WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to amend the definition of vented hearth heater that was specified in the April 16, 2010, final rule on revised minimum efficiency requirements for Direct Heating Equipment.

DOE is proposing to revise the definition of vented hearth heater to replace the exception for heaters with inputs of 9,000 Btuh or less with better defined criteria so as to exclude decorative gas appliances from the minimum annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) requirements of the April 16, 2010, final rule. The proposed revised definition exempts vented hearth heaters that are certified to either ANSI Standard Z21.60 or ANSI Standard Z21.50, which are sold without a thermostat and marked “Decorative Product: Not For Use As A Heating Appliance.” The proposed definition also adds a standing pilot ban for decorative gas appliances, effective on July 1, 2014. A public meeting to discuss this NOPR will be held on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2011, at the DOE offices in Washington, D.C. Written comments on the NOPR must be submitted by Sept. 20, 2011.

The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) noted that, although this proposal would exempt decorative gas appliances from minimum AFUE requirements, it does not address the larger issue presented in AHRI’s previous comments, namely that the minimum efficiency standards established for direct heating equipment by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act (NAECA) do not apply to decorative gas appliances, i.e., decorative gas appliances are not NAECA-covered products.

Publication date:08/15/2011