7 home heating mistakes that are costing you money – without you even realizing it

Stay warm and toasty inside even when it’s frosty outside — Canadian Tire has what you need to Take On Winter, so you can be ready for anything. From helpful home heating tips to simple baking recipes that are sure to wow, we’re here to help you embrace cozy season.

Woman adjusting the temperature on her home thermostat
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Chilly weather means it’s time to turn your thermostat up a notch, but for many, keeping warm during the winter can be costly.

You’re not alone if you’ve ever received an outrageous energy bill during the winter months. Most of the time, inefficiency is the culprit; when your furnace has to work overtime to heat your home, you’re going to pay for it.

Heating experts point to a few common home heating mistakes that people often overlook, but the good news is, the fixes are easy—and they can really add up in the long run. Taking steps to optimize your home heating can save you a pretty penny, while also mitigating costly repairs down the road. So, if you’re concerned about your pocketbook and looking to get your energy bills under control, here’s where to start.

1. Letting drafts in, and warm air out

Three siblings, brothers and sister, looking out the window amazed by the snowy winter nature pointing their finger in awe.
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Allowing drafts to seep into your home is like letting money leak out the window. Not only are you letting cold air into your home, you’re also allowing heated air out. Luckily, this common mistake is also one of the easiest to resolve.

Weather stripping is a quick and easy solution for drafty doors and windows, while caulking is ideal for addressing leaks around baseboards or exterior cracks. Frost King Brush Pile Self-Stick Weather Seal is cost-effective and extremely easy-to-use, sealing gaps around windows and doors to block cold air and moisture without impeding use. GE, meanwhile, makes a silicone All-Purpose Window & Door Caulk that’s made for both indoor and outdoor use, allowing you to create a 100% waterproof and weatherproof seal that’s resistant to mold and mildew.

2. Running the heat 24/7

Man's hand adjusting the temperature on a smart thermostat
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We all love coming back to a warm and toasty home, but you don’t want to be paying for heat while you’re not home. Not only is this costly, but running the heat round-the-clock puts unnecessary wear and tear on your system. Meanwhile, having to constantly remember to adjust the temperature every time you leave the house (or go to bed) is a pain. The solution? Invest in a thermostat that takes care of that for you.

The Ecobee Smart Thermostat can sense when you’re not home and adjust the temperature accordingly. It can also preheat your home before you get back, and notify you of sudden temperature drops that could result in frozen pipes (and a costly repair bill). The potential savings makes the thermostat practically pay for itself over time; users can save up to 26% a year on heating and cooling costs thanks to Ecoboee’s enhanced smart thermostat.

3. Forgetting to change your air filter

Mother and daughter stroking a cute ginger cat, resting on the sofa at home in the winter season, warm and cozy
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When your furnace is struggling to pass air through dusty and clogged filters, you’ll likely end up with a sky-high bill. Over time, it can create an even bigger (and costlier) headache, causing your furnace to overheat and, ultimately, break down.

Maintaining your furnace by changing air filters regularly will only benefit you in the long-run. Experts recommend replacing your filter every three months, so if you can’t remember the last time you changed yours, you’re likely overdue. Check your existing filter to see which size you’ll need. For homes with furry friends, the 3M Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Filter promises to protect your home from dust, bacteria, germs and other airborne contaminants, helping improve overall air quality, resulting in noticeably fresher air.

4. Not properly maintaining your furnace

Male hands are installing a furnace air filter. This filter is not brand new but it is relatively clean, it was removed for inspection. This would be a typical filter style found in a high end newer house. The floor is epoxy painted concrete with traction chips and a floor drain.
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Regularly changing your furnace filter is a great start – this NOMA MERV 11 filter is another strong option and boasts Canadian Tire’s TESTED Badge, meaning it's been vetted by real Canadians. To avoid costly repair bills though, you should also be scheduling an annual maintenance appointment. (When it comes to your furnace, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” doesn’t apply.)

Your heating technician will inspect the vent system, lubricate moving parts, and replace any damaged wiring. Increasing your furnace’s efficiency results in lower heating bills, making this yearly tune-up well worth it.

5. Cranking the heat

A NOMA standing portable heater from Canadian Tire sits alone on the floor in a living room
Photo via Canadian Tire

You might be tempted to crank the heat after coming in from a particularly chilly day. We’ve all been there, but unfortunately, that’s a surefire way to run up a pricey heating bill, or even worse, damage your furnace. Furiously turning up your thermostat won’t get your home’s internal temperature to go up any faster. The smarter move is to just keep your thermostat at a consistent temperature, or increase the heat gradually as needed.

Or, if you’ve got a room that never seems to quite get warm enough during winter, invest in a portable heater rather than overheating the rest of the house to compensate. The NOMA Digital Touch Tower Heater is ideal for small rooms, while this cabinet heater features an attractive design, timer function and child lock.

6. Closing air vents in empty rooms

Protective radiator grille built into the floor for heating panoramic windows. Heating grid with ventilation by the floor in hardwood flooring, an air vent in the floor
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Logic might tell you this is a good idea, but closing vents in unoccupied rooms won’t save you much. This strategy can actually cause air circulation issues that lead to expensive repairs. Instead, closing air vents slightly – but not all the way – in unused rooms can increase efficiency while still allowing airflow to travel freely.

7. Letting the bathroom exhaust run longer than needed

Woman in white pajamas brushing hair and looking in mirror at home
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There’s a good reason we have exhaust fans in the bathroom, keeping air circulating and excess moisture from building up, which can result in mold and mildew. When it comes to your heating bill though, you’ll want to be smart about how long you leave these fans running. That’s because exhaust fans cycle air outside your home, including that toasty warm air you’re paying to heat — so don’t let your bathroom fans run any longer than is necessary. Even a few extra minutes per shower can add up over time.

As Canadians, we don’t shy away from winter, we embrace it — and Canadian Tire is here to help you make the most of the season. Whether you’re looking for snow removal hacks, tips to improve your indoor air quality for a healthier home, or fun ways to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, Canadian Tire has everything you need so you can Take On Winter.