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infographic of home heating costs (60% of annual energy costs)
Over 60 per cent of your annual energy costs go to heating your home, so it's worth heating it as efficiently as possible.
Use the following resources to keep your home comfortable and energy costs down.

Top 5 furnace tune-up tips

Keep your home heating system in tip-top shape with these helpful hints

With leaves falling and temperatures dropping, it’s time to rev up your home heating. Since your Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system accounts for almost two-thirds of your home’s energy consumption, you’ll want to make the most of your home heating budget. Keep your HVAC system in tip-top shape with these five tips from our energy experts.
 

 

icon of a caulking gun
1. Seal the leaks

 

Don’t let your HVAC system 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.
 

icon of a hand using a vacuum to clean ducts
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 cleaning.
 

icon of a furnace
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.
 

icon of an ear hearing something
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.
 

icon of an HVAC technician
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 1-877-467-4724 or check out the contractor locator portal.
 


 

Did you know?

icon of a Roman

The Romans invented the first central heating system, called a “hypocaust.” This system used hot air, warmed underfloor by a fire or furnace, to heat the room above.

 
 

10 tips to tune up

FaLl MainTenance checklist
  • 1

  • Book a check-up
  • Schedule servicing every fall to keep your heating system running safely and efficiently.

  • 2

  • Inspect your detectors
  • All systems that burn fuel give off gases, so put a fresh battery in your carbon monoxide detector.

  • 3

  • Clear the clutter
  • Keep the area around your furnace clear and keep flammable items well away.

  • 4

  • Change or clean furnace filters
  • Do this to improve air quality and airflow. Refer to your owner’s manual to see how often you should do this.

  • 5

  • Wrap your tank
  • Add an electric water heater blanket to insulate and reduce energy loss by up to 40 per cent.

  • 6

  • Set to save
  • Set your thermostat to 21°C when you are at home. Lower it when you are sleeping (18°C) or away from home (16°C).

  • 7

  • Blow hot air
  • Set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise to circulate the hot air downwards.

  • 8

  • Seal the leaks
  • Caulk, seal or weatherstrip drafts around doors and windows to reduce heating costs up to 30 per cent.

  • 9

  • The deal with ducts
  • About 20 per cent of your airflow is lost to leaky or disconnected ducts. Seal holes and cracks with mastic sealant or foil tape (avoid “duct" tape as it does not last long).

  • 10

  • Control humidity
  • Keep humidity levels at 30 per cent to 40 per cent to keep your home feeling warmer and more comfortable.

Is it time for a new furnace?

Think about upgrading if:
 
Illustration of a spider web

The air in your home is too dry or dusty

Illustration of a spider web

Your system is more than 15 years old

Illustration of a bullhorn

It’s unusually noisy

Illustration of toolbox

You need major parts replaced

Illustration of a snowflake and thermometer

Rooms served by the furnace are chilly

  

How to choose a contractor
  • ​Ask friends and neighbours to recommend a local contractor

  • ​Do your research and read online reviews

  • Get at least three quotes in writing and compare estimates​

  • Ask for an inspection of your current system

  • To protect yourself, ensure your contractor has general liability insurance​

  • Ask about services post-installation, including annual servicing and maintenance

  • 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 in a contractor servicing
  • ​A detailed list of all work to be completed

  • An itemized list of all equipment to be installed, including name, quantity, model number and energy rating

  • Proof of warranty for both the equipment and installation

  • Sizing calculations or results of any tests performed​

  • Liability insurance information (minimum of $2 million)​​

  • Proof of licences and certification​

  • For ECM-equipped furnace replacements:
    TSSA Registration number to confirm licenced technicians (Gas Technician 1 or 2 or OBT 1 or 2 certification number)

  • For ENERGY STAR® certified CAC system installations:
    313A Refrigeration and Air Conditioning licence or a 313D Residential Air Conditioning Licence

  • Payment terms and schedule​​

  • Start and completion date.

    ​​

 

Shopping 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.

Added benefits:
  • Proven reliability

  • Quiet performance

  • Better warranty protection

  • Improved air quality

  • Lower energy usage.

EnerGuide AFUE label

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.


More than $4,000* in heating and cooling rebates

Furnace

Get a $250 heating rebate

when you replace your furnace with a new high-efficiency model

Reduces home heating costs by 25% per year

Must be equipped with ECM motor. Offer ends December 31, 2018.

AC unit

Get a $600 cooling rebate

when you install a new high-efficiency central air conditioner

Newer models are more reliable and less prone to breakdowns.

Must be ENERGY STAR® certified, minimum 18+ SEER/13 EER rating.

Electrically-heated home?
Air-source heat pump unit

Get up to $4,000

when you install an air source heat pump (ASHP)

Save up to 50% on heating costs. Also works for cooling!

BONUS!

Get $50 when you install a new adaptive thermostat. Reduce energy costs up to 15%

Hydronic heating system?

Get $30

when you install a new ECM circulator pump for your hydronic heating system

Significantly increases energy savings and is easy to install

Must have a variable-speed ECM motor