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When and why should I replace my furnace?

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There are many things that are important when you go to buy and sell a house; but it’s crucial you understand the major components of IMG_2238 heater and hot water heatera house and the related costs to replace them.  Roofs, windows, heaters; all can run into major money.  Since my hubby and I are planning on buying a Colorado Springs investment property this year, we’ve been putting together a list of contractors to use for major home components.     Let’s start with some of the essentials.

What is the life span of a furnace?

The typical life of a furnace is appx. 20 years; but some furnaces last 25 to 35 years.    One way to make sure it lasts even longer is to periodically have it serviced and change your furnace filter as recommended by the manufacturer.  Think of it the same way you think of “an oil change” for you car.   Preventative maintenance can definitely extend the life of the furnace.

Why would I replace the furnace?

If your furnace or boiler is older than 20 years, it may be good investment to replace it with a high-efficiency model with the guidance of a licensed contractor.   Also, with the current energy tax credit (Free local money for home improvements & Federal Tax credit available for remodeling), you can also take advantage of the current tax credits.   Some statistics say that heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical U.S. home, making it the largest energy expense for most homes.

 Another Energy Saving tip:   Thermostats. Turn down the thermostat at night and when you’re away from home.   In many Colorado Springs homes, you can save about 2% of your heating bill for each degree that you lower the thermostat for at least 8 hours each day.   Or, you can use a programmable thermostat to automate this process.

One thing that come up during HVAC service call is a “cracked heater exchange”; words no Colorado Springs Realtor or homeowner really wants to hear.   A heat exchange is the metal tubing that gets hot from the burning gas.   As the metal expands and contracts, a cracked heating exchange can have the cracks open up and allow fumes to escape into the hot air that gets blown into your house.   This results in carbon monoxide, which can kill people (see article New Carbon Monoxide Law effective July 1, 2009).

How do I decide what type of furnace to buy?

There is no easy answer to what type of furnace to buy; as it’s a matter of personal preference.  But I would highly suggest you get competitive bids, in writing, from an experienced local contractor.    There are some HVAC companies in Colorado Springs that have been around for along time; and they may be a good place to start your search.   (Check out the letter on the Better Business Bureau).   You may also want to check for a contractor that uses technicians with North American Technician Excellence (NATE) training or ENERGY STAR experience. Listings are found at www.natex.org ((877) 420-NATE) or www.acca.org.

Also, I recently learned that you can get a “load” test on your house; which is a formula on how much furnace you need.    When you are getting a quote for a new furnace, ask if the contractor will do a load test.   It will really help you decide on what size furnace you need for your house.

Remember, knowledge is power.  Do your research.

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