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 ...
Hey, if they want to spend a ton of money to keep using their old one, fine with me. Lots of people don’t really have a choice, because their homes would be very hard to retrofit with aerogel insulation.
However, a lot of people would jump at the opportunity to save big bucks. Importantly, their doing so would drive down the price of HHO for everybody left. So it’s a win-win.
And because refineries very carefully calculate how much of what refined petroleum they expect to sell in the next year, if the demand for HHO drops, then they will want to refine more gasoline, dropping its price as well.
First of all, you need two pipes, a combustion inlet and an outlet vent. And they must be separated by at least four feet. Code also calls for a 6 inch diameter insulated outside connection to the cold air side of the furnace air and also an automatic damper on it. You must also deal with the acidic condensate. If you don't have a drain near the furnace, you may need a condensate reservor and pump. Then you also need some place to pump it.
Why wouldn’t you trust a horizontal vent pipe? You have to support it every four feet and if it sags you will get condensate buildup in the pipe and your pressure switch will shut the gas valve off. The safeties on furnaces these days prevent lots of problems from getting out of hand.
Wow - sure makes me glad the guy’s coming tomorrow to finish installing my new 92% efficient gas furnace - no more oil, not that there’s anything wrong with that...
Me, I never worry about CO2 either. My windows are so old and breezy, I couldn’t die of monoxide poisoning if I tried with a gas grill!
No money = no new windows. Oh Well!
until we burn down every tree on my in laws land (and I don’t think we can) we won’t be paying for heat other than the small amount of gas to run the spliter and saws.
we only use grid fuel (natural gas) when we will be gone longer than the fire will burn.
I get your point but your post read like you where demanding we make changes. That won’t fly with me.
On a more serious note, if you have an older gas furnace, I don’t care which brand (***ox comes to mind)every other year of so, pay your service man to DYE CHECK the manifold. Its a simple procedure, and is extremely accurate in detecting cracks in the unit. Manifold cracks are killers. Literally.
HEEHEEHEE. No fooling.
The keyword in your sentence: “legally.”
Ever see DeNiro in Brazil?
Not being a smart@ss, just sayin. Americans are enterprising people.
There is so much legitimate work that needs doing why mess with it when you can do stuff that will have less of a chance biting you in the rear in the future?
“I dont remember that running twenty feet of three inch plastic pipe cost all that much.”
We remodeled 15 years ago and put in a flue for a new furnace which we had removed when we re-roofed a year ago because we put in a 92% efficiency furnace which used 3 inch plastic for both the combustion air intake as well as the exhaust. Knock on wood, the thing has worked great. It’s so efficient that it has a “condensate pump” that pumps the water from the combustion process into the sewer.
My other house is also natural gas/forced air with a heat pump outside that only serves as the air conditioning condenser. That vent goes straight to the roof. The house is 1986 vintage. I don't know the efficiency rating, but it is likely I'll have a more expensive replacement coming in the future.
I have all that. It wasn’t exactly cheap but not inordinately expensive
No I don’t.
But, a road trip from western PA to Maine? I’ll be glad to take that trip just to tweek BeeHOe’s nose.
OTH, I think if you poke around, you’re gonna find a lot of “good ole boyz” in your neighborhood, would be glad to barter with you and make your home warm and SAFE.
Heaters aren’t rocket science, they’re just common sense.
Because of taxes, money saved in expenses is better than money earned in income.
I did quite a bit of work improving the insulation in my house the last couple of years. It’s now much more comfortable when the temperature goes way down outside, and it saves me quite a bit on the fuel bills.
Let’s say you spend $10,000 in capital and save $1,500 a year on fuel expenses. If you invested that $10,000 in capital in today’s lousy markets, you’d be very, very lucky to make anything like that on it, plus you would pay taxes on any income you did make. And hopefully it will improve the value of the house.
I don’t save energy because I’m worried about global warming, which is nonsense, but I do try to save energy in order to reduce costs.
Actually, these condensing furnaces are not a bad idea - IF you can vent them as required without much cost. They basically use the hot exhaust from combustion to pre-heat the incoming air, so less heat actually heads up the chimney.
But with less heat, the waste air holds less water...and the water (which is a product of combustion) condenses and has to drain. You must use PVC or equivalent for the exhaust air (which is quite cool)...or the Carbonic Acid (created when water mixes with CO2, another product of combustion) will eat away anything else.
So, for new construction, these are great units and should be required (in my opinion) - but in old houses, it does get a lot trickier, and rather than dumping the HUGE cost on homeowners, a serious effort should have been made to either pay for the ventilation modifications, or not require them.
What happens now, with this mandate, is that homeowners will simply not replace furnaces (this stuff is EASY to figure out), but instead will keep their existing ones limping along. That’s fine until the heat exchanger cracks and people start dropping dead from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. But, unfortunately, that IS how the real world works.
Because its a personal thing. I know my stuff. I don’t NEED some bureauKaRATZ who has NEVER even seen a firebox, to tell me what I MUST or MUST NOT do.
EPA RATZ are policy wonks. Those fools couldn’t tell you an expansion unit from a water tank. 98% of them have NEVER HELD a hand tool! Like you, like me. And they PRESUME to tell the trade what is SAFE and what is NOT?
These are political idiots trying to force an agenda that will cost Americans mega bux for NO REASON, other than to justify and satisfy their desire to control the population at large.
End of rant.
Sorry, this wasn’t aimed at you. I have come to the point where my operating principle is simply: “I will NOT comply.”
You may be of a different mindset. A lot good people like yourself still believe the system works and working with it is the best way. God bless you and Godspeed. Take care of yourself and your family.
I no longer think so.
Bite my rear in the future? They will break their teeth.
The law was passed in 2007. Bush's fault. (Seriously, he signed it.)
“We have a delightful device called a ventless Natural Gas space heater. best money we spent on the house (East Tenn.)”
Be sure to have Carbon Monoxide detectors that work. As long as you have enough Oxygen, your heater will be perfectly safe with no CO. But if Oxygen starts to get depleted, then CO can form (from a different reaction)...and can kill you - unless your heater will shut off first (which some do).
Still a good unit (like 99% efficient), as long as you’ve got air communication with outdoors.
I have a 95% efficient natural gas furnace installed in a utility closet in the basement, and the installer used a horizontal concentric intake/outflow pipe design, one pipe inside another. It works fine and the intake/exhaust pipe is designed for the type furnace I have (not just something the installer threw together in other words).
“pay your service man to DYE CHECK the manifold”
I don’t pay THE MAN for nothing. Will never have him in my house - too risky regarding crime.
But I do have several CO alarms with fresh batteries and digital displays. I’ll know if things get bad.
You are so right on the money. This why if you have an old unit, get your service man to DYE CHECK it every so often. For manifold (heat exchanger) cracks, dye checks are the only way to "see" that problem before it kills you.
They basically use the hot exhaust from combustion to pre-heat the incoming air, so less heat actually heads up the chimney.
In Japan, we used kerosene heaters with fans. The exhaust/intake pipe was just as you described. The intake was inside the exhaust. Incoming air was preheated this way, and made a very real difference in the quality of heat you brought in.
I have a Lopi Wood Burning Stove (pictured above) in my house. It heats @ 2400 SF which covers most of my house. We've had it since 1999 and have been using it every year since as our primary source of heat. We bring home our own wood every year from our property in Michigan's Upper Penninsula and recently brought home 3 cords of hardwood which will cover us from now until mid-March. Our furnace furnace is mostly for backup purposes so it doesn't get much use beyond the fan kicking on to circulate the warm air from the woodburner throughout the house. Our main cold-air return is in the same room as the woodburner (how convenient!)
Our house is 20 years old, so we're due for a new furnace and central air, now I'll make sure I replace it before May of next year to avoid all the bullsh*t.
“Similar improvements in energy efficiency are set to go into effect for heat pumps and air conditioning systems in Southern states....”
teach them rednecks all about what happens when you goes and votes red now.../s
“In Japan, we used kerosene heaters with fans. The exhaust/intake pipe was just as you described. The intake was inside the exhaust.”
Yea, that does work. Anyone who’s a real man has wondered why the exhaust pipes for furnaces and water heaters has to be so darn hot - it only seems logical to us real men that something could be done to capture that heat.
But....now to water heaters. If you have a conventional natural gas water heater, take a look - no electrical connections, none. But buy a condensing water heater (same principal as these furnaces) and you now need 120 VAC for hot water (to power an exhaust fan, and maybe electronics). That’s all fine when you’ve got power...but not everyone has power 24/7/365...we certainly don’t.
But - to Obama’s credit, he hasn’t (yet) required condensing water heaters (they tried...but not yet required). The moment he does, if he does, I go out and buy at least 2 more of the old type (I already have a spare as it is).
So do I! I typically buy something that's 2-3 years old for myself, pay cash for it and run it for 10 years or so myself. I'm one of those people who drives < 8,000 miles a year. The bulk of my driving is back and forth to the commuter train, typically 10 miles a day and the occasional weekend errand runs or trip up north to the cabin.
Given I drive so little, fuel efficiency doesn't mean spit to me, so I drive an SUV and enjoy all the creature comforts of it. Since I live in the snow belt, the 4WD is nice too. :-)
Current vehicle is a 2003 GMC Envoy Denali. Bought it with 33,000 miles on it in 2006 and it turned 71,000 miles last week. I'll probably drive it a few more years before giving it to my youngest son as his first vehicle. (This thing doesn't have a scratch on it. Wish I got such a nice vehicle as my first when I was his age!)
Know exactly how you feel. On The Other Hand, I know my limitations. As an old farmer, I can fix damn near anything. But sometimes, for safety, I rely on outside help. They have tools and knowhow that I don’t have.
Rest assured, when a service man I don’t know comes to the house, I’m home. If he asks why I’m watching him do his job, I say: “2 things; first I want to learn what you’re doing, and second, I need to keep you from getting eaten by the dobermans.”
They especially like the second one since there are at any given time anywhere from 2 to 5 around the house. (We rescue wayward pincers.)
Needless to say, I sleep well at night.
Like minds think alike. I have two water heaters. One is the standard type, all mechanical and no electrical nonsense. The other is an “on demand” propane. Again, no electrics. The standard I can convert to propane easily, but I like the on demand because it saves gas, by A LOT.
Just a little forethought and you can be self sufficient.
“As an old farmer” - that says A LOT there. You definitely then know how to take care of yourself.
The dogs don’t hurt either - in keeping THE MAN focused on his work and don’t poking around for goodies (or, more likely, his young helper poking around for goodies).
I had thought to eliminate the existing pressure tank which is over forty years old and shows it's age. I'd let the down hole pump dump into a large gravity tank (plastic Farm & Fleet special??) with a simple float switch to maintain a supply. I'd then use a separate booster pump to charge a new pressure tank with a rolling diaphragm to prevent "water logging" from loss of pre-charge, thence to the R/R valve. Only problem is lack of space for the gravity tank. Why a gravity tank? We have lots of sediment, grit and very fine clay which would have a chance to settle out w/o a filter. Don't know if the rest of the plumbing would stand up to 45 psi plus an occasional water hammer shock, I really don't want to find out either.
We have hydronic heat and have always had a R/R valve in the inlet line to the "boiler", it's set at about 15 psi.
“Like minds think alike. I have two water heaters. One is the standard type, all mechanical and no electrical nonsense. The other is an on demand propane. “
More than you think, LOL. As of last count, I have 4 natural gas water heaters (2 installed, 2 spares), 1 propane water heater (it’s really a camping water heater - but works great), and one point-of-use, on demand, electric (7 kW) water heater. Needless to say, I have other options for heating water, including Butane stoves, Propane Stoves, and huge Propane Boilers (for cooking crawfish). Whoops, almost forgot, I also have two stoves that run on unleaded gasoline.
But I agree with you...it’s good to use the conventional stuff (i.e., gas water heaters) as primary, for I don’t have as much confidence in getting 10 years out of my other systems. The other stuff is mainly for post-hurricane (or doomsday, whichever comes first) survival.
The last time the Sears repairman was up here (that only took about 6 weeks), he kept saying "I just don't want you mountain people mad at me."
Well water. The one I linked to is not what is in my basement. It’s just the first one I found.
I also have a room problem in the well room. There is the 90 gallon pressure tank, the softener, the R/O unit for drinking/cooking water and it’s 5 gallon tank, the iron filter and some other gizmo they installed.
Our water had so much iron in it that it had scrap value. The softener was suppose to handle most of it (15 PPM) but we still had troubles so the iron filter went in. Now we have clear, soft (but very slightly salty) water. You can drink it but we prefer the R/O water.
Likely poor phrasing on my part. As a means of making up for it, here’s a web page full of neat pics of oven stoves, which I personally think are something I would like if I had my druthers, and a place to put a really big and heavy stove, that is.
We live too far out to ship in pellets but I’ve had friends back East talk about them (we live where the Yukon comes into Alaska from Canada) but I have over 25 cord stacked and covered, so minus 65 come on. Actually, I go out behind our place a few miles every day it’s above minus 10 and bring back a sled load with skandic; about 5 nice birch trees.
Speaking my language and I hear ya. Wife and I have been married 28 years, got a couple Plott Hounds, a few bottles of Woodford Reserve, and guitars????? I have about a dozen strats & teles, Bruno Cowtipper, Twin Reverb through a Rotary Speaker. I’ve have a Kirn (outta Jacksonville Fla) Signature Strat made from 200 year old Amer Chestnut I sent him. Wish I remembered how to post picts as Kev you’d appreciate seeing these guitars. Now, you just reminded me to head downstairs and play, good deal.
“The last time the Sears repairman was up here (that only took about 6 weeks), he kept saying “I just don’t want you mountain people mad at me.” “
Yep, us hick-sters have a way of getting our point across.
I’m just glad the headline didn’t read:
“New federal law may make replacing your fiancee much costlier.”
Vermont gets pretty cold, but I must admit that Alaska has got us beat. The coldest I’ve seen it here in the past 10 years was only minus 30 or 40. I have a six-cord woodshed that I built near the house, and that just about takes care of the wood stove. And I store six tons of pellets in the garage on six pallets each summer, and generally wind up using five of them. Good to have an extra just in case.
We burn birch, maple, ash, cherry, oak, and also any dead standing hardwoods—mostly chestnuts, which reach a certain size and then die of the blight. The dead trees don’t give as much heat, but I like to clear them out to make room for new growth. Our woods were kind of a mess when we moved in here. I also cut a fair amount of dead branches up for kindling. It’s not work efficient, but it gets the woods into better shape and it seems too bad to waste it on bonfires.
Except this law was passed when Bush was president.
“And where in the Constitution does Congress have the power to develop regional standards for central heating and cooling equipment?”
It’s right there next to abortion on demand, taxpayer funded contraceptives and abortifacients, and Predator Drone use against civilians.
Living and breathing my @$$!
The Constitution is what they wipe their filthy hand on when they’re sworn in, and that’s it!
There is scant little honor in the halls of our federal government these days.
Well, my house is in IL, was built in the early 50's, and both the gas furnace and gas water heater, which went in much later, vent to the chimney. The orig. heat was a coal furnace.
Bush's 2nd term was pretty much a disaster, and probably did as much as anything to make the Kenyan possible. You won't get any argument about that from me.
Nice, Eska. It sounds like we’re birds of a feather. Woodford is my favorite Bourbon also. My wife and I took a tour of the distillery when we were in Kentucky for the Derby a couple of years ago. Very cool. I’m partial to acoustic guitars, though I do have an electric that I barely play. I don’t have anything fancy - just a couple of Larrivee acoustics and a G&L electric. Love the Larrivees - the best acoustic for the money in my view. It sounds like you’ve got a good life going out in the wilderness. Congratulations.