Furnace shopping tips

With the surge in energy prices, I'm thinking that waiting for my 30-year-old gas furnace and central air to die is no longer a good idea. Other than reading Consumer Reports, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to shop?
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Regards,

Jerry Schwartz
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The installer is the most important part, be sure a load calculation is done, my old unit was oversized. By doing a proper calculation I saved on a much smaller unit and now have even heat. Look into different heating and cooling efficiency units, run the numbers, if you live where heat is the big expense the highest efficiency unit will pay back. April Air has an auto humidifier that is set and forget, but their air filters are junk, their cases leak dirty air past.
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What m Ramsey said. A variable speed blower is usually a good idea.
Besides doing a load calculation, if you are in a high humidity area, the contractor should pay close attention to the Sensible Heat Ratio (SHR). That determines how well the system dehumidifies.
Make sure you replace the indoor coil with the air conditioner, they are sold as a matched set.
Make sure the contractor will measure the air flow when done with accurate instruments, not by holding his hand over the grilles.
Stretch
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Jerry Schwartz wrote:

As others have suggested, the installer is far more important than the make you buy. Pick the installer first, then take to them about what to install. If they are good they will be willing to answer your questions and will help you pick one that fits the needs of your home and your personal needs (like higher quality, higher efficiency, more comfirt or better prices etc.
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Joseph Meehan

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