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WaterFurnace quarterly profits fall 35%

WaterFurnace Renewable Energy Inc. saw its first-quarter profits sag during the unusually harsh winter months, officials announced today.

The Fort Wayne manufacturer of geothermal heat pumps reported earnings of $1.53 million, or 12 cents a share, a 35 percent decline from the $2.33 million, or 19 cents a share, reported for the same three months of 2013. Sales for the period ended March 31 declined 8 percent, to $26.7 million.

“Deep snows and subzero temperatures halted residential loop installations as well as muted the completion of new homes in the first quarter, with recovery expected throughout the remainder of 2014,” officials said in a statement.

Tom Huntington, president and CEO, also struck a hopeful note in prepared remarks.

“We’re extremely optimistic,” he said, adding that new home starts and loop installations are back on track.

Geothermal heating and cooling systems use underground pipes called geothermal earth loops that connect to a furnace to heat and cool homes. Geothermal systems can cut monthly heating and cooling costs up to 70 percent, according to WaterFurnace.