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Today, I want to share some valuable insights with you about the different types of heating systems found in condo buildings. Instead of diving into the technical details, I’ll focus on what’s important to condo buyers and the questions they should ask before making a decision. So, if you’re interested in learning more, keep reading

Types of Heating Systems in Condo Buildings:
In the city of Toronto, there are three commonly found heating systems in condo buildings: fan coil system, heat pump system, and package system.

Fan Coil System:
The fan coil system works by heating or chilling water in a main boiler and chiller. This water then runs through pipes that are spread throughout the entire condo building. In each unit, these pipes are connected to a fan, which blows air over the pipes, either heating or cooling the unit. When you walk into a condo unit, you’ll notice the white panels with filters – these are where the fan blows air over the pipes.

Heat Pump System:
The heat pump system, specifically the water source heat pump system, is the most common heating system inside the condo units. Similar to the fan coil system, it also utilizes hot or cold pipes and a fan to blow air into the unit for heating or chilling. The difference lies in how the water in these systems is heated or chilled. However, the important aspect to consider is whether the system operates as a two-pipe or a four-pipe system.

Two-Pipe vs. Four-Pipe System:
In a two-pipe system, there are separate pipes for sending and returning hot or cold water throughout the building. This means that the entire building is either in heating or cooling mode, determined by condo management. As a unit owner, you have to wait for management to switch between the two modes during transitional seasons. On the other hand, a four-pipe system runs both heating and cooling simultaneously. This provides you with control over the system and the ability to switch between modes at any time of the year, without waiting for management. When considering a condo building, it’s essential to know whether it operates on a two-pipe or a four-pipe system to ensure it aligns with your preferences.

Package System:
In low-rise buildings, you may come across a packaged unit, also referred to as a magic pack unit. These systems combine the functions of a furnace and an AC into one unit that is placed within the unit itself. When viewing units, you can identify a packaged unit by checking for a large mechanical closet with a furnace that burns natural gas or uses electricity. If you encounter a packaged unit, it’s crucial to inquire about your responsibilities as an owner. Find out what maintenance tasks you would be responsible for if the system breaks down.

Now that you’re aware of the different types of heating systems commonly found in condo buildings, along with the essential questions to ask, you can make a more informed decision as a condo buyer. Remember to inquire whether the building operates on a two-pipe or a four-pipe system, as this will determine your control over heating and cooling. Additionally, if you encounter a packaged unit, make sure to clarify your responsibilities regarding maintenance.

I hope this blog post has provided you with valuable insights about condo heating systems!

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    Joey Virgilio

    Joey Virgilio is a Real Estate Agent with the Toronto Livings Team at Sage Real Estate. Born and raised as a GTA native, his knowledge of the geography and market mixed with exceptional real estate services will leave you feeling nothing but confidence with your decision to hire him and the Toronto Livings Team.