It’s no secret – Canada has cold winters. In fact, some areas can reach -20 degrees Celsius and sometimes well below that!

The only way to get through the cold season is to keep your furnace running at all times. But if you don’t maintain it, your furnace could break down and leave you on your own. 

That’s why we’ve put together this essential furnace maintenance checklist you should go over before the weather gets cold. 

So let’s get started! 

Do a Test Run Before the Cold Season

You should always start your maintenance before it gets cold outside. Otherwise, you could end up with a broken furnace on the coldest night of the year—that’s always how it seems to happen, right?

If you get regular tune-ups every year, your furnace may not need a lot of maintenance. But you should always give it a test run to make sure. 

Turn on your furnace and let it run for a few hours. 

Since you haven’t used it in several months, it might make the air inside your house smell dusty. A bit of dust is normal. Just open the windows and keep going. 

However, if you notice any problems, you should turn off the furnace and call a professional furnace maintenance technician

If You Smell Gas, Get out Fast

The smell of gas is one of the most serious problems you can encounter when turning your furnace back on for the first time. 

If you ever smell gas coming from your furnace—at any time of the year, get out of the house right away. Don’t wait around to turn off the furnace or the gas. Get outside as fast as you can and leave the door open. 

Then call the fire department or gas company and let them know you have a gas leak. 

Make Sure the Components Are in Working Order

If you don’t get regular tune-ups (and sometimes even if you do), your furnace might need a bit of extra attention. But before you do anything to it, make sure you turn it off. This will you stay safe as you’re working. 

Here are a few basic maintenance tasks you should do. 

Dust and Vacuum the Inside 

When dirt, dust, and other debris get into your furnace, they can make the entire thing breakdown. Arm yourself with a soft-tipped paintbrush and a vacuum cleaner and start cleaning all that dust and dirt away. 

But be careful. 

You don’t want to damage any of the inner components of your furnace. Use the paintbrush to gently dislodge the dust and debris. Then use your vacuum cleaner to remove it. 

If you don’t feel comfortable working inside your furnace, it’s always a better idea to call in a professional. 

Replace the Air Filter

The air filter inside your furnace can also get clogged with dirt and debris. If you don’t clean it, the furnace will start blowing all that dust back into your home, and in some cases, it can make the entire furnace stop working. 

So make sure you start off the season with a clean air filter. 

Test the CO Detectors 

Your CO detector will warn you if your furnace ever starts leaking carbon monoxide. Testing your CO detectors should be an important part of your furnace maintenance.

Breathing in too much carbon monoxide can be deadly. However, this is a colourless and scentless gas, so without a detector, you won’t even know you have a leak. 

Install a fresh set of batteries to ensure your CO detector is working. If you ever experience any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure you get medical treatment right away. 

Related Article: What to Do if Your Furnace is Red-Tagged (

Check the Pilot Light 

If your furnace has a pilot light, check to make sure the flame is burning.

Remember, the fire should be a bright blue colour. If it’s a different colour, such as yellow, something has gone wrong inside your furnace. 

You should call a profession furnace maintenance technician to come investigate as soon as possible. Pilot lights that have turned a different colour may be warning you that something dangerous is about to happen. 

Schedule a Professional Tune-Up

You should never try to do any in-depth or serious type of furnace maintenance on your own. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may hurt yourself or damage your system. 

That’s why you should schedule a professional tune-up instead. 

It’s a good idea to service your furnace at least once a year.

The best time to do this is at the end of the heating season or in the early Fall before it gets too cold. Since you won’t need your furnace running, you won’t have to deal with the cold while a professional carries out the maintenance job.

You also might be able to find cheaper prices at the end of the season, or at the very least your local heating contractor may not be as busy so you’ll be able to get it done much sooner.

Getting regular tune-ups will do a few things for you. 

First of all, it’ll make maintaining your furnace faster and easier. But it’ll also keep your furnace in good condition, meaning it will be able to work better and last longer, and should run at peak efficiency.

Understanding the Importance of Furnace Maintenance 

You should never overlook furnace maintenance. 

Skipping this maintenance will only lead to break downs and expensive repairs. If you put maintenance on the back burner for too long, you might even have to purchase a whole new system. 

Need some help getting your furnace ready for the cold season?

We can help! Make sure you click here to get in touch with us today!