How Canadians keep their homes warm in winter depends on which part of the country they call home. Data from the 2013 Households and the Environment Survey reveal that those from Ontario and in the West mostly opt for forced air furnaces burning natural gas. In Quebec and in the East, it is electric powered baseboard heaters and furnaces using heating oil that are found in an overwhelming majority of households.
Forced air furnaces were the most common type of heating system reported as a household’s primary heating system (53%), followed by electric baseboard heaters (28%). Those figures were unchanged from 2011. Forced air furnaces were the dominant type of heating system in Ontario (73%) and the Prairie provinces (between 73% and 83%).
Households in Quebec (64%), Newfoundland and Labrador (59%) and New Brunswick (52%) were all more likely to have reported electric baseboard heaters. Forced air furnaces and boiler systems each accounted for about one-third of the primary heating system of households in Prince Edward Island.
The type of heating system used is strongly tied to the types of fuel available
In general, natural gas is available to most households from Ontario to British Columbia, with households in some parts of Quebec also having access. In Quebec and Atlantic Canada, heating oil replaces natural gas as the most common petroleum-based type of energy available.
Unlike heating, cooling the home is optional for most Canadian households. In 2013, over half of Canadian households (55%) reported having an air conditioner, a slight increase from 2011. Two-thirds of the households that had an air conditioner had a central air conditioning system, while the other third had standalone systems, such as those mounted in windows or that could be moved from room to room.
Air conditioners were most commonly reported by households in Manitoba (80%), Ontario (78%), Saskatchewan (67%) and Quebec (54%), and less frequently in Prince Edward Island (23%), British Columbia (21%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (9%).
Households in provinces with higher rates of having an air conditioner were more likely to have had central air conditioning systems than standalone units.