Canadian households are struggling to make ends meet. High inflation has driven prices up across the board, including, one of the largest expenses, heating costs. Fortunately, there are ways to spend less money heating their homes and even help the environment at the same time.
In this article, we’ll cover some ways to keep heating costs low, the various heating options, and what to do if you can’t afford to pay your heating bill.
Why have heating costs gone up?
In recent years, the cost of heating homes in Canada has risen significantly. Major factors driving prices up are war, government policies, labour costs, and more energy options.
The price of natural gas has gone up due to several reasons. A major factor has been Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war disrupted gas supplies from Europe and pushed up prices. There have also been challenges getting access to natural gas from some places because of things like the environment, natural disasters, and government policies. All of these factors make natural gas prices go up.
Government policies also play a role in driving up energy bills outside of natural gas too. Some governments have discounts, such as federal tax credits or rebates, to help people offset the cost of heating. Others have placed hefty taxes on electricity and carbon emissions. The introduction of such policies can often lead to an increase in energy bills.
A lot more people are opting to use energy sources that come from nature, like the sun and wind. With less demand for conventional energy sources, the costs for more conventional sources are going up.
On a more general note, labour costs have gone up across the board. The energy sector is no exception. The increased cost inevitably filters down to find its way onto your bill.
Various types of heating
There are many types of heating technology available to suit different needs, budgets, and lifestyles in Canada.
Natural gas is a popular choice due to its efficiency and affordability. On average, natural gas heaters cost around $4,800 to $7,200. They work well for any space and water heating.
While more expensive, geothermal heating systems are also more efficient in terms of energy use. The installation costs range from $24,000 to $48,000 depending on the size of the area that needs to be heated.
Heat pumps are another popular option as they allow homes to access both cooling and heating capabilities with one system. The installation cost range is between $4,800 to $8,400 depending on the size and complexity of the system.
Another good heating option, if you have reliable electricity, is electric heaters. With an average installation cost of $2,400 to $3,600, it carries the least expensive installation costs. Making it the best way to save money upfront.
Propane-fired heaters are a good option. Especially, when there is no natural gas or when fuel prices are high. It costs $4,800 to $7,200 to install, depending on which model you choose. Oil-fired heaters can also be found at an average price of between $2,400 to $3,600 for installation.
After the initial installation, you will have to pay your ongoing utility bills to heat your home. In Canada, the average price of utilities is currently $81 per month for electricity and $137 per month for natural gas.
Tips for keeping heating costs down
Here are 10 tips that will help you save energy and money while keeping your home warm during the winter months:
- Ensure you have sufficient insulation in your walls and attic. This will help keep heat inside during cold weather. This helps reduce the amount of energy used to keep your home warm. To enjoy the full effect, keep windows and doors closed tight so air can’t get in.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. You can change the temperature depending on when you’re home or away. This will help reduce heating when no one is home and also reduce temperatures at night.
- To keep your HVAC system running, change air filters every 3 months. Clean ducts every 5 years. Have an annual inspection from a professional technician.
- Make sure there are no gaps around light switches or outlets on exterior walls. If there is, air might get in and make your heating bills higher.
- Use ceiling fans to help move the warm air around the room. This will help keep everyone in the room warm.
- Invest in curtains or drapes that are heavy. Heavier window coverings are much better at keeping heat from escaping through the windows. Do this, especially on south-facing windows which get sunlight. It will help keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside.
- Make sure nothing is blocking your vents. That will allow optimal heat to flow into the room making it easier to keep the room at a comfortable temperature.
- Weatherstripping around door frames can help stop air from coming in through the bottom of doors.
- Hot water tanks use a lot of electricity if they are kept too high. Set the hot water tank to below 130°F (54°C). This is especially true for electric hot water tanks.
- Do not use portable space heaters. They may heat your home, but they are not as good as central heating systems. They cost more money over time and can be a safety hazard.
What if heating costs are so high you can’t afford to pay?
If you can’t afford to pay your heating bill, try to address the problem right away. Call your energy company. They sometimes have ways to adjust billing or can set up a payment plan to help when times are tight.
Some provincial governments have set up programs to help low-income households with their heating bill. Check to see if you qualify.
Assess your home for any opportunity to use the tips offered above.
Regularly maintaining your heating system ensures it’s working optimally, which keeps your bills low.
Using an old heating system? If you own your home, it could be worthwhile to explore investing in a new system. If you’re renting, ask your landlord if they can upgrade the system.
The government also has programs to help pay for energy-saving home improvements Check to see if that’s an option for you.
A number of factors are forcing the cost to heat a home in Canada to go up. This is making it harder for people to pay for heat at a time when inflation is hitting record highs. By implementing some of the tips outlined you can put some money back in your pocket.
Consolidated Credit Canada helps people get back in control of their money, by helping them get out of debt. Call us and we’ll help you figure out your path to debt-free living.