Consumer Clothes Washers

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As defined in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), “clothes washer” means a consumer product designed to clean clothes, utilizing a water solution of soap and/or detergent and mechanical agitation or other movement, and must be one of the following classes: automatic clothes washers, semi-automatic clothes washers, and other clothes washers. 10 CFR 430.2 Manufacturers have been required to comply with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) energy conservation standards for clothes washers since 1988.

Current Standard | Current Test Procedure | Ongoing Rulemaking for Standards | Ongoing Rulemaking for Test Procedure | Helpful Links


Recent and Ongoing Activities

DOE has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) regarding proposals to amend the test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers. DOE published the NOPR in the Federal Register on September 1, 2021, establishing a 61-day public comment period ending November 1, 2021. On October 11, 2021, DOE received a comment requesting extension of the comment period by an additional 92 days to February 1, 2022. DOE is extending the public comment period for submitting comments and data on the NOPR document by an additional 28 days, to November 29, 2021, for a total of an 89-day comment period.

DOE has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for the preliminary analysis regarding proposals to amend the energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers. DOE published the notification of a webinar and availability of preliminary technical support document in the Federal Register on September 29, 2021, establishing a 75-day public comment period ending December 13, 2021. On October 11, 2021, DOE received a comment requesting extension of the comment period by an additional 64 days to February 15, 2022. DOE is extending the public comment period for submitting comments and data on the preliminary analysis documents by an additional 45 days, to January 27, 2022, for a total of a 120-day comment period.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice to announce that they will hold a webinar to discuss and receive comments on the preliminary analysis it has conducted for purposes of evaluating energy conservation standards for consumer (residential) clothes washers (RCWs). The meeting will cover the analytical framework, models, and tools that DOE is using to evaluate potential standards for this product; the results of preliminary analyses performed by DOE for this product; the potential energy conservation standard levels derived from these analyses that DOE could consider for this product should it determine that proposed amendments are necessary; and any other issues relevant to the evaluation of energy conservation standards for RCWs. In addition, DOE encourages written comments on these subjects.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice proposing to amend the test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers by amending Appendix J2 and Appendix J3, adopting a new Appendix J, and removing Appendix J1. The proposed amendments to Appendix J2 would further specify test conditions, instrument specifications, and test settings; address large clothes container capacities; add product- specific enforcement provisions; and delete obsolete provisions. The proposed amendments to Appendix J3 would consolidate all test cloth-related provisions and codify additional test cloth material verification procedures used by industry. The proposed new Appendix J would be based on the proposed Appendix J2, with additional modifications for certain test conditions, measurement of average cycle time, required test cycles, tested load sizes, semi-automatic clothes washer provisions, new performance metrics, and updated usage factors. Whereas Appendix J2 is used to determine compliance with current clothes washer efficiency standards, the proposed new Appendix J would be used for the evaluation and issuance of updated efficiency standards, as well as to determine compliance with the updated standards. As part of this proposal, DOE is announcing a webinar to collect comments and data on this proposal. DOE is seeking comment from interested parties on the proposal.

On October 30, 2020 and December 16, 2020, the Department of Energy (DOE) published two final rules that established product classes for residential dishwashers with a cycle time for the normal cycle of 60 minutes or less, top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers with a cycle time of less than 30 minutes, and front-loading residential clothes washers with a cycle time of less than 45 minutes (short-cycle product classes). The rules resulted in amended energy conservation standards for these short cycle product classes, without determining whether the relevant statutory criteria for amending standards were met. Thus, DOE has published a Federal Register notice proposing to revoke the two earlier rules that improperly promulgated standards and reinstate the prior product classes and applicable standards for these covered products. DOE requests written comment on its proposal and announces a public meeting to receive comment on this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR).

On December 16, 2020, DOE published a final rule adopting separate product classes for top-loading consumer (residential) clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes (December 2020 final rule). DOE has now published a Federal Register notice that corrects an omission in the amended regulatory text as it appeared in the December 2020 final rule. Neither the error nor the correction in this document affect the substance of the rulemaking or any conclusions reached in support of the final rule.

  • The correction is effective May 7, 2021. 

DOE has published a Final Rule;Correction notice pertaining to the Final Rule published on December 16, 2020. DOE published a final rule establishing separate product classes for top-loading consumer clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. This correction responds to specific comments submitted by the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”), San Diego Gas and Electric (“SDG&E”), and Southern California Edison (“SCE”) in response to DOE's notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”), which were inadvertently omitted from the final rule. DOE has considered the comments and determined that in most instances, these comments raise issues substantially similar to those raised by other commenters that DOE previously considered and addressed in the final rule. To the extent these comments raise issues not explicitly addressed in the preamble of the final rule, DOE determined that the comments submitted by PG&E, SDG&E, and SCE do not alter any of the conclusions reached in support of the final rule and would not have resulted in an outcome different than as set forth in the final rule.

  • Effective January 15, 2021.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice Final Rule establishing separate product classes for top-loading consumer clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. DOE’s decision to establish these new product classes is based on the comments received in response to the proposed rule as well as testing and evaluation conducted by the Department. This rulemaking sets out the basis for the new product classes. DOE intends to determine the specific energy and water consumption limits for the new product classes in separate rulemakings in accordance with the requirements of the Department’s Process Rule.

  • The effective date of this rule is January 15, 2021.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) which DOE proposes to establish separate product classes for top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. In this notice, DOE is extending the comment period to October 13, 2020 and announcing a public hearing on September 30, 2020.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice of proposed rulemaking pertaining to energy conservation standards for consumer clothes dryers. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act, as amended (EPCA), prescribes energy conservation standards for various consumer products and certain commercial and industrial equipment, including residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers. In this notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR), DOE proposes to establish separate product classes for top-loading residential clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 30 minutes, and for front-loading residential clothes washers that offer cycle times for a normal cycle of less than 45 minutes. DOE would consider appropriate energy and water efficiency standards for such product classes, if adopted, in separate rulemakings.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for its Request for Information (RFI) regarding test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers. DOE published the RFI in the Federal Register on May 22, 2020, establishing a 30-day public comment period ending June 22, 2020. On June 10, 2020, DOE received a comment requesting extension of the comment period by 30 days (and no less than two weeks). In addition, on June 11, 2020, DOE received a comment requesting extension of the comment period by 60 days. DOE is extending the public comment period for submitting comments and data on the RFI by 14 days, to July 6, 2020.

  • Frequently Asked Questions on the request for information pertaining to test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice initiating a data collection process through this request for information (RFI), to consider whether to amend DOE’s current test procedure  for residential and commercial clothes washers. As part of this RFI, DOE seeks comment on whether there have been changes in product testing methodology or new products on the market since the last test procedure update that may create the need to make amendments to the test procedure for clothes washers. DOE also seeks data and information that could enable the agency to propose that the current test procedure produces results that are representative of an average use cycle for the product and is not unduly burdensome to conduct, and therefore does not need amendment.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice reopening the comment period for the RFI pertaining to standards for residential clothes washers.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice extending the comment period for the RFI pertaining to standards for residential clothes washers.

DOE has published Federal Register notice initiating a data collection process, through this request for information (RFI), to consider whether to amend the current energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers (RCWs).

For the latest information on the planned timing of future DOE regulatory milestones, see the current Office of Management and Budget Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. All planned dates are preliminary and subject to change.

Standards

DOE has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for the preliminary analysis regarding proposals to amend the energy conservation standards for residential clothes washers.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice to announce that they will hold a webinar to discuss and receive comments on the preliminary analysis it has conducted for purposes of evaluating standards for residential clothes washers. 86FR53886 (September 29, 2021).

DOE has published Federal Register notice Final Rule pertaining to standards for consumer clothes washers. December 20, 2020.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice reopening the comment period for the RFI pertaining to standards for residential clothes washers. 84 FR 37794 (October 3, 2019

DOE has published Federal Register notice extending the comment period for the RFI pertaining to standards for residential clothes washers. 84FR44557 (August 26, 2019).

DOE has published a Federal Register notice initiating a data collection process through a request for information (RFI) pertaining to standards for residential clothes washers. 84FR37794 (August 2, 2019).

DOE has published a Federal Register notice of a direct final rule for clothes washers. 77 FR 32308 (May 31, 2012).

The clothes washer energy conservation standard rulemaking docket EERE-2008-BT-STD-0019 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents pertaining to this rulemaking.

Public Meeting Information:

There is no public meeting scheduled at this time.

Submitting Public Comments

The comment period is closed.

Test Procedure

DOE has issued a pre-publication Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for the notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) regarding proposals to amend the test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers.

DOE has published a Federal Register notice proposing to amend the test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers. 86FR49140 (September 1, 2021). 

DOE has published a Federal Register notice extending the public comment period for its request for information regarding test procedures for residential and commercial clothes washers. 85FR38106 (June 26, 2020).

DOE has published a Federal Register notice request for information pertaining to test procedures for residential clothes washers. 85FR31065. (May 22, 2020).

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 clothes washer test procedure rulemaking docket EERE-2010-BT-TP-0021 contains all notices, public comments, public meeting transcripts, and supporting documents pertaining to this rulemaking.

Public Meeting Information

There is no public meeting scheduled at this time.

Submitting Public Comments

The comment period is closed.


Current Standard

Clothes washers 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 at 10 CFR 430.32(g).


Current Test Procedure

To determine that clothes washers that are currently manufactured or distributed into commerce are in compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedure methods specified at 10 CFR 430.23(j).

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.


Helpful Links

Compliance

DOE has established regulations on certification, compliance, and enforcement in the CFR at 10 CFR Part 429.  These regulations cover statistical sampling plans, certified ratings, certification reports, record retention, and enforcement.  More information on these regulations is available here.

Waivers

For information on current test procedure wavers, see DOE’s Waivers webpage.

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 clothes washers.

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions

For information on further guidance and answers to Frequently Asked Questions on all covered products, see DOE’s Further Guidance database.

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.

ENERGY STAR®

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency.

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

Contact information

For more information related to this product, please email:
ApplianceStandardsQuestions@ee.doe.gov


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