Do you need a low NOx boiler, furnace, or water heater?
For most people, low NOx (i.e. low levels of nitrous oxide emissions) is not an essential feature.
Of the 50 states in the US, only two – Texas and California – have felt the need to regulate nitrous oxide emissions for HVAC equipment.
Local regulations vary from permitting a maximum of 55ppm down to 9ppm, but all new equipment installed must adhere to state legislation.
If you live outside California or Texas, it's a personal decision. Low NOx products typically have slightly higher costs and longer lead times than their traditional counterparts. However, there are advantages to installing one in a state without low NOx regulations.
Why Texas & California Chose to Enact Low NOx Regulations
Texas and California did not arbitrarily enact low NOx regulations. There are environmental and health reasons motivating their legislation.
Installing low NOx HVAC equipment is part of a concerted effort to decrease greenhouse gases to pre-20th
High levels of nitrous oxide deplete the ozone layer while contributing to the creation of dangerous, airborne ozone.
Preventing global warming and lung damage may be the motivating force behind low NOx, but it is hardly the only advantage. Lowering the heat of the burner flame is the most common way to reduce NOx emissions.
Typically, lowering temperatures in an otherwise optimized system will lower efficiency, but premixed burners can mitigate this and even improve efficiency. Premixed fuel burners achieve the optimal blend of oxygen and fuel prior to combustion, resulting in a clean burn that doesn’t waste fuel.
Is Low NOx Equipment Hard to Come By?
While low NOx equipment is not a focus for most companies, the sizes of the California and Texas markets mean that it is a segment which cannot be ignored.
This means that it is not difficult to find low NOx versions of some of the most popular, advanced products available for space and water heating.
Goodman, for example, makes a variety of low NOx, high efficiency furnaces for both downflow and upflow applications.
For low NOx dedicated water heating, it is hard to beat Noritz; their ValueSolutions tankless water heaters are the perfect low emissions solution for residential applications.
There are even low NOx combi boilers from Triangle Tube, if you would like dual purpose heating in a single, clean-burning package. Low NOx may not be essential for most customers, but it is always an option.
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