Assessing your furnace’s readiness for winter

Wisconsin Radio Network


Winter is fast approaching and many homeowners are hoping to avoid high heating bills.

Last year was one of the coldest winters Wisconsin has seen in decades, according to official records. Tamara Sondgeroth is director of operations for Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy. She says last winter’s frigid temperatures really took a toll on many furnaces. “We did see a lot of furnace replacements last year but they said it will actually continue over the next two years, at least, just because your furnace ran so much last year.” She says, “So, even if it’s a relatively mild winter, people still may be needing to think about replacing their furnace.”

As the autumn season changes to winter, Focus on Energy encourages Wisconsinites to examine energy use in their homes and businesses. You don’t want to wait until the last minute when it’s cold — and more expensive — for a service call. It’s a huge expense to replace an old furnace, but Sondgeroth says the return on investment is worth it. “The payback on that is pretty reasonable — to get the more efficient furnace — especially after you consider that we do a rebate to help you out with that initial cost.”

Several cities in Wisconsin experienced their coldest winter season in recorded history during the period from December 2013 through February 2014.

Regularly changing the filter can make a big difference in the efficiency and life of a furnace. Setting the thermostat to its optimum temperature can reduce heating bills. The Focus on Energy program offers incentives all year round to residential and business customers who make efficiency upgrades with the goal of conserving energy and reducing utility bills.

Electric customers pay for the Focus on Energy program, which offers incentives for buying energy-efficient appliances.

October is Energy Awareness Month. It highlights the importance of energy conservation and efficiency.

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