Skip to comments.New federal law may make replacing your furnace much costlier
Posted on 11/26/2012 3:13:25 PM PST by Timber Rattler
Replacing an aging furnace could cost homeowners thousands of dollars more after May 1, when new federal energy efficiency standards take effect for northern states, including New Jersey.
The new energy-efficient natural gas furnaces arent that much more expensive themselves, but they must be vented directly to an outside wall rather than through the chimney, which can increase installation costs dramatically, home heating contractors say.
Under the Department of Energy rules, gas furnaces installed after May 1 must be at least 90 percent efficient, compared with the current 78 percent efficient criterion.
Similar improvements in energy efficiency are set to go into effect for heat pumps and air conditioning systems in Southern states.
The rules were produced after Congress passed a law in 2007 allowing the Department of Energy to develop regional standards for central heating and cooling equipment.
Analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that between 2013 and 2045, the higher-efficiency furnaces, air conditioning systems and heat pumps would save about one-fifth of the amount of total energy used annually by the U.S. residential sector.
In addition, the drop in energy use would result in greenhouse gas reductions of up to 143 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over those three decades. Thats equivalent to the amount of carbon emitted each year to produce the electricity used by 1.8 million homes, or the carbon emissions produced from burning nearly 77,900 railcars worth of coal, according to an Environmental Protection Agency greenhouse gas calculator.
(Excerpt) Read more at northjersey.com ...
Yes, and I'm sure the media already has this headline set up as a template with a fill-in-the-blank where the word "furnace" appears. They'll be using it a lot.
The problem comes when you have a rear level walkout with a finished basement. You would have to rip out your ceilings to run the pipe to the back or side of your house. The alternative is to have a constantly hissing pipe sticking out the front of your house right next to the front door. That’s my situation. I looked at getting one of the energy efficient furnaces about five years ago and decided against it immediately.
It’s minus 40 right now up here, we have 2 wood stoves in our cabin; toasty 75 degrees. Before installation, I was going through 2000 gallons of oil a year in my oil fired boiler. I’ll stay with the birch & spruce which I actually enjoy hauling in with the snowmachine when it’s up around zero.
The flue gas emitted is slightly acidic and lower temperature than 80% furnaces. In a conventional chimney that is not hot enough to produce a “natural draft”, warm air rises, so corrosion of the chimney is a problem. They also produce condensation, which needs to drain or be pumped off. Now, PVC straight up through the roof? Possibly, all the manufacturers have their venting guidelines.
Maybe we could just go back to burning corn in a space-heater, much like was used during the Depression. Back then, the price of corn was so low that country folks burned the corn rather than using wood harvested from the woodlot, as it was easier to make ready for the stove, and had much higher heat content per pound of fuel consumed.
Newer more modern forms of corn-burning stoves are competitive with natural gas in heating costs, they have thermostat controls, and the exhaust is as simple as a dryer vent to an external wall. They depend on a fan to circulate heat produced by convection, and are stoked by an electrically-driven auger. The ashes are a small clinker that may be broken up and allowed to compost.
Natural gas: low demand, high supply= low price now.
That could change one day.
I'll admit, that part of the article made me scratch my head. I've never seen a gas furnace vented through a chimney - all of mine had separate vent stacks. Maybe this reference is an upper east coast sort of thing dealing with older houses.
I heat the house here in Vermont with a wood stove at one end, and a wood pellet fireplace insert in the other. It saves me quite a bit, and the wood stove at least uses wood mostly from our own woods. As for the pellets, I’d rather pay Canadian lumbermen than Arabs.
My son-in-law built a house nearby. He heats it with a wood stove, but he uses a propane heater for the hot water. It has one of those outside vents, and uses very little fuel.
I hope your house isn’t very airtight.
Well, I live in Connecticut, that’s pretty far up the east coast. Maybe I’m missing something
HA! Same for south Florida.
But we should be aware for the up and coming new air conditioning guidelines that we know are ahead.
The northeast seems to still be heavily dependent upon oil furnaces for some odd reason. Here, nearly all the houses old enough to have had an oil furnace have had the tank removed, soil remediated and the system replaced with natural gas. It’s a major detriment, trying to sell a house with oil heat, especially if the tank is underground. Potential hidden surprises if it leaked, and most do eventually.
My only saving moment here, was I just replaced the whole kit-n-kaboodle about 20 days ago. It was sticker shock for sure, but better now than later! Of course it was orginal to the house so that made it 25 years old. :-)
If Baraq can kill fracking with his EPA, you may be right.
:That sounds great. A friendly wife, a good dog, a guitar and some good bourbon would make that a perfect existence for me
Nope, not particularly
This is cool, now I have another entrepreneurial opportunity:
Used furnace black market. Sell and install good used furnaces for fun and profit without telling Big Brother.
Just like DeNiro in the movie Brazil, I will skulk around at night, tune old furnaces or install bootleg furnaces in defiance of “The ONE.”
The older fuel oil fired furnaces are especially easy. Face lift the fire box with a wet pack, put a new nozzle on the atomizer, and that suka will last another 30 years or more!
Gas furnace old? Change out the manifold, check the electrics and you are good to go too.
Thanks for the biz opportunity barry boy.
In all fairness, low efficiency heaters and a/c need to be phased out, replaced with a much more cost effective technology, called thin sheet aerogel.
Aerogel is amazing stuff, first invented in 1931. Until just the last few years it was the lightest known solid material. Unfortunately, it was both very expensive and brittle. But why does it matter?
Because aerogel is a ridiculously efficient heat insulator, for both cold and heat. If you lined a sleeping bag with a 3mm layer of aerogel, you could sleep out in the open during a blizzard in the Arctic, at least until you couldn’t stand the sauna like heat inside your sleeping bag any more.
But for years it was just an oddity, because, as I said, it was both expensive and brittle. Until about a decade ago, when somebody created far less expensive, flexible, thin sheet aerogel.
They are now putting thin sheet aerogel into mass production. NASA wants to use it to insulate space probes from the cold of space. Otherwise the potential demand is huge.
If you insulated your oven or refrigerator with it, it would use far less energy. If you insulated your house with it, you could probably heat your house with an illegal 100W bulb and body heat, in the dead of winter. In the desert southwest in summer, you could air condition your entire house with window air conditioner.
For now, thin sheet aerogel is still expensive, but things change. And if you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars every year from heating and cooling, why not?
You're forgetting one important fact!
I agree with you on the role of government but question the savings when you consider the "front loading" cost of the equipment and installation.
I would love to have one of those "demand" water heaters, either electric or gas and I suppose if I wait the government will "demand" that I install one. The problem is I have a private well and the pressure varies as the deep well pump cycles on and off. That means that the flow varies and the water temperature goes all over the map as the controller can't keep up with the fluctuations. I'm sure the bureaucrats won't care and tell me to go on "city water" which is miles away from my house...
Being a hydraulics educated engineer, I scoped out a way to get constant pressure but the required changes to my plumbing would probably cost more then I would ever save with the demand heater. Sigh... Maybe I can buy an old water tower from a bankrupt town.