On January 1, 2023, the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) will have “2023 HVAC Regulation Changes and new energy efficiency requirements for residential and commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. These new requirements impact the heating and cooling industry and stem from the DOE’s desire to reduce energy consumption throughout the United States.
In this article, we will briefly review how the DOE’s mandates will impact and change heating and cooling industry standards. Larry Cook Heating and Cooling is dedicated to helping our customers and business partners navigate the changes. Whether an equipment replacement, installation, repair, or maintenance service is needed, Larry Cook Heating and Cooling is a company that can be trusted to have the knowledge to get the job done right.
What is Changing in 2023?
What rules are actually changing in 2023 when it comes to residential and commercial heating and cooling? The quick answer is that the DOE is releasing new energy efficiency standards for residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps that are manufactured on or after January 1, 2023. Next, the DOE is requiring more exacting testing procedures for residential and 3-5 ton light commercial single-phase equipment that is produced on or after January 1, 2023. Additionally, R-410a refrigerant will begin to be phased out next year.
You may be curious what is going to happen to the HVAC equipment rated to old energy efficiency standards and manufactured before January 1, 2023. Depending on which state you live in, equipment that was compliant when it was manufactured (e.g., heat pump manufactured in 2022 that complies with the DOE’s 2022 rules), may be sold and installed. Keep in mind that the regional standard states have different requirements. The regional standard states are those in the Southeast Region (Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, District of Columbia and U.S. Territories) and the Southwest Region (Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Nevada). Kansas is not on the list of regional standard states. Kansas is considered part of the northern region, along with Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
As mentioned above, the DOE is implementing new energy efficiency standards. To grasp the impact of the new energy efficiency standards, it’s important to understand what “seasonal energy efficiency ratio” (“SEER”) and British Thermal Unit (“BTU”) means. SEER equals the cooling output of a system divided by its overall power consumption during the warm part of the year (when the system is cooling). The higher the SEER rating the more energy-efficient the system is. BTU is a system used to measure heat energy, specifically to quantify how much energy an HVAC system produces.
One of the challenges with the new DOE standards is that there are new metrics and test procedures. The new metrics are “SEER2,” “HSPF2,” and “EER2.” These new metrics will be displayed on the FTC energy guide labels. Beginning January 1, 2023, all split air conditioners installed in Kansas (and other states in the northern climate) must have at a minimum, a 14 SEER rating, or a “SEER2” minimum of 13.4 (which is equivalent to 14 SEER). The old requirement was 13 SEER.
If you reside in the southwest or southeast region, be aware that split air conditioners installed on or after January 1, 2023 must at a minimum, have a 15 SEER rating, or a “SEER2” minimum of 14.3 (which is equivalent to 15 SEER).
Heat Pumps and Heating Efficiency
Commercial and residential HVAC contractors will also need to stay informed on the new rules as it relates to heat pumps. In every region, heat pump efficiency requirements are increasing. For split system heat pumps, the HSPF2 (which is one of the new metrics, that means Heat Seasonal Performance Factor 2) must be a minimum of 7.5, and 14.3 SEER2. Previously, the minimum rating for split system heat pumps was 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.
Refrigerant Changes in 2023
For over 10 years, R-410a refrigerant has been used in residential air conditioners. Beginning January 1, 2023, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is “phasing down” production of this refrigerant by 85% over the next 15 years. The reasoning behind this phase down is that R-410a is harmful to the environment if it leaks from an air conditioner.
So, what does this mean for new air conditioners? New air conditioners will use R-454b, which is said to be a more environmentally friendly refrigerant option. If you have an air conditioner that requires R-410a refrigerant, don’t worry, the new regulations still allow for R-410a to be used if your pre-existing air conditioning system requires it. You should know that new air conditioners manufactured beginning January 1, 2023, will not use R-410a refrigerant.
How You Can Save Money
The DOE’s regulations that become effective on January 1, 2023 are anticipated to have a significant positive impact on utility expenses for consumers throughout the United States. This isn’t surprising, as we’ve found that high-efficiency HVAC equipment saves our Wichita, Kansas customers money on their energy bills.
Improve Your Comfort Today
At Larry Cook Heating and Cooling, we have a large variety of high efficiency equipment for customers to choose from for maximum energy saving. If you have an old HVAC system or are simply looking to upgrade your existing system, contact Larry Cook Heating and Cooling to schedule your free no-obligation estimate. At your free estimate, an expert HVAC professional will be able to provide a unique customized HVAC proposal based on your specific needs. Call us today at 316-322-5668 or request an appointment online!