Do It Yourself Home Comfort Tips

Have Your Gas Equipment Checked Regularly

1. Changing and cleaning filters

Dirty furnace filters can raise heating costs and reduce the life of your equipment. You should,

  • Examine disposable filters once a month, replacing them every one or two months during the heating and cooling seasons.
  • Wash and rinse permanent filters monthly.
  • Clean electronic air cleaner filters every one to two months.

2. Examining the fan or blower

  • Always turn off the electric power first.
  • Ensure the fins on the blower fan are clean. Make sure the fan housing is clear of debris.

3. Checking the humidifier

  • Proper humidity levels will reduce your heating costs and make your home more comfortable.
  • Clean your humidifier once a month, more often if you have hard water.
  • Humidifiers are easy to control, cause few problems, and are very efficient. They do need to be cleaned regularly.
  • Replace the pad or wick once a year.

4. Checking the chimneys and vents

  • Before starting up your furnace or fireplace, check that your chimney or vent is not blocked by debris, and make sure it has not deteriorated.
  • Check any metal chimney that protrudes from your home. If severe rusting is evident, have a Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) registered heating contractor inspect the chimney to ensure that it is still functioning in an acceptable manner.  The contractor can advise whether painting the chimney is advisable to delay further deterioration.

5. Keeping your furnace area clean

  • Never store chemicals, chlorine, paint thinners, paint strippers, or gasoline in the furnace room.
  • If you're using any of the above, always shut off any pilot lights in the room or turn off power to appliances without pilot lights and open up the windows during and after use. Wait until fumes have dissipated before re-starting the pilot lights or turning the power back on.
  • Make sure there is a free flow of air to the furnace. Keep an area of at least two feet around the furnace clear by removing any boxes or obstructions. Also, the furnace room should not be completely closed off with walls and solid doors.

6. Keeping heating areas clean

  • Keep return air grilles, hot air registers, radiators, and space heaters/baseboards clear of furniture, rugs, and drapes to allow free movement of air.

7. Sealing furnace ducts

  • You can ensure more heated or cooled air reaches its destination by sealing the accessible furnace duct seams with duct tape.

8. Insulating furnace ducts

  • Insulate all ducts in unheated or cooler spaces with commercial duct insulation - or make your own! Simply wrap the duct with glass fibre batts, secure lightly with string, cover insulation with plastic, and tape all edges.

Furnace Trouble Shooting

1. Checking the pilot

  • Older furnaces have a standing pilot light that burns continuously. As well as igniting the burners, the pilot light is also a safety device.
  • If the pilot light is out, follow the relighting instructions on your furnace. Pay particular attention to steps in the instructions requiring gas to disperse after an unsuccessful attempt to light the pilot.
  • If after relighting you experience another outage of the pilot then call your TSSA registered heating contractor to investigate the cause.
  • Newer furnaces have an electronic pilot or ignitor. Just follow the instructions and reset the switch.
  • If you are at all unsure of the correct procedure, call your TSSA registered heating contractor.

2. Checking power switches, fuses or breaker switches

  • If your furnace won't start, check to see if the power supply switch near the furnace was inadvertently left off.
  • If the power supply switch is "on" but the furnace won't start, check whether a fuse has blown or if a breaker switch has tripped disconnecting power.
  • Find out which fuse or breaker switch controls the power to your furnace; it should be marked on the fuse panel. If necessary, replace the fuse with the correct size or reset the switch. If the fuse fails or the breaker trips again then call your TSSA registered heating contractor or electrician.