Appliance Standards

Appliance standards represent a cost-effective strategy to protect consumers and businesses and strengthen the state’s clean energy economy. Efficiency products save energy and water, reduce long-term operating costs, and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

On May 7, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1444, which adds 17 new products (pdf) to state standards last updated in 2009. The standards are estimated to save Washington consumers and businesses $2 billion in energy and water costs.

Most standards took effect on January 1, 2021. The effective dates of the standards are based on date of manufacture, not date of sale. Products already in stores or warehouses may be installed after the new standards take effect. The standards apply to manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and installers, rather than to individual consumers.


2021 Appliance Standards Guidebook (link)

Suspension of Water Heater Standard

On Nov. 1, 2021, the Washington Department of Commerce suspended the state’s water heater appliance standard in WAC 194-24-180 until March 1, 2022. Washington’s water heater standard requires that electric water heaters have an electronic communications port. Manufacturers requested the suspension because of an inability to obtain necessary parts.

The emergency rule amendment followed a public comment period in which there was broad support from manufacturers, distributors, utilities and clean energy advocates for a temporary suspension of the standard due to current global supply chain delays. Stakeholder comments are posted here.

The Washington standard took effect on January 1, 2021, for heat pump water heaters and was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2022, for standard electric resistance models. Commerce found that the economic disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to stymie global supply chains, preventing manufacturers from accessing critical materials required for manufacturing electronic communication ports.

These disruptions are already affecting the supply of heat pump water heaters, which are often installed in new buildings to help meet energy code requirements, and could have been expected to escalate when standard resistance water heaters would have become covered by the standard.

The 120 day suspension of the standard is the longest delay possible under emergency rules. Commerce began action on this rulemaking process after receiving a request for suspension from A. O. Smith Corporation on Sept. 29, 2021.

Commerce will continue to monitor availability of necessary materials and re-evaluate in February before the new March 1 effective date.

Emergency rule documents

CR-103E and rule amendment (PDF)

Request for suspension documents

AOS WA Compliance Suspension Request (Sept. 29, 2021) (pdf)
Joint Association Supply Chain White Paper (pdf)

Questions may be sent to

Rulemaking Announcements

Consideration of version updates to appliance standards and testing methods

Commerce is considering potential rules updates in WAC 194-24 to existing appliances that use an energy efficiency standard or test method adopted by reference.

Potential updates include, but are not limited to, the California rule adopted by reference for computers and monitors and version B of the water heater communication standard ANSI/CTA-2045. New products or standards are not under consideration in this rulemaking.

Commerce filed a CR-101 preproposal notice of inquiry (pdf) on Sept. 22, 2021, and a comment period on the rulemaking scope concluded on Oct. 13. The agency held a public workshop to discuss the rulemaking on Oct. 27. A recording of the workshop can be viewed here.

Commerce continues to accept comments on rules updates for existing appliances. Comments can be submitted at Comments are posted here.


Regulatory Advisories

Electric Storage Water Heater Labeling or Marking Requirements

Commerce issued a regulatory advisory on March 20, 2020, providing limited guidance on electric storage water heater labeling and marking. 


General Service Lamps

Commerce issued a regulatory advisory on March 12, 2020, providing limited guidance on the status of Washington standards for general service lamps.


Legal Resources


Need Help?

Liz Reichart
Sr. Energy Policy Specialist
Phone: 360-515-8194

Brittany Wagner,
Appliance Standards Program Manager
Phone: 360-764-0225

Steven Hershkowitz,
Legislative and Rulemaking Coordinator

Sign up for Email Updates

To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.