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U.S. Energy Label Rule Finalized for Furnaces, Air-Conditioners, Heat Pumps, and Boilers
Feb 21, 2013
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New label specifications have been issued for U.S. residential central air-conditioners and furnaces.

A Federal Register notice from the Federal Trade Commission on Feb. 6, 2013, amended the Energy Labeling Rule that specifies labels for residential central air-conditioners and furnaces. The amendments address changes in the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) regional efficiency standards.

Labels were also revised for residential central heat pumps, boilers, and oil-fired furnaces.

The new label requirements become effective on same date as the regional efficiency standards become effective.

Comments made to the FTC by HVAC industry associations and appliance producers prior to the publishing of the final amendments were addressed and some led to changes in the Final Rule.

One example: some commenters objected to an FTC proposal to use the term "Efficiency Rating" prominently on the label while more specific terms of energy efficiency measurement--such as SEER, Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER), Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF), and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE)--were less prominent on the label. Commenters argued that such an approach might suggest to consumers that all product types were suing an identical system for rating their energy efficiency. This might lead to incorrect consumer comparisons between products.

The FTC agreed that the label's technical rating term should appear more prominently to avoid just this type of consumer confusion. New labels will now include the term, as in:
Efficiency Rating (SEER*)

Other comments did not make it into the Final Rule. The current label does not include the unit's basic model number and capacity, while the new labels will require this information. HVAC maker opposed this change, since it would change how the company created label. The company also questioned the benefit of the change. However, the Final Rule still requires the lables to include model number and capacity.

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