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Over the past several years, HRAI has engaged with contractors, builders, manufacturers and regulators to discuss best practices related to the provision of temporary heating during new home construction. While a consistent and formally regulated approach has eluded the industry, one HRAI Member Contractor has jumped in and designed a workable initiative. Mr. Furnace/Furnasman in Winnipeg provides temporary equipment on a rental basis to condition homes during construction, until it’s time to install and commission new appliances for use by homeowners.

Tara Smith, General Manager at Mr. Furnace says manufacturers were looking for solutions after reports that homeowners were sometimes dissatisfied with products that were showing signs of wear and tear when they moved in. “How would you feel if there were signs that the refrigerator in your new house had been used for several months?” says Smith. “A few reports came in about similar reactions to new furnaces that were used during new builds, so we created a construction heat rental program.”

The practice provides builders with several benefits, starting with the cost of heating during a typical winter. She offers the example of a 1,600 square foot home heated from December to March, and says in Manitoba natural gas cost might be $410, compared with about $1,290 using inefficient electric construction heaters during the same period.

She points out that it also eliminates delays, removes moisture from the house quickly, allows the floor to be poured sooner, gets plumbers in sooner, and makes the job site safer. The company installs the furnace and original filter, sheet metal screens, and a thermostat. They maintain it without charge, and remove it at the end of the rental period. Monthly or several-month contracts include a weekly rental rate, in case extensions are needed.

Builders are responsible for electrical wiring, changing filters and protecting the item from damage, theft, etc.  Smith said she negotiated for a dozen late model units and the company is working with one builder at present. Others are considering getting on board too.

This service might be worth considering as a new revenue stream that offers value to builders. Members with questions about the program can contact Tara Smith at mrfurnace@mymts.net.