Furnace & Home Insurance: Maintenance Tips & Rebates

3 minutes can save you hundreds. Enter your postal code below and join thousands of Canadians saving on insurance.

Secure. No Spam. No Fees.

Why You Can Trust MyChoice

MyChoice serves as an independent intermediary between you, financial institutions and licensed professionals without any additional charge to our users. In the interest of transparency, we disclose that we partner with some of the providers we write about – we also list many financial services without any financial gain. MyChoice does not operate a financial institution or brokerage and to ensure accuracy, our content is reviewed by licensed professionals. Our unique position means that we hold no recurring stake in your policy, ensuring our mission to help Canadians make better financial decisions is free of bias or discrimination. 

Article Contents
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated on April 4, 2024

Visit author page
Picture of By <span>Matthew Roberts</span>
By Matthew Roberts

Updated April 4, 2024

Visit author page

4 minute read

Article Contents

Keeping your home comfortably warm through Canada’s winters requires a functioning heating system, and for most Canadians, it’s a furnace.

Does Home Insurance Cover Furnace Repairs?

While home insurance typically doesn’t cover the cost of furnace repairs due to wear and tear, maintaining your furnace and being aware of potential savings through various rebates and incentives ensures a warm home and can lead to savings on your energy bills and insurance premiums.

Things You Can Do to Keep Your Furnace Costs Down:

  • Routine Maintenance: Ensuring your furnace is regularly maintained can prevent the common issues that insurance doesn’t cover. 
  • Smart Upgrades: Consider investing in energy-efficient upgrades, which can enhance your home’s heating and may qualify you for rebates and lower insurance premiums. 
  • Rebates and Incentives: Taking advantage of various programs can offset the costs of maintaining and upgrading your heating system:
  • Emergency Readiness: Knowing how to respond to a furnace emergency, such as understanding the shut-off process and having functioning carbon monoxide detectors, is crucial for safety. MyChoice emphasizes the importance of preparation, which also reassures insurers of your commitment to maintaining a safe home environment.

Note: See the detailed list of advanced furnace maintenance tips further in the article.

Understanding Heating Systems in Canada

How Canadians Heat Their Homes

  • 93% of Canadian households reported having a primary heating system.
  • Forced Air Furnace: The primary heating system for 51% of households.
  • Electric Baseboard Heaters: Used by 25% of households.
  • Boiler with Hot Water/Steam Radiators: Preferred by 8% of households.
  • Heat Pumps: Utilized by 6% of households.
  • Wood Burning Stoves: Owned by approximately 2% of Canadian households, more common outside large cities (4% vs. 1%).

Regional Preferences in Heating

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 60% of households use electric baseboard heaters.
  • Nova Scotia: A split between forced air furnaces, electric baseboard heaters, and heat pumps (all-around 21-23%).
  • New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island: Heat pumps are more common (32% and 27%, respectively).
  • Quebec: Predominantly electric heating, with 66% using electric baseboard heaters.

Forced Air Furnaces Across Canada

  • Ontario: 75% of homes use a forced air furnace.
  • Prairies: Ranging from 70% (Manitoba) to 82% (Alberta).
  • British Columbia: 39% of homes use a forced air furnace.

The Rising Cost of Heating

  • Fuel Oil and Other Fuels: Prices increased by 73.4% year over year as of November 2022.
  • Natural Gas: Saw a price increase of 23.7% year over year.
  • Electricity: Prices rose by 1.6% year over year.

Diagnosing an Issue with Your Furnace (Infographic)

Pay attention to the aspects outlined in the below infographic when diagnosing an issue in your furnace.

Furnace steps to diagnose and potentially fix an issue

Preventative Maintenance Tips for Furnaces

Preventing a problem is always better than dealing with it. Below are a few common problems with heating and furnaces in particular and what you can do about them.

ProblemPrevention/Maintenance Tips
Dirty FiltersEither clean or replace furnace
filters every three months or as
they become loaded to ensure
efficient operation and prevent
overworking the system.
Blocked Air Vents
and Grilles
Keep return-air grilles and warm-air
vents clean and free from obstructions
to maintain proper airflow throughout
the system.
Dust Buildup in
Electric or Hydronic
Baseboard Systems
Vacuum radiators each autumn to
prevent dust buildup that can impede
efficiency. If the heating fins are bent,
gently straighten them with a plastic comb.
Air Bubbles in
Hydronic Systems
Regularly bleed radiators to remove air
bubbles unless the system has an automatic
bleeding capability.
Temperature Control
Install a programmable setback thermostat
to save energy by automatically adjusting
temperatures according to your schedule.
Oversized EquipmentIf your home has undergone energy retrofits,
the heating and cooling system might be oversized,
leading to inefficient short cycling and larger
temperature fluctuations. Consider resizing the system.
Distribution System
If you are experiencing occupant discomfort
or higher heating bills, have the heat distribution
system balanced. Adjusting the dampers in
ducted systems or valves in hot water systems
may help. A professional contractor may be
needed for upgrades or rebalancing.

When to Upgrade Your Furnace (Infographic)

The below infographic showcases the signs you need to pay attention to in order to determine if it’s time to replace your furnace.

Signs its time to upgrade your furnace

Rebates and Incentives for Energy-Efficient Furnaces

Canada’s government is interested in people going green, not just with their cars but their homes. Here are some rebate programs and incentives designed to encourage people to give eco-friendly and energy-efficient heating equipment a try.

  • Home Energy Loan Program: This program offers low-interest loans up to $125,000 to cover the cost of home energy improvements, including energy-efficient furnaces, windows, doors, insulation, and solar PV panels.
  • Heat Pumps: Up to $2,500 for installation under the Home Energy Loan Program.
  • Basement Flooding Protection: Up to $3,400 for eligible work, including backwater valve installation.
  • Green/Cool Roofs: Up to $100/m² for green roofs and up to $5/m² for cool roofs.
  • Program Overview: The Energy Savings Rebate Program provides up to 25% off per item (up to $500) on eligible energy-efficient products, including ENERGY STAR-certified appliances and smart thermostats. Certain items like tankless condensing water heaters and air-source heat pumps can have rebates up to $1,000.
  • Eligible Products:
    • ENERGY STAR-certified washers, dryers, and dishwashers
    • ENERGY STAR-certified tankless condensing water heater
    • ENERGY STAR-certified smart thermostat
  • Provider: Government of Canada through participating retailers.
  • Grant Amounts: From $125 to $5,000 for eligible home retrofits plus up to $600 for pre- and post-retrofit EnerGuide evaluations.
  • Interest-Free Loans: Up to $40,000, with a repayment term of 10 years.
  • Eligible Retrofits:
    • Home insulation (up to $5,000)
    • Air-sealing (up to $1,000)
    • ENERGY STAR-certified windows and doors (up to $5,000)
    • Smart thermostats (up to $50, must be combined with another retrofit)
    • Space and water heating equipment (up to $5,000)
    • Renewable energy installations, e.g., solar photovoltaic systems (up to $5,000)
    • Resiliency measures to protect from environmental damages (up to $2,625)

Note: The Canada Greener Homes Grant no longer accepts new applicants, but existing participants can continue claiming rebates and loans. For Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia homeowners, specific provincial programs like Home Efficiency Rebate Plus, Rénoclimat, and Home Energy Assessment program offer additional support.

Key Advice from MyChoice

At MyChoice we know how proper maintenance and strategic upgrades can enhance your home’s safety and potentially lower insurance premiums. Here are our top recommendations for keeping your home warm and your furnace in excellent condition:

Upgrade to a Smart Thermostat

We recommend investing in a smart thermostat for efficient heating control. This extends your furnace’s life could lower your energy bills and positively affects insurance rates

Annual Furnace Maintenance

Schedule yearly furnace inspections to catch and fix minor issues early. This proactive care demonstrates to insurers that your home is well-maintained, potentially affecting your policy favourably.

Consider High-Efficiency Furnaces

When it’s time to purchase a new furnace, choose a high-efficiency model. These units are reliable and safer, reducing the risks of fire or carbon monoxide leaks, which can reflect positively on your insurance.

Know Your Emergency Protocols

We advise learning your furnace’s emergency shut-off process and ensuring your home has functioning carbon monoxide detectors. This preparedness is essential for the safety and reassurance of your family and insurer.

Congratulations! You made it to the end!

Now, here is the easy part: complete your quote in under 2 minutes

Discover More About

Learn about the intricacies of sump pumps, their operational mechanisms, and how installing them can affect your home insurance.
Learn about the nuances of renters’ insurance with roommates and whether roommates can share one renters’ insurance policy.
Sometimes, completing a home inspection might be necessary to secure your homeowner’s insurance. Read on to learn more.

Even More Ways To Save