What to Know About the New Federal Regulations for Energy Efficiency
The Department of Energy (DOE) regularly releases new 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 these changes impact new air conditioning systems, energy efficiency and whether they’ll mean you need to replace your home’s AC system. Here are the answers to many of the frequently asked questions on these new standards.
Why Did the DOE Make HVAC Regulatory Changes?
The new rules, which took effect on January1, 2023, impact new AC units and heat pumps. These modifications are supposed to standardize and optimize energy efficiency, create more environmentally friendly options and develop 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 regular cooling season divided by the energy 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, empowering consumers to easily evaluate different AC units and choose ones that meet their energy efficiency requirements.
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 factor in seasonal changes and instead assesses the unit’s efficiency during peak performance. EER is used for identifying an air conditioning system's performance 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 power consumed. A lot like SEER and EER, a higher HSPF rating signifies improved 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 most recent ways to measure air conditioning and heat pump efficiency. These cutting-edge standards give homeowners a more precise idea of their energy use when they purchase a particular AC unit or heat pump.
SEER2-compliant units also use updated refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depletion potential (ODP) compared to previous 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 cooling 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 require testing equipment under more practical 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 air conditioner or heat pump. You can also look for your system's make and model on the DOE’s Energy Compliance Certification Database.
Systems installed earlier than 2023 will show a SEER rating. Those produced in 2022 or sooner but installed after January 1, 2023, will also have a SEER rating. All models produced and installed in 2023 or later will have a SEER2 rating.
Note that air conditioning systems made before 2023 can only be installed in the Northern U.S. In the South, SEER2-compliant models are required from January 1 and afterward. If an installer breaches these rules and the DOE punishes them, they must replace the non-compliant air conditioner without charging the homeowner.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing HVAC System?
No, the shift to SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 only impacts newly manufactured and installed HVAC units. There’s no legal requirement to replace your current cooling system. However, if you’re looking to upgrade, meeting the 2023 HVAC regulatory changes will save you money on electricity bills and provide you with more advanced features, including smart thermostats and zoning.
Partner with Winnipeg Supply Service Experts For HVAC Service in Winnipeg
Regardless if you think now is the time to replace your home's AC system, or you want to keep your current air conditioner in top shape and going strong, Winnipeg Supply 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 air conditioning or heat pump. We also perform dependable air conditioning maintenance and repairs if you’re not prepared to replace your system.
When you work with Winnipeg Supply Service Experts, you’re partnering with a service provider that understands your needs. We are devoted to your comfort, environmental sustainability and complete satisfaction.
Prepared to switch to a SEER2-compliant HVAC unit? Still have questions? Call Winnipeg Supply Service Experts at 204-800-0613 today, and we’ll assist you every step of the way!