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Thread: HERS Test required when replacing furnace?

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member mjsmith0's Avatar
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    Default HERS Test required when replacing furnace?

    I just paid $5K to replace my broke down furnace with a new high efficiency model. Now the contractor is saying that in order for the inspector to pass the inspection, I need to pay $250 for a HERS test to make sure the old ducts don't leak. I'm confused because I was at home when the inspector inspected the installation and he said it passed. He wanted to sign the permit, but my contactor hadn't not given it to me yet. What do you guys say. Is this on the level? Since the price I paid for the furnace install included the cost for permits, should I be responsible for the cost of this test?

    Thanks!

    Mary

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    http://www.energy.ca.gov/2008publica...08-011-CMF.PDF

    The link is the California Energy Commision Home Energy System Rating System regulations. You figure it out@! It's greek to me!

  3. #3
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjsmith0 View Post
    I just paid $5K to replace my broke down furnace with a new high efficiency model. Now the contractor is saying that in order for the inspector to pass the inspection, I need to pay $250 for a HERS test to make sure the old ducts don't leak. I'm confused because I was at home when the inspector inspected the installation and he said it passed. He wanted to sign the permit, but my contactor hadn't not given it to me yet. What do you guys say. Is this on the level? Since the price I paid for the furnace install included the cost for permits, should I be responsible for the cost of this test?
    I'm not familiar with the test itself, but if the install cost was supposed to include all of the permits then this should have been included. Sounds like the contractor fouled up the bid and is trying to make you eat it. Ask the inspector if the HERS test is required.

    Having the ducts tested initially and making sure they are functioning properly is a good thing...but it's a bit late now. I wish to hell this sort of requirement had been in place for all NEW homes in the past 20 years. Without this builders put in leaky sieves for ductwork and folks wonder why they can't get warm/cool air where it is needed. We could probably heat and cool all the homes in a dozen or more states with the energy wasted by crappy HVAC ductwork. CA is at least headed in the right direction on this.

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    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Runs with bison View Post
    I'm not familiar with the test itself, but if the install cost was supposed to include all of the permits then this should have been included. Sounds like the contractor fouled up the bid and is trying to make you eat it. Ask the inspector if the HERS test is required.

    Having the ducts tested initially and making sure they are functioning properly is a good thing...but it's a bit late now. I wish to hell this sort of requirement had been in place for all NEW homes in the past 20 years. Without this builders put in leaky sieves for ductwork and folks wonder why they can't get warm/cool air where it is needed. We could probably heat and cool all the homes in a dozen or more states with the energy wasted by crappy HVAC ductwork. CA is at least headed in the right direction on this.
    This is part of CA Title 24 2005 (now superceded by the 2008 version, which is more restrictive in most aspects), which has many aspects regarding new or replacement heating systems/appliances, which (apparently, if the contractor is correct) requires a verification that the ducts are under the maximum leakage spec. The spec may be looser than for new construction- I'm pretty sure you don't have to retroactively re-design/modify them to meet ACCA Manual-D the way it's now required for new systems. But leakage maximums are a reasonable, since retrofit fixes to seal them are generally available & affordable. (All requirements within Title 24 2008 were vetted with a lengthy cost-effectiveness analysis.) IIIRC the replacement furnaces & air conditioners can be no larger than 15% loversized per a ACCA Manual-J heating/cooling load analysis. But don't take my word for it- some of the requirements vary by climate zone. Many of the relevant documents are downloadable here: http://www.energy.ca.gov/title24/changeout/

    I don't believe this is a new requirement for Title 24 2008 (that just went into effect)- the intial quote should have included the cost of duct testing (as well as a budgetary estimate of what it might cost to remediate duct leakage, if it was obvious from the get-go that it probably would need it.)

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