Every month we bring you HVAC news you can use as you select HVAC equipment or look for ways to cut costs. Here are the November 2017 top HVAC stories.
Top HVAC Stories for November 2017
High-efficiency Furnace ROI Isn’t What It Used to be
High energy costs have traditionally driven sales of condensing gas furnaces and other high-efficiency equipment. However, natural gas and propane prices are very stable, and expected to stay low for some time, according to Forbes. As a result, it is taking longer to recoup the extra 20-35 percent cost of very efficient equipment. Here’s more on the subject from ACHR News. A free sign-up is required, but if you enjoy HVAC news, it is the leading source.
Is Communicating Equipment Worth the Money?
Communicating HVAC equipment like the Heil Observer system costs up to 50 percent more than non-communicating systems. The potential energy savings and indoor comfort enhancement are real, but communicating technology also comes with higher repair bills.
Tax Breaks for Geothermal Might Restart
Tax credits for geothermal heating and cooling ran out at the end of 2016, but a restart to them is part of the H.R. 1 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act bill currently being discussed in congress. According to one source, “Under HR 1, the residential income tax credit would be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2017, at 30 percent and continue at that level until 2020 when it would drop to 26 percent. The credit would continue at 22 percent until Dec. 31, 2021, when the credits would end.”
Heat Pumps Continue to Gain Market Share
Heat pumps continue to gain market share for both air conditioning and heating sectors, as this regional (US) report from the 2017 Heat Pump Conference shows. The conference and report are sponsored by the International Energy Agency. Heat pump market growth in cold climates is slow, but dual fuel systems are still the most efficient standard split system type for climates where winter temperatures often drop below freezing.
Thermostat C-wire Issues
Nest and Lux Geo claim their thermostats don’t need a c-wire, and while technically correct, you won’t get full performance from the control without a c-wire. Here’s a look at the c-wire issue. If you don’t have a c-wire, your options are to:
- Choose a model that doesn’t need one (though you won’t get full performance)
- Hire a qualified contractor to install one
- Use an unused wire as the c-wire by connecting it to the C terminals in the thermostat and the furnace or air handler
- Buy a c-wire kit like Honeywell Wire Saver Module or Venstar add-a-wire
Thanks for checking out the top HVAC news for November. We’ll post the December HVAC top stories in a couple weeks.