The Department of Energy (DOE) recently published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to amend its definition of "vented hearth heaters." The proposed change would require decorative hearth products, such as gas log sets, to be included as direct heating equipment. DOE reasons that any appliance that has a flame also warms the surrounding air space regardless of the method of heat transfer and, therefore, falls under the definition of direct heating equipment. DOE is also amending the definition to shift the focus from their April 2010 Final Rule that limits the energy efficiency standard exclusion criteria of decorative hearth products from a maximum input capacity to 9,000 Btu/h to other factors such as including the absence of pilot lights or other continuously burning ignition sources.
This rulemaking could have significant impact to propane decorative hearth products that are not designed to provide direct heat but are equipped with a thermostat as they will be required to meet the same Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) requirements found for gas hearth direct heating equipment designed specifically to warm the surrounding air. Further, by including vented gas log sets in the definition change, which were not previously considered as direct heating equipment, it codifies gas log sets as vented hearth heaters, i.e. direct heating equipment, and would make them subject to future efficiency rulemakings should these proposed changes be approved by DOE. NPGA is evaluating the rulemaking and also coordinating with the HPBA regarding our response to DOE. For further information contact Bob Elliott.
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