(NEWS CENTER) - According to the Environmental Protection Agency... The average family spends at least $2,000 a year on energy bills.
And 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.
In our "Angie's List" report this week, what you need to know before investing in a new system.Experts tell Angie's List 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?
Are you always adjusting the thermostat to make your home more comfortable?
HVAC Contractor Kris Conove says: "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."
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.
Angie Hicks says: "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. 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."
Ask prospective companies what specific manufacturers or equipment brands they carry.
Contractors should hold training certifications with those manufacturers
Again... Depending on the type of home heating or cooling equipment you're installing or upgrading, your project may qualify for federal or state tax credits or rebates. Be sure to ask about what incentives are available for your project and make sure the project is properly documented to meet federal, state or local incentive requirements.