Last Updated: , Created: Friday, April 26th, 2019

Should I change to All Electric heat?

 

If you are thinking of removing your Oil or Gas furnace and replacing it with an all-electric furnace, often recommended by heating contractors, you may want to look closer at the options rather than just having a knee jerk reaction to getting rid of a fuel fired appliance.  When you have "all electric" heating, you no longer qualify for the reduced Dual Energy electrical rate.  This means you pay more for using your appliances all year long, including a significant increase in air conditioning costs.  Factor all of that in and "all electric", even with the relatively low Hydro Quebec standard rates, turns out to be the most expensive option after an oil furnace without dual energy. 

With today's energy prices and the Hydro rate structure, all electric heat, even with a heat pump, is not the most economical option if the oil furnace is at the end of its service life and needs replacing.  Instead, TRI-ENERGY heating -- a high efficiency gas furnace, heat pump and a plenum heater -- with the 3-Flex controller is most economical because gas is cheap and no chimney is required.  In case no city gas is available, propane can be used, requiring only a small gas tank because the furnace runs little (provided there is no long cold streak).  Even if oil is your only option to all electric, today's new high efficiency oil furnaces are worth taking a look at when combined with Tri-Energy.  It's really all about control.   There are detailed charts showing this on the ABCHybrid home page.

In the case where that fuel fired appliance still has service life in it (and if you go to tri-Energy that service life is extended because the furnace will run so little) you can have access to the very low Dual Energy rate offered by Hydro – or you may already have the dual energy system in operation.  Moving to all-electric heating moves you back up to paying the full electrical rate for your heating and all other domestic electricity consumption as well, including air conditioning, which could wipe out the savings you thought to get by scrapping the oil or gas furnace.

When you have forced-air heating, using a heat pump always makes sense, but a heat pump with an electric furnace does not qualify for the Dual Energy rate.  So a Heat Pump together with an electric furnace is better than an electric furnace or baseboard heaters all by themselves, but not more economical than keeping your fuel fired furnace which qualifies you for the Dual Energy electrical rate.

Any time you do have Dual Energy – moving to Tri-Energy is always a winner because you use the heat pump more and the fuel fired furnace considerably less. 

Remember that integrating everything you have into a system is why ABCHybrid has developed controllers for a number of different heating configurations, always squeezing the most out of those appliances that cost the least to operate.  In fact, running an electric furnace by measuring comfort and predicitng changes, as does the 3-FLEX controller, rather than just using temperature as a guide, can actually save you money on your utility bills in a house that has nothing more than an electric furnace. 

 


Keywords: Fuel, Heat Pump, Gas, Heating, Propane, Air Conditioning, Baseboard, Controls, Electrical, Furnace, Comfort

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