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Heating: When is it time to replace?

A key to energy efficiency is staying up to date with how your heating appliance is performing. Here are some telltale signs that your heating appliance is not operating properly or as efficiently as it should.

  1. Poor Air Quality & Increased illnesses

  2. Pilot Flame Color

  3. High heating appliance age:

    • heat pump or AC 10 years old

    • furnace or boiler more than 15 years old

  4. Your equipment needs frequent repairs and your energy bills are going up.

  5. Some rooms in your home are too hot or too cold.

  6. No one is home for long periods of the day 

  7. Your home has humidity problems, mold or mildew

  8. Your home has excessive dust or soot.

  9. Your heating or cooling system is noisy/sudden troublesome noises

  10. Your  Home Energy Yardstick score is below five.

It may be time to call a professional contractor to help you make a change if:

Improper equipment operation, duct problems or inadequate insulation could be the cause.

Your cooling or heating equipment may have become less efficient.

Leaky ducts can pull particles and air from attics, crawl spaces and basements and distribute them throughout your house. Sealing your ducts may be a solution.

Poor equipment operation, inadequate equipment, and leaky ductwork can cause the air to be too dry in the winter or too humid in the summer.

Install a programmable thermostat 

Propane pilot flame should be blue. An orange or yellow flame warns propane gas is not completely burning and is safety risk of carbon monoxide buildup in your home!

Consider replacing with an EnergyStar appliance which can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs

You could have an undersized duct system or a problem with the indoor coil of your cooling equipment.

A faulty heater can circulate dust, pollen, mildew, and other allergens to the detriment of your air quality. Poor air quality results from broken air filters. Replace filters regularaly.

That means your energy use at home is above average and you're probably paying more than you need to on energy bills.

Which Heating Technology Is Right For You?

Interior Design

Want to reduce the amount of carbon emitted from your heating system and reduce your heating costs? Go electric!

Switching from oil or propane heat to electric heat significantly reduces the amount of carbon emitted into our atmosphere, because the electricity we use in Cook County is generated from increasingly renewable sources.


But isn't electric heat expensive? Not if you invest in modern, high-efficiency heating technologies! Especially now that the Inflation Reduction Act passed, there are excellent incentives for any residence or business to invest in an electric heating source. 

The efficiency of electric powered appliances has increased dramatically in recent years; while older air source heat pumps could not operate effectively below 40 degrees, newer systems are more effective at lower temperatures, increasing their viability in colder climates.


Electric thermal storage units, cold-climate air source heat pumps, solar thermal, and geothermal technologies can be great options for our climate. To find out which of these will save you the most on your energy bills, use our energy cost calculator! And to learn everything you need to know about cold-climate air source heat pumps or solar thermal, follow the links below!



Spotlight: 8th Fire Solar, an Anishinaabe led solar thermal company based in Minnesota

Recommended HVAC Contractors

Rebates and Incentives

  • AMAX Plumbing & Heating

615 E. Hwy. 61 Grand Marais, MN 55604

(218) 877-7013

  • Twin Ports Custom Climate

Joerg Rosebrock 


  • County Plumbing and Heating

 (218) 663-7873

  • Noskar Plumbing and Heating

(218) 370-8911

Arrowhead Electric Cooperative (AEC) Members



Public Utilities Commission (PUC) Customers

Mountain cabin in winter
  • Hammer Chimney Sweep

415 3rd Avenue East #1113

Grand Marais, MN 55604 

(218) 877-7539

Paid for in part by funding from the UMN Northeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

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