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A furnace is not the sexiest purchase you will ever make, but it is key to your comfort and your family's comfort. Instead of just calling your neighborhood fuel dealer to ask for help with a replacement, do some research and shopping on your own. The extra time you put into buying a new furnace may save you thousands over the service life of your furnace.
* Compare the performance of different brands and models. Read the product literature, something most American consumers don't bother to do.
* Ask questions when you talk to dealers. How energy efficient is the new furnace? How much does the appliance cost to operate? A more efficient appliance costs less to run.
* Check guides like Consumer Reports to find out how models and brands compare for energy savings and repair histories.
Read EnergyGuide labels and the manufacturers' fact sheets.
* Ask yourself how the purchase will fit into your budget. Sometimes it makes sense to pay more upfront for a high-efficiency furnace when you figure the energy savings over the service life of the product.