When the gas furnace in my house was around fifteen years old, it started succumbing to frequent, minor problems. Monthly utility bills were suddenly higher, and even though I kept raising the setting on the thermostat, the house was chilly on especially cold days. I noticed a lot more dust settling on surfaces, and the operational sounds of the heating system gradually increased. Obviously, the furnace was nearing the end of its lifespan. Rather than face a sudden failure in the middle of the winter, I wanted to plan ahead. I started looking into the different options for natural gas, forced air heating systems on the market. I was amazed by the AFUE ratings. While my older furnace achieved an 89% AFUE rating when it was brand new, modern models now reach 98% efficiency. These systems feature stainless steel heat exchangers, variable speed technology and wifi connectivity. Rather than start up, blast at maximum capacity and then shut off completely, advanced heating systems run steadily at lower speed. They use less energy, create less noise and keep a more even temperature throughout the house. Although top-of-the-line heating systems cost a lot more money, they pay for themselves through monthly cost savings. Plus, the lower speed operation places less wear and tear on components, increasing both reliability and service life. As I read more about the options on the market, I realized that most of the leading manufacturers offer similar products. I needed to find a reputable HVAC contractor who would take the time to properly size and install the new furnace.