BC residents are saving money on their energy bills with a switch from natural gas to a heat pump.
To better understand the real-world operating costs of homes that have switched from natural gas heating systems to a heat pump, Saanich led a survey to gather this data from households in Southwest BC.
Check out the results of the Make the Switch Summary Report (April 2023)
The findings from the study address a common myth that natural gas is the most affordable way to heat your home, and provide insights on how residents can ensure a cost-effective switch when replacing their gas equipment with a heat pump.
Here are some of the highlights from the study:
- On average, those who swapped out their natural gas furnace or boiler for an electric heat pump are now paying 10% less on their utility bills than they did before their switch;
- Two-thirds of participants are now paying the same, or less, on their utility bills than they did before their switch;
- On average, those who replaced their natural gas furnace or boiler with an electric heat pump reduced their household carbon pollution by 73%;
- Using an electric heat pump achieves the same carbon pollution reduction for the same or less money as a subscription to renewable natural gas service would;
- More than 97% called their new heat pump system “better” or “much better” than their previous natural gas system; and
- Strategies to ensure a cost-effective gas to heat pump conversion include using a qualified and experienced contractor, minimizing secondary heating sources such as natural gas fireplaces, and improving insulation and air-sealing prior to the upgrade.
While the sample size was limited at 24 households, the findings align closely with BC Hydro’s Bringing the Heat Report (September 2022), which calculated that a natural gas furnace costs, on average, $731/year to operate, whereas an electric heat pumps costs around $642/year. That represents potential savings of nearly 13% for the average home that switches from gas to a heat pump. Check out BC Hydro’s Heat Pump Cost Calculator for more information on the approximate savings you could realize by switching to a heat pump. The findings also align with the Canada-wide report by the Canadian Climate Institute entitled "Heat Pumps Pay off: Unlocking lower-cost heating and cooling in Canada."
Participants from the study shared some of their motivations for making the switch, and provided advice to others who may be considering a heat pump.
Check out the Heat Pump Chronicles below!
Erin's heat pump story:
Dave's heat pump story:
Betsy's heat pump story:
Ready to make the switch?
Get expert and customized help on your retrofit journey with the free Home Energy Navigator Service at homeenergynav.ca or 1 (866) 381-9995.