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Get Your Home Ready for Winter


4 ways to save energy and avoid unpleasant surprises

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A worry-free winter means spending days curled up comfortably in front of the fire, not calling in someone to repair the furnace or shuddering at heating bills that rise as temperatures fall. Here are four smart tips to ensure your appliances are operating effectively, while lightening the load on the environment and your wallet. 



Keep your furnace in fine form

Before that first frost, make sure your furnace is operating efficiently. Stick to a regular maintenance schedule to avoid breakdowns – and chilly nights. To keep your furnace in fine form and improve your home’s air quality, change or clean air filters at least every three months (shut off the electricity and circuit panel switches first) and make sure air vents are free from debris such as lint or pet hair.

TIP: Don’t forget to have a licensed contractor inspect your furnace’s fan belt (if it has one) for fraying or cracks; they’re inexpensive and easy to replace.

Upgrade your old furnace

When it’s time to replace your old furnace, consider upgrading to a high-efficiency natural gas furnace to save energy and money. Compare models to find one with the highest annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating – a measure of how effective it is at converting energy to heat. Furnaces that bear the ENERGY STAR® label have the highest AFUE ratings, which means they produce up to 98 cents of usable heat for every dollar you spend, compared to a medium-efficiency furnace that maxes out at 82 cents per dollar. Try FortisBC’s home energy calculator and compare energy savings.

TIP: Call an expert from FortisBC’s Trade Ally Network to determine what size heating system you need; too big wastes energy and too small won’t provide enough warmth.

Turn up the ambience with a gas fireplace

Stay toasty this winter with instant warmth from a natural gas fireplace you conveniently control with a programmable remote. You get safe, reliable heat when and where you want it – so you can turn down your central heating in the rest of the house and save even more energy. Look for gas fireplaces, freestanding stoves and gas inserts (it’s easy to convert that inefficient wood-burning fireplace) that bear the EnerChoice® label; the higher the number, the higher the energy efficiency.

TIP: If you purchase an EnerChoice fireplace before December 31, 2014, you might qualify for a $300 rebate from FortisBC.

Heat your water wisely

Everyday tasks such as washing clothes, showering and running the dishwasher add up. In fact, more than 20 per cent of the energy used in an average Canadian household can be attributed to water heaters. When shopping around for a high-efficiency natural gas water heater, factor in the operating cost over time. Look for a natural gas water heater with a minimum 0.67 energy factor (EF) rating, which means it’s ENERGY STAR® rated. The higher the number, the more efficient the model.

TIP: Purchase a natural gas water heater that bears the ENERGY STAR label and you may quality for a rebate of up to $1,000 from FortisBC.


Discover even more energy-saving tips for your home.

Need a natural gas contractor? 
To install or service your natural gas heating system and appliances, you need a licensed natural gas contractor. Search the FortisBC Trade Ally Network online directory to find a reputable business in your community.