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When Are Minimum HVAC Efficiency Standards Going To Increase?

August 10, 2014

In 2009, efforts were made by the Department of Energy to increase the AFUE or annual fuel utilization efficiency for HVAC equipment. The push to increase minimum AFUE to 90 was based on the need to reduce energy consumption. While the change from a minimum 78 AFUE to a higher AFUE of 90 would definitely help decrease energy usage, the issue was complicated by the necessity of retrofitting homes to comply with the requirements of the higher HVAC efficiency standards for combustible heating systems.

The biggest problem with the new minimum AFUE standards is that only a condensing furnace would be capable of meeting the higher HVAC efficiency standards that were supposed to be implemented in 2013; however, with the need for homeowners to retrofit these systems and the associated costs and complications this would cause, the court has delayed implementation of these new efficiency standards.

A condensing furnace offers high efficiency, but it also requires special venting. For homeowners who would need to undergo extensive modifications in order to retrofit this type of furnace into their existing homes, the costs can be prohibitive. Even with the higher efficiency, condensing furnaces can cause a financial hardship for some homeowners. In order to understand how complicated installing one of these systems into an existing home can be, it is important to know how these condensing furnaces operate.

A condensing furnace burns fuel just like a traditional boiler or gas furnace; however, this is where the similarities end. While traditional combustible heating equipment loses efficiency by letting heat from hot water vapor escape up the chimney, a condensing furnace utilizes another separate heat exchanger to capture this heat. The vapor is trapped, condensed and the resulting heat that is released is used to help heat your home. The residual water is then drained out of the home.

The cost of implementing this type of system has led to a delay in implementation of the higher efficiency standards, but homeowners can still take advantage of high efficiency heating and cooling equipment. If you want more information on improving energy efficiency or you need HVAC repairs or service, contact your local heating and cooling contractor.


About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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