StatsCAN Plus

Thermostats: Potential energy and money saver…and relationship strainer

February 21, 2024, 11:00 a.m. (EST)

Overall, 9 in 10 Canadian households (92%) reported having a thermostat in 2021, and 42% of those that had one reported having two or more. While Canadian households can save money by lowering the thermostat in their home, things may get heated when it comes to choosing the “ideal” temperature setting.

Fewer households have thermostats in Prince Edward Island and Quebec compared with six years earlier

As Mother Nature recently reminded us, it can get brutally cold during a Canadian winter, especially in the Prairies where temperatures can, and just did, fall below -40 degrees Celsius for days on end.

Almost all households in Alberta (98%) reported having a thermostat in 2021, followed closely by households in Saskatchewan (96%) and Manitoba (96%).

In Eastern Canada, thermostats were most reported in Newfoundland and Labrador (95%) and Nova Scotia (95%).

Households in Ontario, Quebec and Prince Edward Island were least likely to report having a thermostat in 2021 (all three at 90%).

Compared with six years earlier, fewer households in Prince Edward Island (-7 percentage points) and Quebec (-5 percentage points) reported having a thermostat in 2021.

Half of Canadian households lower the thermostat during a winter night

Half of Canadian households told us they lowered the temperature on the thermostat during the winter in 2021, down from 57% six years earlier, while 3% raised the temperature.

Canadian households with a programmable thermostat (63%) were more likely to report lowering the temperature in the winter than those without a programmable thermostat (53%).

The cost of home heating is falling…but

The good news for households is that prices for most of the energy Canadians use to heat their homes are falling. The bad news is that recent declines have not come close to erasing the price gains from a year earlier.

For example, prices for fuel oil, which are related to crude oil prices, fell 11.2% in 2023 following a 59.6% increase in 2022.

Natural gas prices declined 4.2% in 2023 following a 26.9% increase in 2022.

Electricity was a bit of an outlier, with prices up 5.9% in 2023, mostly due to price changes in Alberta. Nationally, electricity prices rose 3.8% in 2022.

To learn how Canadian households heat their homes, check out the article “The heat is on: How Canadians heat their home during the winter.”

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