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Residential Clothes Washers

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of residential clothes washers since 1988. Residential clothes washers use a water solution of soap and/or detergent and mechanical agitation or other movement to clean clothes. These include automatic, semi-automatic, and "other" clothes washers (known collectively as "clothes washer products"). This category does not include commercial clothes washers used in commercial settings, multifamily housing, or coin laundries.

Standards put in place in 1994, 2004, and 2007 will save approximately 16.4 quads of energy and result in approximately $346.2 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1994-2036. The standards will avoid about 870.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 170.6 million automobiles.

Standards put in place in 2012 and mandatory in 2015 and 2018 will save approximately 2.7 quads of energy, 3 trillion gallons of water, and result in approximately $80 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2015-2044. The standard will avoid about 141.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 27.8 million automobiles.


Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information


Recent Updates

DOE published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking regarding test procedure amendments for residential clothes washers. 79 FR 23061 (April 25, 2014). For more information, please visit the rulemaking page.


Standards for Residential Clothes Washers

The following content summarizes the energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.

Current Standard

Clothes washers manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16), on or after the dates shown in the table below must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(g). This information is also available in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

The modified energy factor standards are determined by dividing the clothes washer capacity measured in cubic feet by the total power consumption of the clothes washer measured in kWh/cycle. The product should be rounded off to two decimal places. Water factor is determined by dividing the gallons of water per cycle by the clothes washer capacity measured in cubic feet. The product should be rounded off to one decimal place. If the calculation for modified energy factor or water factor is halfway between the nearest two values, round it up to the higher of these values.

Table 1. Current Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Washers
Product Class Modified Energy Factor (ft3/kWh/cycle) Water Factor (gal/cycle/ft3)
(minimum values) (maximum values)
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 0.651 Not Applicable
2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.262 9.53
3. Top-loading, Semi-automatic Not Applicable4 Not Applicable
4. Front-loading 1.262 9.53, 5
5. Suds-saving Not Applicable3, 4 Not Applicable

1 For clothes washers manufactured after January 1, 2004
2 For clothes washers manufactured after January 1, 2007
3 For clothes washers manufactured after January 1, 2011
4 Must have an unheated rinse water option
5 Applies to standard-size front-loading clothes washers only

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this standard, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Standard

Clothes washers manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16), on or after March 7, 2015, and before January 1, 2018, must meet the energy conservation standards shown in the table below, as specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(g)(3) . This information is also available in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

Table 2. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Washers1
Product Class Integrated Modified Energy Factor (ft3/kWh/cycle) Integrated Water Factor (gal/cycle/ft3)

(minimum values) (maximum values)
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 0.86 14.4
2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.29 8.4
3. Front-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 1.13 8.3
4. Front-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.84 4.7

1 For clothes washers manufactured on or after March 7, 2015 and before January 1, 2018.

Clothes washers manufactured and distributed in commerce on or after January 1, 2018 must meet the energy conservation standards shown in the table below:

Table 3. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Clothes Washers1
Product Class Integrated Modified Energy Factor (ft3/kWh/cycle) Integrated Water Factor (gal/cycle/ft3)

(minimum values) (maximum values)
1. Top-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 1.15 12.0
2. Top-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.57 6.5
3. Front-loading, Compact (less than 1.6 ft3 capacity) 1.13 8.3
4. Front-loading, Standard (1.6 ft3 or greater capacity) 1.84 4.7

1 For clothes washers manufactured on or after January 1, 2018.

After a regulatory action has been completed, Executive Order 12866 requires agencies to identify the substantive changes between the draft submitted to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review and the action subsequently announced, and to identify those changes made at the suggestion or recommendation of OIRA. The document below provides more information:

Test Procedure for Residential Clothes Washers

Current Test Procedure

To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(j) for residential clothes washers as of January 1, 2004. The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR Part 430, Subpart B, Appendix J1. These are also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

Amended Test Procedure

DOE published an amended test procedure for residential clothes washers on March 7, 2012, specified in 10 CFR Part 430, Subpart B, Appendix J2. Manufacturers must use the amended test procedure beginning March 7, 2015.

The full text of amended test procedures is available in the Federal Register notices below. It is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Test Cloth Correction Factors

The Test Cloth Correction Factors page contains the information used to determine the test cloth correction factors for each test cloth lot.

Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

Waivers

Test procedure waivers have been issued for residential clothes washers. The waivers specifically address units with a capacity exceeding 3.6 cubic feet and units with adaptive controls, which are not covered under the current DOE test procedure. For more information on the waivers granted and those waiver petitions still pending final action, if any, please see waiver actions.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR section 430.27.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for residential clothes washers. For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

State Exemptions to Federal Pre-emption

DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the Federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart D.

Small Business Exemptions

Any manufacturer of a covered product with annual gross revenues that do not exceed $8,000,000 from all its operations and meets certain other conditions may apply for an exemption to the energy conservation standard. For details, see 10 CFR part 430, subpart E.

Statutory Authority

The current energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers are mandated by Part A, the "Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles" of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6291–6309) These appliances are treated as covered products under Part A. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(7))

Historical Information

EPCA established the Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other than Automobiles, covering major household appliances including residential clothes washers. Later, the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 amended EPCA by establishing energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers and requiring DOE to consider amending standards in two subsequent rulemakings. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 prescribed new standards for residential clothes washers and required that DOE consider amending these standards.

Past Standards

2001 Rule

Past Test Procedures

2003 Rule

2001 Rule

  • Final Rule, Federal Register, 66 FR 3314 (January 12, 2001)

1997 Rule

  • Correction, Federal Register, 63 FR 16669 (April 6, 1998)
  • Final Rule, Federal Register, 62 FR 45484 (August 27, 1997)

Helpful Links and Contact Information

Helpful Links

Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified clothes washers use about 30% less energy and half the amount of water used by regular washers.

Contact information

For more information related to the regulation of this product, please email:


clothes_washers@ee.doe.gov