Angie's List: What you need to know before buying a new furnace - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Angie's List report: What you need to know before buying a new furnace

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The average family spends at least $2,000 a year on energy bills with more than half of that goes to heating and cooling your home.

If you need to replace your furnace, now may be a good time with tax credits for qualifying products expire at the end of the year.

Homeowner Becky Schooley had to replace her 10-year-old unit after it went out earlier this year.

"The company that installed the existing unit had put in one that was too large for this home and so I think that might have caused the early demise of the unit or may have contributed to that," Schooley said.

Experts told Angie's List there are warning signs your furnace may need replacing such as, 'are your utility bills going up?' Furnaces often lose their efficiency as they get older.

If your furnace is breaking down more often, it can result in costly repairs.

"The average life of a heating and cooling system is somewhere between 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.," said Kris Conover, who is a HVAC Contractor

If it's time to replace your furnace, you should consider the following items before buying.

  • Remember, bigger is not always better.
  • Your unit should be correctly sized to operate properly and efficiently.
  • As the efficiency rating goes up, so does the cost.

"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," said Angie Hicks of Angie's List. "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."

People are advised to ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry.

Contractors should hold training certifications with the manufacturers of the equipment they carry.

"Even if you have a brand new furnace you want to be sure you are doing your regular maintenance. A great idea is to check your furnace filter once a month. An easy way to do that is check in when you paying your utilities bills each month," Hicks said. "A clean air filter is going to help your furnace run more efficiently and help you air quality."

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