Testing furnaces to save money and lives - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Testing furnaces to save money and lives

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- The beautiful weather Saturday has delayed the yearly ritual of turning the furnace on for a few days, but that time is coming. For people that normally cannot afford a yearly furnace testing, it is a very important day.

Turning on the furnace seems like a simple task, but it is not as easy, or as safe, as just flipping a switch. It is important to get a furnace tested before turning it on full time. But a test is another expense, something people may not be able to afford. That is where the "Heat's On" program comes in.

"What we offer is safety for the end user," said Tony Regner with the Rochester Plumbers and Pipefitters Local #6. "At the end of the day, we want to make sure that their furnaces are running efficiently as well as safely. When they turn this on, we don't want them to get exposed to carbon monoxide or any other dangers that potentially exist there."

Aimed at helping the elderly and low-income families stay safe, a furnace inspection is given to those that qualify, to make sure the furnace is not only efficient, but safe as well.

"Same but different on each one," said Mike Decklever with Decklever Mechanical Inc, one of the companies helping with inspections. "Just make sure that the chimney is good and venting is fine. Make sure they're safe, first of all, and then do some tuning and cleaning on them to make sure they are going to run efficiently for the winter."

A full day of inspections often reveal no problems at all, but 5 percent of homes tested statewide have issues, which is why people are happy to have the service to protect them.

"It is senior citizens and it is an expense," said Ann Crowe with Energy Assistance of Olmsted County. "As Tony said before, a lot of them think that when you turn the furnace on you just turn the thermostat on, but there is a lot of things that can go wrong behind that thermostat. So they're all just very happy for the service and they're very grateful."

One days work around Rochester may be enough to save money and save lives.

The "Heat's On" program has been in Minnesota for 26 years and has serviced over 7,000 homes.

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