EDMONTON -- An Edmonton man says he needed to call 17 repair companies when his furnace conked out during Edmonton's cold snap. 

"They had such an emergency list of people waiting, a lot of companies wouldn't put me on the emergency list," Peter Skinner told CTV News Edmonton. 

After 15 hours, while daytime highs hovered in the minus twenties, it was finally fixed. 

But the experts say most people shouldn't have the same trouble getting through the rest of the winter if they follow some regular maintenance. 


The firs thing ATCO technician Leo Pisarevski recommends is checking your furnace vents. 

"If those vents are plugged up your furnace is not going to function," he explained. 

"You need fuel, you need oxygen, you need flame to have the furnace working. So you cut off those vents, there’s no oxygen going to the furnace."


There could be several potential causes. 

The first, and perhaps the most simple: 

"There’s a lot of times where I go to the thermostat and look and their batteries are actually expired," Pisarevski told CTV News Edmonton. 

"So they need to change their batteries."


The furnace's air filter is the next thing he recommends checking. 

According to ATCO, filters should be changed every three months. The furnace should be serviced once a year. 

Or else: "Your furnace will overheat and stop working," Pisarevski said. 

"For a high-efficiency furnace or mid-efficiency furnace, if you don’t have the flame sensor cleaned every couple years, the furnace will shut off and not run. [It] just fires up and keeps shutting off." 

These tips, he said, could save others from finding themselves in the same position as Skinner -- and saving some cash. 

With a report from CTV News Edmonton's Amanda Anderson