The Department of Energy (DOE) frequently implements rules focused on reducing energy consumption and pollution in the United States. With the latest 2023 HVAC regulatory changes now in effect, you could 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 regulations, which took effect on January1, 2023, impact new air conditioning systems 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 have a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) signifying 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 level 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 desires.
Many air conditioners 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 operation. EER is used for determining an air conditioning system's operation during the hottest days of the year.
Heat pump heating efficiency is tested utilizing 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 electricity consumed. Like SEER and EER, a higher HSPF rating indicates 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 newest ways to determine AC and heat pump efficiency. These cutting-edge standards give homeowners a more accurate idea of their energy use when they purchase a particular AC unit or heat pump.
SEER2-compliant models 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 cooling systems.
What Are the New 2023 Federal Regulations for Energy Efficiency?
The changes in HVAC system evaluation specifications mean SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are more precise. They involve testing equipment under more realistic field conditions, accounting for ductwork and static pressure, which SEER, EER and HSPF ratings don’t take into consideration.
The new air conditioning 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 system's make and model on the DOE’s Energy Compliance Certification Database.
Systems installed earlier than 2023 will list a SEER rating. Those produced in 2022 or sooner but installed after January 1, 2023, will also have a SEER rating. All systems manufactured and installed in 2023 or later will get a SEER2 rating.
Note that AC models made before 2023 can only be installed in the Northern U.S. In the South, SEER2-compliant models are required from January 1 forward. If an installer violates these guidelines and the DOE cites them, they must replace the non-compliant AC unit free of charge to the homeowner.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing HVAC System?
No, the shift to SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 only places restrictions on newly constructed and installed HVAC units. There isn't any legal need to replace your home's cooling system. But, if you’re planning to upgrade, meeting the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes will save you money on power bills and comes with more advanced features, including smart thermostats and zoning.
Partner with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning For HVAC Service in Edmonton
Whether you decide now is the time to replace your current AC system, or you want to keep your current air conditioner in top shape and going strong, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We’re on top of the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes and testing requirements, so we can help you select and install a compliant air conditioning or heat pump. We also perform quality air conditioning maintenance and repairs if you’re not prepared to replace your system.
When you work with Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, you’re partnering with a service provider that understands your needs. We are fully committed to your comfort, environmental sustainability and utter satisfaction.
Prepared to switch to a SEER2-compliant AC? Still have questions? Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning at 587-404-0790 today, and we’ll guide you every step of the way!