If you remember awhile back, I wrote about the pending legislation outlawing 80% furnaces as of May 1, 2013. The following is an excerpt from Washington:
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled favorably today on an emergency motion filed by the Air-conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) requesting a stay of the May 1, 2013, compliance date for the regional furnace standards.
In granting the motion, the Court is legally preventing the Department of Energy (DOE) from applying the standards or enforcing them until the underlying case is resolved.
Those standards, requiring residential non-weatherized natural gas furnaces to be installed in 30 northern states to have an AFUE rating of at least 90%, were finalized in 2011 with an effective date of May 1, 2013. Almost immediately those standards faced a legal challenge by the American Public Gas Association. After months of legal wrangling, a proposed settlement rescinding the rules for furnaces was filed with the Court in January 2013. Unfortunately the Court has not yet ruled on the settlement and the rules remain on the books.
Earlier this month, in light of the looming May 1 compliance date and the lack of a Court ruling on the settlement, the DOE announced through an “Enforcement Policy Statement” that the agency would enforce the rules as if the settlement agreement had been accepted. While DOE’s announcement gave some relief from the uncertainty of the pending compliance date, the Court’s action today legally prevents the agency from enforcing the rules until the case is resolved.
For now, the industry awaits the Court’s ruling on the proposed settlement, so that the DOE can start over again on writing new standards for furnaces. However, should the Court reject the settlement the case would go to trial. At that point there are two possible outcomes. One is that the legal challenge would prevail and the rules would be officially stricken from the books. But if the rules are upheld and remain in place after a trial, then under this motion, the rules would take effect six months later.
For now, 80% furnaces are readily available and legal to install in Ohio. I will keep you posted as this legislation develops.