DOE HVAC Efficiency Standards

April 29, 2022

By Comfort Air

In January of 2023, changes to energy efficiency standards will go into effect. Every six years, the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluates the energy efficiency of appliances and determines whether changes are necessary. The DOE determined that the minimum energy efficiency standards need to be increased for air conditioners and heat pumps and testing protocols will change as well. The good news is that you don't have to deal with this issue alone! The team at Comfort Air is here to help you understand these new regulations and how they will impact you.

The New Regulations:

The DOE separates the country out into three different regions–North, South, and Southwest. All of these regions will be impacted by the change, but the standards are different for each region. Across the board, all the regions will experience a 1 SEER increase. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating essentially is the ratio of the cooling/heat output and the energy used to accomplish the cooling/heating. A higher SEER rating means that the cooling/heat output is achieved with less energy consumption. The new regulation requires that all heat pumps have a 15 SEER rating. AC ratings vary based upon the region. The North region has to have a 14 SEER and the South and Southwest have to have a 15 SEER. 

FAQ about the Regulations:

  • “Do I have to replace my existing unit?”--If your AC unit or heat pump are in good working order, you do not need to replace them just to meet the standard. Whenever you need to replace them because of age or failure, your new unit will have to follow the standards at that time. If you recently had an AC system or heat pump installed, you will not have to replace your unit before the DOE reevaluates energy efficiency again. Our technicians at Comfort Air will make sure to keep you up-to-date on the latest standards whenever you need a change. AC units and heat pumps have an average lifespan of 15 years, so choosing to upgrade to a current energy efficient model may be in your best interest if your unit is nearing that age. 
  • “How does greater energy efficiency impact me?”--The greatest impact for most homeowners or business owners is the cost for running their unit. An energy efficient unit will save money on your annual cooling and heating bills. Although models with greater efficiency can have a higher upfront cost, the long-term savings make up for the cost easily. 
  • “Do these regulations apply to both individuals and businesses?”--The new regulations apply to all new AC or heat pump systems, regardless of whether they are in an office building or home. Existing systems are not required to be replaced if they are functioning properly and installed prior to next January.
  • “If I need to replace my system this year, should I go ahead and choose one that meets the new standard?”--Absolutely! We recommend going ahead and upgrading to a unit that meets the region’s new regulations. 

If you have any questions about the regulation coming in January, reach out to Comfort Air. We are standing by to help you understand your options for energy efficiency. 

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