#73 House Heat vs Condo Heat

We now live in what I'll call the upper east end of Toronto. Our house faces south on a street lined with houses decorated with pumpkins, ghosts, cobwebs, grim reapers and Darth Vader sitting on a porch. People pass by infrequently, but more often than cars. It's quiet. You can hear the trees swaying in the harsh autumn wind. 

House Heat

It's 8 Celsius outside and 18 Celsius in our home with the heat off all day. That seems like decent insulation.

Condo Heat

When we left our condo for the last time on Saturday with tears flowing down our faces............

It was a sweltering 22 Celsius.

What's the deal? I lost 4 degrees of natural heat by moving to a house from a condo.

Four degrees is the difference between having to turn on the heat and being perfectly comfy in my shorts and silky t-shirt pajamas. 

Last winter, we turned the heat on only twice. TWICE! That's the power of condo living. Taking advantage of the ambient heat from your neighbors. As a result, our average electric bill was only $55 per month last year.

I don't know how much the heating bill is going to be but I'm not looking forward to it. Home heating apparently makes up 60% of the average homes gas bill.

In my Condo, I had about 550 sqft of floor space with 9-foot ceilings, making the volume I had to heat about 5,000 cubic feet of air. Warm air could only escape from the floor to ceiling windows and the sliding balcony door. The front door led into a heated hallway making entry into the Condo a heat neutral event.

The House is about 500 sqft per floor with two floors and a basement. The two upper floors are 8-foot ceilings, and the basement is 6 feet. The total air volume in the house is about 11,000 cubic feet of air. Roughly more than double. But with 8 windows there are so many places for my precious heat to escape. And with the front and backdoors no longer buffered by a heated condo hallway, getting into the house is a huge opportunity for heat loss.

How To Save Money On Your Energy Bill

1. Turn your thermostat down by 3 degrees when you're sleeping or away from home. This can save up to 6% on your heating bill during colder months.

Since we are new to the house we are testing out what the lowest temperature we are comfortable with. We started our thermostat at 20 Celsius but have now moved it down to 18 Celsius and we are still comfortable. Fortunately, 18 Celsius is the natural temperature of our home right now, so the furnace is not on. #Winning

2.  You could get a smart thermostat which can adjust the temperature according to your schedule. And if you have a zoning system in your home, you can choose not to heat rooms that are not being used.

We ordered a free smart thermostat with the province of Ontario. Check out GreenOn to sign up.

3. For those without a zoning system, you can close heating vents and the doors of rooms that you don't need to heat.

With only two of us in the house right now, we don't need to heat the second bedroom or the basement room. We can save a 20% of the house volume with just those two rooms.

4. Improve air circulation around heating vents to allow the heat to flow around the house rather than heating the bottom of your couch or the backside of your drapes.

5. Perform vent cleaning to ensure the air can freely flow. If there is hair build up from a pet, this could significantly slow the flow of air and cause your heating system to run longer than needed to get you comfy.

6. Heat rises. Keeping your basement warm will result in an ambient heat for the rest of the house as the heat rises.

7. Open blinds and curtains to let the sunshine in. And close curtains when it's not sunny to keep the warm air from escaping.

8. If you haven't weatherproofed your windows and doors, get on that! Precious heat is escaping every second.  Check out this great resource at Enbridge Gas.

When our first heating bill comes I'll let you know how it goes.


Save Money Retire Early is written by Jon Lo, a barely 30 something, change optimist, and personal finance guy. I believe anyone can be rich or poor, it's what you save that makes the difference.

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