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Selection of Heating Equipment

The selection of heating equipment is an important decision that will be influenced by fuel preference and lifestyle choices. As well the efficiency of heating equipment has improved greatly over the past number of years through integration of new technology and design. The following link to the NRCAN website gives a good overview: 


It is often required to calculate or re-calculate the heat loss of the home. Due to recent government incentives for home renovations a number of older homes are now better insulated and do not require as large an output for the heating equipment. New or existing equipment can be downsized in output to match the updated heat loss. Oversizing heating equipment can cause inefficiency along with excessive wear on components.

There are a number of different heat loss programs available that a qualified heating contractor will use such as CAN/CSA F280 or HRAI. A proper heat loss will cost between $175 – $300.

 1. Replacement

Before replacing your existing unit a clear explanation should be given as why the heating equipment needs to be replaced. Older style equipment can be set-up to provide acceptable combustion efficiency numbers and may have further operating life.

A trustworthy contractor should be hired. The contractor should be familiar with the latest applicable codes and be ready with the necessary test equipment to perform set-up procedures.

2. Fuel Type

 A major factor for selecting a fuel type is cost. The following links will allow a comparison of the different fuels for North America:

CANADA: http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/personal/tools/calculators/heatingcalc/index.cfm

U.S.A.: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/calculators/space_heating.html


The installation codes are different for wood /coal than for oil or gas. The contractor should be experienced with the code that is applicable for the specific fuel source. Specific fuel types will require different test equipment and should follow the specifications as recommended in the Installation, Service and Maintenance manual.  

Local authorities with jurisdiction should be contacted for regional requirements.

3. Forced Air vs. Hydronic/Hot Water

There are two main types of distribution systems that can be installed in a home:

a. Forced Air

The system is based on moving heated air through the home in metal ductwork by the blower assembly of the furnace or air handler. A benefit of this type of system is the ability to condition the air within the home for cooling, humidification or special air filtration at the furnace.

The blower drive options include Belt, Direct or VSM technology:


b. Hydronic

A hydronic system is based on moving heated water through the home in pipe by a circulator located at the boiler. A benefit to this type of system is quiet operation and zoning flexibility. 

TIP: Always hire the services of a competent heating contractor experienced with the type of system being installed:



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DMC Firewall is developed by Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd