Oil heating 101

Quelqu'un ajuste un chauffage

You just bought a house with an oil furnace. The owner warned you it’s getting old. The question then begs: fix it or replace it with a renewable energy system? It’s time to figure out the available options so you can make an informed decision.

Amendments to the law

With a focus on reducing waste per capita, the Environment Quality Act (EQA) was amended on December 31, 2021. More stringent regulation will follow on the road to a greener economy.

Eligible buildings and systems

The Act applies to residential buildings of no more than three storeys, with a maximum area of 600 square metres (two-storey homes, single family homes, duplexes, etc.). It also applies to boilers, furnaces or water heaters that use heating oil.


Since December 31, 2021, it’s prohibited to install boilers, furnaces and water heaters powered in whole or in part by oil in new residential buildings.

On December 31, 2023, the following restrictions were added to the list:

  • installing or replacing an oil-fired heating appliance by one that runs on fossil fuels (natural gas or propane)
  • repairing or having an oil-fired heating appliance repaired (a boiler or furnace installed more than 20 years ago or a water heater installed more than 10 years ago)


Normal, preventive and regular maintenance are authorized. Repairs to motors or electronic parts linked to a unit's operating controls are also authorized. However, all repairs must be done by a qualified professional.

Objectives of the Act: Phase out the use of heating oil for residential buildings and limit greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and other air pollutants. Replace heating oil appliances with electric or other renewable energy models. Reduce the risk of accidental hydrocarbon leaks.

Impact of heating oil on the environment

When it comes to clean and green energy, heating oil doesn’t get a passing grade. This is one of the most carbon-intensive energy sources around.

Heating oil emissions

  • greenhouse gases: heating oil is responsible for more than a quarter of the GHGs produced by the residential sector
  • nitrogen oxide: 4x more toxic than carbon monoxide and a global warming accelerant
  • sulfur dioxide: the cause of acid rain

Heating an average-sized bungalow for 1 year requires 1,308 litres of heating oil. You would have to plant 1,785 new trees to absorb the yearly GHG emissions.

Are heating oil appliances energy efficient? Definitely not as efficient as electricity. The total energy cost to heat a single-family home with heating oil is about 1.73 times higher than heating with electricity.

Advantages of electricity

When it comes to using electrical heating in a home, there are lots of pros.


  • is easily accessible everywhere
  • requires a lot less maintenance than a heating oil system
  • is eligible for subsidies (clean energy)

The numbers don't lie! The costs associated with heating oil appliances are nearly double those of electric units.

Get financial help

Are you ready to get rid of your fuel oil tank? Do you want to replace your oil-fired furnace or boiler? You may qualify for financial assistance! The Chauffez vert program supports homeowners by providing financial assistance. This will cut your conversion costs. It's never been easier to switch from heating oil to an electric, eco-friendly heating system.

Financial assistance is subject to certain conditions - Before starting any replacement work, make sure you meet the program's requirements.

Research and… compare

Before buying a heating system, read up on the company and compare prices. Some companies try to sell you products that include government tax breaks, but beware.

Last piece of advice: never sign a contract on the spot. You should instead take the time to see what other suppliers have to offer. Shop around, why not?

Beneva is committed to promoting a cleaner, sustainable and greener economy.  You’ll also contribute to making our world greener by replacing your heating oil system.

And by choosing electricity, you can really save on your home insurance!

It’s your decision

If your heating system seems worn out, maybe it’s time to think about replacing it (just make sure to carefully dispose of any remaining oil). There are cheaper and less polluting options available.

However, if you decide to keep your old system, then you should take precautions and take out adequate insurance coverage.

One thing’s for sure, the days of heating oil systems are numbered... so keep that in mind.