For the last year or so it has been widely anticipated in the Heating and Air Conditioning world that changes were in the works regarding the efficiency requirements of residential furnaces. HVAC contractors like us have been expecting that furnaces with an efficiency rating of 80% would be banned in our region, and only furnaces with a minimum of 90% efficiency would be able to be placed in to service as of May 1, 2013. This is problematic due to the fact that many homes are not easily able to accommodate 90% furnaces due to the specific drain and flue requirements that the 80% furnaces do not have.
On January 12, 2013 in a late afternoon settlement the Department of Energy agreed to withdraw the pending minimum energy conservation standards, and allow non-condensing 80% furnaces to remain legal to install until further notice. Good news for many homeowners that were concerned about the requirements and added cost to install more efficient models. While it is expected that these stricter energy regulations will re surface in the near future, at least homeowners will now have some time to prepare for these changes.