Big Brother Says No to Gas Furnaces

From MasterResource

By Robert Bradley Jr. — October 11, 2022

“[The DOE exercise] is egregiously biased due to its reliance on overheated climate models, inflated emission scenarios, and pessimistic adaptation assumptions. Using biased [social cost of carbon] SC-GHG estimates to estimate net benefits is arbitrary and capricious..”

“Reasonable alternative assumptions about climate sensitivity and CO2 fertilization substantially drive down SC-GHG estimates, even pushing social cost values into negative territory.”

The climate road to serfdom is one step at a time on different paths. One path is decarbonization, one step is government policy prohibiting or discouraging homeowners from using gas furnaces of their liking. The simple answer, which Milton Friedman popularized a half-century ago, is: free to choose.

An activist U.S. Department of Energy seeks to regulate/prohibit gas furnaces on a pure physical efficiency standard, demoting up-front cost considerations, as well as back-end reliability issues (such as when the power goes out). A fair-field, no-favor competitive market for home and business heating—a let the market decide policy—is the obvious choice in place of one-size government policy from Washington, DC.

At stake is a proposed DOE rulemaking.

Department of Energy: Energy Conservation Standards Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Consumer Furnaces, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment Docket Number EERE-2014-BT-STD-0031 87 FR 40,590 (July 7, 2022).

The following free market, classical liberal groups submitted a comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

Competitive Enterprise Institute, Consumers’ Research, Center for the American Experiment,, Project 21, Caesar Rodney Institute, Rio Grande Foundation, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, FreedomWorks Foundation, Heartland Institute, Thomas Jefferson Institute, Independent Women’s Forum, Independent Women’s Voice, and Institute for Energy Research

The excerpts below focus on economics and energy freedom. But the legal case is made that “DOE is required to balance the potential energy savings over the life of the appliance against any additional costs in the form of a higher purchase price and/or increased maintenance expenses.”


The undersigned free market and consumer organizations have a longstanding interest in bringing to light the deleterious consequences of federal regulations, which are often neglected by agencies in their attempts to adopt a regulatory agenda. For over 20 years, we have participated in rulemakings conducted by the Department of Energy (DOE) as well as litigation regarding energy and water conservation standards for home appliances.

This includes agency actions impacting dishwashers, air conditioners, clothes washers and dryers, showerheads, and light bulbs. Our particular focus has been on ensuring that the consumer protections built into the law are given full weight in the rulemaking process.

In our view, these protections have often been downplayed or ignored by the agency when setting excessively stringent efficiency standards that raise overall costs and/or reduce product quality and choice.…


  • “The primary difference between a [gas-fired] non-condensing and condensing furnace is that a noncondensing furnace has only one heat exchanger while [an electric] condensing furnace has two. The second heat exchanger allows more heat to be taken out of the exhaust and utilized, which is why condensing furnaces can achieve higher levels of efficiency. However, it adds to the up-front cost of the furnace and makes venting considerably more challenging.
  • “These costs can increase sharply with the stringency of the standard, and a point may be reached where the level is set so stringently that it costs consumers more than it saves them. EPCA seeks to avoid such a result.
  • “[There is a need] to protect consumers from natural gas furnace standards so stringent so as to effectively force non-condensing versions off the market in favor of condensing furnaces with very different characteristics that make them incompatible with some homes.
  • “… DOE should not use the Interagency Working Group’s (IWG) social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHGs) analysis to calculate net regulatory benefits. The SC-GHG—an estimate of the present value of the cumulative climate damages of an incremental ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions out to the year 2300—is too speculative and subjective, and too easily manipulated for political purposes, to be weighed in the same scales with the near-term consumer costs of the proposed standards.
  • “[The] IWG exercise is egregiously biased due to its reliance on overheated climate models, inflated emission scenarios, and pessimistic adaptation assumptions. Using biased SC-GHG estimates to estimate net benefits is arbitrary and capricious. DOE’s net-benefits calculation also overlooks the obvious problem that, however estimated, the climate benefits of the proposed standards are too small to be detected or verified; “benefits” no one can experience are so in name only.


  • “No two homes are exactly alike, nor are any two homeowners. The above-mentioned features provision acknowledges individualized circumstances and preferences and preserves them by ensuring that DOE standards are not set so high as to create one-size-fits-all limitations. Even if only a few homeowners need non-condensing furnaces, the law would protect them, but in truth quite a few do.
  • “… a natural gas furnace must be compatible with a home’s venting system, and condensing furnaces are frequently not. Further, it is not merely a matter of spending money to modify the existing venting system to be compatible with a condensing furnace. Depending on the home’s configuration, it may not be practical or even possible to do so. In other cases, it could be done but with very real disadvantages such as compromised safety or the need for ducts traversing rooms or components that take up additional space.
  • “The problems are particularly acute in homes where a non-condensing furnace shares the venting system with other appliances such as a water heater, and continued operation of these other appliances may be jeopardized by a switch to a condensing furnace. A forced shift towards condensing furnaces would disproportionately burden lower income homeowners who tend to have older and more space-constrained houses – the kinds most likely to need a non-condensing furnace.
  • “[Government intervention] may have adverse environmental justice implications not acknowledged by the agency. The circumstances are as varied as the nation’s housing stock, and condensing furnaces cannot suit every need. In fact, the elimination of non-condensing furnaces would likely force some homeowners to make a switch, not to a condensing natural gas furnace but to an electric furnace, with higher operating costs as well as other potential disadvantages.
  • “From a consumer choice perspective, it is important to emphasize that … any homeowner who wants a condensing furnace (or an electric one for that matter) will always be free to select one.
  • “[An] efficiency-obsessed [regulatory] approach … jeopardizes the interests of homeowners.


  • “Climate change is nowhere mentioned … on how to set and amend appliance efficiency standards. [U.S. DOE] has elsewhere proclaimed that “[a]ddressing the effects of climate change is a top priority” …[with a] new agency-wide agenda … “to dramatically increase the efficiency of appliances….”
  • “[U.S. DOE] references Executive Order 13990, “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” (January 25, 2021), the United States re-entering the Paris Agreement, and “the need to confront the global climate crisis” as justification for strengthening furnace standards.
  • “The economic analysis … incorporates the social cost of greenhouse gas emissions and thus the benefits of avoiding these emissions. It quantifies projected climate benefits exceeding $1 billion dollars annually and $16.2 billion dollars in total.
  • “… the agency’s attempt at quantifying these impacts is highly problematic.
  • “The social cost of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) is an estimate in dollars of the “present value” of the cumulative climate change damages caused by an additional (“marginal”) ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) greenhouse gases emitted in a given year. It is also an estimate of the benefit of avoiding or reducing one ton of emissions in that year.
  • “Although DOE claims its climate-benefits estimate did not inform its selection of regulatory standards, discussion of the SC-GHG is warranted for three reasons. First, the concept of GHGs as a social cost (negative externality) is a factor in DOE’s selection of the standards, as it must be in any GHG emission-reduction policy. Second, DOE claims the IWG used the “best available science” to quantify GHGs’ social cost. Third, the standards’ purported climate benefits comprise a substantial portion of the NOPR’s total benefits.
  • “Specifically, if discounted at 3%, IWG-based climate benefits ($16.2 billion) constitute approximately one-quarter of total benefits ($65.2 billion). If discounted at 7%, climate benefits ($16.2 billion) constitute more than half of total benefits ($32.2 billion).
  • “Touting $16.2 billion in climate benefits … reflect[s] significant methodological biases and even scientific malpractice.
  • “SC-GHG estimates are highly sensitive to the modeler’s choice of inputs and assumptions. For example, when the FUND model is updated with empirical information regarding climate sensitivity and carbon dioxide fertilization, the SCC drops to very low numbers with substantial probabilities of being negative through 2050.
  • “A negative SCC is another way of saying a net benefit.
  • “Climate sensitivity is typically defined as the amount of global warming that occurs after the climate system has fully adjusted to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration. Rising CO2 concentration enhances the growth of most food crops and other plant life by increasing their internal water use efficiency and photosynthetic activity.
  • “SC-GHG estimates are highly sensitive to:
  • The discount rates chosen to calculate the present value of future emissions and reductions.

• The calculated climate sensitivities chosen to estimate the warming impact of projected increases in atmospheric GHG concentration.

• The timespan chosen to estimate cumulative damages from rising GHG concentration.

• The extent to which the SC-GHG reflects empirical information about the agricultural and ecological benefits of CO2 fertilization.

• The assumptions chosen regarding the potential for adaptation to decrease the cost of future climate change impacts.

• The choice of socioeconomic pathways used to project future GHG emissions and concentrations.

  • “… if SCC analysts intend to make climate change look economically catastrophic and build a case for aggressive regulation, they:

• Run the IAMs with discount rates with below-market discount rates, which inflates the perceived present value of future climate damages and emission reductions.

• Use IAMs with climate sensitivity derived from general circulation models that, on average, project twice as much warming in the tropical troposphere as has been observed over the past 42 years.

• Calculate cumulative damages over a 300-year period—i.e., well beyond the limits of informed speculation about future economic vulnerabilities and adaptive technologies.

• Minimize the agricultural benefits of atmospheric CO2 fertilization by, for example, averaging the results of three IAMs, two of which (DICE and PAGE) effectively assign a dollar value of zero to carbon dioxide’s positive externalities.

• Include at least one IAM (e.g., PAGE) that unrealistically assumes adaptation cannot mitigate the cost of climate change impacts once 21st century warming and sea-level rise exceed 1°C and 10 inches, respectively.

• Run the models with implausible emission scenarios that assume the world repeatedly burns through all economically-recoverable fossil fuel reserves.

• Inflate the net benefits of climate policy for U.S. citizens and residents by comparing domestic costs (apples) to global benefits (oranges).

• Conceal those malpractices by ignoring any peer-reviewed studies that identify and challenge the aforementioned biases.

  • “DOE defends the Obama and Biden administrations’ practice of comparing domestic regulatory costs to global climate benefits, noting, for example, that international trade, investment, and tourism create “spillover pathways” that make other nations’ problems our problems as well. Whatever the merits of that argument, it does not rebut the fact that Americans bear most of the costs of domestic climate regulations and non-Americans reap most of the purported benefits of U.S. emission reductions.
  • “There is no scientific or ethical justification for hiding the comparatively smaller domestic benefits of U.S. climate regulations. In short, the SC-GHG depends on so many questionable and biased methodological choices there is no good reason to believe [U.S. DOE] projected emission reductions have any actual monetary value.
  • “Reasonable alternative assumptions about climate sensitivity and CO2 fertilization substantially drive down SC-GHG estimates, even pushing social cost values into negative territory.
  • “However small (or negative) the global SCC would be after all reasonable adjustments are made to assumptions regarding discount rates, time horizons, climate sensitivity, CO2 fertilization, adaptive capabilities, and baseline emission trajectories, the SCC would be smaller still (or increasingly negative) if calculated on a domestic (U.S.-only) basis.
  • “Logically, an agency’s reliance on unrealistic emission scenarios or adaptation assumptions is also arbitrary and capricious. Because DOE’s benefit-cost analysis incorporates SC-GHG estimates that rely on unrealistic models, emission scenarios, and adaptation assumptions, it is vulnerable to challenge as arbitrary and capricious.
  • “[The alleged] climate change mitigation would be far too small for scientists to detect. It would make no discernible difference to weather patterns, crop yields, polar bear populations, or any other environmental condition people care about. Benefits no one can experience are “benefits” in name only. Such benefits are not real enough to be netted against $4.0 billion to $8.2 billion in higher product costs DOE estimates the standards would impose on consumers.


Further Reading

The decarbonization crusade by Big Brother to expel natural gas from the home has been ably criticized by Mark Krebs, as well as Thomas Tanton. A four-part interview ran in January, “Mark Krebs on Energy Efficiency under Biden’s DOE”:

Part I: “Deep Decarbonization” Reigns

Part II: EERE Modeling

Part III: Biden’s Bias

Part IV: More Issues

Also see:

DOE Revisits Forced Electrification (Decarbonization) Rules re Non-condensing Furnaces, Water Heaters (August 2019)

Costing the Green New Deal and “Deep Decarbonization”: Some Clarifications (July 2019)

Dear EERE: Past Time to Debate “Deep Decarbonization” (Obama program inconsistent with America First energy policy) (February 2019)

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Tom Halla
October 11, 2022 11:21 am

There are so many arbitrary numbers used in a Social Cost of Carbon calculation the result is bafflegab, something to justify policy, not a real number.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 11, 2022 3:54 pm

I wanna see the ‘Social Benefits of Carbon’ calculated. To be fair, it’s almost incalculable, because it improves almost every single aspect of our daily lives.

Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
October 11, 2022 6:27 pm

It’s just a number they invent using attribution statistics. There is no science behind it you can pretty well makeup whatever number you like.

Coach Springer
Reply to  Tom Halla
October 12, 2022 5:48 am

The social cost of carbon is necessarily bafflegab even before you start the assumptions and calculations.

Reply to  Tom Halla
October 13, 2022 7:06 am

The social cost of carbon has always been a benefit for the human race; making it a liability is shameful at least and criminal at best!

Jeff Labute
October 11, 2022 11:30 am

I just replaced a 22 year old furnace and AC just 2 months ago. The local natural gas provider gave me a $950 rebate for the love of gas. $150 of that was for an approved smart thermostat. (Ecobee).

At the same time, the local electric company is pushing heat pumps in an area of Canada where winters are cold. The HVAC company told me to not even consider a heat pump, of course. Why would I want to pay lots more for winter heating?

Strangely enough, the electric provider and NG provider are the same company.

Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 11, 2022 11:54 am

Hedging their bet to follow the prevailing [political] windfall.

Reply to  Jeff Labute
October 11, 2022 6:45 pm

I use NG for cooking, heating (forced air) and hot water here in Southern California. Good thing I got mine years ago.
However to be fair, there is one minor issue with gas furnaces and water heating. Yes you still have gas during an electrical power outage, however the thermostats and vales are all electrically operated and controlled, so you still don’t have heat without electricity and certainly no fans will be blowing the heated air about. The gas stove stop works just fine though.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 11, 2022 7:53 pm

During tropical storm Sandy here in NJ, the only thing that kept our house habitable during the 5-day (I think) outage was hot water for showers. The water heater had a standing pilot and mechanical thermostat. It’s one of the reasons I did not get a demand water heater when it finally gave up the ghost. The on-demand heater has an electrically operated flow switch that won’t allow the electrically operated gas valve to open unless it senses flow, which then allows the electric spark to ignite the gas. Hard pass.

Jeff Labute
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 12, 2022 7:21 am

What do you mean by “electrical power outage”? I think I experienced this once after a squirrel attacked a neighborhood line transformer, temporarily interrupting the flow of cheap hydro. Yup, I will still need electricity to run all the new fangled electronic crap. Tho, they tell me it will help save money. Perhaps there are some trade-offs.

In Cali, you wouldn’t be able to bring a furnace over a state border? Installation has to be inspected? How cold can south Cali get? Are they telling you to get heat pumps?

It gives me the shakes when our BC government is ‘in talks’ with California over anything climate related.

Kit P
October 11, 2022 11:46 am

What are the three most important factors in choosing a heating system?

Location, location, location.

October 11, 2022 11:52 am

“Social Cost” as in flat-earth doctrine to sustain faith (i.e. trust), religion (i.e. behavioral protocol – ethics), and indulgences (e.g. “redistributive change”), typically for a minority.

October 11, 2022 11:54 am

You know it’s bad when they file for bankruptcy on the eve of the Biden tax credit giveaway bonanza (gold mine) in a business based on consumer solar fraud.

Generac largest unsecured creditor in Chapter 7 liquidation by North Carolina solar panel firm – Milwaukee Business Journal (

Peta of Newark
October 11, 2022 11:57 am
Reply to  Peta of Newark
October 12, 2022 1:56 am

God moves in mysterious ways……..

October 11, 2022 12:05 pm

The Department of Energy should be eliminated. It is at best a useless agency but is routinely destructive of the energy sector. Congress should zero out its budget.

October 11, 2022 12:14 pm

What a load of waffle

I thought our lot were bad

October 11, 2022 12:17 pm

The socialist philosophy is that individuals aren’t bright enough to run their lives.
That is why the self declared elitists need to make all the important decisions for everyone.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  MarkW
October 11, 2022 3:01 pm

Like former bartender AOC. Not the sharpest tool in the box. And she is too dumb to know it. Thinks a fake photo-op southern border refugee crying scene outside a fenced vacant parking lot will ‘play’ with the rest of us.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 12, 2022 1:58 am

And I though she was so sincere…….🙄

Reply to  MarkW
October 11, 2022 4:54 pm

MarkW: The socialist philosophy is that individuals aren’t bright enough to *run* their lives.

That is why the self declared elitists need to make all the important decisions for everyone.”

Was that a typo? Shouldn’t that be ‘ruin’ and the elitists need to ruin the lives of us poor stupid sods for us?

Reply to  MarkW
October 11, 2022 10:40 pm

Nanny state.

October 11, 2022 12:22 pm

A furnace is what we Brits call a boiler?

Jeroen B.
Reply to  griff
October 11, 2022 1:04 pm

No, a stove.

Dave Fair
Reply to  griff
October 11, 2022 1:31 pm

A furnace normally heats air (there is alot of confusion). A boiler heats water.

Paul S.
Reply to  griff
October 11, 2022 1:33 pm

A furnace heats air, a boiler heats water. Different animal

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
October 11, 2022 4:34 pm

No. Most American heating systems use ducted air heated by a furnace while the majority of us in the UK use a system of radiators heated by hot water from a boiler. Not sure why we use very different systems but there it is.

Reply to  Richard Page
October 11, 2022 5:46 pm

In a country where most heating systems are retrofits to old houses, often stone or brick, hot water/steam lines are less costly to install, and being smaller, have a better chance of fitting into the usually limited space available…. while a country building mostly new wood frame houses will tend to favor hot air ductwork since adding room for ducts in the walls can more easily be accommodated into the plans. Add to that after a couple of decades….contractor familiarity with the systems.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
October 11, 2022 6:51 pm

And no bursting steam pipes within walls, or hissing radiators.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 11, 2022 7:58 pm

I rather liked the hiss of my low-pressure steam radiators in my last home. And you would never find the pipes in the walls; always running from floor to floor exposed.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 12, 2022 2:05 am

We are over that in the UK. Modern condensing boiler systems with radiators are largely reliable and work well. The best ones though, seem to be underfloor heating with virtually indestructible plastic pipes buried in concrete, expensive though.

Richard Page
Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 12, 2022 8:56 am

The only time I have ever had a bursting pipe was when a bloody stupid contractor hammered a nail through an underfloor hot water pipe. Not happy was a massive understatement.

Last edited 3 months ago by Richard Page
Paul S
Reply to  Richard Page
October 11, 2022 8:35 pm

Probably not much of a requirement for air conditioning in the UK. A/C is required in many areas of the US. That is why ducted air is used in the US. Cannot cool a space with radiators

Nick Graves
Reply to  Richard Page
October 11, 2022 11:56 pm

They were tried here, but proved to be unpopular and have been largely replaced by hot water systems.

Radiated heat seems preferable to that convected via dusty ducts.

Different sort of cold in the UK (due to the dampness) I suppose.

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Graves
October 12, 2022 8:52 am

I know, my brother had one in his house, now largely replaced by a boiler and radiators.

Reply to  griff
October 11, 2022 11:38 pm

Why are people marking Griff down for asking a question?

I wish he’d ask more questions than making fact-free, error-ridden, vacuous statements

Last edited 3 months ago by Redge
Paul Hurley (aka PaulH)
Reply to  Redge
October 12, 2022 6:41 am

I agree. It’s a reasonable question when one considers the international reach of WUWT.

October 11, 2022 12:50 pm

How are we going to cremate cadivers? Can’t bury everybody – soon run out of room. Illegal to have your own pyre in your back garden. I know, Oil fired furnaces – sounds good to me.

william Johnston
Reply to  GeeJam
October 11, 2022 1:45 pm

Another option is referred to as “composting”. Evidently the remains are allowed to decompose with the aid of chemicals or something. After the process is complete, the compost is then used to nourish ones favorite rose bush. Or something.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  william Johnston
October 11, 2022 3:12 pm

In California. Except with water restrictions, watering rose bushes is now illegal. But they can maybe use the human compost on the marijuana. Some stuff in CA is more important than other stuff.

lee riffee
Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 11, 2022 4:34 pm

Gee, it would not surprise me if CA eventually promoted “sky burials”, with having worked to bring the California condor back from the brink of extinction. Basically a “sky burial” is practiced by leaving the remains of one’s loved ones on top of a high cliff for vultures to scavenge and devour. It has traditionally been done by people who live in the Himalayas.

Reply to  lee riffee
October 11, 2022 6:56 pm

Who’s going to lug all those corpulent bodies up to the mountain top? Certainly not their fat bodied brethren. They’d expel far beyond their CO2 allotments.

Reply to  Rocketscientist
October 13, 2022 7:13 am

Solar plane morgue carriers?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 11, 2022 4:58 pm

As you go through life, take time to stop and smell the roses inhale the pot.

~CA version

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 11, 2022 10:43 pm

This part of California doesn’t have water restrictions … yet.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  GeeJam
October 11, 2022 3:17 pm

Nope. Soylent Green—made out of people. The Soylent factories all run on renewables, of course. Greta insists it is so.

October 11, 2022 12:51 pm

If they had a case people would see it. They do not so they force the people into it, or are trying. That is called corruption and anti-American.

Richard Page
Reply to  Olen
October 11, 2022 4:35 pm

It’s anti-human.

October 11, 2022 12:53 pm

I’m all in favor of electrical heating and cooking. But only when carbon free 24/7 nuclear power that’s too cheap to meter becomes the reality. Until that time, I’ll stick with gas appliances.

Reply to  Doonman
October 11, 2022 1:38 pm

Do the French still give steep discounts on electric rates for customers living close the nuclear plants? Have you hugged your reactor core lately?

joe x
October 11, 2022 1:34 pm

someone here help me out. the definition in the article of what is and is not a condensing furnace is a muddy. i have thought that the vented exhaust from a non condensing furnace stays hot enough to hold its moisture content. and because of a more efficient heat exchanger system in a condensing furnace, some of the moister in the exhaust condenses or drops out. am i correct?

Reply to  joe x
October 11, 2022 2:20 pm

When natural gas combusts, it produces CO2 and water vapor. In a non-condensing furnace, the water vapor is sent up the flue so you only get what is termed the lower heating value for the fuel. In a condensing furnace, the flue gas is cooled to the point that the water vapor condenses and gives up its heat of vaporization. This results in a ~11% gain in efficiency.

joe x
Reply to  Fraizer
October 11, 2022 6:13 pm

Thanks, makes perfect sense.

Reply to  Fraizer
October 11, 2022 10:45 pm

Where does the energy come from to cool the flue?

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
October 12, 2022 11:35 am

Lower temperature air across a heat exchanger. You only need to get the flue gas below 100 C (212 F) for the water to condense.

Reply to  Fraizer
October 11, 2022 10:57 pm

IIRC the pH of the condensate is very acidic, and the pipes that drain the condensate need to be installed with a significant drop, otherwise in freezing weather it freezes in the outlet pipe and blocks the pipe.

Nick Graves
Reply to  StephenP
October 11, 2022 11:59 pm

It does indeed – and floods the boiler electronics.

Ask me how I know…

Draining into a bucket seems retrograde, but it works.

Reply to  Nick Graves
October 12, 2022 11:37 am

Have to drain it someplace or it will find its own path of least resistance (which can be quite inconvenient).

Reply to  StephenP
October 12, 2022 11:36 am

Drain pipes are typically PVC or CPVC. Mine has a catch pan which is piped to an adjacent floor drain.

Reply to  joe x
October 11, 2022 2:39 pm

Ditto, Joe.
Need a lot more diagrams of the different systems.

Even here in north Florida a heat pump system will eat you alive when the temp gets down below 40 deg. Unless you have a good thermal mass to use for dissapating or absorbing heat, the combo of gas furnace and electric cooling wins every time. So underground geothermal systems are very good and much quieter.

Gums wonders…

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  joe x
October 11, 2022 8:03 pm

You are correct. The kicker is that due to the small amounts of sulfur in the gas, the condensate is pretty acidic. You have to pipe it directly outdoors, using stainless steel vent pipe which has to be pitched to make sure it runs away from the furnace. You can’t use the traditional flue arrangement as you’ll accumulate the condensate in the flue, and it will back its way into the furnace.

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
October 12, 2022 1:34 am

I’m using standard flue with condensing furnace for almost 20 years. It is enough to make few small holes in pipe close to furnace, where air can get in. This will prevent negative pressure buildup and condensate level reaching furnace.

Joe Shaw
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
October 12, 2022 3:48 am

I have gas high efficiency condensing furnaces in both my homes. Both are vented through PVC pipes not stainless steel. On the older furnace the vent gas has corroded a hole through the pipe leading to a condensate leak.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Joe Shaw
October 12, 2022 10:06 am

You are correct, PVC pipe is an option since the outlet flue gas has such a low temperature.

Michael in Dublin
October 11, 2022 2:12 pm

South Africa is having major problems with regular “load shedding” because of the failures of the electricity supply (because of poor maintenance, theft, sabotage and more). This in turn has affected the supply (pumping) of water in cities like Johannesburg.

Their main dams are full in that part of the country but they have had parts of the city without water for ten days and some hospital staff having to bring water from their homes to flush toilets at two hospitals.

This is all because of the failure of a government based on Marxism. The government ministers receive huge salaries but do not have to pay for water and electricity. Some people are beginning to speak of this becoming a failed state but yet President Biden and Western leaders want to impose strict green renewable policies on the country.

Last edited 3 months ago by Michael in Dublin
Rud Istvan
October 11, 2022 2:55 pm

By far the most most efficient way to heat and cook is gas or propane. Anyone thinking otherwise is either ignorant or nuts.

At my farm, we installed the (easy, all in cellar) intake/exhaust piping for a 95% efficient propane furnace, supplemented (when there) by our double walled electrically blown forced air wood firebox plumbed into the Furnace plenum.

At my Chicago townhome, replaced an old 60% efficient gas furnace with a 90% efficient new one. Why not 95%? Because then I would have had to reline the brick chimney with insulated piping lest water condensation cause a problem. Not enough exhaust heat at 95% for the chimney run. At 90%, just enough exhaust heat that the old chimney sufficed as is.

If electric, with CCGT you lose ~30% of the fuel heat in generation, and then another 15% of the resulting E in T&D losses. So ~60% versus 90 or 95 net thermal efficiency E vs fossil fuel residential heating. Cooking is even better, because the ‘waste heat’ from the stove just warms the kitchen a bit.

And in cold climes, heat pumps do NOT work in dead of winter except as resistive electric heaters. We worked that out with experts during its construction deciding propane 95% furnace or ground circulating heat pump (we could have put the in ground hat pump piping over the dug out septic field for extra heat) for our north Georgia mountain cabin, which is hardly Chicago cold. Answer was a 95% efficient propane furnace no brainer.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
October 12, 2022 2:22 am

I had my boiler (UK) for hot water and central heating replaced three years ago (the last one was about 50 years old) with a 98% (claimed) efficient condensing boiler. It cost around £1,500.

I chose that over a Ground Source Heat Pump I had priced up a few years earlier. Installation and commissioning cost, about £25,000.

The engineer laughed when I had him round and told me it wouldn’t work in our solid masonry walled Victorian cottage even if I spent another £20,000 insulating every square inch of our walls.

He also told me his firm wouldn’t install one as they were worried about getting sued further down the line because they don’t work. Much of the housing stock in the UK is solid masonry Victorian structures.

October 11, 2022 4:36 pm

“The following free market, classical liberal groups submitted a comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking:

Competitive Enterprise Institute, Consumers’ Research, Center for the American Experiment,, Project 21, Caesar Rodney Institute, Rio Grande Foundation, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, FreedomWorks Foundation, Heartland Institute, …”

CEI and the Heartland Institute (bolded above) are not liberal, they are conservative.

Likely more of those listed as “liberal” are actually conservative instead.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  ATheoK
October 11, 2022 8:07 pm

Hence the descriptor, “classical liberal”. In the quoted context, it is used correctly.

Reply to  ATheoK
October 12, 2022 2:32 am

Classic Liberals were kind of to the right of Conservatives in the late 19th early 20th Century, in the UK at least. It’s a space kind of occupied by modern Libertarians now. Difficult to pigeon hole them though. The labour movement (Socialists, or American Liberals) moved in and captured the vote of the working class which saw the end of traditional Liberalism.

We now have the hopeless Liberal Democrats who don’t know what they represent, nor does anyone else, but they are basically Socialist Lite. They were used in a coalition government about ten years ago now to prop up the Conservative party. It was a complete disaster and a laughing stock. Much like the Conservative party today really.

Richard Page
Reply to  HotScot
October 12, 2022 9:03 am

I think all 3 main parties plus the SNP have become a very sick joke in the UK. None of them have a clue and are either blundering from one cockup to another or are busy telling everyone who’ll listen how their unfunded, pie-in-the-sky would solve the country’s problems in one go. Far too many ‘experts’ and not enough actual experience.

Reply to  Richard Page
October 13, 2022 7:28 am

Same thing is happening here in the States for the most part. Both parties are pretty much corrupt and have virtually no practical hands on experience. Unfortunately the one who had business/economic hands on experience was politically hammered everyday for 6 years plus he “tweeted” himself out of office.

October 11, 2022 6:15 pm

I have owned, and in some cases still do a variety of heating systems discussed here. These have included non-condensing gas, condensing gas, ground water heat pump, air heat pump with backup resistance electric, air heat pump without backup resistance, oil boiler, and gas boiler.

By far the worst was the ground water heat pump. It had multiple reliability issues and ultimately failed in ten years then the refrigerant to water heat exchanger started leaking. It also had multiple cases of clogged water discharge lines. It was not very comfortable. It blew barely warmer than ambient air when heating, which actually felt cool. It had great water to air cooling in the summer which was virtually cost free.

The boilers had multiple reliability issues.

The non-condensing gas furnaces were OK, but somewhat expensive.

The condensing gas furnaces work quite well and are low cost, both in installation and use. Beware of vent placement. In high snow areas I had the vents get snow covered which shut the system down in a snowstorm. This caused major freezing damage.

The air-to-air heat pumps work great, but only because of the climate they are in – South Texas. I wouldn’t recommend anywhere that has an average annual temperature less than 70. They both did quite well in the Texas wind turbine freeze up of a couple of years ago but only because our little subdivision section had power the whole ten days. I had to thaw out the heat pump without backup resistance heating a couple of times when it turned into a solid block of ice. I used the ground water for that. I did have a large pile of firewood that wasn’t used. The backup generators weren’t necessary because our power stayed on. They would have been useless since the snow stopped the gas stations from getting refilled, and they ran out of gas for most of the whole time.

John Oliver
October 11, 2022 6:20 pm

I thought I would chime in on this since I installed stainless steel flue liners for years in my chimney business ( and still do on occasion).
The bottom line is that venting HE and super HE in to masonry chimney flues can really be a problem . Not enough flue temp to start or maintain draft, to large a flue size and rapid deterioration of the clay liner and joints. A clay liner in a brick and mortar chimney may just get by with traditional gas fired furnace or boiler but not HE, you need a SS liner installed.(required by code) . It’s not a bad idea with standard gas fired appliance in a older brick structure either.
The more efficient the appliance the more expensive, not everyone is in a position to afford the upfront cost.

Reply to  John Oliver
October 12, 2022 1:43 am

In Europe condensing gas furnaces are frequently equipped with “Turbo” chimney. This is basically fan vented and short one, right through wall. Using one for almost 20 years without problem.
Also chimneys for condensing gas furnaces can be made from plastic, hardened PVC, because exhaust is 60C maximum, plastic is good enough till 120C.
This really worth of around another 17% of efficiency against classic non condensing furnace.

Last edited 3 months ago by Peter K
John Oliver
October 11, 2022 6:39 pm

But biggest problem is they really want to ban gas too. Many local and state legislators are already attempting this. But the AGM tyrants would rather do it in one fell swoop federally .

October 11, 2022 10:01 pm

Oh the irony!

The natural gas pipeline and distribution companies played the dirty carbon game against oil and coal for the last two decades.

Now natural gas is the target.

First they came for the coal . . . and I said nothing.

You know the rest.

October 11, 2022 10:35 pm

If you like your non-condensing furnace, you can keep your non-condensing furnace.

Mad Max
October 12, 2022 4:19 am

High quality condensing gas furnaces work just fine but do require careful venting. Occasionally, there may be a replacement project where it isn’t possible to install a condensing furnace.

I’ve had my Lennox condensing furnace (98% efficiency) for over 20 years so far without issue. It’s about time for a new one as the life cycle for either condensing and non-condensing furnaces is about 22 years.

Coach Springer
October 12, 2022 6:02 am

With gas appliances and a small gasoline generator, all I lack in power outages is air conditioning in summer, but with fans. Why would I ever give that resilience up?

October 12, 2022 6:06 am

Climate change being a motivating factor to even come up with “social…” anything is ridiculous, seeing as how there is no “climate change” metrics proven to exist with facts. Putting “social…” in front of any word is a dead giveaway that its all BS. Just all propaganda from the left seeking to control the sheeple. But, most folks who visit this site already know that. Just sayin’.

David S
October 12, 2022 11:15 am

If the voters on the left have any sense left at all they’ll say no to big brother and throw them under the bus. But that’s a big IF.

Reply to  David S
October 13, 2022 7:31 am

Problem is the left have no sense. Zero, zilch, nada!

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