Some home heat­ing facts

Look at in­su­la­tion be­fore even think­ing of up­grad­ing your sys­tem

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS -

(NC) As Cana­di­ans, we rely on heat­ing sys­tems more than most na­tions in the world. But our need doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily trans­late into knowl­edge.

If you’re un­happy with the com­fort or cost of keep­ing your home warm in win­ter, here are some things to con­sider.

In­su­la­tion is key. While the kind of en­ergy source and heat­ing equip­ment you have can af­fect an­nual costs a lot, don’t even think about up­grad­ing your sys­tem un­til you’ve op­ti­mized in­su­la­tion lev­els in your home.

For most places in Canada, 22 inches of batt or loose-fill in­su­la­tion in the at­tic makes sense. This is more than many homes have, but it pays to go be­yond the ba­sics when it comes to in­su­la­tion.

Choose nat­u­ral gas if you can. Nat­u­ral gas is abun­dant in Canada and also burns cleanly in fur­naces and boil­ers that op­er­ate at ef­fi­cien­cies greater than 95 per cent. Al­though prices fluc­tu­ate, nat­u­ral gas al­ways av­er­ages out to be the cheap­est and most sta­ble source of en­ergy for home heat­ing.

Con­sider heat pump tech­nol­ogy. If you don’t have ac­cess to nat­u­ral gas where you live, elec­tric heat pumps make sense be­cause they of­fer the next most eco­nom­i­cal source of heat.

For ev­ery dol­lar you spend on elec­tric­ity for a heat pump, the sys­tem de­liv­ers $2 to $3 worth of heat, com­pared with elec­tric base­board re­sis­tance heaters. Most heat pumps can also op­er­ate in re­verse, cool­ing your home in sum­mer.

Ex­plore smart con­trols. We’ve had pro­gram­mable ther­mostats for a long time, but the elec­tron­ics that con­trol heat­ing sys­tems are ad­vanc­ing be­yond these ba­sics. Wire­less ther­mostats, for ex­am­ple, make it easy to con­trol the tem­per­a­ture of dif­fer­ent rooms in­de­pen­dently. Why heat a room you won’t be us­ing at cer­tain times of the day?

To­day ’s best con­trol sys­tems also de­liver tem­per­a­ture lev­els that are more sta­ble and con­sis­tent than ever, es­pe­cially with hot wa­ter heat­ing sys­tems.

Hy­dronic heat­ing con­ver­sion. “Hy­dronic” is a fancy word used to de­scribe hot wa­ter heat­ing sys­tems. Hot wa­ter ra­di­a­tors and in­floor heat­ing pro­vide some of the nicest and most even heat you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence. Since there are no fans in­volved, there’s no mov­ing air to kick up dust. Hy­dronic heat­ing is also one of the best op­tions for con­vert­ing from elec­tric base­board heaters to nat­u­ral gas.

Re­gard­less of what in­su­la­tion or heat­ing sys­tem changes you want to make to your home, be sure to hire a qual­i­fied con­trac­tor to do the work. Home heat­ing sys­tems are not DIY projects — you need an ex­pert who knows all the safety re­quire­ments. Elec­tri­cal and gas con­trac­tors need to be li­censed, so never hire some­one who isn’t.

Find more in­for­ma­tion at www. getit­in­writ­ing.ca. www.news­canada.com

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