So you need a new furnace. The first thought that may come to your mind is to break out the yellow pages, and call two or three dealers to come out for a free estimate. It sounds promising to let someone else do the legwork for you. But, a better approach may be to do some preliminary research on your own first.

It is because you need to have sufficient knowledge regarding furnace and its functions and whether it can fit into your house or not depending on the size so do conduct an extensive research regarding the same and before taking a decision, do ask yourself the following question, ‘Are you looking for heating oil for your business or home in New Jersey’ because you can afford only one of them.

Consumer Reports Buying Guide is probably as good of a place as any to start. They review furnaces by brand, durablitity, number of repairs, cost, etc. This will give you some guidelines for what is good and bad, that way when you hit the Yellow Pages, you will know who not to call, based on poorly rated brands. Another great source for picking a dealer is to ask your friends and family. Chances are several of them have had experiences either replacing, or repairing their furnace or air conditioner. If they had a bad experience with a dealer, don’t call them. If they had a particularly good experience – move that dealer up to the top of your list.Assess Your Needs

Next you need to honestly assess what you are looking for the way a dealer would. When the sales consultant visits your home – he/she is going to ask some of the following questions:

How old is the unit you have now?    How long do you plan on staying in your home?    Are you looking for something just basic, or a little bit better?    Do you use portable heaters in any of your rooms? Which ones? and, Why?    Are any of your rooms difficult to keep comfortable?    What have you looked at so far?

What do these questions tell your sales consultant? If the unit is 10 years or older, it is probably less efficient than it could be. It may be time to step up to a newer high efficiency model. If you plan on staying in your home five years or less, you are probably not looking for the greatest thing out there with all of the bells and whistles. A “contractors grade” model may be just what you are looking for. In furnaces, as in everything else there are good – better – and best models. A Lennox dealer will lead with Lennox in most cases, and fall back on Air Flow or DuKane if you balk at the price. Either model will do a good job for you, and keep your house comfortable. The big difference is – the premium unit, in this case Lennox, will hold up better over time, because it is built with better parts. So for someone planning to stay in their home ten years or longer, the Lennox will hold up better, and experience fewer repairs. If you will be moving in the next three to five years, the Air Flow or DuKane, may be a better choice. You will spend less money up front, and will still have a new furnace in your home to help enhance resale value. If you are looking at Carrier, Carrier is the premium unit, and Bryant is normally their “contractors grade.”

Are you looking for something a little bit better, signifies you may want a high efficient model, or more advanced features like a two stage blower, or variable speed blower. Most furnaces sold in the past are single stage, meaning they run at a constant speed. Two stage units are just that. They normally run at low speed, but when called for they can run at a higher speed, and bring your house up to temperature quicker. A variable speed unit is the best of both worlds. It has a two stage blower, plus it runs on dc power which means it operates more efficiently, and can run at an even lower blower speed. The advantage here is that it can run for a longer heat cycle, pushing heat out more evenly, making a more comfortable and cozy home.

If you use portable heaters, or have uneven heat in different rooms – the odds are that you have a duct work problem, and the dealer is probing to see if you may need to do more work, than to just add a new furnace. Sometimes old duct work is poorly run, or as additions were made to the home, the ducts were not properly placed. Now may be the perfect time to fix these problems.

What have you looked at so far tests your product knowledge, and helps the sales consultant decide what to show you. If everyone else has shown you contractors grade units, or low efficiency units, he will probably show you something similar.Ask About Specials, Rebates,  amp; Tax Credits

Finally, be sure to ask your consultant what specials and rebates they are currently running. Also, check for any utility company rebates available. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. If business is slow, or the dealership is trying to meet a sales goal, the price can drop $500, or even $1,000.

Another tip. The best time to buy a new furnace is usually in the dead of winter – March and April. By this time most people have replaced bad units, and others have decided to wait until spring. A lot of dealers put specials at this time, such as buy a new air conditioner, get a furnace for $500 or $1000.Never Take the First Price You Are Offered

Most companies are willing to deal. Sometimes by as much as $500 or $1000, especially towards the end of the month when the dealership is fighting to make its numbers.