Your essential home heating guide

Keep your home heating system in tip-top shape

Over 60% of your annual energy costs go towards heating your home, so it’s worth heating it as efficiently as possible. Use the following resources to keep your home comfortable and your energy costs down.

In addition to the tips below, visit myEnergy Marketplace for additional information on what to look for in energy-efficient products, as well as cost-saving rebates.

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Home heating tips & tricks
Family looking out at snowy landscape.

Top 5 furnace tune-up tips

1

Seal the leaks

Don’t force your HVAC system to work overtime to compensate for poor insulation or drafty windows. If your home’s thermal envelope — the exterior barrier that keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer — is compromised, seal in the heat with insulation, caulking and draft-proofing.

2

Clean the vents

For maximum efficiency, clean your heating and cooling system every three to five years. Turn off the power on your HVAC. Unscrew the air duct covers from walls, floors and ceilings, and clean the grates with a brush. Use the accessories hose on your vacuum to give your ducts a thorough clean.

3

Replace the filters

Clogged furnace filters diminish your home’s air quality. Plus, they consume more energy and force the system to work harder. Check the furnace filters monthly, and remember to clean or replace them every 90 days, depending on whether they’re disposable or permanent.

4

Listen for noises

Clanging, knocking or popping sounds may be signs of worn-out or loose parts in your heating system. If you hear any unusual noises from your furnace, it may be time for repairs. Call a certified HVAC technician to inspect your system.

5

Have it checked

Once a year, invest in a tune-up with a qualified HVAC technician to ensure your system is running at optimal efficiency. Preventative maintenance will help spot potential issues before they become bigger problems.

To find a qualified licensed technician, call the Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) at 877-467-4724 or check out the contractor locator portal.

Adjusting thermostat

Is it time for a new furnace?

While high-efficiency units tend to have a higher purchase price, lower operating costs mean you will spend less over time.

Proven reliability
Quiet Performance
Better warranty protection
Improved air quality
Use less energy

Think about upgrading if:

The air in your home is too dry or dusty
Your system is more than 15 years old
It’s unusually noisy
temperature-snowflake-1
Rooms served by the furnace are chilly
You need major parts replaced or repaired

Look for the high AFUE rating

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, found on the official Canadian EnerGuide label, is a measure of how efficient your furnace is. The higher the rating, the more efficient the model.

Learn more on how you can save by Fuel Switching

Read about Fuel Switching
Contractor installing furnace

Working with a contractor

How to choose

Choosing a contractor

  1. ​Ask friends and neighbours to recommend a local contractor
  2. ​Do your research and read online reviews
  3. Get at least three quotes in writing and compare estimates​
  4. Ask for an inspection of your current system
  5. To protect yourself, ensure your contractor has general liability insurance​
  6. Ask about services post-installation, including annual servicing and maintenance
  7. Don't know where to start? Contact the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute or consult their list of qualified contractors.

What to look for

What to look for in an agreement

  1. ​A detailed list of all work to be completed
  2. An itemized list of all equipment to be installed, including name, quantity, model number and energy rating
  3. ​ Proof of warranty for both the equipment and installation
  4. ​ Sizing calculations or results of any tests performed​
  5. Liability insurance information (minimum of $2 million)​​
  6. Proof of licences and certification
  7. For ECM-equipped furnace replacements:
    TSSA Registration number to confirm licenced technicians (Gas Technician 1 or 2 or OBT 1 or 2 certification number)
  8. For ENERGY STAR® certified CAC system installations:
    313A Refrigeration and Air Conditioning licence or a 313D Residential Air Conditioning Licence
  9. Payment terms and schedule​​
  10. Start and completion date.

Visit myEnergy Marketplace for additional information on what to look for in energy-efficient products, as well as cost-saving rebates.