The Energy Department would be blocked from enacting a proposal mandating ultra-high-efficiency furnaces for the home HVAC market, under a House bill approved May 1.

The amendment, which prohibits the department from spending money to complete the process of raising the annual fuel utilization efficiency rating from 78 percent to 92 percent for non-weatherized residential gas furnaces, was attached to a bill funding the department by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.)

The House approved the amended bill 240-177.

“American families are struggling enough under the Obama economy without being saddled with additional costs because of more burdensome regulations being forced on them by bureaucrats at DOE,” said Blackburn, who acts as vice  chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “Home furnaces fail and need to be replaced when they are actually used­­­ in the middle of winter when it is cold outside. American families shouldn’t face increased costs to replace their natural gas furnace and get the heat flowing back into their homes.”

Blackburn’s amendment was supported by the HVAC construction groups the Air Conditioning Contractors of America; the Heating Air­-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International; the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute; the National Association of Home Builders; the American Gas Association; and the American Public Gas Association.

The amendment also blocks proposed regulations covering ceiling fans.