The US Department of Energy is turning its attention to domestic water heaters as the Biden administration targets more regulations for everyday household appliances.
The government, led by Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, last week proposed new standards for water heaters. The standards required by Congress for the efficiency of domestic water heaters have not been updated for 13 years.
Officials say the new regulations introducing energy efficiency standards would save consumers $11.4 billion annually in energy and water bills. The regulations, which would come into force in 2029, would require electric water heaters to use heat pumps to reduce carbon emissions.
Water heaters account for 13 percent of the annual home energy use and operating costs of all Americans. The new pumps are twice as efficient as the older models.
But critics are calling the move the latest in Biden’s “war” on appliances, in which the government has targeted appliances ranging from air conditioners to gas stoves in homes.
The rule would require the most common size electric water heaters to use twice as efficient heat pump technology to become more efficient
President Joe Biden’s Department of Energy is pushing its green agenda by proposing new regulations for many household goods
“Today’s actions … improve outdated efficiency standards for common household appliances, which is essential to lowering American families’ electricity bills and reducing harmful carbon emissions,” said Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm
There’s no word on whether Americans need to replace their water heaters immediately, but the rules won’t go into effect for five years. When the rules were last updated, they had the support of the biggest manufacturers.
Storage heaters typically cost between $500 and $800 and are often replaced over the life of the home.
The standards are expected to reduce more than 500 million tons of carbon emissions over 30 years.
The new regulations could make water heaters more expensive initially, but consumers should recoup the cost over time, Johanna Neumann, senior director of the nonprofit Environment America Research and Policy Center, told the Washington Post.
“Appliance standards are an unsung hero in our work to address climate change and the transition to smarter energy use,” Neumann said, “and this rule is king of them all.”
Officials estimated the new rules would save Americans an average of $1,868 over the life of their water heater.
Heat pump technology is already widespread in other countries such as Japan.
Officials estimated the new rules would save Americans an average of $1,868 over the life of their water heater
However, Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have complained about the proposed home appliance regulations
That would be equivalent to the combined annual emissions of 63 million homes, or about 50 percent of homes in the United States, the Department of Energy said.
Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the proposal “builds on the unprecedented actions this administration has already taken to reduce energy bills for working families.”
A group that includes water heater maker Rheem, environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council and efficiency and consumer organizations issued a joint statement welcoming the new standards.
However, instantaneous water heater maker Rinnai said the proposed standards for its products are “technologically impossible” and would limit consumer choice.
Home appliance regulations have become part of everyday life for the Biden administration and face criticism from Republicans. Former President Donald Trump once complained about efficiency standards for showerheads, saying they interfered with rinsing his hair.
Trump’s Energy Department has relaxed energy standards for such devices. The Biden administration later repealed the showerhead rule in 2021.
In May, the Biden administration announced a green crackdown on dishwashers.
The rules, which are part of the government’s climate change agenda, would cut water use by more than a third and lower energy use limits for dishwashers in the United States by 27 percent
Any changes would only apply to new models that go on sale once the new rules officially come into effect, likely in 2027.
The new regulations would force manufacturers to limit dishwasher water use to 3.2 gallons per wash, well below the current federal limit of 5 gallons.
In May, the Biden administration announced a green crackdown on dishwashers. The new regulations would force manufacturers to limit dishwasher water use to 3.2 gallons per wash, well below the current federal limit of 5 gallons.
The regulation also stipulates that manufacturers of dishwashers must reduce the energy consumption of their products by almost 30 percent.
Most dishwashers on the market are already well below the federal standard, with most using 3.5 gallons per wash or less.
Jill Notini, a spokeswoman for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, warned that the cost of the new rules will ultimately be borne by ordinary Americans.
“Consumers will pay the real price,” she told . “The Department of Energy has proposed very strict standards for home appliances that require higher upfront costs to buy a product.”
“Manufacturers just want to be able to deliver high-performing, full-featured products at prices that consumers of all income levels can afford.” “The Department of Defense is making this very difficult with the standards it is proposing,” Ms. Notini added.
However, government officials claim that the plans will “reduce costs for American families and businesses while combating the climate crisis.”
Abgail Marone, an adviser to Josh Hawley, a Republican Senator from Missouri, accused the Biden administration of promoting “a radical green energy agenda.”
“Leave our dishwashers alone,” she said.
Republicans recently reacted with anger after a Biden-appointed safety officer suggested authorities could ban gas stoves, which are considered major polluters. At the time, the move included a ban on traditional kitchen appliances.
The proposal was met with outrage and was quickly rejected by the White House.
Richard Trumka Jr., commissioner for the Consumer Product Safety Commission, said earlier this year that “gas range regulation has reached a boiling point.”
Trumka claimed the agency has “a responsibility to ban consumer products that emit hazardous substances, particularly when those emissions harm children.”
“Every option is on the table.” “Products that cannot be made safe can be banned,” he said.
He later had to clarify that he had been talking about new products and that a retrospective ban on gas stoves was not being considered.
Gas stove manufacturers argue that gas stoves are just as harmful as other cooking methods. A proposal to ban the oven caused outrage among many Americans
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was quick to dismiss the idea that the White House wanted to eliminate all gas stoves
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission makes decisions independently of the executive branch.
But a leaked memo from October 2022, first obtained by Fox News, shows the top safety watchdog is considering tightening regulations on hazardous emissions.
Biden’s Department of Energy has already pushed through stricter environmental standards for washing machines and refrigerators in what has been described as “steroid over-regulation.”
On his first day in office in January 2021, he signed an executive order requiring Department of Defense officials to make “significant revisions” to current device regulation standards.
A month later, the agency listed more than a dozen energy efficiency regulations affecting appliances like water heaters, cooking products and lamps that should be reviewed.
Late last year, the White House released a statement boasting it had taken action on 110 household appliances to help reduce emissions.