When deciding on a new home heating system in Ottawa, there are several considerations. If you are looking to replace an existing home heating system, the options will be narrowed by the configuration and to some extent the fuel options available. Fuel oil heating and electric home heating systems are still quite common in and around Ottawa. Most home heating in Ottawa and surrounding areas are forced air furnace and duct work systems, but may use a boiler with radiators. Many Ottawa area home heating systems have been updated to Natural Gas, but some still heat with electric or oil furnaces. Heating options for homes with electric baseboard heaters are more limited, but it is easier, and less expensive than most people imagine to install a more cost effective heating system. Ductless Heat Pumps are a great option with potential savings of up to 70% on heating while also providing Air Conditioning. For a better idea of your potential savings, try the Home Heating System Cost Calculator from Natural Resources Canada.
Electricity is a very expensive way to heat in Ottawa, and the cost is rising at an alarming rate. Over the last decade or so, the cost of heating with Fuel Oil and Propane has also risen dramatically, often surpassing the cost of electric heating systems. In most cases, converting to a natural gas heating system is an easy option and can save thousands of dollars a year. Heating with a high efficiency natural gas furnace can save as much as 75% in heating costs! Economical home heating systems where natural gas is not available is still possible and can lead to considerable savings, but the initial investment may be higher. A little research and willingness to invest a little more up front for your home heating system will be well worth the investment. Cold Weather Heat Pumps are and excellent home heating option and can reduce annual costs by up to 70%.
Home Heating System Types:
Forced Air Heating Systems:
In Ottawa and most of Canada, forced air has heating systems have been the norm for quite some time. Forced air home heating systems use an interconnected system of ducts to deliver conditioned air throughout the home. The duct system makes additional features such as central air conditioning, humidifiers, heat recovery ventilators, and air cleaning and purification devices an easy add on. Some older duct systems were not designed with these features in mind, so can present some challenges in achieving an even, comfortable environment. Newer furnaces and air handlers incorporate technology which can improve the performance of duct work systems, providing for a much higher level of comfort and control.
ECM variable speed blower motors, are programmable and can adjust speed automatically to provide proper air volumes. The result is better distribution of heating and air conditioning through the home. These motors operate on as little as one third the electrical cost, and are far more reliable than conventional furnace blower motors.
Hot Water Boiler Home Heating Systems:
Hot Water Radiators
Many older homes, particularly in the Glebe and Downtown areas of Ottawa use cast iron hot water radiators to distribute heating through the home. A boiler, heats the water and a pump then circulates this hot water through the radiators. The radiators then transfer the heat to the room by way of radiation. Most newer radiators are a tube and fin type, which work on convection air movement as opposed to radiant heat. Both systems are very well proven and supply comfortable heating to the home in a very efficient way. Hydronic home heating systems do have some drawbacks in terms of air conditioning and other accessories. Newer technologies such as ductless Mini-Split Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps can be a great solution.
Radiant Heating Systems
Some view radiant heating as a new technology for home heating. In fact, 2000 years ago, the Romans used radiant heating in their buildings and baths. New boiler technologies and building materials have fostered a growing return to this age old method of heating. Radiant home heating systems use varying methods to transfer the heat to the home. Certainly, the most well known in Ottawa is radiant floor heating, but radiant heating can also be provided using ceilings or walls, and just about any other surface. Radiant heating, regardless of the fuel, can to save about 20% on heating costs, because the home need not be kept as warm to achieve the same level of comfort. Much like the difference between sitting in the shade or in the sun on a sunny day, we experience more thermal comfort with the rays of the sun. Radiant heating systems may also use embedded electrical wires, although this method is generally limited to warming the floor of partial areas of the home.
Radiant home Heating is a specialized area of HVAC. The average service technician has limited knowledge of hydronic systems beyond the burner operation of the boiler. These systems are not as simple as just connecting the pipes to the new boiler. Poor design, application and cost cutting can cost thousands to remedy, and worse yet, often cannot be remedied. When considering hydronic home heating systems, your best investment will be the time you take to seek out an individual and company with the specialized knowledge and expertise to do the job right the first time. Below Zero Heating & Air Conditioning and their staff are fully certified in the design and installation of all types of hydronic and radiant home heating systems in the Ottawa ares. Whether a simple boiler retrofit, or large and complex hybrid heating systems, we provide the complete package from design and engineering to installation and service.
Building a new home?
We specialize in custom HVAC systems for new custom built homes. We have a wide range of experience with custom designed hybrid systems to provide the very best in comfort and efficiency. From HVAC design and engineering services, to installation, maintenance and service, we take care of all your HVAC needs in one place. Contact us for advice and custom designed HVAC system options, including radiant heating & hydronic systems, heat pumps, forced air small duct systems, or a conventional furnace and A/C with ductwork.