As the warmth of summer fades from the air, thoughts of cozy nights at home and comfort food set in. And if the thought of having to fill that oil tank or turn on your heat makes you shudder, read on about how we can help you cope this winter.
Do you know how cozy your home will keep you this winter? Is your heating system the most affordable one? Most folks would like to think they are, but chances are there’s room for improvement. Not convinced? Consider that most Nova Scotian homes spend up to 60% of their annual budget on home heating. That’s a lot of your well-earned money. Ready to keep more of that money in your pocket?
Well, first things first. Before considering your heating system options, we recommend you make sure your home’s insulation and air sealing are both up to par. Why? Better insulation and air sealing can help save you money by keeping that valuable heat inside. As well, they can provide added comfort to your home (fewer drafts), reduce noise, and improve humidity control. Air sealing and insulation are actually cost effective upgrades that you can often do on your own.
Once your home is air tight, it’s time to consider your heating system options.
Besides oil, wood, and electric baseboard heat, there are many options on the market to heat your home. At Nova Scotia Power, we partner with manufacturers, distributors and contractors to bring together a range of home heating options, including air source heat pumps, electric thermal storage and water heater products.
Air source heat pumps are one of the fastest growing heating options available today. Used in Canada and around the world for decades; the technology is well established. They are a great choice if you already have oil or electric as your main heat source.
The way a heat pump works is by absorbing the natural warmth from the outside air and gently distributing it throughout your home. When you choose an ENERGY STAR® rated model you can expect it to work at outside temperatures as low as -30°C and beyond, depending on the make and model. When the outside temperature dips below that temperature, then and only then, does your other fuel system kick in. Therefore, you get a more natural, even and cozy heat while offsetting your oil and electric fuel sources and costs.
“While it’s hard to believe, there is enough warmth in the air on a typical Nova Scotia winter day for the heat pump to heat an average home, with minimal use of your back up heating system,” says Scott Cameron, Account Manager at Nova Scotia Power. “In fact, today’s heat pumps can provide up to 75 per cent of a home’s heating needs. This can significantly reduce your other fuel usage and can mean big savings for you.”
Heat pumps are also a safe option; using no flames, no fuel and produces no fumes, and even filter the air to reduce any irritants that could aggravate breathing problems. The heat pump system is also fully reversible so in the heat of summer it removes heat and humidity from inside your home and pushes it outside – providing air conditioning to cool your whole home, keeping you comfortable all year round. It dehumidifies too, reducing mould and excess moisture that could lead to problems with your home and your health.
Heat pumps come in ducted and ductless mini-split versions. Ducted models are best suited for new construction or for homes that already have ducting installed. Ductless mini-split units (as the name implies) do not require ducts so they are ideal for retrofits in homes with non-ducted heating systems such as hot water baseboard, electric baseboard or space heaters. Ductless room units can be installed just about anywhere to suit your interior design, including walls or ceilings. They also help avoid the heat loss that can occur along the ducts – which can be up to 30% – and can allow for room temperatures to be set to individual preferences throughout the home. There can be multiple units in one home. The ductless model is the most energy efficient and helps to minimize home heating costs.
An Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) heating system gives you access to Nova Scotia Power’s Time-of-Day Rates. With Time-of-Day rates, power is approximately half price during the night and all day on weekends and holidays. That’s when your ETS stores up heat, then releases it whenever you need it, keeping you warm and cozy, day or night. ETS needs no combustion, no flames, no ductwork, and no fuel. And that means it delivers clean, healthy heat that’s free of irritants and fumes.
Beyond space heating, you should also consider how you heat your water supply. Buying and installing an electric hot water heater costs a lot less than an oil or propane-fired system and can be more economical to operate. Electric water heating is also a safe choice. It uses no open flames, produces no fumes, and requires no combustible fuels that could leak. And the temperature is closely controlled. It’s easy to install anywhere too, even in a closet!
To find out more about home heating and our low-cost on-bill financing options, visit www.nspower.ca or speak to a Nova Scotia Power Energy Advisor at 1-800-428-6774.