The Department of Energy (DOE) frequently enacts rules targeted on reducing energy consumption and pollution in the United States. With the newest 2023 HVAC regulatory changes now in effect, you might wonder if the changes impact new AC units, energy efficiency and if they mean you will have to replace your home’s AC system. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions on this topic.
Why Did the DOE Make HVAC Regulatory Changes?
The new guidelines, which took effect on January1, 2023, apply to new AC units and heat pumps. These modifications are designed to standardize and optimize energy efficiency, produce more environmentally friendly options and set new standards for refrigerants and testing methods.
How Is Heating and Cooling Efficiency Measured?
All air conditioners and heat pumps get a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) specifying the level of cooling output in British thermal units or BTUs over a typical cooling season divided by the power consumed. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the unit is, as it can remove the same amount of heat using less energy. This rating method has been an industry standard since the 1970s, empowering consumers to easily compare different AC units and choose ones that meet their energy efficiency desires.
Some air conditioning units also have an energy efficiency ratio (EER) calculated by dividing the cooling output (BTUs per hour) by the electrical power input (in watts) at a single point in time. Unlike SEER, EER does not account for seasonal changes and instead evaluates the unit’s efficiency during peak performance. EER is used for determining an air conditioner’s operation during the hottest days of the year.
Heat pump heating efficiency is tested utilizing the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). This ratio determines the total heating required during the heating season (in BTUs) divided by the total watt-hours of electricity consumed. A lot like SEER and EER, a higher HSPF rating shows greater energy efficiency. HSPF has been a common heating efficiency measurement since the late 1980s.
How Are SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 Different?
SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are the newest ways to determine air conditioning and heat pump efficiency. These new standards give homeowners a more accurate understanding of their energy use when they purchase a particular AC unit or heat pump.
SEER2-compliant units also use updated refrigerants with less global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) compared to refrigerants used in the past. Outdated R-22 (Freon) and R-410A (Puron) will be recovered and sold for fixing older units, but they won’t be allowed in new HVAC systems.
What Are the New 2023 Federal Regulations for Energy Efficiency?
The changes in HVAC system testing requirements mean SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are more accurate. They entail testing equipment under more accurate field conditions, accounting for ductwork and static pressure, which SEER, EER and HSPF ratings don’t consider.
The new AC and heat pump energy efficiency regulations for 2023:
- Air conditioners installed in the North: 13.4 SEER2 (14 SEER)
- Air conditioners installed in the South: 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER)
- Air conditioners installed in the Southwest: 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER) & 11.7 EER2 (12.2 EER)
- Heat pumps installed nationwide: 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER) & 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF)
How Do I Find My Current HVAC Efficiency Rating?
The first place to check out is the yellow EnergyGuide label on the side of your air conditioner or heat pump. You can also search for your unit’s make and model on the DOE’s Energy Compliance Certification Database.
Models installed prior to 2023 will have a SEER rating. Those manufactured in 2022 or sooner but installed after January 1, 2023, will also have a SEER rating. All systems produced and installed in 2023 or later will come with a SEER2 rating.
Notice that AC models built before 2023 can only be installed in the Northern U.S. In the South, SEER2-compliant systems are required from January 1 forward. If a heating and cooling professional breaches these policies and the DOE punishes them, they must replace the non-compliant air conditioner without billing the homeowner.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing HVAC System?
No, the change to SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 only impacts newly constructed and installed HVAC units. There’s no legal requirement to replace your existing air conditioner. However, if you’re looking to upgrade, meeting the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes will save you money on electricity bills and grant access to more advanced features, including smart thermostats and zoning.
Partner with Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts For HVAC Service in Windsor
No matter if you determine now is the time to replace your current AC system, or you want to keep your current system in top shape and going strong, Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts can help. We’re very familiar with the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes and testing requirements, so we can help you select and install a compliant AC or heat pump. We also perform reliable air conditioning maintenance and repairs if you’re not prepared to replace your system.
When you reach out to Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts, you’re partnering with an HVAC company that understands your needs. We are devoted to your comfort, environmental sustainability and complete satisfaction.
Eager to switch to a SEER2-compliant AC? Still have questions? Call Bryant Heating & Cooling Service Experts at 226-773-3357 today, and we’ll assist you each and every step of the way!