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Is your furnace in danger of shutting down this winter?

(NC) Don't be one of countless Canadians who will get home from work, or get out of bed to face the cold truth that their furnace has stopped working.

Since it can be difficult to find a technician on short notice in the dead of winter, experts say it's best to be proactive with the most important household appliance for keeping you warm.

“Get a licensed technician to perform yearly maintenance and identify any issues before you need a costly repair,” advises Dave Walton, the director of home ideas at Direct Energy. “This will save you money and eliminate the fear of freezing in your house while waiting for a technician.”

Walton adds that we should change the furnace filter every three months because furnace motors are forced to work extra hard when the filter is clogged or dirty and the proper amount of air isn't getting through. This can also save you as much as 5 per cent off your heating bill.

If you're worried that your furnace might be on its last legs, Walton says there are a few warning signs to watch for.

“Are your energy bills higher this year? Are there rooms in your home getting little or no heat? Is your furnace making unusual wheezing or hissing noises? Is it shutting down randomly before your home heats to the temperature on your thermostat?” asks Walton.

If any of these issues sound familiar and you're thinking of replacing your furnace, he advises to look for the Energy Star label and to purchase a furnace that is rated 90 per cent or higher in efficiency. This can save you up to 30 per cent of your heating costs.

More information is available online at www.davescorner.ca.

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