Farmington HVAC company giving away furnace to needy family again this year

Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. has operated program since 2019

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times
  • Approximately 40 nominations were received the first year.
  • That number swelled to 80 last year.
  • Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 10.

FARMINGTON — Michelle Robbins of Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. knows her Farmington-based company can't provide a free furnace every fall to every local family that needs one.

But it can select one family each year to be the recipient of that giveaway, and she figures the program can have a significant impact over time in making winter more bearable for folks who need help staying warm.

"We're doing one furnace at a time to try to make as big a difference as we can," she said.

The company began accepting nominations last week for its annual furnace giveaway, and the nominating window will remain open through Nov. 10. Residents can nominate another family or their own, but all nominees must be homeowners. Nominations for rentals, businesses or multifamily dwellings will not be accepted.

This is the third year the company has operated the program. Approximately 40 nominations were received the first year, and that number swelled to 80 last year.

Robbins said through the first week of the nominating process this year, the company already had received as many nominations as it did in total during the inaugural year. She expects the number to climb much higher over the next week and a half.

Michelle Robbins of Robbins Heating & Air Conditioning Inc. says her company's annual furnace giveaway program already has attracted approximately 40 applicants this year.

"Because they're more aware of it, people are really looking for it," she said. "We've gotten a ton (of nominations) already."

The company wound up installing two furnaces in area homes last year, thanks to the participation in the program of two other local companies. Robbins said her firm is going it alone this year and will be going back to giving away just one furnace.

But she said she hopes other local companies find a way to help people, too. She said the company has created the hashtag #SJCNMcares to promote the giveaway on social media, and she encouraged other local companies that initiate assistance programs of their own to use the hashtag.

Robbins said company representatives will pay a visit to the homes of qualifying nominees to make sure they are suitable for the model of furnace to be given away. Unfortunately, she said, many of those homes get ruled out at that point because they lack gas lines, running water or have some other issue that precludes the possibility of a furnace being installed.

When all the qualifying nominees were screened last year, the company chose the winner randomly through a drawing. Robbins said workers at the company would go back to evaluating the nominees and selecting a winner this year, as they did the first year, because they enjoyed being actively involved in the process.

"They said they felt more connected," she said. "And we wanted to honor their wishes."

Robbins said qualifying nominees will be evaluated on the basis of need.

"We want to choose a home where the furnace will do the most good," she said.

Robbins said the program has been so popular, she envisions the company doing it from now on.

"Once you start something like this, it wouldn't be right to take it away," she said. "It's hard to see people who need help and not want to do something."

Nominations will be accepted through Nov. 10. They can be submitted online at  https://www.robbinshvaconline.com/wecare. Nomination forms also can be downloaded, filled out by hand and submitted to the company's office at 1001 Farmington Ave. The winning family will be announced Friday, Nov. 19 on the company's Facebook page.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.