Biden Issues New Restrictions On Common Household Appliance

by Jessica

The Biden administration has announced sweeping regulatory changes that will impact one of the most common household appliances: gas furnaces.

This new move is aimed at both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering household utility costs, as reported by Fox News on Friday, September 29, 2023.

The Department of Energy (DOE) unveiled these energy efficiency regulations, asserting that the changes would result in annual savings of $1.5 billion for American households while concurrently curbing emissions from the residential sector.

The primary objective of this proposal, according to the DOE, is to mandate significantly higher efficiency standards for non-weatherized gas furnaces and those installed in mobile homes.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm emphasized the directive from Congress to review and finalize energy standards for household appliances.

These appliances include residential furnaces, as part of a broader mission to reduce energy consumption and limit pollutants in homes across the nation.

Granholm on Friday stated, “Today’s measure, along with this Administration’s past and planned energy efficiency actions, underscores President Biden’s commitment to save Americans money and deliver healthier communities.”

The DOE’s finalized regulations, set to take effect in 2028, specifically require gas furnaces to achieve an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 95%.

This means that manufacturers will only be allowed to sell furnaces that can convert at least 95% of fuel into heat within six years, a significant leap from the current market standard of 80% AFUE for residential furnaces.

However, the stringent AFUE requirements of the new regulations are expected to phase out non-condensing gas furnaces, which are generally less efficient but more affordable.

This poses a challenge for consumers looking to replace their existing non-condensing furnaces with condensing ones, as the installation costs for these high-efficiency units can be prohibitively expensive.

Richard Meyer, the vice president of energy markets, analysis, and standards at the American Gas Association (AGA), highlighted the complexities surrounding this rule.

“They’re going to have to, in many cases, install new equipment to exhaust gas out of their home.

“These higher efficiency units, or so-called condensing units — a lot of consumers have them in their home, but a lot of consumers don’t.

“So, this rule would require additional retrofits for a lot of consumers. “And those retrofits can be extremely cost prohibitive.”

AGA has estimated that the DOE regulations could potentially remove up to 60% of current residential furnaces from the market.

Despite this, the DOE argued that gas furnaces contribute to approximately 19% of annual U.S. residential energy consumption. Increasing their efficiency will save energy and, consequently, reduce emissions.

The DOE projected that the regulations announced on Friday would result in a reduction of 332 million metric tons of carbon emissions over the next three decades.

The Biden administration has not limited its energy efficiency efforts to gas furnaces alone.

In recent months, the DOE has introduced new standards for a wide range of household appliances, including gas stoves, clothes washers, refrigerators, and air conditioners.

Additionally, the federal Unified Agenda, which highlights regulatory plans for the next 12 months, reveals that the administration is moving forward with rules affecting numerous other appliances such as pool pumps, battery chargers, ceiling fans, and dehumidifiers.

The DOE’s latest announcement estimates that when combined with past and planned appliance regulations, these efforts will result in savings of $570 billion for Americans.

It would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2.4 billion metric tons over the next 30 years.

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