Depending on your space heating system, heating your home eats up 40-60% of the total energy consumed by your home. (1) In other words, keeping warm in winter – obviously a necessity in our harsh climate – has a significant negative impact on the environment.
On this page, we look at these topics related to using less energy to heat your home:
Click a link in the list above to jump to that topic on this page.
When constructing a new home, install the most energy efficient furnace possible. Although they may cost more upfront, an energy efficient model will use less energy and accrue savings over its lifetime – and reduce your home’s greenhouse gas emissions.
If your existing furnace is old or simply performs very inefficiently, the best choice may be to purchase a new high efficiency furnace. But there are also steps you can take to make heating with an existing furnace more climate-friendly.
Look for the EnerGuide Rating label on manufacturers’ brochures for gas and propane furnaces. The higher the rating number, the more energy efficient the product is.
If the unit also has an ENERGY STAR logo, its energy efficiency is among the highest on offer.
- Condensing gas furnaces are the most energy efficient models on the market, with an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating between 90-97%, compared to 60% for old furnaces and 78-84% for standard efficiency models. They will use 33-38% less energy than old models and 10% less than standard efficiency models. (2)
- Electrical furnaces don’t qualify for ENERGY STAR ratings because there’s almost no difference between the available models.
Consider installing a programmable thermostat to help you control your heating – automatically lowering temperatures when you’re away or asleep. Heating costs rise about 5% for every degree that a thermostat is set above 20oC, and drop by approximately 1% per degree that the temperature is lowered at night.
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Cleaning and maintenance
Every few months throughout the year, and every month during winter, it is a good idea to:
- Make sure heat outlets and cold air returns are not obstructed by furniture
- Clean or replace the air filter
- Vacuum heat register and cold air return grills
Ducts and Vents
Close vents or shut off heaters in unused rooms or areas of the house. (3)