The Department of Energy (DOE) continuously implements rules aimed at reducing energy consumption and pollution in the United States. With the newest 2023 HVAC regulatory changes now in effect, you may wonder how the new rules impact new air conditioning systems, energy efficiency and if they mean you will have to replace your existing AC system. Here are the answers to the most 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 air conditioners and heat pumps. These updates are supposed to standardize and optimize energy efficiency, create 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 receive a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) indicating the level of cooling output in British thermal units or BTUs over a typical 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 level of heat using less 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.
Quite a few air conditioners 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 factor in seasonal changes and instead measures the unit’s efficiency during peak performance. EER is used for calculating an air conditioning system's operation during the hottest days of the year.
Heat pump heating efficiency is measured using 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. Like SEER and EER, a higher HSPF rating signifies better energy efficiency. HSPF has been a common heating efficiency metric since the late 1980s.
How Are SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 Different?
SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are the latest ways to evaluate AC and heat pump efficiency. These brand-new standards give homeowners a more accurate idea of their energy use when they purchase a particular AC unit or heat pump.
SEER2-compliant units also use updated refrigerants with reduced 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 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 evaluation criteria mean SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 are more exact. They include 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 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 is the yellow EnergyGuide label attached to the side of your air conditioning unit or heat pump. You can also look for your air conditioner or heat pump's make and model on the DOE’s Energy Compliance Certification Database.
Units installed earlier than 2023 will show a SEER rating. Those manufactured 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 get a SEER2 rating.
Know that air conditioning systems made before 2023 can only be installed in the Northern U.S. In the South, SEER2-compliant units are required from January 1 forward. If a heating and cooling professional breaks these regulations and the DOE cites them, they must replace the non-compliant air conditioning without charging the homeowner.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing HVAC System?
No, the switch to SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 only places restrictions on newly made and installed HVAC units. There’s no legal need to replace your existing AC unit. However, if you’re planning to upgrade, meeting the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes will save you money on energy bills and grant access to more advanced features, including smart thermostats and zoning.
Partner with All American Air Service Experts For HVAC Service in Daytona Beach
Regardless if you think now is the time to replace your existing AC system, or you want to keep your current system in top shape and going strong, All American Air Service Experts can help. We’re on top of the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes and testing requirements, so we can help you pick out and install a compliant AC or heat pump. We also perform dependable air conditioning maintenance and repairs if you’re not prepared to replace your system.
When you choose All American Air Service Experts, you’re partnering with a cooling and heating company that understands your needs. We are devoted to your comfort, environmental sustainability and absolute satisfaction.
Eager to switch to a SEER2-compliant cooling system? Still have questions? Call All American Air Service Experts at 386-310-2061 today, and we’ll help you each and every step of the way!