Washington State Energy Code Changes Still On Track for February 1 Implementation
After being delayed 7 months due to the impacts of the COVID-19 shutdowns, Washington State’s Building Code Council is still slated to have its changes to the state Energy Code go into effect on February 1, 2021. These changes not only impact the use of gas in homes because of a new point system that favors electrical appliances, it also impacts the efficiency of gas fireplaces put in when a permit is required.
The gas fireplace efficiency changes mirror changes that went into effect in British Columbia. NWHPBA worked hard to ensure that the original, more onerous proposed changes did not get adopted.
Below are the changes to fireplaces (gas and wood) going into effect as part of the new Energy Code on February 1:
R402.4.2 Fireplaces. New wood-burning fireplaces shall have tight-fitting flue dampers or doors and outdoor combustion air. When using tight-fitting doors on factory-built fireplaces listed and labeled in accordance with UL 127, the doors shall be tested and listed for the fireplace. When using tight-fitting doors on masonry fireplaces, the doors shall be listed and labeled in accordance with UL 907.
R402.4.2.1 Gas fireplace efficiency. All gas fireplace heaters rated to ANSI Z21.88 shall be listed and labeled with a fireplace efficiency (FE) rating of 50 percent or greater in accordance with CSA P.4.1. Vented gas fireplaces (decorative appliances) certified to ANSI Z21.50 shall be listed and labeled, including their FE ratings, in accordance with CSA P.4.1.
R402.4.4 Combustion air openings. Where open combustion air ducts provide combustion air to open combustion, space conditioning fuel burning appliances, the appliances and combustion air openings shall be located outside of the building thermal envelope, or enclosed in a room isolated from inside the thermal envelope. Such rooms shall be sealed and insulated in accordance with the envelope requirements of Table R402.1.1, where the walls, floors and ceilings shall meet the minimum of the below-grade wall R-value requirement. The door into the room shall be fully gasketed and any water lines and ducts in the room insulated in accordance with Section R403. The combustion air duct shall be insulated where it passes through conditioned space to a minimum of R-8.
- Direct vent appliances with both intake and exhaust pipes installed continuous to the outside.
- Fireplaces and stoves complying with Section R402.4.2 and Section R1006 of the International
R403.1.3 Continuously burning pilot lights. The natural gas systems and equipment listed below are not permitted to be equipped with continuously burning pilot lights.
- Fan-type central furnaces.
- Household cooking appliances.
Exception: Household cooking appliances without electrical supply voltage connections and in which each pilot light consumes less than 150 Btu/hr.
- Pool heaters.
- Spa heaters.
Exception: Any fireplace with on-demand, intermittent or interrupted ignition (as defined in ANSI Z21.20) is not considered continuous.
Definitions for reference:
PILOT LIGHT, CONTINUOUSLY BURNING. A small gas flame used to ignite gas at a larger burning. Once lit, a continuously pilot light remains in operation until manually interrupted. Pilot light ignition systems with the ability to switch between intermittent and continuous mode are considered continuous.
PILOT LIGHT, INTERMITTENT. A pilot which is automatically ignited when an appliance is called on to operate and which remains continuously ignited during each period of main burner operation. The pilot is automatically extinguished when each main burner operating cycle is completed.
PILOT LIGHT, INTERRUPTED. A pilot which is automatically ignited prior to the admission of fuel to the main burner and which is automatically extinguished after the main flame is established.
PILOT LIGHT, ON-DEMAND. A pilot which, once placed into operation, is intended to remain ignited for a predetermined period of time following an automatic or manual operation of the main burner gas valve