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If you're planning to replace your furnace, the extra cost to upgrade from a new mid-efficiency model to a high efficiency one is approximately $800. The typical grants and incentives for this upgrade (if done before July 2006) total around $1,300. You could get a high efficiency furnace and its related energy savings for $500 less than a mid-efficiency model. Check out the EnerGuide page for more information.

On average, half of all the energy used in your home is for space heating. Reducing your heating requirements by temperature set-backs and improved furnace efficiency are two of the most significant ways you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

High-efficiency furnaces can have a longer service life and more comprehensive warranty.

Using a programmable thermostat and installing a high-efficiency furnace can significantly reduce your annual heating bill, protecting you from increasing and fluctuating gas prices. The average home with an older standard furnace (70% efficient) might expect to save $400 or more a year by making these two changes.

Simple tips:

  • Install a programmable thermostat or manually lower your thermostat by 3 degrees at night and while you're away from home.  For every 1 degree you lower your thermostat, you save 2-3% on your heating bill.
  • Check and change furnace filters once every month or two.  This is an easy job. Dirty clogged filters make your furnace work harder and less efficiently.  Keep a couple of clean spare filters on hand.  If you have reusable filters, mark your calendar for cleaning every other month.
  • If you have an older furnace and think it may need replacing in the next few years, do it by March 2006; we are not likely to see the current level of incentives for high efficiency furnaces again!  Replacing an older furnace with a new, high efficiency one is often the single most significant and cost-effective energy improvement that a homeowner can make.

Start by getting an EnerGuide for Houses Evaluation.

An EnerGuide Evaluation of your home will not only assess the energy savings you could realize by replacing your furnace, but also will help you prioritize other steps you could take to reduce your energy bills.  A pre-renovation EnerGuide evaluation is the first step towards claiming your EnerGuide for Houses grant.  The average homeowner can receive a grant worth $400-$500 simply for replacing their furnace.

Get the right consumer information.

For detailed information about heating equipment and controls, visit Natural Resource's Canada Office of Energy Efficiency.

How to find and choose a heating contractor.

Proper installation and quality products are critical to realizing the benefits of replacing your furnace.  While replacing your furnace, get a new variable-speed fan motor at the same time.

  • First, find a reputable contractor by contacting HRAC, the national heating contractors association, or HVCI, the provincial heating contractors association.  All HRAC members must have valid trade certificates, fuel licenses (e.g. gas fitters ticket), business license, WCB coverage and liability insurance.
  • Ask contractors how long they've been in business, what kind of warranty is provided on their work and materials, if they will obtain all the required permits for their work, and if their installers have completed HVCI's Quality First training.
  • Ask contractors to base their bid on the installation of a high-efficiency Energy Star qualified furnace with a high-efficiency circulating fan motor.
  • Many factors affect your home-heating needs, so require your contractor perform a heating-load calculation to properly size your furnace (heating capacity).  Ask contractors for their business license number and check them out with your local Better Business Bureau or municipal business license office.
  • Ask contractors for references and contact at least one reference.
  • Get one or more estimates - note: there are widely varying degrees of quality and professionalism, the lowest bid is not always a good investment.
  • Be wary of contractors that offer a reduced price offer for a cash deal.
  • Get a written contract.

For a more detailed explanation of how to choose any contractor, download or order the CMHC general guidelines or check out our Finding a Contractor section.

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