Canada is known for its extreme weather conditions, with freezing winters and hot summers, depending on the region. This makes it important for Canadians to have reliable and efficient heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature and air quality.

In this article, we explore HVAC statistics in Canada, including the industry’s growth, energy consumption, and environmental impact. Understanding these statistics can provide valuable insights into the HVAC industry in Canada.

HVAC Statistics for Canadians

  • 74% of Canadian HVAC companies are micro-businesses with less than five employees including the owner.
  • Forced air furnaces are the most common primary heat source in Canadian households.
  • It is expected that the HVAC revenue in Canada will reach $3.845 billion in 2023.
  • 60% of Canadian households had air conditioning in 2021.
  • The average hourly rate for an HVAC installer in Canada is $30.09.
  • Over 40% of Canadian plumbing and HVAC companies are based in Ontario.
  • The construction and running of buildings account for around 40% of global energy consumption.
  • Almost half of the construction sector companies are facing problems with recruiting skilled workers.

What is the HVAC Industry?

HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. It is an industry that deals with the design, installation, and maintenance of heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in buildings and other structures.

HVAC systems are responsible for regulating the temperature, humidity, and air quality of indoor environments. They are an essential part of any building, whether it is a residential, commercial, or institutional building, as they provide thermal comfort and improve air quality to maintain the health and well-being of the occupants.

The HVAC industry includes a wide range of professionals such as engineers, contractors, technicians, and manufacturers who design, install, and maintain HVAC systems. The industry is constantly evolving with new technologies, regulations, and trends to provide more efficient and sustainable HVAC solutions.

HVAC Industry in Canada

Canada is an ideal place to establish and grow an HVAC or plumbing business. There are approximately 13,500 HVAC companies, and over 15 million households and over 1.1 million businesses in the country. This means there are about 648 premises for each HVAC company. Although, this of course depends on the area.

Canadian HVAC contractors had an average revenue of $587,000 in 2018, which is the most recent revenue data available. 81% of the HVAC companies were profitable. At 74%, the majority of Canadian HVAC companies are micro-businesses employing up to five people including the owner.

Primary Heating Systems in Canada

According to data collated by Statistics Canada, forced air furnaces are the most common heating systems in Canada, representing 51% of all primary heating systems in 2021, down from 52% in 2019.

The percentage of electric baseboard heaters has also fallen from 26% in 2019 to 25% in 2021. Boilers with hot water or steam radiators are down from 9% to 8%, while heating stoves, at 2%, are still used by the same percentage of households as in 2019.

The data also shows that Canadians are moving away from older HVAC systems and investing in more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly systems. Between 2019 and 2021, the percentage of households using electric radiant heating has gone up from 3% to 4%, and heat pumps from 5% to 6%. The percentage of other, non-specified heat sources has increased from 3% to 4%.

Energy Consumption of HVAC Systems

HVAC systems can consume a lot of energy. In Canada, HVAC systems account for approximately 60% of the energy consumption in commercial and institutional buildings and 40% in residential buildings. Heating accounts for the largest portion of HVAC energy consumption, followed by cooling, ventilation, and refrigeration.

Environmental Impact of HVAC Systems

The energy consumed by HVAC systems has a significant impact on the environment. According to the International Energy Agency, the construction and operation of buildings account for approximately 40% of global energy consumption. They also account for 36% of CO2 emissions.

It is therefore crucial to move away from HVAC systems that use non-renewable energy sources for heating and cooling and invest in systems that are more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Ultimately, although the initial cost of installation may be high, systems that run efficiently and use renewable energy, are more cost-effective for the consumer.

HVAC Industry Revenue

The HVAC industry has seen steady growth in Canada, according to data published by Statista. It shows how the revenue has grown since 2012 when it was just over $2 billion. Based on this data, the revenue is expected to reach $3.845 billion in 2023 and $3.924 billion in 2024.

The revenue growth is driven by a range of factors, including new construction, renovating existing buildings, and increased demand for more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient HVAC systems.

More People Are Investing in Air Conditioning in Canada

One of the main drivers behind the HVAC industry’s growth is people updating their HVAC systems to include air conditioning. As the climate changes, many areas in Canada are facing more extreme weather, such as the heat wave in British Columbia in 2021 that caused 595 deaths. Having an HVAC system will help keep homes cooler and more comfortable.

According to the Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI), residential air conditioning in Canada increased by 135% in the first quarter of 2021. By the end of the year, approximately 60% of Canadian households had air conditioning. 42% of these households had a central air conditioning system, while 17% had a stand-alone air conditioner.

Building of New Homes Supports HVAC Industry Growth in Canada

Another reason behind the growth of the HVAC industry has been the increased number of new homes built in Canada in recent years. In 2016, there were 194,400 new homes built in Canada. This number has been growing each year and in 2021, there were 296,500 homes under construction in Canada. This was an increase of 12.8% or 38,100 homes from 2020.

HVAC Industry Employment Statistics

According to the employment website Indeed, the average HVAC installer salary in Canada is $30.09 per hour or $83,527 per year. However, this will vary depending on location and experience. The average pay is highest in Calgary, where it is $90,663 per year. Next, come Edmonton and the Greater Toronto Area with $90,129 and $86,506, respectively.

A large percentage of Canadian HVAC sector jobs are in Ontario, which is expected since the province has the largest population in Canada. 41.4% of all plumbing and HVAC contractors were located in Ontario in 2020.

There were 10,369 registered HVAC and plumbing establishments in Ontario, while British Columbia had 4,168, and Quebec had 3,842. Alberta was only just behind Quebec, with 3,762 plumbing and HVAC companies.

Prince Edward Island had the lowest number of plumbing and HVAC contractors out of all the provinces with just 125 companies. Of the territories, Yukon had the most with 50 companies, while Nunavut only had seven registered plumbing and HVAC companies.

Labour Shortages Within the HVAC Industry

According to Statistics Canada, there are labour shortages in many sectors in Canada, but none more so than in the construction sector, which includes plumbing and HVAC installation and maintenance. Based on their data, recruiting skilled workers is a challenge for 49.5% of companies in the construction sector compared to 36.9% of all businesses.

This can be, at least in part, explained by the falling number of apprenticeships within the skilled trades. In 2020, the number of new registrations for apprenticeships fell by 37%. This includes apprenticeships within the plumbing and HVAC sector as well as in the carpentry and electrical sectors. At the same time, the number of job vacancies in the construction industry has risen sharply. Between March 2021 and March 2022, the number of vacancies rose to 60.5%.

Challenges to the HVAC Industry in Canada

While the HVAC industry has experienced steady growth in Canada, there are also some challenges the industry needs to tackle. These challenges include:

  • To develop and implement more efficient HVAC systems that will reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption to reduce the sector’s environmental impact.
  • To address and update the aging infrastructure. Many HVAC systems in Canada are outdated and inefficient, leading to increased energy consumption, higher maintenance costs, and poor indoor air quality. Retrofitting energy-efficient HVAC systems into existing buildings will improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption.
  • Labour shortages are a significant challenge, which could impact the industry’s growth and new HVAC innovations. The industry currently requires skilled professionals, including engineers, installers, and technicians to design, install and maintain HVAC systems.
  • Climate change poses a significant challenge for the HVAC industry as extreme weather events become more intense and frequent. HVAC systems used in Canada need to be able to withstand extreme weather and provide comfort and good-quality air indoors regardless of external circumstances.

Key Global HVAC Facts

Globally, the demand for energy-efficient HVAC systems has increased and continues to do so as the cost of energy continues to rise and consumers become increasingly concerned about environmental factors. The COVID-19 pandemic also increased the demand for HVAC systems to maintain healthy indoor environments as people focused more on the indoor air quality in their homes and other indoor spaces.

In 2020, the global HVAC market size was valued at USD 202.7 billion and it is expected to reach USD 369.2 billion by 2028. This represents a CAGR of 7.8% from 2021 to 2028. The largest HVAC market is in the Asia Pacific region, which accounts for around 50% of global HVAC demand. China is the largest market in the region.

The United States is the second-largest HVAC market globally, accounting for around 20% of global HVAC demand. Globally, as in Canada, the residential sector is the largest segment of the HVAC market. It is followed by the commercial and industrial sectors.

Across the globe, the adoption of renewable energy sources, for example, solar and geothermal energy, is increasing, which is leading to more sustainable and eco-friendly HVAC systems. Simultaneously, the use of smart and connected HVAC systems, such as motion-activated HVAC systems, is increasing, enabling remote monitoring and control and providing greater efficiency and energy savings.

Summary

HVAC systems have an important role in ensuring comfortable temperatures and healthy air quality in indoor spaces. The Canadian HVAC industry has seen steady growth in recent years, with the residential sector and the construction of new homes being driving factors behind the growth.

The majority of Canadian HVAC businesses are in provinces with large populations. The average hourly rate is $30.09 and over 80% of businesses are profitable. In Canada, the growing demand for HVAC systems combined with lower recruitment numbers is leading to labour shortages.

Old HVAC systems can consume a significant amount of energy and have a negative impact on the environment. This is why energy-efficient and environmentally friendly HVAC systems are growing in popularity in Canada as well as across the world.

Frequently Asked Questions

According to Indeed, the average salary for an HVAC technician in Canada is $32.13 per hour. However, this varies depending on factors such as experience, location, and type of employer. The average rate for a plumber is $33.35 and for an HVAC installer $30.09 per hour.

There were approximately 13,500 active HVAC companies in Canada in 2021. Establishing an exact number of HVAC companies is challenging since the industry is highly fragmented.

The HVAC industry has been steadily growing in Canada in recent years and is considered to be a good industry to get into with good hourly rates and plenty of work. 81% of Canadian HVAC businesses are profitable and the average revenue for contractors was $587,000 in 2018.

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