High-Efficiency Units Reduce Both Your Your Bills & Your Carbon Footprint
A high-efficiency furnace or air conditioner can keep your family comfortable, reduce the amount of money you spend on gas or electricity, and help shrink your carbon footprint. Unfortunately, many high-efficiency units cost more than their less efficient counterparts, which can be a financial barrier or disincentive for some Ontario families.
To help encourage more Ontarians to trade in their old air conditioners and furnaces for high-efficiency units, there are rebates available for qualifying products.
Why Choose a High-Efficiency Furnace or Air Conditioner?
Higher efficiency units may cost more upfront, but because they require less energy to run, they can reduce both your electricity or natural gas bill and your carbon footprint. Since your furnace or air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard, they are also subject to less wear and tear, which can reduce the amount of time and money you need to spend on maintenance.
How is Efficiency Measured?
For furnaces, efficiency is measured using a metric called Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), which allows consumers to easily quantify how much fuel a particular furnace requires to run. However, this measurement doesn’t include any electricity required to operate the controls, fans, or pumps associated with the unit.
The higher an AFUE rating a furnace has, the more efficient it is. Most high-efficiency furnaces have an AFUE rating between 90% and 98%, meaning that only between 2% and 10% of energy is lost during the heating process. For comparison, older furnaces are typically only 56% to 70% efficient, which means between a third and a half of the fuel you purchase to heat your home is effectively wasted.
The efficiency of an air conditioner is measured using a metric called energy efficiency ratio (EER), which tells us how much of a cooling effect is provided by the unit for each unit of energy it consumes under steady-state operation. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) measures how efficient a unit is over the entire cooling season.
The higher the SEER rating an air conditioner has, the more efficient it is.
How Do I Know Which Units Qualify?
To help Canadians choose more efficient air conditioners and furnaces, the federal government introduced the EnerGuide labelling system. This label can be mandatory or voluntary, depending on the product, and is applied voluntarily to central air conditioning units and furnaces.
To choose a high-efficiency furnace or central air conditioning unit, simply look for the EnerGuide logo and then assess the sliding bar. The black inverted triangle shows you where on this scale this unit lands, with more efficient units landing closer to the left-hand side of the scale, and less efficient units landing closer to the right.
High-efficiency air conditioners and furnaces are typically more expensive than their less efficient counterparts but save you money over time by reducing your energy consumption. To help more Ontarians switch to more efficient units, the provincial government offer rebates to qualified individuals who take the necessary steps.
Enbridge Furnace Rebate
The Ontario provincial government offers a rebate through its Green Investment Fund, which is administered through local energy provided, such as Enbridge (which recently acquired Union Gas). Enbridge uses the funds provided by the Green Investment Fund to help Ontarians save money through its Home Efficiency Rebate.
To access this rebate, you must be an Enbridge customer, use natural gas to heat your home, and qualify based on two energy assessments: one that looks at your home before your energy-efficient upgrades and one that looks at your house after the upgrades are complete. Qualified customers who get the necessary upgrades and pass the second assessment will be issued a cheque of up to $5000 based on how much they increased their home’s efficiency.