- Biden’s energy department announced new efficiency rules for residential gas furnaces that will phase out older furnaces and make newer models mandatory, affecting about a third of U.S. homes.
- The rule will require many homes to undergo costly retrofits and eliminate consumers’ right to choose what furnace is best for them.
- This rule, like most “efficiency” regulations, will hurt the poor and those on fixed incomes the hardest.
The Biden administration finalized national efficiency rules for residential gas furnaces, which will require non-weatherized gas furnaces and those used in mobile homes to achieve a 95 percent annual fuel utilization efficiency standard by late 2028. That is, manufacturers would only be allowed to sell furnaces that convert at least 95 percent of fuel into heat. The current market standard for a residential furnace is 80 percent. The new standards will phase out older furnaces and make newer models mandatory, affecting about a third of U.S. homes, and eliminate consumer choice in another appliance area. Because of the stringent requirements, the regulations would largely take non-condensing gas furnaces, which are cheaper, off the market. Replacing a non-condensing furnace with a condensing furnace would entail hefty installation costs as many consumers will need to install new equipment to exhaust gas out of their home to accommodate the higher efficiency units, the condensing units.
The rule is part of the Department of Energy’s new efficiency standards that it has proposed or finalized for 24 appliances, according to its press release. The new gas furnace rule, opposed by the American Gas Association (AGA), could prohibit 40 to 60 percent of gas furnaces currently in homes. According to the AGA, gas furnaces are more cost effective, and the electrification of multiple appliances would be costly to consumers as many gas appliances are more cost effective. DOE claims that the new regulations will eventually cut household utility costs by $1.5 billion on an annual basis. Residential gas furnaces account for approximately 19 percent of annual residential energy use in the United States. They are particularly favored in colder regions of the country where heat pumps have not been able to handle heating comfortably.
Over the last several months, the DOE has unveiled new standards for a wide variety of appliances including gas stoves, dish washers, clothes washers, refrigerators and air conditioners. The crack down on appliance efficiency standards is a part of Biden administration’s push to electrify all appliances as part of its climate agenda. The DOE plans to spend $225 million helping state and local governments adopt building codes that push electrification and move away from gas appliances. The Biden administration is supporting a transition to electric heat pumps, despite the cost to American families to convert and the operating expense as electricity prices are increasing despite substantial subsidies for renewable generation technologies.
In February, the DOE proposed a rule to create new energy efficiency standards for gas stoves that would make at least half of U.S. stove models ineligible for repurchase in stores, and potentially a much higher percentage. The Biden administration also proposed a rule in June that would require gas generators to turn off after reaching a certain level of emissions. In July, the Biden administration announced a proposed rule affecting water heaters and proposed new rules in March for refrigerators and laundry machines that could impose billions of dollars of new costs on consumers.
According to the current federal Unified Agenda, a government-wide, semiannual list that highlights regulations agencies plan to propose or finalize within the next 12 months, the Biden administration is additionally moving forward with rules impacting dozens more appliances, including pool pumps, battery chargers, ceiling fans and dehumidifiers.
Biden’s energy department announced a new standard on gas furnaces requiring a 95 percent efficiency rate that would phase out less expensive gas units. The new rule would require retrofits for many homes that would be extremely cost prohibitive as many consumers would need to install new equipment to exhaust gas out of their home to accommodate the higher efficiency condensing units. The rule will force consumers toward electrification as the Biden administration would prefer consumers to switch to heat pumps whether they make sense for their area or their house or not.
The Biden administration’s energy department is working feverishly on updating appliance standards that would phase out many appliances that are currently in American homes. In December, DOE boasted that it had taken 110 actions on energy efficiency rules in 2022 alone as part of the President’s climate agenda, indicating that they would save consumers money. President Biden’s green energy policies, however, seek to control consumers’ choice and they are actually a costly and increasingly disruptive burden on American households.