Are You Sure Your Furnace Will Work All Winter?

 In Home Care Tips


Modern conveniences allow us to flip a switch for light, insert a plug for electricity, turn a tap on for fresh water — and we always assume that the household thermostat will keep us cozy and warm when the winter winds howl outside. None of these essentials are a guarantee however, especially home heating which always calls for a degree of homeowner responsibility.


In contrast though, a recent survey found that only 25 per cent of Canadian homeowners listed ‘booking a furnace maintenance appointment’ as a priority. Everyone else must either be keeping their fingers crossed, or doing it themselves.


“To lengthen the life of your furnace, improve its reliability and reduce your energy bills, there are some simple maintenance tips that will make a big difference,” says Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy. “Dependability starts with cleaning or replacing the furnace filter every three months. In addition, be sure to knock down the household temperature at least two degrees overnight—and also during the day when nobody is home. This can actually save you up to 4 per cent on heating bills.”


Walton points out that it’s also a good idea to have a furnace protection and maintenance plan, especially if your trusty heating system is more than five years old. Protection plans give you an annual inspection as well as 24-hour emergency service by licensed technicians. These specialists do safety tests for carbon monoxide and natural gas leaks, and they also test the combustion exhaust of the furnace.


Other important low-cost steps for better efficiency include: closing the registers in unused and non-insulated spaces; sealing up air leaks around windows and baseboards; and boosting the insulation (to at least 30 centimetres/12 inches) in the attic and basement.


If you really want immediate and long-term savings however, investigate the advantages of replacing your conventional furnace with a high-efficiency one. Reports show that this one step can result in cost savings as high as 15 per cent – making it well worth the investment.


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