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From Our Blog

Biggest Trends and Changes in the HVAC Industry

Forty years ago, Wardlaw Heating and Cooling began as a fuel oil delivery company. By 1990, approximately 15% of Canadians were still heating their homes with oil, and by 2016 that number was cut in half, and continues to decrease. Sustainability has been a core concept of the HVAC industry for many years, and is a big factor affecting the changes we continue to see today. This is because HVAC manufacturers have a responsibility to develop more sustainable, energy-efficient products to reduce a home’s reliance on fossil fuels. The government is also supporting the industry by tightening efficiency standards, and offering rebates to homeowners to encourage the transition to high efficiency heating and cooling systems. This has prompted many changes in the HVAC industry. Below are a few of the primary changes we are seeing now and how they impact where the industry is heading. 

Fuel Sources

The use of oil was once being phased out and replaced with the use of gas and propane, and then there was a shift from gas and propane to electric heat sources. Unfortunately, electric heat is not cheap. At the moment, we are seeing many homes still transition from electric heat to gas due to the high cost of electricity. Now, there are many efforts within the HVAC industry to find even greener, more sustainable sources that are cost friendly for homeowners. The government also offers many different rebates to encourage homeowners to choose electric heating options. For this reason, highly efficient, electric heated and cooled homes are the future, and one major trend is the adaptation of electric heat pumps.

Heat Pumps

Heating homes with eco-friendly fuels while saving on costs are two common goals, but clearly they have not always aligned. Heat pumps are just recently being looked at as a sustainable solution to this problem. They are not yet a full heating solution for homeowners in places like northern Ontario due to extreme cold climates, but they are becoming the standard in many other markets. With that, improvements to the technology will soon make it an improved solution for colder climates. Further, any home can be retrofitted for the use of heat pumps as there are both ducted and ductless options available.

Although heat pumps are a great option, there are still some concerns for consumers mainly due to the fact that heat pumps use electricity as their fuel source. Two common questions are; Will the current electric grid be able to sustain the uptake in consumption? And will utility bills go up in cost? The answers to these questions vary. It will depend on how consumers are currently heating their home and where they are located. Contact us and our team can help answer these questions to determine if a heat pump is the right choice for your home! 

Geothermal Heating

In the winter, a geothermal system draws from an underground reservoir of heat, concentrates it, and moves it to your home. In the summer, it collects the unwanted heat in your home and moves it to the cooler earth. Ordinary heat pumps and air conditioners move that heat outside, but, unfortunately, hot summer air is already saturated and is less willing to accept more, making them less efficient. Geothermal heating may not be a new technology, but it continues to make improvements. It is not an option that is available to all consumers, depending on a few variables, but it will continue to be available for those properties and homes where it is the most efficient way of heating a home. In previous years, there were large government subsidies in Geothermal systems and it is expected those will come again in the future.

Smart HVAC 

Because everyone now uses smartphones and smart devices, there is an increase in demand for smart thermostats. These smart home devices are a top choice for tech-savvy and environmentally conscious homeowners because they have many innovative features. Systems can run on a programmed schedule which can be adjusted remotely, they self regulate and provide energy reports, notify you if your air filter needs to be replaced or if something malfunctions, and can even automatically adjust temperatures based on learning your preferences, which can save you money. They are an efficient option that can help homeowners save money, making them an increasingly popular option.

Indoor Air Quality

It is no surprise that indoor air quality is top of mind for many homeowners. Air quality, including humidity control, high quality filters, UV-C lights and so on, are going from a luxury to the expectation. As the demand increases, the technology will continue to improve and adapt. And because of this increase in demand, many of these products that were previously optional add-ons, are now becoming a standard part of the systems for all new installations. Systems, including our Napoleon products, are now available with built in air purification systems.

Appliance Efficiency

With changes to our climate, Canadians are using Air Conditioners more than ever before. And with harsher, warmer weather on the horizon, demand for air conditioning will continue to increase. Luckily, air conditioners are more efficient than ever due to energy efficiency standards improving for appliances. This also applies to all other appliances, including furnaces. According to NRCan, natural gas furnace efficiency was about 65%, but now we are achieving 97% efficiency with high efficient gas furnaces. Ultimately, an increase in efficiency means a major cost savings for consumers.

Conclusion

With sustainability and efficiency being a major concern, we are seeing a demand for cost effective yet eco-friendly HVAC solutions from homeowners. A driver behind these changes is the government’s commitment to a greener future, meaning our infrastructure will have no choice but to catch up in order to support higher electric consumption. Some of the government rebate programs require energy audits or can be a bit overwhelming. Contact us and a member of our team can help walk the homeowners through how to take advantage of these savings!