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The heat is on: How Canadians heat their home during the winter

January 13, 2023, 11:03 a.m. (EST)

The weather outside can be frightful during a Canadian winter. Fortunately, most Canadian homes are built to withstand the cold and 93% of households reported having a primary heating system to keep the temperature delightful inside in 2021.

Forced air furnace is the primary home heating system in Canada

Just over half of Canadian households that reported having a primary heating system in 2021 had a forced air furnace (51%), while one-quarter had electric baseboard heaters (25%). Less than 1 in 10 households were heated with a boiler with hot water or steam radiators (8%) or a heat pump (6%).

Approximately 1 in 50 Canadian households (2%) reported owning a heating stove, three-quarters of which were wood burning stoves. Households outside of Canada’s large cities were four times as likely to report owning a heating stove than city folk (4% versus 1%), with 88% of households outside of big cities reporting a wood burning heating stove.  

Electric heating is most common in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec

How Canadians heat their homes depends very much upon the region where they are located and the energy sources on hand.

For example, in Newfoundland and Labrador, a nation-leading 60% of households reported using electric baseboard heaters, while 14% had a forced air furnace in 2021.

In Nova Scotia, home heating systems were evenly split between forced air furnaces (23%), electric baseboard heaters (21%) and heat pumps (21%).

Heat pumps were the most commonly used method to keep homes warm in neighbouring New Brunswick (32%) and Prince Edward Island (27%). 

With its plentiful supply of hydro power, it is not surprising that almost two-thirds of the households in Quebec reported using either electric baseboard heaters (58%) or electric radiant heating (7%).

Forced air furnaces are prevalent in Ontario and on the Prairies

In 2021, three in four homes in Ontario (75%) reported using a forced air furnace to stay warm.

A forced air furnace was also the heating method of choice on the Prairies, ranging from 70% of households in Manitoba to 82% in Alberta.

Just over two-thirds of households in British Columbia that reported having a primary heating system used a forced air furnace (39%) or electric baseboard heaters (30%).

The cost of heating a home is rising

Canadians will burn virtually anything to stay warm in the winter, whether it be natural gas, fuel oil, electricity or wood. Unfortunately, the price of all these heat sources is rising.

The price of fuel oil and other fuels was rising at the fastest pace year over year in November 2022, up 73.4% from the same month a year earlier.

Canadian households were also paying more for natural gas (+23.7%) and electricity (+1.6%) year over year.

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Contact information

For more information, contact the Statistical Information Service (toll-free 1-800-263-1136514-283-8300; or Media Relations (