Residential furnaces work best when they are properly sized. A furnace that is too large will cycle on and off quickly, with some inefficiencies of operation. This can lead to rooms furthest from the furnace remaining cool or to furnace chimneys deteriorating due to excessive condensation. As well, some of the furnace controls or parts may break down sooner than expected due to a high cycling frequency.  Residential furnaces that are undersized may not keep the house at a comfortable temperature in the coldest parts of the winter. 

What should you consider when buying a Residential Systems Furnace?

Unfortunately, there's no single store you can visit to compare different makes and models of furnaces when you need to replace your furnace. You will be working with a heating contractor, so do your homework.

Bigger is not always better.
Most heating systems in older homes are greatly oversized. To maximize energy efficiency, get the size that's right for you. Consider the climate, the size of your home, its orientation, construction material, insulation, protective trees and shrubs, whether it's open concept or compartmentalized, and the comfort habits of the occupants. Ask your contractor.

Consider the energy source.
Use our heating cost calculator to compare different energy sources available in your area.

Consider all the costs.
The sticker price of the furnace is just the beginning. Installation will also be an immediate cost. Over, the long run, think about operating costs such as maintenance and future fuel.

Energy Star logo

Look for the ENERGY STAR symbol as proof that you're buying the most energy-efficient furnace.

Compare EnerGuide ratings.
Compare the unit's EnerGuide rating to see how its annual fuel utilization efficiency rating with similar models.

Check also the unit's steady-state efficiency rating—an indicator of the furnace's maximum efficiency after it reaches its peak operating temperature. Take note of both and use them to compare one unit to another.

Consider a home energy evaluation.
An EnerGuide home evaluation is a service offered under Natural Resources Canada's EnerGuide Rating System.  A qualified adviser will conduct a detailed assessment of your home to check for air leaks, report on the home's energy performance, and suggest renovations that can help lower your energy costs. The adviser will issue an EnerGuide home evaluations rating that compares your home to similar homes in Canada.

Make some calls.
Heating companies are always willing to share information about their products. Call or visit to obtain product brochures.

Check with your local utility.
Other entities, such as local utilities, fuel suppliers and provincial or territorial regulatory offices may keep lists of qualified, registered and licensed contractors. Contact them for assistance.

Hire a pro.
Choose trained, certified technicians for your furnace installation. Contact us


Features to Look for in an Energy-Efficient Gas Fireplace

When shopping for an energy-efficient gas fireplace, ask for the EnerGuide Fireplace Efficiency (FE) ratings of the fireplaces you are interested in. Using this information, narrow your choices to the fireplaces that have relatively high efficiencies and can supply the kind of heat output needed for the location you have chosen.

The most energy-efficient gas fireplaces have many of the following features:

  • A high EnerGuide Fireplace Efficiency (FE) rating as tested to CSA P.4.1-02, found in product brochures or on manufacturers’ Web sites

  • Direct-vent design, where appropriate

  • An intermittent electronic ignition system or an easy means of turning off and relighting the pilot light

  • A ceramic glass front

  •  A quiet squirrel-cage-type circulating fan to help transfer convective heat to the room

  • Secondary heat exchanger

  • Insulated outer casing to prevent heat loss through the walls to the outside if located on an exterior wall

  • Good turndown or other means such as ducting to prevent localized overheating

 The Attraction of Owning a Gas Fireplace

Gas fireplaces have increased in popularity over the past few years. For many homeowners, the attraction of owning a gas fireplace lies in the following:

  • The convenience of an on/off switch and an ever-present fuel supply

  •  The cleanliness factor (gas fireplaces generate no mess in terms of ashes, wood chips, bark, etc.)

  •  The elimination of chimney cleaning

  • The safety of sealed combustion units, which offer little chance for toxic combustion gases to spill into the room

  • The environmental benefits as compared with those of a conventional wood fireplace

Although gas fireplaces have been around for a few years, many homeowners disliked their “fake-looking,” uninteresting flames. To counteract this negative perception of gas fireplaces, manufacturers have devoted much effort to producing a yellow flame that more closely resembles the flame of a wood-burning fireplace, yet is still clean-burning. As well, other aesthetic improvements have made gas fireplaces much more appealing to homeowners.

Operating tips—boilers, residential

Follow these tips for even more energy savings.

Read the owner’s manual.
It will provide tips to keep your system operating as efficiently as possible. It may also include a maintenance schedule—some circulation pumps, for example, need regular oiling.

Keep things clean.
Vacuum all radiators to remove dust and other obstructions that can block heat.

Rearrange the furniture.
Keep heating units clear of couches, chairs, drapes and other objects that can reduce airflow.

Work with the weather.
Install an outdoor reset control to ensure that you are not paying for heat you do not need.