However, that’s no longer the case. Contractors can still sell and install furnaces with a minimum 80% AFUE rating. Considering that these furnaces are less expensive, this is good news for homeowners who don’t want to spend extra for more efficiency.
We wanted to revisit this subject so Massachusetts homeowners know exactly what their gas furnace options are as they look for new furnaces this fall.
On May 1, 2013 the U.S department of Energy (DOE) was going to officially enforce a new furnace efficiency standard. That standard would require contractors in 30 northern states (including Massachusetts) to only sell and install furnaces with an AFUE efficiency of 90% or more.
However, on April 5, 2013, DOE made a statement that the standard would not be enforced. That means the law is technically “on the books” but, according to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), “contractors may continue to install non-condensing residential natural gas furnaces (i.e., those with an AFUE less than 90%) without consequence to themselves or their customers.”
The standard’s intention was to help reduce global warming emissions and help homeowners save money on their energy bills, according to the American Council for Energy Efficiency Economy (ACEEE).
However, the American Public Gas Association (APGA) brought forth a lawsuit against the DOE rule. According to the APGA, “the Furnace Rule, although intended to increase efficiency, would have undermined energy efficiency goals and increased costs to consumers.”
They go on to say that, because 90% and above gas furnaces are more expensive to buy and install, homeowners would be pressured to install less efficient electric furnaces.
A proposed settlement agreement was made between the DOE and APGA saying that the DOE would rescind the Furnace standard rules and restart the process of writing them.
As you can see, this back and forth about the standards could lead to some misunderstandings between homeowners and heating contractors.
Being told that you had to had to upgrade to at least 90% furnace by one contractor, but being told by another at a later date that you don’t looks fishy. But now you know it’s the back and forth of this furnace standard that’s the cause of the change of advice—not contractor trickery.
To see if you should install an 80% or a 90% rated furnace, contact Nicholson Heating and Air for help.
Francis from Nicholson Plumbing and Heating was excellent. He was here to evaluate HVAC in our home. He was very patient and answered all my questions. He is also polite and easy to communicate with him. He explained technical concepts to me in layperson terms!
- Shelley S.
Nicholson offered what is possibly the best customer service I have dealt with in a home repair situation. I called them because I was looking to replace my very old furnace. They came out to do an initial estimate, and then came back when I had some further questions about my options. After installing the furnace, they ran into some problems with my air ducts. This happened on a Friday, and the problem was fixed by Monday afternoon. In addition to their excellent service, they did quality work at a fair price. I would recommend them to anyone looking for an HVAC company in the Framingham area!
- Melissa T.
Recently used these guys because my HVAC unit AC wasn’t working (first hot day of summer). Showed up on time, wore booties, fixed the unit. During the visit we talked about how my unit was having problems in the winter – which was resulting in NSTAR service calls of maybe 3-4 times per season (I am on a service plan with them). He was the first guy to tell me WHY the problem was happening, and HOW to fix it. I find it strange that all of the NSTAR guys etc. no one took time to point out how to fix the source of the problem…Very professional, smart. I would use them again, and plan to for the fix on my heating unit!
- Ben J.
Nicholson Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning is the best and most reliable source for electrical service. We are proud to be Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Elite Contractors, that have gone through extensive accreditation and training in order to provide proven high-quality service. Get in touch with us whenever you need to have electrical work done in Framingham!