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Energy Efficient Heating

Selecting the right heating system for your home can be a difficult task. An energy advisor can perform an assessment on your home to help you determine your home's energy efficiency, and which heating system will best suit your needs.

A list of energy advisors is available on the Energy Solutions Centre website.

When choosing a heating system be aware that carbon monoxide (CO) is a concern in any home that burns fuel like propane, natural gas, gasoline, oil, coal and wood. Exposure to CO can have serious impacts on health. Ensure your fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and maintained, and that working CO detectors are put in hallways outside bedrooms where you can hear them when you sleep.

Learn more on CO dectection and prevention in Yukon homes at seriouslysimple.ca



Wood

Yukon’s vast boreal forest makes firewood readily accessible to homeowners who wish to gather their own heating fuel. Local wood-cutters are a viable alternative for those who do not wish to cut their own firewood.

Advantages:

  • Not dependent on distant suppliers
  • Fire and beetle-killed wood is available in ample supply
  • Renewable resource
  • User can be in control of their fuel supply

Disadvantages:

  • Wood supply is somewhat dependent on fossil fuels for cutting, gathering and transportation for most consumers
  • Fire hazard during storage
  • Contributes to air pollution if not burned efficiently
  • Labour intensive to deal with wood as fuel: splitting, stacking, hauling, and cleanup
  • Creosote build-up in chimney and related fire hazard
  • Yearly maintenance/cleaning of chimney

Wood pellets

Processed wood pellets usually burn cleanly because they are fed to the stove’s combustion chamber at a controlled rate and are matched with the right amount of combustion air. Pellet burning appliances are generally able to operate at lower emission levels than natural firewood appliances.

Advantages:

  • Clean burning if adjustments are correct
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Does not require constant attention as with wood-burning stoves
  • Attachments to allow for provision of domestic hot water during heating season

Disadvantages:

  • Dependent on outside suppliers – no Yukon pellet manufacturer
  • Quality of pellets not always known (moisture content varies)
  • Most units are sidewall vented – eventually causes soot on house walls  
  • Insurance coverage may have some additional cost
  • Yearly maintenance and regular removing of pellet dust

For more information, view CMHC/NRC's Guide to Residential Wood Heating


Oil

Furnace oil is a popular choice for home heating in Yukon. Fuel oil prices fluctuate with world markets making it difficult at times to determine long-term heating budgets.  

Find more information on oil heating in Yukon.

Read CMHC's publication on replacing your furnace.

Advantages:

  • Simple
  • Can be efficient and relatively clean burning
  • May be able to supply heat for domestic hot water
  • Emergency fuel is transportable by the homeowner

Disadvantages:

  • Dependent on outside suppliers for availability
  • Oil spillage and storage tank leaks can be very costly to clean up
  • Oil-burning systems require yearly inspection and maintenance
  • Insurance coverage is expensive  


Propane

As natural gas is not available in the Yukon marketplace, propane or LPG (liquid petroleum gas) is the containerized alternative. Propane-fired heating appliances are available in space heater, forced air and boiler configurations. Propane prices also fluctuate with market influences making it difficult at times to determine long-term heating budgets.

Advantages:

  • Simple, only minor maintenance and inspection
  • Can be very efficient and clean burning
  • Minimal burner maintenance required, but should be inspected annually
  • Appropriate for use as fuel for space heaters, furnaces or boilers
  • No mess, no direct environmental issues
  • Can also supply heat for domestic hot water
  • No insurance coverage issues

Disadvantages:

  • Dependent on outside suppliers for availability, coupled with fluctuating pricing
  • Storage tanks may need heaters to vaporize fuel at cold temperatures

For more information view the NRC's guide to Heating with Gas


 Earth Energy

Heat pumps use stored heat energy in the earth or ground water as a source of heat in the winter, and some can reverse the process to cool the home in the summer.

Advantages:

  • Very efficient at all outside temperatures
  • Some systems can provide heating or cooling
  • No mess, no direct environmental issues
  • Not a combustion appliance so no fuel gas spillage in the dwelling
  • No insurance coverage issues
  • Can also supply domestic hot water

Disadvantages:

  • High initial cost of installation
  • Complex systems to set up and tune up
  • Requires periodic maintenance by qualified personnel
  • Most appropriate for use with radiant heat
  • Requires electricity to operate

Air source heat pumps

These heat pumps use latent heat energy in the air as the source of heat in the winter, and they can reverse the process be used to cool the home in the summer. Their efficiency decreases as the air temperature drops, and at about -20C, they are no longer functional.

Advantages:

  • Very efficient at moderate winter temperatures
  • Moderate cost of installation compared to Ground Source system
  • Some systems can provide heating or cooling
  • No mess, no direct environmental issues
  • Not a combustion appliance so no flue gas spillage in the dwelling
  • No fuel storage or spillage issues
  • No Insurance coverage issues
  • Can also supply domestic hot water

Disadvantages:

  • Only functional till certain winter temperatures
  • Requires a back-up heating source for colder days.
  • Somewhat complex systems to set up and tune up – requires careful design
  • Requires periodic maintenance by qualified personnel
  • Most appropriate for use with radiant heat
  • Requires electricity to operate

For more information, view the NRC's guide to Heating and Cooling with a Heat Pump


Electric

Electricity is very low maintenance, adaptable to a number of home heating configurations and it depends on a combination of hydro and diesel generators to produce the energy distributed through Yukon’s electrical network. Yukon Energy provides information on improving home electrical energy conservation. The Energy Solutions Center also has a wide range of energy conservations tips and hints.

Advantages:

  • No direct environmental issues
  • Virtually no maintenance
  • Allows for independent heat control in separate spaces and rooms
  • Not a combustion appliance 
  • No fuel storage or spillage issues
  • No insurance coverage issues
  • Can also supply domestic hot water

Disadvantages:

  • No heat during power interruptions
  • Concern about meeting supply of power across the grid with increased demand side by consumers
  • Electrical rate increases may occur over time

For more information, view the NRC's guide to Heating with Electricity


Combustion air supply for fuel-burning heating appliances

Regardless of the fuel type used to heat your home (except electricity), the National Building Code states that fresh combustion air must be supplied to the appliance. Combustion gases will be produced as the fuel burns and normally these combustion products should be vented to the outdoors through a chimney or vent pipe. Unfortunately, if there are problems with the heating system these gases may instead spill into your home, where they can be a serious health danger.

Combustion spillage describes the unwanted flow of combustion gases into your home. The quantities involved are usually small but are still dangerous. Regular furnace maintenance by qualified tradespeople confirms safe operation, maximized efficiency and performance.

The Oil-Fired Appliance Safety Statutory Amendment Act was passed in the Yukon Legislative Assembly May 2, 2013, making Yukon the first jurisdiction in the country to pass legislation requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all dwelling units with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages.

For more information, view the CMHC's publication about Combustion Spillage 


Choosing a New Heating System

Following a Home Energy Assessment, you should have a better understanding of what is required to improve your home heat energy performance.

If you wish to take advantage of the heating appliance energy rebate offered through the Energy Solutions Centre, read the qualifying criteria first

Read CMHC’s advice on Replacing an Existing Furnace 

Learn how to compare annual heating costs of heating systems and energy savings


Other Resources

Energy Costs for Different Fuel Types 

Heating Efficiently in the Yukon

Energy Solutions Centre

Solar Domestic Hot Water System Sizing Report

Compare annual heating costs of heating systems and energy savings

Certified energy advisors in Yukon

City verifiers in Yukon  


 

Solar Energy

Solar energy is an efficient alternate source of energy, especially in communities with diesel generated electricity. Solar systems are viable when used to provide a portion of household energy use – they are not yet able to provide for all the energy needs of a dwelling because of our Yukon environment.

Solar energy is an efficient alternate source of energy, especially in communities with diesel generated electricity. Solar systems are viable when used to provide a portion of household energy use – they are not yet able to provide for all the energy needs of a dwelling because of our Yukon environment. Solar energy is an efficient alternate source of energy, especially in communities with diesel generated electricity. Solar systems are viable when used to provide a portion of household energy use – they are not yet able to provide for all the energy needs of a dwelling because of our Yukon environment.

Find out more information about solar energy in Yukon and other energy alternatives at the Energy Solutions Centre.