Construction heat furnace ban delayed

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An agreement by furnace manufacturers to prohibit the use of home heating furnaces for construction heat in residential projects has been postponed to allow homebuilders time to adapt. Initially planned for implementation Sept. 1, the change now take place May 1, 2017, reports the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI).

Manufacturers have long complained about the damage caused by drywall dust and other construction debris and the resulting warranty claims on furnaces used during construction. They want an end to the practice.

Because building codes require furnaces to be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, manufacturers have agreed to standard wording in their instructions to prohibit the use of furnaces for construction heat, which effectively bans the practice.

Homebuilders are not happy, expressing concern that this would increase their costs and throw a wrench into their planning processes. On Sept. 20 HRAI officials met with the Canadian Home Builders Association and the Ontario Home Builders Association to deal with some of these issues.

The groups are working to come up with a concrete definition of when the construction process is deemed substantially complete in advance of occupancy. Homebuilders raised concerns about the need to circulate air through the home once the home is insulated and sealed to prevent mold from forming. This requires that the HVAC system be operating, often well in advance of occupancy.

The three associations agreed to strike a small joint-subcommittee of builders, manufacturers and contractors to come to an agreement on when the furnace can be activated.

HRAI also agreed to prepare a more detailed description of the specific effects of construction debris on system performance to help homebuilders better understand the problem.

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