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Residential Furnaces and Boilers

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has regulated the energy efficiency level of residential furnaces and boilers since 1987. Residential furnaces and boilers include gas, electric, and oil-fired furnaces and boilers that are used to provide central heating to residential dwellings. Furnaces heat air and distribute the heated air through the house using ducts. Boilers heat water, providing either hot water or steam for heating. Steam is distributed via pipes to steam radiators, and hot water can either be distributed via baseboard radiators, radiant floor systems, or can heat air via a coil.

The standards for residential furnaces and boilers implemented in 1992 will save approximately 3.9 quads of energy and result in approximately $46.2 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 1992-2021. The standard will avoid about 206 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 40.4 million automobiles.

Standards mandatory in 2012 for residential boilers will save approximately 0.5 quads of energy and result in approximately $6.5 billion in energy bill savings for products shipped from 2012-2036. The standard will avoid about 28.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 5.6 million automobiles.


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


Recent Updates

DOE published a notice of public meeting to demonstrate the analytical tools developed by the agency in support of a proposed rule to consider amended energy conservation standards. 79 FR 64517 (October 30, 2014)

While DOE will demonstrate these analytical tools with the content provided in the residential non-weatherized gas furnace and mobile home gas furnace rulemaking, and will entertain questions related to that content, the public meeting will not address any deliberative issues related to that specific docket.

DOE will host a public meeting Friday, November 7, 2014 from 9 AM - 1 PM at DOE's Forrestal Building, Room 4A-104, 1000 Independence Ave, SW Washington, DC 20585. To attend please notify Ms. Brenda Edwards (202) 586-2945

The public meeting will also be broadcast via webinar.  Please click here to register


On April 24, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order adopting a settlement agreement in litigation that, among other things, vacated the Department of Energy's (DOE's) minimum efficiency standards for non-weatherized gas furnaces and remanded that proceeding back to DOE for further rulemaking.  The settlement agreement included a provision that in the rulemaking on remand, "DOE will make available to the public the data gathered and analyzed by the agency prior to publication of a proposed rule. DOE will endeavor to post such data as they become available during the agency’s development of a proposed rule. At a minimum, the agency will make such data available to the public within 30 days after the Office of Management and Budget receives a draft proposed rule from DOE."

In fulfillment of that obligation, DOE is releasing the following documents: preliminary life-cycle cost spreadsheet can be accessed here

DOE published a final rule technical amendment regarding residential furnaces. 79 FR 43927 (July 29, 2014).

On June 27, 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published in the Federal Register a direct final rule (DFR) under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 6291-6309, which set forth amended energy conservation standards for residential furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps, including regional standards for different product types in indicated States. 76 FR 37408. The American Public Gas Association (APGA) challenged the stricter 90% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency standard applying to non-weatherized gas furnaces in the northern region of the United States. A number of other entities intervened in that suit, challenging DOE’s standards for air conditioners and heat pumps in addition to furnaces. On April 24, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit accepted a settlement agreement to resolve this lawsuit. American Public Gas Ass’n v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, No. 11-1485 (D.C. Cir.).

Under the settlement, the portion of the rule relating to energy conservation standards for non-weatherized gas furnaces is vacated and remanded to DOE for a new notice and comment rulemaking proceeding.  The remaining portions of the challenged rule, i.e., the conservation standards for other furnaces, central air conditioners, and heat pumps remain in place. Further, DOE has agreed to: conduct an administrative proceeding to clarify its process related to direct final rules; clarify its position regarding its enforcement authority vis-à-vis distributors; exercise its enforcement discretion by not seeking civil penalties for violations of the regional air conditioner standards for 18 months, so as to alleviate problems related to product sell-through and stranded inventory; and consider a negotiated rulemaking to address enforcement of regional standards for central air conditioners.

DOE published a notice of data availability (NODA) regarding energy conservation standards for residential boilers. 79 FR 8122 (February 11, 2014). For more information, please see the rulemaking page.

DOE published a final rule regarding test procedures for two-stage and modulating condensing furnaces and boilers. 78 FR 41265 (July 10, 2013). For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.


Standards for Residential Furnaces and Boilers

The following content summarizes the energy conservation standards for residential furnaces and boilers. 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

Residential furnaces and boilers manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291 (16), must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(e)(1)(i) and (e)(2)(i). This information is also available in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

The Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of residential furnaces shall not be less than the following for non-weatherized gas-fired furnaces manufactured before November 19, 2015; non-weatherized oil-fired furnaces manufactured before May 1, 2013; and weatherized furnaces manufactured before January 1, 2015:

Table 1. Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Furnaces
Product Class AFUE1
(percent)
(A) Furnaces (excluding classes noted below) 78
(B) Mobile home furnaces 75
(C) Small furnaces (other than those designed solely for installation in mobile homes) having an input rate less than 45,000 Btu/h
  1. Weatherized (outdoor)
  2. Non-weatherized (indoor)
78
78

1 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, as determined in section 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2).

The AFUE of residential furnaces shall not be less than the following starting on the compliance date shown in the table:

Table 2. Energy Conservation Standards for Non-Weatherized Furnaces and Weatherized Gas and Oil-Fired Furnaces

Furnace Product Class

AFUE1 (percent)

Compliance Date

(A) Non-weatherized gas furnaces (not including mobile home furnaces)

80

November 19, 2015

(B) Mobile Home gas furnaces

80

November 19, 2015

(C) Non-weatherized oil-fired furnaces (not including mobile home furnaces)

83

May 1, 2013

(D) Mobile home oil-fired furnaces

75

September 1, 1990

(E) Weatherized gas furnaces

81

January 1, 2015

(F) Weatherized oil-fired furnaces

78

Janurary 1, 1992

(G) Electric furnaces

78

Janurary 1, 1992

1 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, as determined in section 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2).

Furnaces manufactured on or after May 1, 2013, shall have an electrical standby mode power consumption (PW,SB) and electrical off mode power consumptions (PW,OFF) not more than the following:

Table 3. Electrical Standby Mode Power Consumption and Electrical Off Mode Power Consumption for Furnaces

Furnace Product Class

Maximum standby mode electrical power consumption, PW,SB (watts)

Maximum off mode electrical power consumption, PW,OFF (watts)

(A) Non-weatherized oil-fired furnaces (not including mobile home furnaces)

11

11

(B) Electric furnaces

10

10

    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:

    The AFUE of residential boilers manufactured before September 1, 2012 shall not be less than the following:

    Table 4. Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Boilers Before September 1, 2012
    Boiler Product Class AFUE1 (percent)
    (A) Boilers (excluding gas steam) 80
    (B) Gas steam boilers 75

    1 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, as determined in section 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2). (NOTE: The CFR refers to 10 CFR 430.22(n)(3), which is a misprint. The correct section is 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2) as listed above.)

    For boilers, the AFUE of residential boilers manufactured on or after September 1, 2012, shall not be less than the following and must comply with the design requirements as follows:

    Table 5. Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Boilers On or After September 1, 2012
    Boiler Product Class AFUE1 (percent) Design Requirements
    (A) Gas-fired hot water boiler 82 Constant burning pilot not permitted.
    Automatic means for adjusting water temperature required (except for boilers equipped with tankless domestic water heating coils).
    (B) Gas-fired steam boiler 80 Constant burning pilot not permitted.
    (C) Oil-fired hot water boiler 84 Automatic means for adjusting temperature required (except for boilers equipped with tankless domestic water heating coils).
    (D) Oil-fired steam boiler 82 None
    (E) Electric hot water boiler None Automatic means for adjusting temperature required (except for boilers equipped with tankless domestic water heating coils

    1 Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, as determined in section 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2). (NOTE: The CFR refers to 10 CFR 430.22(n)(3), which is a misprint. The correct section is 10 CFR 430.23(n)(2) as listed above.)

    A boiler that is manufactured to operate without any need for electricity or any electric connection, electric gauges, electric pumps, electric wires, or electric devices is not required to meet the AFUE or design requirements applicable to the boiler requirements of Table 5, but must meet the requirements of Table 4, as applicable.

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

    Test Procedure for Residential Furnaces and Boilers

    Current Test Procedure

    To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(n) for residential furnaces and boilers. The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR 430 Appendix N to Subpart B. These are 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.

    Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

    Waivers

    Test procedure waivers have not been issued for residential furnaces and boilers.

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

    Exceptions

    DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has not authorized exception relief for residential furnaces and boilers.

    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 furnaces and boilers 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, as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(5),/a>) These appliances are covered products under Part A. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(5)).

    Historical Information

    The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 amended EPCA by establishing energy conservation standards for residential furnaces and boilers and requiring DOE to consider amending standards in two subsequent rulemakings. In 2007, DOE published a final rule that amended standards for residential furnaces and boilers. Following the publication of the 2007 final rule, Congress enacted the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, which amended the energy conservation standards for boilers. DOE codified the EISA 2007 energy conservation standards for boilers in a 2009 final rule technical amendment. In 2011, DOE published a direct final rule that amended standards for residential furnaces.

    In 1997, DOE published a final rule that amended the original test procedure for furnaces and boilers. The rule amended the test procedure to incorporate provisions contained in test procedure waivers granted to different manufacturers from 1985 to 1996 and to include test procedures for new product designs.

    In 2010, DOE published a final rule that amended the original test procedure for residential furnaces and boilers to include standby and off mode energy use.

    Previous Test Procedures

    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 boilers use about 6% less energy than a standard boiler, while qualified oil furnaces are up to 4% more energy efficient than baseline models and can save an average of $66 in energy costs per year.

    Contact information

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


    residential_furnaces_and_boilers@ee.doe.gov