Angie's List: Furnace Replacement

As the temperatures begin to get cooler, it may be the perfect time to replace your furnace.
COLCHESTER, Vt- The average family spends at least $2,000 a year on energy bills, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. More than half of that goes to heating and cooling your home. If you’re thinking about replacing your furnace, now might be the best time.Experts tell Angie's List there are warning signs that your furnace may need replacing.

Are your utility bills going up? Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they get older. Is your furnace breaking down more often, resulting in costly repairs?Are you always adjusting the thermostat to make your home more comfortable? Can the system keep up?

According to HVAC Contractor Kris Conover, The average life of a heating system is 12 to 18 years. “So obviously as you get older things start to break down in your body, the same thing happens with heating and cooling equipment,” Conover says.

So if it is time to think about replacing your furnace, there are some things that you should consider. Remember that bigger is not always better. Your unit should be correctly sized so that it will operate properly and efficiently. And, as your efficiency goes up, so does the cost.

“Every system has an evaluation of how efficient it is,” Conover says. “AFUE is Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. So if a furnace is rated on that. So, for instance a 95 percent, or 95 percent AFUE furnace, it's using 95 BTU's per hundred BTU's put in. To put it in another term, if you're spending a dollar on heating, it's providing you 95 cents of output. Very, very efficient…one of the most efficient furnaces you could possibly get would be a 95 percent AFUE."

 “Buying a new furnace is a large investment in your home. It's an appliance that is going to last for many, many years so you want to be sure you find a company that is going to stand behind their installation,” Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks explains. “You should expect them to come out and give you an assessment of your furnace on-site. Also, they'll check your ductwork as well to make sure it's adequate."

 Ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry.Contractors should hold training certifications with the manufacturers of the equipment they carry.


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