Investing in a New Furnace System - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Investing in a New Furnace System

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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 need to replace your furnace, now may be a good time. Tax credits for qualifying products expire at the end of the year. This Angie's List report explains what you need to know before investing in a new system.

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

"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," Becky said.

Experts tell Angie's List that there are warning signs 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?

"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," Kris Conover, who is a HVAC contractor, said.

If it's time to replace your furnace, there are some things you should consider before buying. Remember, bigger is not always better. Your unit should be correctly sized to operate properly and efficiently. And how much do you want to spend? As the efficiency rating goes up, so does the cost.

"So you want to be sure you find a company that is going to stand behind their installation. You should expect them to come out and give you an assessment of your furnace on-site," Angie Hicks, who is the founder of Angie's List, added.

Contractors should hold training certifications with the manufacturers of the equipment they carry. If your air conditioner is showing its age, it may be a good idea to replace both your furnace and AC at the same time. Some manufacturers may also offer total system rebates when you replace both your air conditioner and your furnace.

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