A contractor speaks to a customer about his furnace.

Heating

  • Have a licensed HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) professional service your furnace once each year to ensure it is operating at maximum efficiency.  This can improve your unit’s efficiency by up to 20%.
  • When buying a new furnace, look for the most energy-efficient model you can find.
  • Rebates are available toward energy efficient heating & cooling systems
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter once a month to keep it operating efficiently. A clogged filter impedes furnace performance.
  • Insulate heating ducts that travel through unheated areas of your home to prevent heat loss.
  • Set the furnace fan switch on “automatic” instead of “on” or “continuous”.
  • A properly set programmable thermostat can reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 10%. In the winter, set the thermostat to 20°C when you are home and 18°C overnight or when away.
  • Install the thermostat on an interior wall where there are no vents or drafts.
  • Use a ceiling fan to circulate warm air. Set the fan to rotate in a clockwise direction. This will create a gentle updraft, which forces warm air near the ceiling down into occupied spaces.

Source: Energy Star Usage and Tips

  • Use programmable thermostats (at least for main rooms) to help reduce heating costs.  Programmable thermostats are also more precise than manual thermostats, and do a better job of keeping room temperature constant
  • To save energy, turn all your thermostats down to 16C when you can – when you’re at work, sleeping, travelling, or otherwise not using a room. (Word of warning: in the winter, do not turn your heaters completely off as your water pipes may freeze.)
  • Ensure that nothing is blocking the airflow from your baseboard heaters as this will decrease its efficiency.
  • Move furniture or draperies away from your heaters to allow air to circulate and to eliminate potential fire hazards. If your carpet is especially thick, trim it down around the base of your heaters.
  • The bottom of your drapes should end at least 10 centimetres (four inches) above your heaters or, if your drapes run floor-to-ceiling, make sure you have at least five centimetres (two inches) between the back of the drapes and the front of your heaters.**
  • Baseboard heaters should sit at least two centimeters (three-quarters of an inch) above the floor or carpet to allow the cooler air on the floor to flow under and through the electrical element.**
  • Dust and dirt can decrease the amount of heat your heaters are able to produce. At least once a year, use your vacuum cleaner to remove as much dust as you can from your heaters. The best time is right before you first turn your heaters on in the fall.

**Source: BC Hydro

  • When not in use, close the damper. Remember, even a closed damper leaks a large amount of heated air to the outdoors.
  • Proper fireplace sealing can reduce your household heating and cooling needs by 14%.
  • Seal fireplaces that are not used (a makeshift foam plug can be inserted and then removed if you decide to use it again). Hanging a flag from the plug will serve as a safety reminder.
  • Avoid having your furnace thermostat in a room with a fireplace.
  • If you have an electric water heater, wrap it with an insulation blanket for electric water heaters.  This can reduce energy loss by up to 40%.
  • Pipe wrap reduces heat loss and brings hot water to faucets faster.  Try installing them on your hot and cold pipes.  (Do NOT insulate plastic pipes).
  • Keep your pool/hot tubs/spas covered when not in use. Uncovered pools can lose 30% of their heat, over 10,000 litres of water and expensive chemicals monthly, just through evaporation.
  • Consider a solar cover to heat the water's surface.
  • Run your pool and spa pump only as needed. For pools run for just 12 hours overnight instead of around the clock to save electricity.
  • Inspect the pool/hot tub/spa heater every year for scale, mineral deposits and corrosion.
  • If your pool has a heater, use a timer to pre-set the hours the pool is to be heated.
  • When closing a pool, drain water from the heater, filter, pump and piping system. Remove the pump motor and store in a dry place.
  • If your pool is above ground and heated with electricity install a heavy-duty timer to run your pump and heater for a 12 hour period overnight when demand for electricity is lower. For inground pools, have a qualified electrician install a hard-wired timer. This also applies for hot tubs/spas.
  • When you install a timer to help ensure your safety, your pool must be plugged into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet located a minimum of 3 metres (10 feet) from your pool.  Please contact the Pool Council of Canada at (800) 879-7066 or visit their website for more information. An electrician or pool maintenance company is recommended to install your timer.
  • If your pool is heated with gas, a heavy duty timer is not recommended. Please contact the Pool Council of Canada at (800) 879-7066. Since gas pool heaters reach a much higher temperature than electric ones, turning off the pump without any thought of the heater means the residual heat of a gas heater could damage some of the plastic pipes or fixtures. If you do have a gas heater, you need a timer sophisticated enough to be able to turn off the heater 20 minutes earlier than the pump – often known as the Fireman's Switch.
  • Keep the pool's heating and cleaning equipment clean and lubricated.