Older furnaces, still common in B.C. homes, may be providing only 60 cents worth of heat for every dollar spent.

Older furnaces, still common in B.C. homes, may be providing only 60 cents worth of heat for every dollar spent.

The costly truth about that old furnace

With heating accounting for half the energy used in homes, and people expected to spend more time at home this winter due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to the cost of heating your home and staying comfortable.

Many homes in B.C. still have older, inefficient furnaces and a good portion of homeowners are unaware. FortisBC, energy provider to most B.C. homes, surveyed 6,000 of its customers and found that more than 40 per cent of homes had a mid- or standard-efficiency furnace. A further 17 per cent of customers didn’t know the efficiency of their home’s furnace.

So what does that mean exactly?

Heating a home with an older furnace is costly, even if you’re using natural gas which is the lowest-cost energy source for heating. Many homes built before 1990 have standard-efficiency furnaces that are as little as 60 per cent efficient. That means, even if it was installed correctly and well-maintained, it will return only 60 units of heat for every unit of energy it uses, and 40 cents of every dollar is lost through the exhaust.

It’s like buying a bag of 10 apples and getting only six.

Mid-efficiency furnaces, common between 1990 and 2010, are up to 82 per cent efficient, so it’s like paying for 10 apples and getting eight. In contrast, high-efficiency furnaces are 95 to 98 per cent efficient, and of these, FortisBC only provides rebates for the most energy-efficient furnaces available.

Older furnaces, still common in B.C. homes, may be providing only 60 cents worth of heat for every dollar spent.

Natural gas heating systems of the future show tremendous promise in being even more efficient. In fact, FortisBC is testing an innovative natural gas heat pump that is reported to offer efficiencies as high as 160 per cent. That’s like paying for 10 apples and getting 16.

Twice the rebate, twice the reason to replace your old furnace

For now, the good news is that if you have an older, inefficient furnace, now is a great time to put your renovation dollars towards a high-efficiency replacement. For a limited time, FortisBC is offering double rebates on qualified, high-efficiency natural gas furnaces, as much as $2,000 back on select models.

Now is also a good time to invest upgrades that help keep heat inside your home. Other rebates that are part of the Home Renovation Program have also doubled. For example, rebates have increased from $100 to $200 for qualified windows and doors.

These double rebates are only available for installations that occur between now and March 31, 2021 and you must register for a unique promo code before December 31, 2020 to qualify.

Learn more about all your options at fortisbc.com/double.

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