Questions answered concerning the 2013 Federal Furnace Efficiency Law

2013 Federal Furnace Efficiency Law
The new Department of Energy regional efficiency standards require all furnaces installed after May 1, 2013 in Northern states to be at least 90% efficient. Do you believe these new standards will help or hurt your business? Please explain.  
In most situations it won’t affect the business at all, as we are already installing mostly 96-98% efficient furnaces.  Many homeowners are already looking for the most efficient furnace possible. On the other hand, there are a lot of installations where it would require a large amount of remodel work in order to replace an 80% efficiency furnace with a condensing furnace.  For example, in some styles of town home units it would be extremely difficult to install a 90% efficiency furnace without moving walls, replacing kitchen cabinets, lowering ceilings, and other extensive remodeling.   Of course, these are also typically the homes where the client is more fiscally restricted.  In these cases I think you may see a lot of extensive repair work to keep equipment running that should be replaced.  So, considering this, new installs may be adversely affected, while service may be enhanced.
Are you using the new standards as a marketing tool to encourage customers to purchase non-condensing furnaces before the mandate kicks in next year? If so, what methods are you using (e.g., website, letters, TV/radio ads)? If not, why not?   
Yes we are using it as a marketing tool, primarily in social networking media. We can use this to help people become more aware of the forthcoming law changes, and to hopefully spur replacements in difficult situations prior to the rule change, as this new law may completely rule out the possibility of some clients being able to afford a new furnace.
 Are customers expressing concern yet about the new efficiency standards? Or do they know about them? For those who know, are they choosing to replace their furnaces now?
Most of our customers haven’t heard about the new rule changes; in fact, we’ve spoken with several city inspectors that didn’t know about it.  There are not many concerns from customers as of yet, but I would expect that to change as more people become aware of this law change.  For the customers that are aware of the new laws, it has most definitely prompted some furnace replacements, mainly by landlords of rental properties and town homes where they are concerned about cost and restrictive installation possibilities.
 Do many of your customers reside in homes in which it would be difficult to replace a non-condensing furnace with a condensing one? If so, please describe why it would be a challenging installation.
Many of our customers reside in single family detached homes and have already upgraded to a condensing furnace, with most upgrading to a minimum of 96% efficiency and often to at least 2 stages of operation and a variable speed blower.  We do have numerous clients that also reside in multifamily units, however, and in those situations to install a condensing furnace would be extremely difficult due to available space and venting possibilities.  In some circumstances it would require very costly remodeling work to the home to make this a possibility. For example, in many of these town home units the furnace is located in a small closet in the center of the home,  and there is no extra space for a wider condensing furnace without moving walls, which could in turn affect bathrooms or kitchens. Also, venting would require chases through the bedrooms and bathrooms, or lowering ceilings in multiple rooms. Lastly, generally speaking, exterior wall space is limited and there may be windows that make it impossible to gain clearances from flue vents.  Code changes to allow exhaust venting closer to doors and windows could alleviate this, but would be a safety concern.
Do you think the new efficiency standards will boost your sales of 80% furnaces through next April? 
 Yes, as people become more aware of these rule changes, they will become more preemptive in furnace replacements in some of the more difficult installations, primarily multifamily units.