Last week I wrote about changes coming in the industry that assure that everyone is going to pay more for HVAC replacements starting in 2024. I wrote about how these changes were at least some sort of attempt to combat global warming, even if I don’t think it’s the best path forward, at least it’s something. I also wrote about Heat Pumps and how I don’t like the way it’s being promoted, particularly because there are companies that are all too eager to sell something because you’ll potentially get a rebate, regardless of whether you’ll actually benefit from it. And then I talked about what we at All Star Mechanical are doing in our little corner of the world to assure you that you are getting what you need and not what will make the most profit for us. I mentioned that we size our equipment so that the equipment works as closely to the manufacturers specs as it can. I explained how my supplier told me that we bought about half of the smallest furnaces in the state of Michigan that Trane manufactures. It was something like 40 out of 80 of those furnaces were purchased by us in 2021. That’s pretty telling.
As I write this this morning, I have updated numbers to show even more, how the math is not mathing. The numbers are staggeringly out of whack. The smallest furnace is 40,000 btu. As of early Monday morning September 11th, 2023, in the last 365 days, 37 of these 40,000 btu furnaces were sold in Lansing. Every single one of them was to us. In the state of Michigan, they sold a total of 83. So again, we bought almost half that were sold in the entire state, AND EVERY SINGLE ONE SOLD OUT OF THE LANSING BRANCH right here as a small company in little ol Lansing. The next numbers I’m going to share are even more telling. In the last 365 days, my supplier has sold 390 furnaces at 80,000 btu. We purchased 1 of those. In the last 365 days my supplier sold 261 furnaces at 100,000 btu. We didn’t buy not even one of them. They also sold 119 furnaces at 120,000 btu and again we purchased zero of those. I’m not saying there aren’t houses that don’t need 80-120,000 btu furnaces, but there aren’t THAT many. In 15 years of business, I’ve installed only a handful of 80,000, a couple 100,000, and only one 120,000. I started out not knowing what I know now, and that’s why we sell so few of them, it’s just not necessary most of the time.
What this tells me is that other companies are installing 60,000 btu furnaces when a home only needs 40,000. 80,000 btu furnaces when the home only needs 60,000, and so on. We sell a huge amount of 60,000 btu furnaces, and a good amount of 40,000 btu furnaces. The last time we installed an 80,000 btu furnace was in a home that was over 5,000 square feet back in November of 2022. That was the only 80,000 btu furnace in the last 365 days. The furnaces we install are always getting as close to the efficiency as they are rated at. I can only imagine how inefficient so many of the furnaces that are oversized are. Not only are they inefficient, they are getting more wear and tear, and likely louder than they should be as well as not providing the best comfort.
It is my belief that these companies are content with selling you something that has a sticker that says it’s 96% efficient but installing something that will not operate to the design specs and therefore not getting its desired efficiency because the consumers only measuring stick will be if it reaches the set point on the thermostat. An oversized furnace will operate like a car in the city by starting and stopping hundreds of times a day. That wastes fuel and adds unnecessary wear and tear. The furnaces we install are sized closely to assure highway miles most of the time. A properly sized furnace offers the best efficiency, comfort, and noise reduction as well as longer lifespan of all the components due to less wear and tear. Global warming isn’t the only reason to size equipment properly, your energy usage and untimely repairs are money out of your pocket. If every company did what we do, we’d use A LOT less fuel, which would be more impactful than much of what’s being implemented next year. I often wonder why the energy companies don’t lobby for contractors to size equipment properly, maybe it has something to do with not selling as much of their product.
Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.