Cold Tests Ability of Home Heaters to Keep Up

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By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Des Moines area furnace installation and repair business has seen calls for emergency repairs increase 65 percent from a year ago as the extended Midwest cold spell tests the endurance of home heating systems.

Brian Leech, owner of Service Legends Inc., says calls from customers with no heat because the furnace stopped working increased to 890 this year between Nov. 1 and Jan. 27. That's up from 537 calls during the same time period a year ago.

Leech says about 90 percent of emergency middle-of-the-night calls could have been prevented by maintenance earlier in the year.

He says flaws in a heating system that may have existed from the time it was installed tend to show up when it's put under stress of running more frequently over prolonged periods.

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