As colder weather draws near, Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren) reminds customers 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 have a trained professional evaluate its performance to ensure it is operating safely and efficiently.
"It's easy to forget to regularly check your furnace -- given most units are housed in basements or garages," said Brad Ellsworth, Vectren's president of Vectren Energy Delivery. "It is important that a qualified heating contractor performs a regular maintenance check in order to ensure it is working properly. 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 the 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 $275 rebate toward the purchase of a 95 percent AFUE or higher natural gas furnace and a $150 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," added Ellsworth. "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 or call 1-866-240-8476 for complete details on all rebates and energy efficiency tips for the winter heating season.