Department of Energy’s Furnace Regulations Go Into Effect July 2019

Department of Energy’s Furnace Regulations Go Into Effect July 2019

by HVAC Distributors

The Department of Energy (DOE) published a final rule regarding residential furnace fan energy ratings (FER) in July 2014. Major manufacturers (any manufacturer with sales of $8+ million) are required to have FER-compliant furnaces in production by July 3, 2019.

The goal of the regulation is to continue to improve the energy efficiency of residential appliances. The DOE has mandated a minimum fan efficiency for residential furnaces. Furnaces not meeting these minimum standards will cease production effective July 3, 2019. (You can read the full text of the final rule here).

This change does not directly affect furnace purchases by the contractor. While supplies last, you will be able to purchase non-FER-compliant products for your residential installation needs. However, it is important to be aware of the transition and make appropriate adjustments to future job costs.

If you have a large job upcoming that is being fulfilled by HVAC Distributors and may include FER-regulated furnaces, please contact your account manager.

Affected Products

The FER requirement affects gas, oil and electric residential furnaces. From HVAC Distributors in-stock product line, this includes certain models of:

  • Amana
  • Bard
  • GMC
  • Goodman
  • Spirit
  • Olsen
  • Thermo Pride

What does this mean for HVAC Contractors?

  • Product Supply Isn’t an Issue. Amana and Goodman variable speed and modulating furnaces (example: *MEC, *MVC, *MVM), already comply with the minimum FER requirement. Certain Spirit, Thermo Pride, Olsen and Bard furnaces also comply. Also, as noted, contractors are able to purchase and install furnaces that do not meet FER requirements as long as those products are available. The regulation relates specifically to production, not purchase and installation.
  • Product Knowledge Is Important.
    • Your technicians will need to understand the ECM motor, and other technical product updates that will improve fan efficiency. Many manufacturers use the ECM motor to achieve FER required minimum efficiencies. In an article for HPAC Magazine, Ian McTeer explains the technical differences between PSC and ECM motors.In a recent article from The News, Eaton’s product manager, Nicole George, notes other methods manufacturers can use to meet minimum fan efficiency standards, including combinations of sensors, controls and variable frequency drives.

      Technicians can also check out HVAC Distributors’ customer technical training.

    • Your salespeople will need to understand the differences — and benefits — that this regulation will provide homeowners. The biggest benefit of an FER-compliant furnace is savings on electrical bills because of their efficiency. (ACHR’s January 2018 article on the regulatory change provides some explanation of the efficiency gains.)