Direct Energy Home Services

Direct Energy Home Services

September 21, 2009 08:00 ET

Direct Energy: Fall Arrives Tomorrow-Or Does It?

Survey Shows That Most Canadians Have Another "First Day" of Fall

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 21, 2009) - Fall officially arrives at 5:18 p.m. EDT tomorrow, but most Canadians don't see it that way, according to an Angus Reid survey conducted for Direct Energy.

Scientifically speaking, Fall arrives with the Autumnal Equinox - one of two times during the year when the sun is directly over the equator, making the length of night and day about equal. (The other time is the Vernal Equinox, when Spring officially arrives.)

But for almost one in four Canadians, the Fall season began weeks ago when they headed back to school. Another 16 per cent said Thanksgiving, on Oct. 12th this year, will be the start of Fall and 6 per cent wait until the frost is on the pumpkin at Halloween before really acknowledging that summer is over.

When asked what specifically signaled the change of seasons for them, the eyes had it. Almost four in five said they know Fall has arrived when they see with their own eyes that the leaves are changing colour.

But we also have a host of Fall rituals, including shutting down the air conditioner, firing up the furnace and otherwise preparing our homes for the changing seasons.

This summer's unpredictable weather has further clouded the Fall issue, which is why Direct Energy is advising Canadians to be prepared for that inevitable first cold snap by testing their furnaces now in order to avoid a last-minute rush if it needs to be serviced.

"People often get caught off-guard when the first cold day occurs," said Dave Walton, Director of Home Ideas at Direct Energy. "After having the furnace off for the Summer, it's important to turn it on and make sure it is working properly before you need it. If there are any issues, leave yourself time to have proper maintenance done so you and your family don't end up sitting in a cold house."

Walton also reminds us that home energy efficiency is easy to incorporate into Fall rituals. Here are Dave's top five tips for homeowners:

1. Proper furnace maintenance: Take the time to ensure your furnace is working properly before the first cold snap hits by turning it on once every 60 days when you aren't using it, and scheduling a maintenance appointment. Clean or replace your furnace's filter every 2 - 3 months and save as much as 10 per cent on your heating bill.

2. Cover your air conditioner: By preparing your air conditioner for the cold winter and covering it with a properly fitted cover, you can help ensure it is in top form come next Summer.

3. Out with the old, in with the new: Consider upgrading your old furnace to a new energy efficient unit. Not only will you be saving money on your heating bills, you will also be helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A mid-efficiency furnace operates at 80 per cent efficiency, so 20 cents of each dollar spent goes up the chimney. A new high-efficiency furnace operates at over 90 per cent. Keep in mind, there's a new national minimum energy performance standard for residential gas furnaces which rolls out on December 31, 2009. The new standard, which requires a minimum of 90% efficiency, is only applicable to new purchases and does not require homeowners to switch out existing furnaces regardless of age. Many high-efficiency furnaces are eligible for government rebates.

4. Get a home energy audit: A home energy audit can help identify areas where your home can be more energy efficient - like window and doors, or appliances. You may even qualify for a federal or provincial rebate if you implement the suggested changes.

5. Cleaner ducts mean cleaner air: By cleaning your ducts, your home ventilation system will operate more efficiently and will help you to breathe easier this winter by improving indoor air quality and reducing the amount of dust in the air.

For more information visit www.directenergy.com.

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted by Angus Reid Strategies on behalf of Direct Energy from August 28-30, 2009. The survey was conducted among a randomly-selected, representative sample of 1,001 adult Canadians aged 18 and over who are members of the Angus Reid Forum online panel. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Direct Energy

Direct Energy is one of North America's largest energy and energy-related services providers with over 5 million residential and commercial customer relationships. Direct Energy provides customers with choice and support in managing their energy costs through a portfolio of innovative products and services. A subsidiary of Centrica plc (LSE:CNA), one of the world's leading integrated energy companies, Direct Energy operates in 21 states plus DC and 10 provinces in Canada. To learn more about Direct Energy, visit www.directenergy.com.

Direct Energy can offer more tips for home energy efficiency this Fall and information about the survey.

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