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AFUE on all Boilers reduced to 90%

Tim McElwain
Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,444
I just received word that AHRI recently advised all boiler manufacturers that their previously 94, 95 96 % etc boilers will now be reduced to 90% until further testing can be done. To the best of what I know this was due to a flaw in DOE testing procedures.



This could affect rebates from outfits like National Grid, that remains to be seen.



Here is a copy of the announcement:





<span style="font-size:12pt">FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE </span>

<span style="font-size:12pt">

November 19, 2012



Contact: Francis Dietz, Vice President, Public Affairs

703-600-0355



</span>

November 19, 2012



Contact: Francis Dietz, Vice President, Public Affairs

703-600-0355



<span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-size:12pt">

AHRI Addresses Uncertainty in DOE Test Procedure for

Modulating Condensing Residential Boilers

<span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-size:12pt">

Immediately Implements Changes; Working with DOE on Permanent Fix

</span></span></span></span><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-size:12pt">

Immediately Implements Changes; Working with DOE on Permanent Fix

</span></span><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-size:12pt">

Arlington, VA — <span style="font-size:12pt">An internal review by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently revealed an aspect of the current Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency test procedure for residential furnaces and boilers that may result in an inaccurate AFUE measurement for two-stage or modulating condensing residential boilers. The problem in the test procedure is in the calculations used to determine the AFUE when selecting the option of skipping the heat-up and cool-down tests. These ratings were based on the current DOE efficiency test procedure, and the error is due to an inconsistency in those procedures rather than a failure to properly conduct the DOE test. All the involved models are highly efficient and exceed the current federal minimum AFUE for these products, so there is no issue with their compliance with federal minimum efficiency standards. "As soon as we discovered this test procedure inconsistency, we moved expeditiously not only to ensure accurate equipment ratings for consumers and in the AHRI Directory, but also to work with DOE officials to ensure the issue is corrected for all products," said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. He said that AHRI has implemented the following actions: </span></span></span><span style="font-size:12pt">An internal review by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) recently revealed an aspect of the current Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency test procedure for residential furnaces and boilers that may result in an inaccurate AFUE measurement for two-stage or modulating condensing residential boilers. The problem in the test procedure is in the calculations used to determine the AFUE when selecting the option of skipping the heat-up and cool-down tests. These ratings were based on the current DOE efficiency test procedure, and the error is due to an inconsistency in those procedures rather than a failure to properly conduct the DOE test. All the involved models are highly efficient and exceed the current federal minimum AFUE for these products, so there is no issue with their compliance with federal minimum efficiency standards. "As soon as we discovered this test procedure inconsistency, we moved expeditiously not only to ensure accurate equipment ratings for consumers and in the AHRI Directory, but also to work with DOE officials to ensure the issue is corrected for all products," said AHRI President & CEO Stephen Yurek. He said that AHRI has implemented the following actions: </span>

<span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Requiring all new model certifications and AHRI certification tests of all currently listed models for this subcategory of boilers to include heat-up and cool-down tests; </span></span><span style="font-size:12pt">Requiring all new model certifications and AHRI certification tests of all currently listed models for this subcategory of boilers to include heat-up and cool-down tests; </span>

<span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Requiring the manufacturers of all existing models in this subcategory of boilers that are listed in AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance to immediately do one of the following: (1) drop the rating to 90%; (2) discontinue the model; or (3) provide test results which include the heat-up and cool-down tests that support a higher rating; and



<span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Developing appropriate calculations to determine the correct AFUE for two-stage and modulating condensing boilers.



In a November 19 meeting, Yurek, AHRI General Counsel David Calabrese, and other AHRI staff briefed DOE officials about the issue and discussed appropriate steps to remedy the situation. In the meeting, AHRI urged DOE officials to expeditiously notify those manufacturers that are not participants in AHRI’s certification program (Allied Engineering Company Div. of E-Z-Rect Manufacturing Ltd; Baxi Spa; Conematic Heating Systems Inc.; Hamilton Engineering; Navien America Inc.; Quietside; and Quincy Hydronic Technologies) of the issue so that the Department can take steps to ensure proper AFUE ratings for their affected products.



Access the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (<a href="http://www.ahridirectory.org/">www.ahridirectory.org</a>) for the most up-to-date information on the efficiency ratings for these products.

### </span></span></span></span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Requiring the manufacturers of all existing models in this subcategory of boilers that are listed in AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance to immediately do one of the following: (1) drop the rating to 90%; (2) discontinue the model; or (3) provide test results which include the heat-up and cool-down tests that support a higher rating; and



<span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Developing appropriate calculations to determine the correct AFUE for two-stage and modulating condensing boilers.



In a November 19 meeting, Yurek, AHRI General Counsel David Calabrese, and other AHRI staff briefed DOE officials about the issue and discussed appropriate steps to remedy the situation. In the meeting, AHRI urged DOE officials to expeditiously notify those manufacturers that are not participants in AHRI’s certification program (Allied Engineering Company Div. of E-Z-Rect Manufacturing Ltd; Baxi Spa; Conematic Heating Systems Inc.; Hamilton Engineering; Navien America Inc.; Quietside; and Quincy Hydronic Technologies) of the issue so that the Department can take steps to ensure proper AFUE ratings for their affected products.



Access the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (<a href="http://www.ahridirectory.org/">www.ahridirectory.org</a>) for the most up-to-date information on the efficiency ratings for these products.

### </span></span></span>



<span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Developing appropriate calculations to determine the correct AFUE for two-stage and modulating condensing boilers.



In a November 19 meeting, Yurek, AHRI General Counsel David Calabrese, and other AHRI staff briefed DOE officials about the issue and discussed appropriate steps to remedy the situation. In the meeting, AHRI urged DOE officials to expeditiously notify those manufacturers that are not participants in AHRI’s certification program (Allied Engineering Company Div. of E-Z-Rect Manufacturing Ltd; Baxi Spa; Conematic Heating Systems Inc.; Hamilton Engineering; Navien America Inc.; Quietside; and Quincy Hydronic Technologies) of the issue so that the Department can take steps to ensure proper AFUE ratings for their affected products.



Access the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (<a href="http://www.ahridirectory.org/">www.ahridirectory.org</a>) for the most up-to-date information on the efficiency ratings for these products.

### </span></span>

• <span style="font-size:12pt">Developing appropriate calculations to determine the correct AFUE for two-stage and modulating condensing boilers.



In a November 19 meeting, Yurek, AHRI General Counsel David Calabrese, and other AHRI staff briefed DOE officials about the issue and discussed appropriate steps to remedy the situation. In the meeting, AHRI urged DOE officials to expeditiously notify those manufacturers that are not participants in AHRI’s certification program (Allied Engineering Company Div. of E-Z-Rect Manufacturing Ltd; Baxi Spa; Conematic Heating Systems Inc.; Hamilton Engineering; Navien America Inc.; Quietside; and Quincy Hydronic Technologies) of the issue so that the Department can take steps to ensure proper AFUE ratings for their affected products.



Access the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (<a href="http://www.ahridirectory.org/">www.ahridirectory.org</a>) for the most up-to-date information on the efficiency ratings for these products.

### </span>



In a November 19 meeting, Yurek, AHRI General Counsel David Calabrese, and other AHRI staff briefed DOE officials about the issue and discussed appropriate steps to remedy the situation. In the meeting, AHRI urged DOE officials to expeditiously notify those manufacturers that are not participants in AHRI’s certification program (Allied Engineering Company Div. of E-Z-Rect Manufacturing Ltd; Baxi Spa; Conematic Heating Systems Inc.; Hamilton Engineering; Navien America Inc.; Quietside; and Quincy Hydronic Technologies) of the issue so that the Department can take steps to ensure proper AFUE ratings for their affected products.



Access the AHRI Directory of Certified Product Performance (<a href="http://www.ahridirectory.org/">www.ahridirectory.org</a>) for the most up-to-date information on the efficiency ratings for these products.

### <span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-size:12pt">



About AHRI </span></span><span style="font-size:12pt">



The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) is the trade association representing manufacturers of air conditioning, heating, commercial refrigeration, and water heating equipment. An internationally recognized advocate for the industry, AHRI develops standards for and certifies the performance of many of these products. AHRI’s 309 member companies manufacture quality, efficient, and innovative residential and commercial air conditioning, space heating, water heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment and components for sale in North America and around the world</span>

Comments

  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    Wait for DOE

    Bear in mind AHRI is a for profit trade organization that has no control over the Department of Energy.

    It will be interesting to see how DOE responds, especially since AHRI has been certifying boilers and furnaces through Intertek and submitting those results to DOE.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    Most manufcaturer's

    Looks like most manufacturers have already reduced the AFUE for now to around 90%
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    Only AHRI

    The energy star and DOE online listings haven't changed nor has manufacturers websites and all their literature.



    AHRI may find out manufacturers no longer wish to be paying members of AHRI to list their products after this stunt, wouldn't that be interesting, knocking them down off their self imposed misleading stature.



    Don't forget AHRI is a for profit organization, not a government entity.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Hmmm

    Didn't I read a claim by System 2000 a while back that said the testing procedure was flawed, and they got their efficiency during post-purge?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Is it a surprise

    Really........how many times has it been discussed here on the way AFUE verses seasonal efficiency is determined.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    edited November 2012
    AFUE Testing

    The testing they are referring to is the testing for Mode/Con boilers. The problem was the testing procedure since this was a new area. Had to do with testing at low or high input and condensate removal.

    This testing procedure does not include all other boilers.

    I have always stated the fuel savings between mod/con and cast iron boilers is not that much different if all are equal. Both properly sized, both p/s piping, both outdoor reset and both direct vented. I guess this explains why.

    I have a friend in Canada that owns his own business. He has his heating bill broken down to btu's per degree day. He removed a properly sized 3 year old cast iron boiler and installed a properly sized mod/con. His bill only changed between 2 & 3%. He expected more.  That is not enough to be concerned about.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Jason

    There are a lot of variables in the hot water heating world that change things. Types of emitters , usage patterns, sizing as you well pointed out. It's not as simple as saying a 95% boiler is 15% more efficient than a 80% boiler. But there is something to be said about being able to modulate the output verses bang bang boiler technology when properly sized, and setup. Key word setup.
  • Ray_Landry
    Ray_Landry Member Posts: 6
    rebates

    Wonder how this will effect rebates?
    Ray Landry
    Landry Mechanical Inc.
    Plumbing-HVAC
    Oxford, Ma
    508-987-0080
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    AHRI Has

    Updated the certificates to reflect 90%. Strongly suggest you look at the certificates before offering consumers utility rebates.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,267
    Nat Grid

    Rebates are for 90% at least they are on LI
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    Mass

    In Mass 90% only gets you 1k, 96% 1,500.. What concerns me is your installing a boiler that is not rated to what the yellow label states. How do you explain that to the homeowner? The perception is something smells fishy.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    efficiencies

    How can the manufacturers be held responsible when they tested per the written standard. My understanding is the process was not written clearly.

    Gordy,

    The case I referenced was a change out so no system changes.

    Modulating vs on off if comparing apples to apples other than boiler type the difference is very minimal. Btu's per hour is btu's per hour. The only difference in a higher temp system is slightly higher stack temps and a small stand by loss. The difference again is minimal. We know boiler efficiency is a very small part of fuel savings much more comes from system efficiency. We also know that a mod/con boiler efficiency takes a bigger hit on efficiency than a cast iron boiler. A cast iron boiler has 7 times more thermal transfer than stainless steel.

    Lets say a mod/con does save 10% more fuel than a cast iron boiler again all being equal that is only $100 per thousand. How many people who use gas and a new boiler use $1000 today? Very few. Let's say the gas bill is $700. Now it is $70, deduct the $9 meter charge the gas company rips you off for and it is now a savings of $61.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    Condensate

    Jason leaves out the fundemental difference in his comparison. In a simple word, condensate. That is the other 10-15% of laten heat that is lost in a non condensing boiler. We do know that for every one gallon of condensate a condensing boiler can produce we have saved 8,000 btu/hr that a traditional boiler waste through its venting.



    That alone could produce a 15% yearly energy savings through usable heat that you paid for is now working instead of leaving. We could also talk about jacket loss of useable heat that again in a traditional system is your fuel dollars lost but saved again to useable heat in a modulating condensing boiler.



    The arguement that there is not substainal fuel savings because somone didn't do a heat loss, set up the boiler properly or designed the system as a whole properly is also not a rebuttal to the total fuel or energy savings that a modulating condensing boiler will provide.



    Time after time consumers are reporting back savings from 25% upto 50% with 35% being the average. I can only provide feedback on the hundreds of jobs I've had my hands in.



    This argument time after time is like arguing that the savings from using fuel injection in an automobile isn't that much more then a ole 4 barrel carburator. Is all an automobiles fuel milesge increase because if that one part in the car ir truck? No, the entire car system from the aerodynamics to the tires plays a role and its the same thing here.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    edited November 2012
    Seven times the heat transfer

    Jason, looking at the thermal conductivity of a material without regard to anything else (such as the thickness of the material between the fire side and the water side, most trivially, but also a number of other system design differences) seems very superficial. My Prestige Solo's "stack" temperature is the same as the return water temperature. That would definitely not be an indication of any sort of issue with the heat exchanger - it's as good as it gets, without going to such measures as metering condensate (something that, as Chris pointed out, is definitely not an option on a cast iron heat exchanger boiler, but might distinguish one condensing boiler over another - capturing latent heat is not an all-or-nothing issue, but depends on a number of factors including the heat exchanger designs; every mod-con will leave some portion of the water vapor in the exhaust stream, as you can convince yourself by looking at the vent outlet in cold weather.)
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Common Sense

    This is not a sales pitch for any one boiler over another, but explains the wide differences that exist between boiler types. You can argue a manufacturers claim, as to what creates a more efficient boiler, but you can't argue that the old technology conventional boiler can even come close to the most modern systems. http://www.energykinetics.com/documents/afue/afuePositionPaper.pdf
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    AFUE and boilers

    I agree strongly that we need a more accurate metric for the consumer (and run-of-the -mill contractor) to compare efficiencies.



    Getting a conventional boiler to operate at full efficiency is not impossible, but by the time you add up the buffer tank, motorized mixing valve, and controls, the equipment cost approaches the price of a mod/con boiler.  If the mod/con has a low head loss HX and the system can be direct pumped, the installation cost should actually be less.
  • Jason_13
    Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    Boiler efficiency

    Chris,

    "Time after time consumers are reporting back savings from 25% up to 50% with 35% being the average. I can only provide feedback on the hundreds of jobs I've had my hands in."

    I worked for a fairly large oil company of about 27k oil customers. We tracked 3 years of history in the computer. When we were not doing heat losses the savings for the customer was 10 - 20%. After we started doing heat losses the savings jumper to 25-40% which is an average of about 32%. This was all based on fuel used, degree days and "K" factors. This is proof that boiler sizing is important. Granted this was on all heating units oil and gas and boilers and furnaces. We had about 58% of our sales were boilers.

    I do mod/cons and cast iron both. I just see the fuel saved by the customer as fairly close no matter which boiler is installed.



    SWEI

    "Getting a conventional boiler to operate at full efficiency is not impossible, but by the time you add up the buffer tank, motorized mixing valve, and controls, the equipment cost approaches the price of a mod/con boiler.  If the mod/con has a low head loss HX and the system can be direct pumped, the installation cost should actually be less."

    It does not take all that to make the cast iron boiler efficient. Just size it properly and reduce the amount of micro-zones zones. Boiler efficiency does not make a big difference in the fuel bill. System efficiency plays a bigger part.

    If you remember back when zoning was proven to save fuel in the 50's by making one zone into two. The other side of the coin was boiler efficiency went down but the increase in system efficiency saved more fuel than the loss of boiler efficiency wasted.

    With some cast iron boilers being able to return lower system return temps (110f) and ODR getting more popular the system efficiency goes up a fair amount. More savings from the cast iron boilers. Gets closer to minimal operating temps of mod/cons in most systems.

    I also agree the mod/con is a perfect match for low water temp operating systems and also a good choice (not the only choice) for a large water volume system. The argument is really for copper tube baseboards systems.



    I heard today the problem with the mod/con efficiency issue if from the software written by DOE for calculating the AFUE and AHRI is the one that found the problem.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Jason

    Quote..."The case I referenced was a change out so no system changes"

    The discussion was based on that statement.  Which cast- iron boiler manufacturers recommend return temps of 110*? As long as you have the heat going up the chimney that you do with a conventional boiler, it will not come close to the efficiency of a mod/con.
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    edited November 2012
    Really?

    "I heard today the problem with the mod/con efficiency issue if from the software written by DOE for calculating the AFUE and AHRI is the one that found the problem."



    That's interesting because AHRI doesn't do any testing, they accept manufacturer claims based on independent reports and verify the testing with retesting 2% of submissions via a independent lab. All his comes at a cost to the manufacturer to be listed in the AHRI directory and have a certification number.



    AHRI on their own test nothing, your forgetting they are a for profit listing and government lobby institution.



    When will you people wake up and see who and what AHRI really is?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    full efficiency

    Is easy with a properly sized boiler at or near design conditions.  It's the other 90% of the operating hours that require extra work.  Modulating oil burners would help significantly, but those are still quite rare on residential-sized equipment.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    edited November 2012
    Looks Like

    Some have already recertified and others will be done in the next

    week or so. Lochinvar is newly listed as 95%. Does

    Anyone know if they were at 96% prior to this?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    1%

    Yes Lochinvar dropped theirs 1%.

    I suspect they had advanced notice this was coming since they had literature and online adjusted quickly.

    Can we say inside information on this?

    However, it doesn't mean much, because they haven't tested by any new procedure that has yet been defined or developed.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    HDE

    Some of the other mfgs have come in too. None of them seem to be back to where they were prior to this notice. New certificates can be found in the AHRI Directory. It is my understanding from one boiler mfg that the new testing procedures are headed to mfgs tomorrow.



    What will be interesting is seeing the differences in boiler models made by different manufactures that use the exact same heat exchangers. How could one be different then another?
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    With all heat exchangers the same?

    Pipe & pump selection and sizes, which would affect heat exchanger flow rates

    Burner style and type

    Condensate collection and its usage for latent recovery

    Flue/flue temp



    In the end it could 1/10 to 9/10's of % difference and with a 2-3% margin allowed, we know they will round up, so probably mostly the same.
  • CMadatMe
    CMadatMe Member Posts: 3,066
    I've Noticed

    Some substantial drops in AFUE on some that have retested...PureFire 110 down to 93% and HTP's new addition to the family 92%.
    "The bitter taste of a poor installation remains much longer than the sweet taste of the lowest price."
  • TomD
    TomD Member Posts: 2
    Scratching head on a few things...

    D**n it Jim, I'm just a simple big city architect! Something is confusing me here...



    So it's been pointed out that AHRI is the trade organization representing the very much for-profit manufacturers. They're "tools" of the industry - but am I understanding correctly that they pointed out to the Department of Energy, essentially, that the manufacturer's listed ratings were TOO HIGH? That seems like an odd thing for a trade organization to do.



    Am I mis-understanding what has been going on?
  • HDE
    HDE Member Posts: 225
    Right on

    Especially since AHRI contracts with a lab to test and or verify these AFUE ratings.



    I believe it is an organization looking to drive the boat in the future. But, manufactures stop listing with AHRI, they are out of business. Tough to figure out thier angle on this.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Insider Info?

    Maybe it was Lochinvar that discovered the error, and forced them to disclose it, or lose all credibility.
  • TomD
    TomD Member Posts: 2
    Lochinvar?

    I've been trying to find out a little more about this - what did Lochinvar have to do with it? Any links to articles?
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Just

    taking your previous post.....asking why would they do this, and another post saying Lochinvar seemed to only drop theirs a small amount, and have things ready very quickly. For me, it seems as though someone forced their hand? Just speculation.
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