5 Steps to 'Winterize' Your Heating System

It’s no secret that winter can be tough in Canada. So it’s certainly not a time of year when you want to take any chances with your heating system. 

Now, in the fall, is when you need to start preparing your home’s heating system to ensure it works properly when you need it most – during the coldest, snowiest months of the year. With just a bit of advance planning, you can make sure you’ll be toasty and warm all winter long: 

  1. Schedule a pre-season system tune-up. A professional maintenance check by a qualified HVAC contractor is the best way to ensure your heating system is primed for winter. A contractor will do everything from check the vents, thermostat and air ducts, to lubricate moving parts and tighten electrical connections. For boiler-equipped homes, checks will include a damper and exhaust fan check, inspection of the firebox and heat exchanger, and the sediment drain from the boiler.
  2. Change your air filter. Believe it or not, a dirty filter can cause a complete system shutdown by forcing your furnace to work too hard. So don’t overlook this simple yet critical routine task that you can easily do on your own.
  3. Check your outside exhaust vents and chimneys. While the weather’s still nice, take the time to check your vents to make sure they’re not blocked. Or better yet, call in a qualified contractor who will do this as part of a regular maintenance check. A blocked chimney or vent can cause dangerous carbon monoxide gas to back up into your home, so it’s an important part of pre-winter maintenance.
  4. Lower your thermostat and put on your sweater. Turning the temperature down just a couple of degrees as the weather starts to cool relieves the pressure on your heating system. If you have a multiple zone system, turn down the thermostat in rooms that are seldom used. 
  5. Close vents in unused rooms. Many heating systems include vents in areas like attics, basements and crawl spaces that are rarely used and don’t need to be heated. Closing these vents will help keep warm air circulating where you need it most. Just be sure to keep the vents open where exposed water pipes are located, to prevent freezing.

Don’t wait – act now to make sure your furnace and heating system is in top shape for the chillier months ahead. You will be glad you did.

To learn more and locate a qualified contractor to service your air ducts and furnace system, go to the Heating, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Contractor Locator page, or call 1-877-467-HRAI (4724).

All HRAI Member Contractors have been prescreened and have the required trade licenses, technical certifications and insurance coverage to work on your system.

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