Heating uses more energy than any other system in your home. With the right combination of regular equipment maintenance, insulation, air sealing and simple changes of habit, you’ll save energy, reduce costs and stay comfortable for less.
How your home uses energy
Everyday tips to save on heating
Adopt these simple habits and see how small changes add up.
No-cost DIY tips
Save energy by lowering your home’s temperature by two or three degrees. Set your thermostat to 20°C when you are awake at home and 17°C when you are sleeping or out of the house. Make it even easier by installing an ENERGY STAR certified smart thermostat to do the work for you.
Clean or change your furnace filter regularly. See more maintenance tips.
Keep air vents and baseboards dust-free and unobstructed by carpets or furniture.
Keep your fireplace damper closed to prevent heat from escaping through the chimney.
During cold weather, keep curtains open during the day to allow the sun’s heat in and insulate against heat loss.
Low-cost DIY tips
Schedule an annual furnace inspection with a qualified professional.
Install a programmable or smart thermostat—it adjusts automatically to save energy. Get $75 off a smart thermostat.
Caulk and weatherstrip around windows and doors to eliminate drafts.
During winter months, use heat-shrink plastic on windows to keep the heat in.
Prevent heat loss by using foam gaskets to insulate outlets and light switches.
Seal the seams of heating ducts with foil tape to prevent air from escaping.
Add insulation to your walls to improve comfort and efficiency and protect against moisture.
Install energy-efficient windows to stop heat loss.
Maintaining your equipment
Think of your home heating system like a car—a little tune-up goes a long way. Proper maintenance by a qualified HVAC contractor will help you spot emerging problems and keep it running efficiently.
Schedule an inspection with a licensed contractor at least one a year, before the start of the heating season.
Check thermostat settings to make sure the system turns on and off at the right temperatures.
Clean or change furnace filters regularly—see your owner’s manual for details.
Have ductwork checked annually for cracks, dust buildup, rust or mould.
Check boilers for standing water or leaks.
Buying a new heating system
Repair or replace? Spot the warning signs
The following may be indications that your system is due for replacement:
- It’s over 15 years old.
- It’s unusually noisy.
- It’s been repaired several times.
- Rooms are heating unevenly.
Which heating system is better for your home?
Natural gas furnace
Distributes warm air though ducts.
Life expectancy: 15–30 years
Suggested AFUE rating: > 95%
- More affordable unit price.
- Quicker and easier installation.
- Can double as a central air conditioner.
Natural gas boiler
Distributes hot water through pipes.
Life expectancy: 15–30 years
Suggested AFUE rating: 90–98.5%
- Can double as a water heater.
- Humid air, free of dust/allergens.
- Can also be used to heat floors, driveways and more.
Why you should invest in high efficiency
High-efficiency units may cost more up front, but because they use less fuel to heat your home, you’ll save on energy costs over its lifetime.
A heating system should match your home’s heating needs. For example, one that’s too small won’t keep your home comfortable in cold weather, while a unit that’s too large will cycle on more frequently.
More offers for your home
Home Winterproofing Program
FREE energy upgrades for homes in needSee if you qualify
Smart Thermostat Program