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What the NOx? Furnace Emission Regulations for Los Angeles


Over the years of human history, we’ve experienced a boom of innovation. And while so many inventions have made our lives better, there have been unintended consequences. As a result, governing organizations get involved. That’s why there is a new regulation for low NOx furnaces in the Los Angeles area.

So, why should any Los Angeles homeowner be concerned with this rule? Keep reading to learn more.  

Tell me: what is a NOx exactly?  

Let’s go back to science class for a quick minute. From chemistry 101, you know that two elements can make up a compound. For example, H2O – or water! – is simply hydrogen and oxygen. Also, carbon dioxide is the two elements, carbon and oxygen.

In the same way, NOx is simply nitrogen and oxygen. However, the term “NOx” typically includes any combination, like nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

Where does NOx come from?

A furnace works similarly to a gas grill. On a gas-powered grill, the valve for gas opens when you turn the knob. At the same time, the grill creates a spark with the starter. The result of the gas and the spark is a flame.

Your furnace is similar. When your thermostat senses it’s time for your furnace to heat, a gas valve opens inside the furnace. This combination creates a flame. This process is called combustion. 

A small amount of nitrogen gas is released anytime there is combustion. The nitrogen attaches to oxygen air, which is what creates the NOx compound. A duct called a flue helps direct the compound away from your home and into the atmosphere.

So, a furnace is considered low NOx if it creates less emissions than a typical unit.

Why is NOx important?

According to research from the EPA, NOx is a major contributor to ozone. Ozone then becomes smog. Smog causes breathing problems and itchy eyes. And, smog has a long-term environmental impact.  

If you’re thinking vehicles are the reason for smog, you’re not wrong. Cars are a big reason for smog. But that’s because cars – just like furnaces – require fuel combustion for operation. If you’re following along so far, you know that that means. Vehicle emissions create NOx, just like furnaces.

For decades, vehicle emissions have been regulated by the government in order to reduce air pollution.  With car emissions at an all-time low, similar regulations are being put in place for other sources.

Low NOx Requirements in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is regulated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

LA has had a long-standing problem with air pollution and smog. So, the requirements for furnace emissions are especially limiting.

Since October 1, 2019, any furnace must meet the requirement for ultra low NOx. Furnaces that are offered for sale, supplied, sold, or installed must emit less than 14 nanograms per Joule of NOx.

Looking to Buy a Furnace in LA? Know the NOx.

Is your furnace at the end of its life? If so, you might be in the market for a replacement furnace. It’s critical to be aware of this new law.

Most importantly:  homeowners in Los Angeles can only buy an Ultra-Low-NOx furnace.

So, while you are shopping around for your new furnace, make sure you look for ultra low NOx systems. Make sure the unit you’re researching complies with the requirements of the Southern California AQMD.  

The good news is that MightyServ is partnered with Carrier, a world leader in heating and cooling. Carrier has developed the Infinity Ultra Low-NOx furnace. This new furnace meets the ultra-low NOx requirements. Plus, the unit includes many other features like a fan that operates at different speeds for your comfort. And, this unit is covered by a 10-year parts limited warranty. The heat exchanger has a lifetime limited warranty upon timely registration. 

Be careful – Only work with a trustworthy HVAC contractor like MightyServ  

No matter what kind of home service you pursue, it’s essential that you would with a dependable service provider.

There are a few heating and cooling installers that may be down on their luck. It’s possible they might be left with extra inventory of furnaces. They might not be able to sell those furnaces because of these new requirements.

So, if you get a deal on a furnace that sounds too good to be true, listen to your gut. These scam artists need to be reported to the AQMD.  Instead, make sure the service provider you use is reliable.

MightyServ, formally MightyServ, can help you find the perfect ultra-low-NOx furnace. Our team is familiar with the intricacies of the rules. If you have any questions at all about the rules, please let contact us. Allow our team to give you peace of mind with a visit from one of our experts. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!


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