Higgins Heating again to take part in national furnace replacement program

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BEMIDJI—Fall is right around the corner and that means winter isn't too far behind. To ensure furnaces in area homes remain in good working condition, employees at Higgins Heating are once again dedicating time and materials to help keep a home warm this winter season.

On an annual basis, Higgins Heating participates in Feel the Love, a campaign launched by Lennox, a national heating and cooling company, and formerly known as Heat Up Minnesota. Through its local dealers such as Higgins Heating, Lennox provides homes in several communities with new furnaces.

"Each year, people fill out an application and we select a person to replace their furnace," retired Higgins employee and program volunteer Ron Tusler said. "In the application they let us know their needs and what their situation is. It's usually a situation where a furnace has been condemned or one that requires a lot of work."

For more information and to apply for this year's program, visit www.feelthelove.com/Minnesota.

According to Lennox's website, the program originated in 2009 in Wisconsin. Since launching, the program has provided more than 850 furnaces throughout the company, equal to a $4 million investment.

"We've done one up in Kelliher for a woman who lost her husband and another in Blackduck for a paraplegic resident," Tusler said. "It's a big lifesaver. Generally, it's a situation where their furnace is non-operational and the bill to fix it is hundreds of dollars. In other cases, it's just not adequate for the house."

In other cases, Tusler said individuals on a fixed income have furnaces operating at about 60 percent efficiency. In those situations, Tusler said new furnaces operating at 95 percent efficiency are installed to cut down on heating costs.

This year, the time to choose a home is approaching quickly. However, Tusler said there haven't been many applications so far.

"We're looking for more people to submit their applications, as we're on a short time frame," Tusler said. "It just takes one day to install the furnace and we usually do it on a Saturday in early October."