Thursday, January 3rd, 2013 by Wayne Krasnow
The Department of Energy is NUTS! Our governments Department of Energy is mandating that Connecticut homeowners, condominium owners and apartment owners (All Residential Structures) MUST (when the time comes for replacement) replace their old gas furnace with a new High-Efficiency furnace, starting May 1, 2013.
What does that mean? That means, when you decide to or desperately need to replace your furnace, you will have to upgrade to the high-efficiency model, no matter what the additional cost may be.
What is the difference between a new High-Efficiency furnace and the furnace you currently have? Most residential dwellings have a gas furnace that vents into a brick chimney or a round metal chimney (most condominiums have the round metal chimney). These furnaces have an 80% or lower Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) due to age and condition. Starting May 1, 2013, most of these chimneys will need to be abandoned and will no longer be used for these new High-Efficiency Furnaces. High-Efficiency Furnaces are referred to as Condensing Furnaces, or 90% AFUE Furnaces. High-Efficiency Furnaces vent with PVC Piping, directly out through the side of your home.
Revising your home, condominium, or apartment, to install a new High-Efficiency Furnace can be a challenge:
• It may require relocation of the furnace due to venting requirements.
• The venting of the new high-efficiency furnaces requires a certain clearance away from windows, electric meters and etc.
• The PVC pipes may need to be installed across the ceiling if your furnace is located in the middle of your home (e.g. in a closet). Do you want to see two big PVC pipes running across the ceiling and over the countertops of your kitchen or living room? ...I didn't think so. Hiding these pipes may require some construction (i.e. framing, sheetrock and painting).
• These furnaces create water and they need to be drained properly (NOT OUTSIDE). The water will freeze and the furnace will shut down if they are drained to the outdoors. We must find an interior drain to dispose of the water.
• In many cases, High-Efficiency Furnaces are much larger than old furnaces, requiring major changes to your heating system.
These are just a few problems that an HVAC contractor may run into, which will increase the replacement cost by thousands of dollars.
However, this may not be bad news because you will save money on your energy bills, recouping some of the extra costs. And if you want to go “Green”, this is a great start.
What Are the Loopholes?
If you want to keep the 80% AFUE to avoid the additional cost of replacing your furnace with the high efficiency one, you MUST replace your gas furnace before May 1, 2013. The average lower to mid-efficiency furnace (80% AFUE) replacement will cost $2,800 to $4,500. The average high-efficiency furnace (90% AFUE) replacement will cost $3,900 to $6,800 plus any additional costs of construction as mentioned above
Where the Loophole closes:
80% AFUE furnaces will still vent into your existing chimney but some older brick chimneys will have to be modified when installing an 80% AFUE furnace, driving up the cost. If that’s the case, you’re most likely better off having a High Efficiency (90% AFUE) Furnace installed.