DOE Proposes Residential Boiler AFUE Changes iStock/Thinkstock

DOE Proposes Residential Boiler AFUE Changes

The new minimum standards would go into effect starting in 2021 Hot water boilers at 85 percent AFUE Gas-fired steam boilers at 82 percent AFUE Oil-fired hot water boilers at 86 percent AFUE Oil-fired steam boilers at 86 percent AFUE PHCC supports high efficiency products, but is concerned with some of the proposed efficiency levels

The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) is considering changes to energy conservation standards for residential boilers. The new minimum standards, that would go into effect starting in 2021, are: hot water boilers at 85 percent AFUE; gas-fired steam boilers at 82 percent AFUE; oil-fired hot water boilers at 86 percent AFUE; and oil-fired steam boilers at 86 percent AFUE, starting in 2021.

PHCC supports appropriate installation of high efficiency products but is concerned with the proposed gas hot water efficiency level of 85% and the proposed oil hot water efficiency level of 86 percent approaching the condensing threshold. At some operating conditions, condensation may be produced in either the boiler or the vent system degrading the useful life of the product. 

PHCC has been actively involved on this issue, providing DOE with the perspective of contractors who actually install such equipment to help the agency develop a more practical standard. In fact, we recently asked members to complete a brief survey that asked general questions about boiler installation pricing (and if you completed the survey, thank you). The results will be shared with DOE to help the agency gauge the economic impact of the proposed change.

After DOE has reviewed all the responses on the proposed change, they will do one of two things. They could make significant adjustments to their proposed change, after which they would need to open the topic up for additional public comments. Or they could decide to post the standard as a proposed Direct Final Rule, in which case it would probably become the new law fairly quickly. Implementation of such changes generally takes place three years after they are finalized, giving contractors time to adapt their operations in preparation.

If you have comments regarding these proposed standards, please email [email protected].  

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