How to replace your furnace

Choose the right contractor

Whom you hire to install your furnace is more important than furnace brand.

Try the Air Conditioning Contractors of America’s search tool (www.acca.org).

Look for contractors who are NATE-certified; the North American Technician Excellence designation means they have passed tests demonstrating real-world HVAC knowledge.

Make sure the contractor is licensed, insured and bonded, and has been in business for many years. You want someone who will be there to service and repair your furnace and honor the labor warranty, which should be for at least one year.

A good contractor will perform a heat load analysis of your home based on square footage, ventilation, windows and insulation before giving you an estimate or recommending a furnace.

The labor estimate should include installation; any adjustments to ducting, venting, fuel delivery or electrical systems; and disposal.

The contractor should provide details about recommended furnace brand, size, efficiency and parts warranty, as well as operating costs.

Get comprehensive written quotes that leave no room for surprises from at least three contractors.