Approximately 60% of household energy expenditures go towards heating, representing more than $1,000 on average per residence. It is however possible to improve the energy efficiency of your heating system at low cost, regardless of the energy source.

Here a few simple things that can help improve the efficiency of your heating system.

Close the curtains at night and open them during the day
In wintertime, open your curtains during the day so that the sun can warm up your house. As soon as night falls, close them to cut down on heat loss.

Remove the dust from your warm-air heating system
Dust is the enemy of warm-air heating systems. Clean the air filters and the air intakes and outlets. Clean the inside of the unit with a vacuum cleaner. After a few years of use, clean the fan so that no dust impedes the movement of warm air throughout the house.

Watch for rust and bleed your radiators
When you notice rust on the pipes or on the furnace or boiler, contact your service technician, as such oxidation can lead to leaks. Don’t forget to bleed the air out of the radiators at the start of the heating season.

Keep an eye on the flame in your oil burner
From time to time, look through the inspection window to check the flame in your oil-burning furnace. Note whether it is burning well, and make sure there is no soot build-up. The flame should burn bright yellow and emit no smoke. If that is not the case, call in a specialist for a tune-up. He will conduct a combustion test and analyse the furnace’s performance before adjusting the burner. You’ll save on fuel and also reduce your carbon footprint. You might also have to upgrade your heating unit.

Clean your direct-fired heating system
If you clean your oil or gas heating system immediately after the heating season, the accumulated sediment is easier to dislodge than when time and humidity make it sticky and hard to remove. Leave burner adjustments to a specialist.

Assess your heating needs
If you want to change your heating system, make sure that the furnace installer doesn’t just simply replace the existing unit with a system of the same capacity, for equipment that is over 25 years old is often twice as big as today’s more efficient models. The heating load for your house should determine the type of unit required. To compare the performance of heating units, check the EnerGuide Label that lists seasonal performance.

Source: Agence de l’efficacité énergétique du Québec