80% Furnace Phase Out Regional Standards
Please note the legislation for 80% efficient furnaces has been put on hold.
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, TDH, 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.