The Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Institute of Canada

The Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Institute of Canada

November 30, 2010 08:00 ET

Turn Up the Heat in the War Against Winter

The Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Institute of Canada Encourages Canadians to Protect Their Furnaces, Seeking Out Only Accredited Technicians for Maintenance, Repairs

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2010) -

Attention: Lifestyle, Homes, Money (Home Finances), Energy Editors

As areas of the country continue to battle the first deep-freeze of the season and an extended, snowier winter is forecasted for early 2011 by Environment Canada, homeowners are encouraged to seek out companies qualified by the Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) to ensure their furnaces are working at maximum efficiency to avoid costly heating bills or worse, a breakdown when furnaces are needed the most.

A recent survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion on behalf of HRAI shows that, despite our lengthy and frigid winters, only 36 per cent of home owners have their furnaces serviced by an accredited professional contractor at least once a year. Regular maintenance by an accredited professional is essential to ensuring that a unit is operating at peak efficiency, providing energy as well as cost savings and potentially extending the life of the heating system by five to 10 years.

"Heating and air conditioning systems are a large household investment, costing upwards of $10,000. Homeowners should look to protect their investment through yearly maintenance, trusting accredited HVAC professionals such as those who are members of HRAI, because they have the necessary training and provincial licenses needed to do the work properly," said Martin Luymes, Vice President of HRAI. "Regular inspections by our members will help homeowners use less energy, reduce operating costs, and eliminate potential risks to the health and safety of occupants who will end up spending more time indoors due to the colder weather."

The survey showed that 88 per cent of Canadian homeowners said that it is important that an accredited technician perform maintenance or repair of their home's heating systems, even though just a third - 36 per cent - said they actually know what licenses to look for when seeking out a professional. Consumers looking for qualified contractors should turn to a national association like HRAI, which documents all the professional licensing needed and can direct homeowners to contractors in their area that meet the requirements to work as an HVAC contractor.

Yearly professional maintenance, prolonged investment

While homeowners can do their part to optimize their furnace by cleaning and replacing filters, a qualified service technician will be able to ensure that the system is ready for the winter, helping to extend the overall life of the unit as well. The maintenance steps undertaken by an accredited contractor usually include:

  • A safety test for carbon monoxide
  • Checking for hazardous debris in the chimney and flue
  • Cleaning and re-installation of air filters
  • Checking the operation of the thermostat and safety controls
  • Checking the gas pilot safety system and cleaning as required
  • Cleaning the motor, fan and burners as well as setting for proper combustion and ignition
  • Checking the blower operation and gas piping to furnace
  • Checking the condition, tension and alignment of fan belt, and performing required adjustments

The heat is on – Canadians surveyed about staying warm this winter

Attitudes towards the maintenance of their heating system were as varied as the types of weather Canadians can look forward to this winter. At 39 per cent, Albertans were the least likely of any geographical group to know where they should look for a licensed heating or air conditioning service repair technician, the lowest of any region in Canada. However at 97 per cent, they were the most likely of any region to state that they would look for a licensed professional for the maintenance of their heating or air conditioning units. In fact, the importance of using a licensed technician for their furnace and cooling unit was higher for Albertans than for those of other licensed professions, including plumbers and accountants (95 and 79 per cent respectively).

Although they experience some of the coldest temperatures across the country, Quebecers at 77 per cent were lowest of all regions to state they would seek out a licensed professional to maintain their ventilation systems. In fact, Quebecers were least likely of any region to state they would seek out an accredited or licensed professional for a number of services including electrical wiring (74%), legal representation (73%) – even dental work (89%)!

Atlantic Canadian homeowners (47 per cent) were the mostly likely to service their heating units once a year, followed closely by Ontarians at 42 per cent. Both regions were higher than the national average of 36 per cent and double that of the lowest provincial region, the Prairies, where only 20 per cent of homeowners committed to a yearly review of their heating and cooling systems.

A clean, well-adjusted heating system will save consumers money and prolong furnace life. The cost of annual servicing is modest, especially when compared with the price of a new furnace. Homeowners searching for a qualified heating contractor in their area are encouraged to visit or call 1-877-467-HRAI.

About HRAI

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), established in 1968, is the national trade association of manufacturers, wholesalers and contractors in the Canadian heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration industry who provide the products and services for indoor comfort and essential refrigeration processes. HRAI has three (3) industry sector Divisions which are as follows: the HRAI Manufacturers Division; the HRAI Wholesalers Division and the HRAI Contractors Division.

About the Survey

Methodology: From November 1 to November 2, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 640 randomly selected Canadian adults who are homeowners and who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 3.81%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

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