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Earlier in the year, we wrote about the withdrawal of regional energy efficiency standards (mandating installation of high efficiency furnaces in Northern states) set forth by the Department of Energy (DOE). This was based on a lawsuit brought forth by some in the energy industry, including the American Public Gas Association (APGA) and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA).  We also posted a follow up with reactions to the withdrawal by some members of home energy industry.


Unfortunately, the courts have not ruled on this settlement, which may now cause problems when it comes to installation and availability of certain furnaces. Several motions in support and opposed to the settlement agreement were filed by intervening parties, or those with a stake in the outcome of this case. Before making a final ruling on the settlement, the court must hear these motions and take them into consideration. This is causing a delay in the decision making process and throwing a wrench in the normal sales, distribution, and manufacturing cycles of furnaces  in regions like ours that will be impacted by the ruling.


As a reminder, the proposed settlement states that the initial plan to set the minimum AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) standards for residential indoor and mobile home gas furnaces at 90% in the Northern region, along with the pending May 1, 2013 compliance date would be vacated. However, as we stated in the reaction, the settlement had to be approved by the court in order to make it final and remove the regional efficiency standards.

Posted by on in General

It’s that time of year. With Spring officially just around the corner, daylight savings time went back into effect this past weekend. If you didn’t remember to set your clocks ahead an hour Saturday night or Sunday morning, you probably have by now.


With these biannual time changes come some important reminders for homeowners. Changing the batteries on smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors is a crucial step toward ensuring the safety of you, your family and other home residents. The batteries in smoke detectors should be changed every six months, which is why the beginning and end of daylight savings time are perfect opportunities to set reminders to do so. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey, only three out of four homes reported they changed the batteries in their smoke alarms in the last six months. We highly encourage you to remember to do so.


Furthermore, and perhaps more often forgotten than the battery changes, it’s extremely important to remember that sensors in carbon monoxide detectors don’t typically last as long as smoke detectors. The sensors in carbon monoxide detectors are only designed to last 2-3 years on average. Maintaining working carbon monoxide detectors is something extremely important, yet something not all homes do. While about 95 percent of U.S. homes report having at least one working smoke alarm, only 42 percent report having a working CO alarm based on 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. As a reminder, it’s suggested that carbon monoxide detectors (like smoke alarms) should be placed on every floor in the home and outside all sleeping areas.

David & Marilyn White had been experiencing some home comfort issues, so they decided to have our Bel Red team install a Trane XV80 gas furnace.


(Existing furnace with single wall vent and old gas piping)


This model of Trane gas furnaces is great for improving comfort and indoor air quality within the home. It has a variable-speed fan motor that adjusts speed to provide a consistent flow of warm, comfortable air. The XV80 operates at 80% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency).


The system had to also be brought up to current code, so the Bel Red installation team performed a host of other improvements:

  • They installed and properly sealed a base can for the unit
  • Brought the gas piping up to code
  • And replaced the single wall vent with a b-vent for a safer installation that met current code requirements.


This winter, Bel Red was pleased to install a brand new Rheem high efficiency gas furnace for Hilary Benson in Mercer island, WA. Hilary was having some issues with her old standard efficiency gas furnace, so she was ready for an upgrade. Our installers on the project, Brandon and Chad, delivered just that. You can see the original unit at the right in the photo below:



The new Rheem high efficiency system is a 2-stage variable speed gas furnace that will provide much better comfort, and even temperatures throughout her home. In fact, these furnaces do a great job in eliminating hot and cold spots when properly installed and set-up.

Posted by on in General

During the upcoming few days, Don Millard and I will be attending the ACCA 2013 Conference and IE3 (Indoor Environment & Energy Exposition) in Orlando, Florida. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) Conference runs from today through March 2nd and is being held at the Marriott World Center convention hall. This conference (and expo) is one of the premier events and conferences in the country for Indoor Environment Professionals to learn and discuss the newest and most important issues that face our industry today.


The conference includes a wide range of sessions throughout the week, including discussions on professional development, plumbing and hydronics, building performance (including information on the latest home energy audit topics), industry business practices and many, many more. The conference also features “Learning Labs,” which are the heart of the ACCA Conference and what really sets it apart from other conferences and meetings. This year’s Learning Labs consist of more than 40 special educational sessions led by the nation’s top contractors and industry experts. We’re extremely excited about attending because the ACCA conference draws the highest caliber of industry presenters and the highest caliber of contractor attendees, which makes for very informative discussions both in-session and out.


Don Millard will be representing the Washington State ACCA Chapter (WaACCA) as the chapter President, at a meeting of the Local Chapters from across the country prior to the start of the general conference. These leaders, including Don, will be gathering to discuss best practices, general industry and business information and much more during these pre-conference meetings. I will also be participating in an annual planning session for the Building Performance Council as a member of that council. This council was set up in early 2012 by the ACCA with the intention of bringing building performance leaders together from all over the country to discuss ways to move that industry forward.


If you’d like to follow along with the conference, feel free to check out the ACCA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/accontractors) or Twitter account (https://twitter.com/acca_kevin) for the latest news and updates from the show. Also, our attendance at this event is part of our commitment to making investments that will further our organization’s knowledge and cutting edge work so we can continually improve for our customers in the Northwest region.


We will also be tweeting from the conference, so feel free to follow along at https://twitter.com/BelRedEnergy1 as well.