The Federal Department of Energy will prohibit manufacturers from making gas furnaces less than 90 percent efficient after May 1, 2013. 90% furnaces are more energy efficient and the flue gases pipe out using PVC pipe, not sheet metal pipe. The older furnaces vent out using sheet metal pipe in a collective flue pipe that runs up the interior of the building to the roof.

Why should you care?

If your furnace vents into a standard chimney or sheet metal B-vent structure, that type of furnace will not be manufactured any longer after May 1, 2013.  Here are the benefits if you act now:

  1. You can still install a chimney furnace that will last 20 – 25 years if properly maintained.
  2. The cost of the chimney furnace is still very low, the closer we get to May 2013; the costs will rise due to supply and demand.
  3. The labor to install a chimney vented furnace is much cheaper than the labor involved in changing a chimney vented furnace to a 90% furnace.

If you DO NOT act now or before May 2013:

  1. It is very labor intensive to vent out a 90% furnace in an apartment or condo especially high rise condos and apartments. With finished walls and ceilings, trying to run PVC venting outside a wall or through a ceiling becomes very difficult. And if your units have spiral sheet metal duct suspended from the ceilings where will the new PVC flue pipe run to get to the outdoors? Architects and engineers may need to be called in for this new law in order to install the new furnace flue piping aesthetically.
  2. In some jurisdictions, after May 2013, you may have to pay village inspection fees in order to install a 90% furnace in your building.

As we get closer to May 2013, the price of the 80% furnace will go up.  It is financially advantageous to take care of this now instead of waiting until the last minute.

For any service need and any brand of furnace, Around the Town Heating & Cooling is proud to provide you with the most reliable, professional and budget minded furnace service in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

Call us or fill out our contact form today!
(312) 243-9896

“Chicagoland’s #1 HVAC Company, We’re Around the Town 24/7!”

[alert type=”info” show_close=”true”] [icon color=”#FFFFFF” icon=”infocircle”]Regional Standards Update[/icon]

There has been much discussion of the upcoming Regional Efficiency Standards. The first efficiency change will take effect on May 1, 2013. This standard will raise the minimum efficiency standard in the Northern Region for non-weatherized gas furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces to 90% AFUE. Because there is much uncertainty around this issue, we wanted to take a moment and address the efficiency change.

As the law currently stands:

  • The effective date will carry an installation ban, meaning it will be illegal for dealers to install any furnace below 90% efficiency furnace on or after May 1, 2013 in the Northern Region.
  • It will also be illegal for manufacturers to manufacture furnaces below 90% efficiency and for distributors to sell furnaces below 90% efficiency on or after May 1, 2013.
  • Traditionally in the past, the Department of Energy (DOE) has allowed distributors to sell existing inventory and for dealers to sell and install existing inventory when a standards change occurs. This is NOT the case in this increase.
  • This change in minimum efficiency from 80% to 90% AFUE applies to BOTH new home construction and residential retrofits.

There are efforts being made by some groups to challenge the current law:

  • A lawsuit, filed by the American Public Gas Association (APGA), the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), and Heating, Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), which challenges the DOE’s protocol and procedures used to develop the standard is still ongoing. A verdict is unlikely until early 2013.
  • AHRI has requested an 18-month delay in the effective date for the new standard. DOE has not responded to this request.

While there are efforts to change and/or delay the efficiency change, Munch’s Supply, Trane, and many industry groups are all proceeding as if the minimum efficiency of furnaces will change from 80% to 90% on May 1, 2013. We recommend that you do the same.

At some point, as we get closer to the beginning of the year, we will be announcing our stocking plans for 80% AFUE furnaces, as we work towards the May 1, 2013 change.[/alert]


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