As colder weather grows near, Vectren reminds icustomers that it is important to evaluate the condition of their furnaces before turning them on for the winter.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates one in four furnaces has been in operation for 20 years or more and may not be performing at peak efficiency.
Other than simply looking at the age of the furnace, it is important to evaluate its performance. If it has difficulty maintaining a steady temperature or even reaching a certain temperature, there might be a problem. Noticing humidity problems inside the house, back-drafts from the unit or carbon monoxide detectors going off could also be signs that repairs or possibly a new furnace might be necessary.
"Having your furnace checked annually by a qualified heating contractor ensures the unit is operating safely and efficiently," Vectren Energy Delivery North President Brad Ellsworth said. "In fact, an annual tune-up can extend the life of your unit and save three to 10 percent on heating costs. "
During regular furnace maintenance checks, the technician can calculate the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This will indicate how much of the energy used by the furnace is actually generating heat to be circulated throughout the home or business and how much heat is escaping through chimneys, windows, doorways, etc.
If levels are dipping below the 80 percent range, repairs or replacement might be in order. The higher the AFUE, the lower the energy bills will be each month.
If it is determined that a new furnace is necessary, Vectren offers a $200 rebate toward the purchase of a 92 percent AFUE or higher natural gas furnace. A list of qualifying appliances and rebate forms are available through Vectren's Conservation Connection on www.vectren.com.
"Vectren's Conservation Connection programs offer customers a variety of information on energy efficiency tips, appliance rebates and home energy audits," Ellsworth added. "You can even sign up to receive e-mails or text messages reminding you to replace your furnace filters."
Additional appliance rebates are available, including natural gas water heaters, boilers and programmable thermostats.
Visit www.vectren.com for complete details on all rebates and energy efficiency tips for the winter heating season.