Don’t get stuck in the cold. Steps to take when your furnace breaks down.

ice damming

We’ve been experiencing frigid temperatures this winter and the cold weather shows no sign of slowing down. When the mercury dips, that’s often when furnaces have issues or break down. Last winter in Ontario, when the temperature fell below -15°C, we saw a steep increase in heating system calls compared to days when the temperature was -14°C or warmer.


While it’s important to have your furnace maintained regularly in order to prevent future problems from occurring, furnace breakdowns that happen unexpectedly can disrupt your life. Here are five steps to take if you realize your furnace may not be working properly:


Step one: know the warning signs. Keep your eyes and ears out for signs that may signal your furnace is on the verge of breaking down: strange noises, frequent cycling, leaks and trouble reaching set temperature.


How to know when you need to replace your old equipment.


Step two: check the power. Your furnace needs electricity to run, so check to make sure the breaker is on at the panel. As well, check that your thermostat batteries (if you have them) are good. Some thermostat screens will display “Lo Bat” if the batteries need replacing.


Step three: change your furnace filter. Filters clogged with dust and debris put a furnace at risk of shutting down. It’s best to replace filters every three months to help air flow through your system and ensure your furnace isn’t being over worked.

DC - Filter - 3

Step four: hire an expert. If your furnace does break down and you get stuck in the cold, call a highly-trained technician to properly inspect and service your heating equipment to get it working again fast.

Direct Energy Technician

Step five: stay warm. Direct Energy technicians can be there as fast as the same day when you have a breakdown, but to stay warm while you wait make sure windows are closed properly, close off unused rooms and bundle up!


As always, it’s important to schedule a furnace inspection before winter hits from a professionally-trained technician to diagnose problem areas and detect potential issues with parts like the ignition, motor, belts or bearings that could cause a potential breakdown.


Stay warm!


One Easy Tip to Save on your Energy Bill

Did you know that lowering your thermostat by two degrees could save as much as four per cent on your heating bill? Put on an extra layer and adjust that thermostat.

tip of the week

For more tips on how to save money this winter with a learning thermostat check out this post.


Tired of Getting Sticker Shock when you Open your Energy Bill?

tip of the week

Are you a Snowbird Heading South for the Winter?

tip of the week

Heading south to warmer temperatures this winter? Remember to turn your water heater to “off” or “vacation” and leave a spare house key with a neighbour or friend to make sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away.

Read more helpful tips for snowbirds this winter.


Tip of the Week: Seal it Up!

tip of the week

Improving your home’s insulation is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to cut down on your heating costs. You should have approximately 12” of insulation in your attic, anything less and you should get it topped up.


For more tips on how to be energy efficient this winter check out the Energy Efficiency section of Dave’s Corner.

Ontarians are Not Making the Grade on Energy Efficiency


Fluctuating natural gas prices coupled with another cold, long winter on the horizon means homeowners should be thinking now about how to keep their energy bills down. However, a report card recently released by Direct Energy shows many homeowners aren’t as energy efficient as they should be.

Many Ontarians put themselves at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

A recent survey reveals that among the 81 per cent of Ontarians with a fuel-burning appliance in their home, nearly half (45 per cent) have only one carbon monoxide (“CO”) alarm in their multiple level home, putting themselves and their families at risk of a potentially deadly CO leak going undetected.

Known as the “silent killer,” CO poisoning is responsible for hundreds of hospitalizations and more than 10 deaths in Ontario each year.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning and how to stay safe


Know the symptoms


What to do when your carbon monoxide alarm beeps

Kidde CO

(NC) – You may find them annoying, but the beeps emitted from your carbon monoxide and combination smoke/CO alarms are really just doing their job: protecting your life.

Make a ‘silent killer’ noisy

Enbridge CO

(NC) The first-annual Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week begins on November 1, reminding Ontarians that having a functioning carbon monoxide (CO) alarm can help save lives. Before this week arrives, there are steps you can take now to ensure your families are kept safe this winter.

® Direct Energy, Simple.Friendly.Direct and the Lightning Bolt design are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Direct Energy Marketing Limited in the United States and/or Canada. Use of such trademarks has been licensed by Direct Energy Marketing Limited to its various subsidiaries and affiliates.
© 2010 Direct Energy Marketing Limited, a subsidiary of Centrica plc. Centrica was created following the demerger of British Gas plc in 1997 and is now a leading supplier of energy and related services. To read more about Centrica plc please visit Direct Energy Marketing Limited, under the name Direct Energy, is licensed to market natural gas in Ontario under Ontario Energy Board gas marketing license #GM-2009-0058 and to market electricity in Ontario under the Ontario Energy Board electricity retailing license #ER-2005-0226. Direct Energy is not affiliated with any regulated gas or electricity distributor.