Did you know that if you replace your furnace after May 1, 2013, you will be required by the Department of Energy to replace it with a 90% high-efficiency furnace? In 2007, Congress passed the Energy Security and Independence Act also known as the “2007 Energy Bill”. This bill allowed the DOE to set regional standards for air conditioner and furnace installation. Here in the North Region, a furnace with a 90% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating is required. Most furnaces currently have a 78% AFUE or less.
So what does that mean for you? Basically, it means you will have to install a high-efficiency furnace. There are several concerns/changes with these newer models. They fall into three main categories:
1. Space constraints
The newer units are larger than the traditional models. This could cause problems when trying to fit it into the space allotted in your home. If the unit doesn’t fit, you may have to relocate it to another place possibly requiring knocking down walls or losing living space. There could be additional costs with this necessary “remodeling”.
2. Venting requirements
These new furnaces have different venting requirements. You may be forced to move the unit for this reason alone even if the larger size is not a problem in the existing space. The exhaust also must follow code and be vented far enough away from things like windows, doors, dryers, etc.
3. Condensate (moisture) disposal
One of the reasons high-efficiency furnaces are better at using the fuel efficiently is that they are condensing furnaces. A condensing furnace features a second heat exchanger that draws additional heat from the exhaust gasses which cools them and causes the water in the air to condense. Additional heat is released as the water condenses which makes these furnaces more efficient, but this condensed liquid must be collected and disposed of. You obviously don’t want it leaking into the building.
While these new furnaces will save you money on your energy bills and are better for the environment because they release fewer toxins into the air, you may want to check out your furnace while you still have the option of getting a traditional model. If your furnace is squeezed into a tiny space and you’re pretty sure you’ll need to move it to accommodate one of the newer models, you may want to look into replacing it now with a non-condensing gas furnace before the deadline. That way you can avoid the additional costs and hassle involved in moving it.
If you need help determining if a high-efficiency furnace in Niles, MI home will fit in your, give us a call and one of our Home Comfort Experts heating technicians will visit and let you know. But don’t wait too long because after May 1st, you won’t have a choice.