Notice: Department of Energy phases out 80% efficient furnaces for Indiana

In 2007, the US Congress passed the Energy Security and Independence Act which gave the Department of Energy the power to set regional standards for heating and cooling systems. As of May 1st, 2013 the Department of Energy is phasing out 80% efficient furnaces with new laws that take effect and they will directly pertain to us in our northern climate. Some of these stipulations could have a direct adverse effect, on your pocketbook.

How does this affect You?

The property owners that will be affected the most are those who own single family homes, condos or townhouses that have 80% non-condensing furnaces. To make that a little easier to understand, if you look at your furnace and it has a metal 3″ or 4″ pipe coming out the top of the furnace, you have an 80% non-condensing furnace. If you have plastic PVC pipes coming out instead, you are already compliant with the new law. Customers with newer 80% furnaces If your 80% furnace is a only few years old and running great, then you don’t have much to worry about. Your furnace can go on to serve the property for its remaining lifespan. But, when it does meet its end, it will have to be replaced with a 90% or better furnace.

Customers with older furnaces

If you want to get another 80% furnace installed, right now is the time. In a month or two from now, supply houses will not have inventory available as the manufacturers won’t be making them for our climate any longer since they are illegal.

Upgrading to a 90% furnace is much more expensive both in the furnace itself but the installation issues also make it more expensive. This is due to the fact the installer has to route new PVC intake and exhaust lines out of the side of your home and possibly re-sleeve your chimney, so your hot water heater will still work properly. The differences in the systems is dramatic, the 90%+ systems will save you money on your electric and gas bills, so they definitely are a benefit to you, but the installation costs are substantial. For example, those new PVC pipes have to be routed to the outside of the home, thus making your old steel exhaust is unusable. In many cases, your equipment is in the middle of your residence and major dry wall renovations will need to be done to run those pipes across your home and out the sidewall. That is going to be expensive and invasive to your home. Also those of you with Single family homes with finished basements will more than likely have portions of your drywall ceiling removed to route those new intake and exhaust pipes.

Key points to take away from this:

–If you have a relatively new 80% furnace that is functioning well, you need to likely do nothing.

–If your furnace is older and nearing the end of its lifespan, it will likely be a wise decision to at least get an estimate on replacing it now before the inventory of 80% furnaces is exhausted due to this new requirement.

–If you already have a 90% furnace, you need to do nothing.

Please contact your Property Manager to get more information or to get an estimate on a furnace replacement.

Thanks, Dan Baldini