Heating equipment

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Space heating is our top energy user

Canada's cold climate means that almost two thirds of the energy we use in our homes goes to space heating. No wonder we look to heating when we think of energy savings.

Canadians have many space heating options—furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, baseboard heaters—and a choice of different energy sources, e.g., oil, gas, propane, electricity or the sun. Some of us even use two or more types of heating and/or energy.

Residential energy use in Canada by activity, 2010

Residential energy use in Canada by activity, 2010

Source: Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990-2010, Natural Resources Canada.

Text version

Figure 1

A pie chart representing energy consumed in the average Canadian home is divided into five sections: space heating, 63%; water heating, 17%; appliances, 14%; lighting, 4%; and space cooling, 2%.

Source: Energy Efficiency Trends in Canada 1990-2010, Natural Resources Canada.


(In commercial/institutional settings, space heating accounts for 45 percent of energy use. Find information for commercial boilers and gas unit heaters.)

Always consider the "second price tag"

Whatever heating option you choose, it pays to keep your eye on the "second price tag"-the energy cost to run the heating system over its lifetime. Three main factors determine operating costs: the annual heating requirement, fuel type and price, and equipment efficiency.

Buy ENERGY STAR® for high efficiency

Since it pays to buy energy-efficient equipment, buy the most efficient model you can. NRCan can help you comparison shop. Be aware that:

  • Many heating products must meet minimum energy performance standards set by Canada's Energy Efficiency Regulations.
  • Some heating products have a voluntary EnerGuide label - furnaces, air-source heat pumps and gas fireplaces - that shows how much energy that model uses and how it compares to similar models.
  • The model displays the ENERGY STAR® symbol if it qualifies as high efficiency.

Use the menu at left to find more details on specific types of products.

Use our heating cost calculator to compare the costs of your current home heating system with different equipment or a different energy source.

Compare product models

Go to our searchable product list to compare different models sold in Canada.

For more information, look at our publications:

The ENERGY STAR name and symbol are administered and promoted in Canada by Natural Resources Canada and are registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.