-Translated from french-

The purchase or repair of an oil heating appliance will soon be prohibited by Quebec. Here are economical (and eco-friendly) solutions to keep you warm. And the subsidies offered to take advantage of it.


May have served you well for years, but sooner or later you will have to say goodbye to your oil heating system due to a provincial regulation that will come into effect at the end of 2023. You will then need turn to another source of energy, no choice. Here you will find solutions to replace it without breaking the bank.

First, know that this regulation from the Quebec government allows you to continue to use your oil system as long as it is functional. But starting December 31, 2023, major repairs will be prohibited if the device is more than 20 years old. This includes, for example, repairing or replacing the combustion chamber or heat exchanger.

You will also not be able to replace it with another oil-fired appliance or one running on another fossil fuel, such as natural gas. In short, his days are numbered.

If Quebec is forcing you to switch to a system powered by renewable energy, it is for environmental reasons. The government estimates that the approximately 200,000 Quebec households that still have an oil heating device generate approximately one million tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of 300,000 gasoline-powered cars.

Johanne Labrecque, a reader of Dollars and Cents, does not understand the government’s logic. She claims that her dual-energy system (electricity and fuel oil) allows her to save nearly $2,000 per year by taking advantage of an advantageous rate from Hydro-Québec and by reducing her electricity consumption when it is very cold, such as the state corporation requests it.

Changing all that will cost thousands of dollars, she worries, not to mention that her electricity bill could increase. “We are two retirees and we don’t have an income of $100,000 a year,” she says.

I cannot change the current regulations, Johanne, but I can at least present the most economical alternative solutions (which vary depending on the installations in place in your home), as well as the financial assistance offered.

Electric furnace and central heat pump

f you already have ventilation ducts, the electric furnace-central heat pump combination is the logical choice, according to all the experts consulted. You will thus be able to maximize the energy efficiency of your heating system, reduce your electricity bill and receive generous government subsidies.

The heat pump — more efficient than the furnace — operates up to a certain temperature, then the furnace takes over when it gets too cold. And since heat pumps are more efficient than they were, the energy savings can be interesting, notes André Trudel, sales director at Confort Expert, a Montreal residential air conditioning and heating company. “For several years, some heat pumps can operate down to -30oC! »

According to Daniel Matte, president of Climatisation-chauffage Bellechasse, an electric furnace-heat pump system can cost from $9,000 to $15,000 (installation included). However, you can receive up to $6,275 in government subsidies, i.e. up to $5,000 from the Canada Greener Homes Grant and a maximum of $1,275 from the Quebec Chauffez vert program, for the replacement of a system heating with oil or propane using a system powered by renewable energy — provided, of course, that you meet all the criteria of these programs.

Some cities also offer financial assistance. If you live in Laval, for example, you can also claim an additional subsidy of up to $2,000.

A Laval resident with a single-family home heated exclusively with oil who purchased a system for $9,000 would therefore only pay $725. Quite a bit cheaper than getting a new oil furnace!

Electric furnace

To limit the costs of replacing your heating system, you can settle for an electric furnace. “For someone who already has ventilation ducts in their house, changing the oil burner for an electric element is relatively affordable,” says Mathieu Carle, technical expert in energy efficiency at Expertbâtiment, a company based in Quebec, Joliette and Saint-Jérôme, which notably offers services for evaluating the energy performance of buildings.

Purchasing a 15 kW electric furnace could, according to him, cost you around $4,200 (installation included), from which you can deduct up to $1,275 from the Chauffez vert program. However, you must consider that an electric furnace alone generally consumes more electricity than if it is combined with a heat pump, and therefore your monthly Hydro-Québec bill will be affected.

Heat accumulator (with or without heat pump)

Less known than the previous ones, the central electric heating system with heat accumulator is an expensive option to purchase, but potentially advantageous in the long term. “Bricks accumulate heat, and if necessary, during peak periods, customers can use the accumulated heat to heat themselves,” explains Daniel Matte, of Climatisation-chauffage Bellechasse. This system can be coupled with a heat pump to make it even more energy efficient.

The heat storage and central heat pump duo costs $24,000 to $30,000 (installation included), specifies Daniel Matte. However, you can count on significant subsidies: Hydro-Québec is offering $10,000 until June 30, 2023, to which is added up to $5,000 from the Canada Greener Homes Grant and a maximum of 1 275 dollars from the Chauffez vert program. In other words, a system that paid $24,000 could cost you $7,725.

During the winter, Hydro-Québec’s Flex D rate means that you pay less for your electricity than the majority of Quebecers outside peak periods and more expensive during peak periods, when the accumulated heat warms you and your electricity demand decreases.

“The customer will be able to make their investment profitable over a few years thanks to energy savings, but it will be a little longer than in the case of a furnace and a central heat pump,” says Mathieu Carle, of Expertbâtiment .

Wall systems

If you do not have ventilation ducts, you can turn to electric baseboard heaters or wall-mounted convectors, the price of which varies depending on the size of the home and the number of devices to be installed (generally from 100 to 400 dollars each, without installation). Here again, you can claim up to $1,275 from the Chauffez vert program. Inexpensive to purchase, plinths are however energy-intensive. Your electricity bill will be higher than with other options.

To benefit from a more efficient system – and more generous subsidies – consider a wall-mounted heat pump instead. “People often associate the wall-mounted heat pump with air conditioning, but they forget that it is also used for heating,” emphasizes André Trudel. It will be more economical than electric baseboard heaters up to a certain temperature. And like central heat pumps, some operate down to -30oC. »

The cost of a wall-mounted heat pump can range from $3,000 to $5,000 (without installation), according to the renovation quotes site RénoAssistance. The Chauffez vert program applies and the amount of the federal subsidy varies depending on the heat pump you choose from the list of eligible devices.

What to consider when changing your system

  • Subsidies

    Be sure to follow the procedure for each program to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, the Canada Greener Homes Grant requires a visit from an advisor before work, while the Chauffez vert program only requires invoices and supporting documents. “Unfortunately, every day we see people who have had their system installed and who are not eligible because they did not meet one of the criteria of the subsidy program,” says Mathieu Carle, of Expertbâtiment. These two programs are in effect until 2027 and 2026 respectively. It is unknown whether they will be renewed subsequently.

  • Removing the Oil Tank

    You need to budget a few hundred dollars for the removal of your oil tank, estimates André Trudel. Some air conditioning-heating companies (like his) include this cost in their contract and get rid of the device, others do not.

  • Electrical panel

    When switching from an oil system to an electric system, you may have to modify your electrical panel or completely change it. According to Mathieu Carle, this work can cost you $1,000 to $2,000.

See full article in french: https://lactualite.com/finances-personnelles/la-fin-du-mazout-quel-systeme-de-chauffage-choisir/