Electric heating: A great choice for Albertans?

by BJ Electric

We’ve been having pretty good weather in Edmonton this winter, but that doesn’t mean we’re not all feeling the burn of our winter heating bills. When it comes to both home and commercial heating, the choice between natural gas and electric heating isn’t always as straight forward as you would think. Particularly in Alberta, where natural gas is as abundant as it is, from the outset, a gas furnace may seem like the ideal choice. However, there are benefits to electrical heating that make it a better choice for many applications. Here are some things to keep in mind for your next project.

Benefits to electric heating:

1. Save money right away

By installing electric heating from the get-go, you can save huge amounts on installation costs. When installing natural gas heating, you’ll need to think about installing a gas service line, venting, fuel pipes, and of course the unit itself, which can take up valuable room in your home or building. All these factors cost money to install, and they make the process a much longer one.

Installation for electric heating is very simple and can often take just minutes to complete. All it takes is a quick connection to the electrical circuit, so for new buildings, it’s a breeze, and for replacements, it requires minimal alterations to the building. Because it is so quick and easy to set up, installation costs are typically very low.

2. Save money over time

In provinces like Ontario, Quebec, and BC, electric heating seems like a no-brainer because the cost of electricity is quite cheap there. However, in places like Alberta and Saskatchewan the question can be a little trickier. Our electricity costs can be higher than in our neighbours to the west and east, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that using electric heating is going to be more expensive than natural gas for us. There are multiple money-saving aspects to using electric heating over natural gas:

  1. Longer lifespan of the unit. An electrical heating unit can last almost twice as long as a furnace, from 20-30 years rather than the 10-20 year lifespan of a gas furnace.
  2. Cheaper and easier to maintain. Electric heating systems are incredibly reliable and typically have no moving parts that will break down over time. Gas systems require regular maintenance and part replacements which add up quickly. And because gas furnaces can be fairly complex, any issues with your heating system usually require an HVAC professional to fix.
  3. You get what you pay for, literally. Electric heating is 100% efficient, so you aren’t paying for energy that’s being wasted through a flue, the way you do with other systems.
  4. Only heat the space you need. Electric heating offers the capability to heat only specific areas of the building. By only heating the rooms you’re using, you can save up to 15% on your yearly heating bill.

3. Save the environment and increase personal safety

While natural gas is a relatively clean burning fossil fuel, it carries issues that are not present with electrical heating, including the methods by which it is extracted, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy loss. Electric heating does not require any fuel combustion so it does not create any local emissions, and because it is 100% efficient, the energy used for electric heating not wasted. Electricity production itself is becoming more and more green with time, with an increase in solar, wind, and hydro power.

Again, because no combustion is needed with electric hearing, there is virtually zero risk of carbon monoxide poisoning or explosions. Similarly, the risk of radiator burst or gas leaks that can be associated with gas heating is eliminated.

Now is the time to start thinking about electric heating

As the economy shifts and business slows down in some industries, it’s a great time to be thinking about ways to increase efficiency and productivity. Electric heating allows for more versatility when it comes to new building projects, and can save money and time in the long run. As the energy sector moves toward renewable resources, now might be the right time to make the switch.

Contact us to learn more about the electric heating supplies we carry and whether it’ll be a smart choice for you.