Apart from the cost of the system, it is important to consider installation costs, usage costs, maintenance costs, etc.

It is noteworthy to mention that electricity rates are more expensive in Ontario than In Quebec. But the consumption level in Quebec is higher mainly because of the colder climate and the wider use of electricity than gas for heating.

SEER Rating

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It is an energy efficiency measure that evaluates the energy consumed against the energy released by the device. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the device and the less energy it consumes.

Look for ENERGY STAR products

ENERGY STAR qualified appliances are energy-efficient products with low energy consumption. Only very high-efficiency appliances can bear the ENERGY STAR symbol, guaranteeing substantial energy savings.

Check the AFUE rating

The AFUE measures the annual fuel utilization efficiency of a furnace at heating. It determines the combustion efficiency of heating appliances. For example, if a furnace has an AFUE rating of 97%, it means that 97% of the fuel is transformed into heat while 3% is lost through the chimney or vents.

Let the criteria above guide you in comparing heating systems available in your area that suit your goals and budget.

How to choose the best heating system for the home

A residential heating system is made up of a heat production system as well as a heat distribution system.

There are many possible combinations between the two types of systems. Thus, it is strongly recommended to use the services and expertise of an HVAC specialist to find the ideal solution for your home. 

Compare the 3 types of energy as well as the compatible heat production systems:

Energy Type

Heat Generation System




Heat Pump


Geothermal pump

(generated from wood, wood waste, etc.)

Wood-burning stove






Complete boiler

Fossil Energy

Condensing boiler


Conventional boiler




Wood stove & furnace

Let’s take a look at each of the heat production systems available in Canada in 2024 (advantages, disadvantages, price and more):

The electric furnace

An electric furnace lets you use a forced air distribution system that may already be in place in the home. For example, you could replace a furnace using fossil fuels with a 100% electric furnace.

You can find electric furnaces with heat accumulators which help minimize consumption during peak consumption hours in winter.




Cost of equipment:$2,000 to $3,000
Ductwork:$1,000 to $10,000
Installation Cost (Labour):$1,000 to $2,000
Annual Heating Cost:

+/- $1,473 (for medium-sized homes)

Heat pumps

Heat pump for cooling and heating.

A heat pump is a very interesting option from an environmental and economic perspective since the system uses outdoor air to cool or heat your home. 

Heat pumps are generally 3 to 4 times more efficient than electric baseboard heaters.




Cost of an air heat pump:$5,000 to $8,000
Cost of a multi-split heat pump:$2,000 to $4,000
Installation cost/Labour:$1,000 to $2,000
Annual Heating cost:

+/- $755


Geothermal heat pump

Heating a home with geothermal energy.

Similar to air-source heat pumps, a geothermal heat pump can cool and heat. How does it generate heat? The temperature is constant between 8 and 10 o C deep down in the earth so it is colder than the air in summer (air conditioning) and warmer than the air in winter (heat). 

Although this technology seems fantastic, it is complex and expensive.




Cost of equipment:

$15,000 to $40,000

Annual heating cost:

+/- $1,314 (medium-sized homes)

Wood-burning stove

Wood-burning stoves for simple heating systems.

Wood-burning stoves are the oldest residential heating systems. They are easy to install, simple to operate, and efficient!




Cost of a wood-burning stove:$600 to $2,000
Equipment and Installation:$1,000 to $2,000
Annual heating cost:

+/- $825 and $1000 (medium-sized homes)

Wood furnace

A wood furnace is manually fed with wood and outside air. An air exchanger allows the heat to circulate in the rooms of the house. In Quebec, wood furnaces are always “bi-energy” with electricity.




Cost of a wood furnace:$3,000++
Chimney and Flue:$2,000 to $3,000
Installation (Labour):$500 to $1,000
Annual heating cost:

+/- $825 and $1000 (for medium-sized homes)

Masonry Fireplace

Worker building a masonry fireplace.

The masonry fireplace is the most environmentally-friendly wood heating system of all. It is anchored in the building.




Average turnkey Price:$20,000 to $35,000
Annual heating cost:+/- $400 and $500 (for medium-sized homes)

Wood boiler

Solid fuel boiler for heating.

A wood boiler is manually supplied with wood and outside air to heat the boiler. The heat released is transported by the water which will heat the house either through wall heaters or through heated floors.




Cost of a turnkey wood boiler:


Annual heating cost:

+/- $800 and $1,000 

Condensing boilers

Condensing boiler with ventilation system.

A condensing boiler offers better performance than wood-fired boilers. However, the fossil fuel that is used for heating is not as environmentally friendly.




Cost of turnkey condensing boiler:

$8,000 to $13,000

Gas or oil furnace

A gas or oil furnace is composed of a burner, a fan, and an exchanger. The exchanger recovers the heat from the combustion fumes to transmit it to the fresh air. The heated air is then blown by the fan in a circuit to supply the rooms of the house.




Cost of oil or gas furnace:$ +/- $1,700
Gas pipe installation cost:$1,000 to $2,000
Annual heating cost:+/-$1,000 (for medium-sized homes)

Oil or gas stove and fireplace

Modern gas fireplace in the living room.

For an oil-fired stove or fireplace, the liquid flows into the combustion chamber and is evaporated in the heating ducts of the house. As for the gas, it escapes through the small holes in order to burn and is redistributed in the rooms of the house through the ducts.



Would you like to know the cost of an oil or gas fireplace? Fill out the form on this page and receive FREE and NO COMMITMENT quotes from reputable HVAC professionals.

Central heating system — Heat accumulator and heat pump

If you need to replace your heating system and you already have ventilation ducts, the electric-central heat pump combination is THE logical choice.

You can maximize the energy efficiency of your heating system, reduce your electricity bill, and receive generous government subsidies.

The heat pump, which is more efficient than the furnace, will be able to operate up to a certain temperature until the electric furnace takes over during extreme cold.

What is a central heating system with heat accumulator? Less known than other systems, the heat accumulator option is more expensive to purchase but allows you to store heat and use it as needed during peak heating periods.

This is THE most energy-efficient system but the heat storage and central heat pump duo costs around $24,000 to $30,000 (installation included).

It is important to take into consideration that Hydro-Québec offers grants of $10,000, that the Greener Homes Grant offers $5,000, and that green heating offers $1,275!

In other words, you will only pay out of your own pocket around $7,725 to acquire this expensive but very efficient heating system.

What heating systems are popular in specific parts of Canada?

Gas-fired boiler system in the home.

As of 2021, more than 50% of homes in Canada reported using a forced air furnace as a primary heating system while 25% had an electric baseboard heater.  This makes forced air furnaces as the most widely used heating system in the country.

About 1 in 10 households used a boiler with hot water while 6% were using a heat pump.  Around 2% of households reported using a heating stove, majority of which were wood-burning stoves.

The heating system in Canadian homes depend significantly on their location and the energy source most convenient.  

In Nova Scotia, most households were split evenly, using baseboard heaters, forced air furnaces, and heat pumps.

Over in Quebec, due to the bountiful supply of hydro power, 75% of households reported using baseboard heaters or electric radiant heating. In Ontario, 75% of homes were using forced air furnaces to keep them warm.

Heat pumps were more widely used in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island while British Columbia homes were using forced air furnaces of electric baseboard heaters.

With the cost of heating continually on the rise, it is important to keep the home’s heating system up-to-date and to be on the look-out for the best energy source.

You can save money on heating when you buy the right heating system with help from our HVAC partners serving your area.

Check out multiple offers and competitive quotes from our HVAC partners using our short online form.

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