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 March 11, 2022, Governor Jay Inslee signed into law House Bill 1619. This legislation updated three existing appliance standards: commercial hot food holding cabinets, portable electric spas, and residential ventilating fans, and added three additional ones: air purifiers, commercial ovens and electric vehicle supply equipment. 

These changes build on the state standards passed into law in 2019 in HB 1444. Computers and monitors were also updated by rule and went into effect May 12, 2022. The standards are estimated to save Washington consumers and businesses $2 billion in energy and water costs.

The effective dates of the standards vary by product, but all 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. The Appliance Standards Guidebook is a good resource that explains each product’s requirements in more detail.

Upcoming Public Hearing

Important updates

CR-101 Filed: HB 1619 Rulemaking

On Aug. 24, 2022, the Washington Department of Commerce filed a CR-101 (pdf) to begin rulemaking as directed by ESHB 1619, passed by the Washington legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Inslee. The law directs Commerce to establish and update standards for a variety of household appliances and commercial equipment.

  • With this CR-101, Commerce is publishing draft rules which reflect these changes. The agency is accepting feedback on these rules through Sept. 30, 2022.
  • You may submit written comments to appliances@commerce.wa.gov.
  • Commerce will also accept feedback at a rulemaking workshop on at 3:30 PM on Sept. 21, 2022.

Meeting details

10:00 AM PST on Aug. 30, 2022

Commerce extends suspension of water heater standard, proposes a permanent effective date

Commerce has taken two actions on the state’s water heater appliance standard in WAC 194-24-180.

  1. The emergency suspension of the standard has been extended. It was previously set to come back into effect on June 28, 2022. This emergency rule extends the suspension for an additional 120 days in order to complete the above public rulemaking process and establish a permanent effective date.
  2. Commerce issued a proposed rule (CR-102) that would establish a permanent effective date of Jan. 1, 2023 for the standard. Washington’s water heater standard requires that electric water heaters have an electronic communications port. The standard is currently suspended at the request of manufacturers because of the inability to obtain necessary parts.

Public hearing: Aug. 30

A virtual public hearing on the Jan. 1, 2023, proposed effective date will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 30. More details will be published here as the date gets closer.

Submit written comments to Appliances@Commerce.wa.gov until Aug. 30.

Rulemaking materials

About this rulemaking

The Washington standard for heat pump water heaters took effect in Jan. 2021. It was scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2022 for standard electric resistance models.

The current rulemaking actions follow a temporary suspension which began on Nov. 1, 2021. The suspension was prompted after a public comment period demonstrated broad support from manufacturers, distributors, utilities and clean energy advocates due to current global supply chain delays.

  • After several emergency rulemakings, Commerce filed a pre-proposal notice (CR-101) in March 2022 in order that a reasonable effective date for this standard may be established on a permanent basis.
  • The 120-day suspension of the standard is the longest delay possible under emergency rules. Commerce has therefore monitored market conditions and proposed an effective date that is responsive to product availability and not bound by the 120-day limit.

The latest emergency rule extension is based on a finding by Commerce that 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.

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. 

Resources:

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.

Resources:

Legal Resources

Resources

Contacts

Liz Reichart, MPA
Sr. Energy Policy Specialist
appliances@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-515-8194

Brittany Wagner, MPH
Appliance Standards Program Manager
appliances@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-764-0225

Steven Hershkowitz
Legislative and Rulemaking Coordinator
appliances@commerce.wa.gov

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