California recently enacted new standards regarding air pollution and emissions for residential furnace systems. Surprised? Don’t be—the overwhelming majority of California homeowners and residents have heard little to nothing about this decision. However, that’s not necessarily a good thing when it could very well have an impact on their life over the next few years.
These new rules are officially known as California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District’s Rule 1111 and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District’s Rule 4905, but we absolutely understand if you can’t commit the names to memory. However, despite the convoluted titles, both of these rules do essentially the same thing: limit the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions that natural gas furnaces release into the atmosphere.
Nitrogen oxides are gas compounds which are composed of nitrogen and oxygen, and are common byproducts of combustion cycles which burn fuels like coal, oil, gasoline, diesel fuel, and, you guessed it, natural gas. Generally, nitrogen and oxygen on their own are both completely harmless—they’re actually the two most abundant elements in the earth’s atmosphere by a considerable margin.
However, nitrogen oxides react with sunlight and other chemicals to form smog, which has become a serious issue for anyone who lives around the Los Angeles area and throughout much of Southern California. Nitrogen oxides cause issues like ground-level ozone, acid rain, deteriorating water quality, and local and macro-scale climate change. Those who struggle with severe allergies or respiratory issues like asthma also find life in high nitrogen oxide areas difficult.
What Do Rules 1111 & 4905 Do?
While the actual text of these rules is extremely long and difficult to understand, the essential principle is pretty simple. The rule targets manufacturers who sell or distribute central heating furnaces which burn natural gas as fuel and utilize a blower fan to distribute the air throughout a duct network. To be more precise, these companies must now offer and install furnaces which meet emission standards which are 65% lower in regard to nitrogen oxides. These rules went into effect as of this month, October 2019. Up until this month, you could have a furnace which did not meet this new standard installed, but you’d have to pay a fee to do so.
If you already have an older furnace which doesn’t adhere to this rule installed, then you are not required to replace it immediately. However, you will have to install a compliant furnace the next time you need yours installed. And there’s good news for those who do need to install a new furnace too: throughout Los Angeles County, Orange County, and several of the surrounding counties as well, you could qualify for a rebate of up to $500 when installing a new Rule 1111/4905-compliant furnace!