The Department of Energy (DOE) frequently releases new rules focused on reducing energy consumption and pollution in the United States. With the newest 2023 HVAC regulatory changes now in effect, you could wonder how the new rules impact new air conditioners, energy efficiency and the need to replace your current AC system. Here are the answers to the most frequently asked questions on the changes.
Why Did the DOE Make HVAC Regulatory Changes?
The new regulations, which took effect on January1, 2023, cover new air conditioners and heat pumps. These changes are supposed to standardize and optimize energy efficiency, produce more environmentally friendly options and establish 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) signifying the level of cooling output in British thermal units or BTUs over a normal cooling season divided by the electricity consumed. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the model is, as it can remove the same amount of heat using a reduced level of energy. This rating system has been an industry standard since the 1970s, allowing consumers to easily evaluate different AC units and choose ones that meet their energy efficiency needs.
Many air conditioning units also receive 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 take into account seasonal changes and instead measures the unit’s efficiency during peak performance. EER is used for identifying an air conditioner’s performance during the hottest days of the year.
Heat pump heating efficiency is tested using the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). This ratio figures the total heating required during the heating season (in BTUs) divided by the total watt-hours of energy consumed. Similar to SEER and EER, a higher HSPF rating signifies greater energy efficiency. HSPF has been a traditional heating efficiency metric since the late 1980s.
How Are SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 Different?
SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are the latest ways to measure AC and heat pump efficiency. These cutting-edge standards give homeowners a more precise understanding of their energy use when they purchase a particular AC unit or heat pump.
SEER2-compliant models also use updated refrigerants with reduced global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) compared to previously used refrigerants. Outdated R-22 (Freon) and R-410A (Puron) will be recovered and sold for restoring 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 specifications mean SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are more precise. They require testing equipment under more realistic field conditions, accounting for ductwork and static pressure, which SEER, EER and HSPF ratings don’t factor into calculations.
The new air conditioner and heat pump energy efficiency rules 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 stuck to the side of your AC or heat pump. You can also search for your unit’s make and model on the DOE’s Energy Compliance Certification Database.
Systems installed before 2023 will list a SEER rating. Those produced in 2022 or before but installed after January 1, 2023, will also have a SEER rating. All systems made and installed in 2023 or later will have a SEER2 rating.
Notice that air conditioning systems built before 2023 can only be installed in the Northern U.S. In the South, SEER2-compliant units are required from January 1 forward. If an installer breaks these guidelines and the DOE disciplines them, they must replace the non-compliant air conditioner without billing the homeowner.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing HVAC System?
No, the shift to SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 only affects newly made and installed HVAC units. There isn't any legal requirement to replace your home's cooling system. Having said that, if you’re wanting to upgrade, meeting the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes will save you money on power bills and grant access to more advanced features, including smart thermostats and zoning.
Partner with Comfortech Service Experts For HVAC Service in Jackson
No matter if you decide now is the time to replace your existing AC system, or you want to keep your current air conditioning in top shape and going strong, Comfortech 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 quality air conditioning maintenance and repairs if you’re not prepared to replace your system.
When you choose Comfortech Service Experts , you’re partnering with a service provider that understands your needs. We are devoted to your comfort, environmental sustainability and total satisfaction.
Eager to switch to a SEER2-compliant cooling system? Still have questions? Call Comfortech Service Experts at 601-852-3105 today, and we’ll assist you every step of the way!