4. Comparing Annual Heating Costs

4. Comparing Annual Heating Costs

4. Comparing Annual Heating Costs

The combination of annual heating load, energy source and equipment efficiency determines the annual cost of heating.

Heating Costs When Upgrading Your Existing Oil Heating System

If you are presently heating with oil and are thinking of converting to a more efficient oil heating system, you may be interested in determining the savings you could expect. Table 1 (page 39) and the following formula can provide
you with reasonably accurate figures. You need to know your annual fuel cost and the type of heating technology you are using.

Annual $ savings =  A – B
 x C


A =Seasonal efficiency of proposed system

B =Seasonal efficiency of existing system

C =Present annual fuel cost

Example: How much would you save by changing from an old oil furnace to a new oil furnace with a high-static burner at 85% efficiency, if your present annual fuel cost is $1, 205?

The seasonal efficiency of the new furnace with a high-static burner is taken to be 85%, and the present oil furnace efficiency is 60%. Hence, A = 85%, B = 60%, (these numbers represent an average of the efficiency ranges given in Table 1) and C = $1, 205.

Annual $ savings =  85 – 60
 x 1205 = $354

Thus, you would save $354 per year with this new oil furnace.

Table 1 - Typical Heating System Efficiencies and Energy Savings
Energy Source Technology Seasonal Efficiency (AFUE) % Energy Savings % of Base*
Oil Cast-iron head burner (old furnace) 60 Base
Flame-retention head replacement burner 70–78 14–23
High-static replacement burner 74–82 19–27
New standard model 78–86 23–30
Mid-efficiency furnace 83–89 28–33
Integrated space/tap water (mid-efficiency) 83–89 28–33 space
40–44 water
Conventional 60 Base
Vent damper with non-continuous pilot light 62–67 3–10
Mid-efficiency 78–84 23–28
High-efficiency condensing furnace 89–97 33–38
Integrated space/tap water (condensing) 89–96 33–38 space
44–48 water
Electricity Electric baseboards 100  
Electric furnace or boiler 100  
Air-source heat pump 1.7 COP**  
Earth-energy system
(ground-source heat pump)
2.6 COP**  
Propane Conventional 62 Base
Vent damper with non-continuous pilot light 64–69 3–10
Mid-efficiency 79–85 21–27
Condensing 87–94 29–34
Wood Central furnace 45–55  
Conventional stove (properly located) 55–70  
“High-tech ”stove*** (properly located) 70–80  
Advanced combustion fireplace 50–70  
Pellet stove 55–80  

* "Base" represents the energy consumed by a standard furnace.
** COP =Coefficient of performance, a measure of the heat delivered by a heat pump over the heating season per unit of electricity consumed.
*** CSA B415 or EPA Phase II tested.

Heating Costs with Different Energy Sources

You may be interested in calculating the cost of heating with oil and even comparing this amount to the costs of heating with other energy sources such as electricity, natural gas, propane or wood. If this is the case, you can use the
following procedure. You need to find out the cost of the energy sources you wish to compare and the types of heating technologies that you might wish to use.

Step 1: Determine the Price of Energy Sources in Your Area

Call your local oil, gas and electricity suppliers to find out the cost of energy sources in your area. This should be the total cost delivered to your home, and it should include any basic cost that some suppliers might charge, along with
necessary rentals, such as a propane tank. Be sure to get the prices for the energy sources in the same units as shown in Table 2. Write the costs in the spaces provided. If your local natural gas price is given in gigajoules (GJ) , you can convert it to cubic metres (m3) by multiplying the price per GJ by 0. 0375. For example, $5. 17/GJ x 0. 0375 = $0. 19/m3.

Table 2 - Energy Content and Local Price of Various Energy Sources
Energy Source Energy Content Local Price
Metric Imperial
Oil 38.2 MJ/L 140 000 Btu/gal. (U. S.) $0. ______/L
Electricity 3.6 MJ/kWh 3413 Btu/kWh $0. _____/kWh
Natural Gas 37.5 MJ/m3 1007 Btu/cu. ft. $0. ______/m3
Propane 25.3 MJ/L 92 700 Btu/gal. (U. S. ) $0. ______/L
Hardwood* 30 600 MJ/Cord 28 000 000 Btu/cord $______/cord
Softwood* 18 700 MJ/Cord 17 000 000 Btu/cord $______/cord
Wood Pellets 19 800 MJ/Tonne 20 000 000 Btu/ton $______/tonne

Conversion 1000 MJ = 1 GJ
* The figures provided for wood are for a “full ”cord, measuring
1.2 m x 1.2 m x 2.4 m (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. ).

Step 2: Select the Type of Heating Appliance

Choose the type of equipment you want to compare from the list of appliance types in Table 1 on page 39. Note the efficiency figures in the column titled “Seasonal Efficiency. ”By using these figures, you can calculate the savings you can achieve by upgrading an older system to a newer, more energy-efficient one or by choosing higher efficiency appliances with alternative energy sources.

Step 3: Determine Your Home ’s Annual Heating Load

If you know your heating bill and the unit cost of your energy source, you can determine your Annual Heating Load in gigajoules from the following equation.

Annual Heating Load  =  Heating Bill
100 000
 x  Seasonal Efficiency
Energy Cost/Unit
 x  Energy

For example, you have an oil bill of $1, 220, an oil cost of $0. 329/litre and an old conventional oil furnace and burner (seasonal efficiency of 60% from Table 1).

Annual Heating Load  =  1220
100 000
 x  60
 x  38.2 = 85 GJ

If your bill also includes tap water heating from the same energy source, you can still calculate your annual heating load, but it will require a little more care and calculation to separate out only your heating portion.

If you can ’t get your heating bill, you can estimate your annual heating load in GJ from Table 3 (page 43) by selecting the house type and location that is closest to your own.

Step 4: Use the Formula

The annual heating cost is calculated as follows:

Energy Cost/Unit
Energy Content
 x  Annual Heating Load
Seasonal Efficiency
 x 100 000 = Heating Cost ($)
  • Enter the cost per unit of energy and divide it by the energy content of the energy source; both numbers come from Table 2 (page 40).
  • Select the annual heating load for your type of housing and location from Table 3 (page 43) ; divide it by the seasonal efficiency of the proposed heating system from Table 1 (page 39).
  • Multiply the results of these two calculations, then multiply that result by 100 000.

The result should give you an approximate heating cost for your house. If you know your actual annual heating costs, as well as the type of heating system you have, you can modify the heating load originally taken from Table 3 to suit your specific house.

Sample calculation: You have a new semi-detached home in Fort McMurray and you would like to find out what the annual heating cost would be with a mid-efficiency oil furnace at 83% efficiency. To use the above formula, we can define the cost of oil as $0. 30/L, the house heating load as 80 (Table 3) and the energy content as 38. 2 (Table 2).

Annual cost of oil heating:

 x  80
 x 100 000 = $757

If you would like to compare this heating cost with those of other types of heating systems or energy sources, replace the numbers in the formula with the appropriate ones or your comparison using Tables 1 and 2 (pages 39 and 40).

Table 3 - Typical Annual Heating Loads in Gigajoules (GJ) for Various Housing Types in Canadian Cities
City Old Detached New Detached New Semi-
Victoria 85 60 45 30
Prince George 150 110 80 60
Calgary 120 90 65 50
Edmonton 130 95 70 55
Fort McMurray/
Prince Albert
140 105 80 60
130 90 70 50
Whitehorse 155 115 85 60
Yellowknife 195 145 110 80
Thunder Bay 130 95 70 55
Sudbury 120 90 65 50
Ottawa 110 75 55 40
Toronto 95 65 45 35
Windsor 80 55 40 30
Montréal 110 80 60 45
Québec 115 85 65 50
Chicoutimi 125 90 70 55
Saint John 105 75 60 45
Edmundston 120 90 65 50
Charlottetown 110 80 60 45
Halifax 100 75 55 40
St. John’s 120 85 60 45

Note: “New ”means houses built in 1990 or later, and “old ”means houses built before 1990. Due to construction practices, “weatherizing ” and re-insulating (which can be different from house to house) , these figures are meant to be used only as general guidelines; they should not substitute for an accurate heating requirement determination, as discussed in Chapter 5.

Old detached – approximately 186 m2 (2000 sq. ft.)
New detached – approximately 186 m2 (2000 sq. ft.)
New semi-detached – approximately 139 m2 (1500 sq. ft.)
Townhouse – inside unit, approximately 93 m2 (1000 sq. ft.)


 Table of Contents


Source: Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) - Office of Energy Efficiency

Absolute Plumbing Solutions • Emergency Service Available
   1517 56 Street  •  Delta, BC V4L 2A9
   Monday - Friday:   9:00am - 5:00pm
Absolute Plumbing Solutions
   1517 56 Street  •  Delta, BC V4L 2A9
   Monday - Friday:   9:00am - 5:00pm
Home   |   Email Us   |   Our Team   |   Reviews
Home   |   Email Us   |   Our Team   |   Reviews
For Plumbing in Delta BC, we accept most major credit cards.
For Plumbing in Delta BC, we accept most major credit cards.