As the wind continues blow with daytime temperatures hovering near zero, we know we’re all in for a shock when the utility bills arrive. Upgrading to higher efficiency heating equipment makes sense, but where to start? Gas or electric?

With FortisBC recently announcing a new lower cost for natural gas on Vancouver Island we know this clean burning fuel is affordable, but just how affordable?

Today we want to introduce a great tool provided by FortisBc, the Home Energy Calculator. Before you cynic’s out there accuse a utility of weighting results to make one energy source more attractive than the next, we would point out that FortisBC is not only a natural gas utility, but an electricity and propane utility as well.

The Home Energy Calculator can be found here

Click through to choose Energy Comparison Tool, choose Vancouver Island, your city (we chose Saanich) Space Heating and Cooling, enter fuel oil at $1.225/liter.

The fuel oil price we used was found here,8,39,17,3

You can adjust the fields for age of home, efficiency of equipment, and compare new to new costs as a guide to which system will cost less to operate

Compare high efficiency air source heat pump to high efficiency gas furnace

Compare high efficiency air source heat pump to high efficiency gas furnace

Existing Oil Compared to New Natural Gas

New oil compared to new natural gas

As you run a few different scenarios through the calculator it becomes clear that natural gas is the most cost effective way to heat your home. A new natural gas high efficiency furnace will also be the least expensive system to install, compared to (all high efficiency) oil, and air or ground source heat pump systems.

The energy calculator can also be used to calculate cost to operate for water heaters, kitchen appliances, laundry and fireplaces.

You can view the new lower gas rates announcement here