Unit Heaters


Unit heaters are self-contained fan-type heaters designed to be installed within the heated space. They are used to heat open commercial spaces such as factories, warehouses, and garages, and are typically hung from ceilings.


The Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 set the first national standards for unit heaters. The EPAct standards were based on standards that had previously been adopted by several states. The standard, which took effect in 2008, requires that unit heaters be equipped with an intermittent ignition device and have either power venting or an automatic flue damper.
Most gravity and power vented unit heaters have a thermal efficiency of 80%. The ASAP/ACEEE report, The Efficiency Boom, analyzed a standard level of 90% thermal efficiency, which represents condensing technology. This standard level has an incremental cost of $2,640 and a 10 year payback period. Annual savings in 2035 are estimated at 120 trillion Btu and net present value savings on purchases through 2035 are $1.3 billion.


Annual shipments are estimated at 220,000.

Projected Savings

Unit Heaters Standards of 2005
Savings through what year?:
Energy saved (quads):
CO2 savings (million metric tons):
Net present value savings ($billion) 3% discount rate:
Net present value savings ($billion) 7% discount rate:


Federal Date States
2008 AZ Standard Effective *
2008 OR Standard Effective *
1st Federal Standard Effective 2008
2007 NJ Standard Effective
2007 WA Standard Effective
2007 RI Standard Effective
2006 CT Standard Effective
2006 CA Standard Effective
2005 MD Standard Effective
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 2005
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 2005
2005 WA Standard Adopted
2005 NJ Standard Adopted
2005 AZ Standard Adopted
2005 RI Standard Adopted
2005 OR Standard Adopted
2005 NY Standard Adopted
2004 CA Standard Adopted
2004 CT Standard Adopted
2004 MD Standard Adopted

* State standard never went into effect due to preemption by federal standard.

States not showing an effective date have an ongoing rulemaking process to determine standards.

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.