Climate Strike – We care about the climate!
Update: Today (Friday Sept. 27, 2019) is the day where protesters across Canada and the world are speaking out about climate change. This is the second climate strike this month as more and more people get involved to force governments to make changes to reduce the damages we are creating on our planet and our climate.
Our business will be open today as we continue to serve our local community making sure that anyone with plumbing or heating problems gets taken care of but we do support this initiative to improve our planet and our climate.
Last weekend we participated in a local event Green Energy Doors Open (http://www.ottawagedo.org/) where we were able to meet with local homeowners to discuss how each of us can make a difference. Here are the two hot topics that were predominant at the event from our perspective:
Topic 1: Tankless water heating systems
We provided a live presentation on going tankless (the pros and cons) and had a lively question and answer period where we were able to address questions and concerns. Please note that switching to a natural gas or propane tankless is NOT 100% green (it still burns fossil fuel), but it is drastically better than a natural gas or propane hot water tank and at this time it is a great solution for reducing our carbon footprint on our home water heating. In fact going tankless can save over 7 tons of carbon on the environment.
We anticipate this technology will continue to improve over the next few years so that an electric version could eventually replace the natural gas tankless unit. At this time the electric version requires more power than our entire home and is not really a viable option in Canada – YET! But the technology is evolving and will eventually catch up. For now switching to tankless will save over 2 pounds of carbon every single day in use compared to a hot water tank (that’s over 7 tons over the life of the tankless unit). For this reason we do recommend switching to tankless and the prices have become much more affordable over the last couple of years.
Topic 2: Heat Pumps
This technology is not quite where we need it to be to replace our current furnaces – but it is getting better. At this time we will still need a heat source on those days when the temperatures are below -10C to -15C. The new heat pump technology coming out soon will be able to reach down to -30C and still maintain 80% efficiency. What makes heat pumps so important is the fact that it is a very green alternative that provides cooling in the summer and heat in the fall and spring (and eventually in the winter when the technology improves enough).
On the down side – heat pumps are costly. They typically cost more than a furnace and you will still need a furnace or alternative heat source for those days when the temperature drops below -15. They are also more costly to operate than natural gas fired furnace and less efficient than today’s high efficiency air conditioners and furnaces. This means we can anticipate paying more in the future to heat and cool our homes in the future in order to achieve a carbon neutral home.
So why switch to a heat pump now? Because the Climate is in crisis and this is one of the things we can do to make a difference. At this time we are running our furnaces in the evenings as early as September – and they pretty much remain on until late spring (May) when the evenings finally warm up enough. Today’s heat pump will heat our homes during those transitional months before and after the coldest winter days – meaning we are only running our furnace for 2 to 3 months out of the year (possibly less if the heat pump is rated low enough) instead of 6 to 8 months out of the year (or more depending on how long our fall, winter and cool evening spring season lasts).
The Perfect Solution:
As you can see with both topics – the perfect solutions are not quite there yet – but they ARE good enough to have a big impact on our carbon footprint and thus are worth considering today.
Over the next few weeks we will have a Heat Pump Guide available to answer questions about this technology and our Tankless Guide is already available on our website.
If you have questions or would like to know more information about heating or cooling your home or water please let us know. We are here to help you.
We are Francis Plumbing & Heating
Proudly Serving Ottawa since 1933!