When it comes to residential heating and cooling systems, the Department of Energy (DOE) evaluates products. Every six years, they evaluate each appliance to look for areas of improvement to reduce our country’s carbon footprint. As a result of their recent examination, there are some mandatory changes taking place in the HVAC world as of January 1, 2023.

It Goes by Region

All of the energy efficiency standards that the DOE sets are done so based on each state’s specific region. The country is broken down into three different regions, which include the north, south, and southwest.

The north includes all states in the top half of the country. The south includes states in the southern half of the country ranging from the east coast over to Texas and Hawaii. The southwest includes all southern states from California over to New Mexico.

Air Conditioner Changes

The DOE is setting new minimum efficiency standards for all central air conditioners. They’re also changing the testing procedures used to determine the efficiency of these systems.

In the past, air conditioners in the northern region had a minimum efficiency of 13 SEER. That’s now being increased to a minimum of 14 SEER. For those who are unaware, SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This is a number given to each air conditioning system that rates its overall energy efficiency. The higher the number, the more energy efficient the system will be.

Apart from the north, both the south and southwest regions of the country will also undergo new standard updates. Both regions have been at a minimum 14 SEER standard. That is being increased to 15 SEER come January 1, 2023.

Heat Pump Changes

While air conditioning systems tend to receive the most talk regarding the 2023 standard updates, heat pumps are also included in the standard changes. The current national standard for heat pumps is 14 SEER. Under new policy standards, that’s going to increase to 15 SEER.

What Does This Mean for HVAC Installers?

As the DOE sets new standards regarding air conditioning systems and heat pumps, HVAC installers need to be mindful of the products that they’re installing after the beginning of 2023. According to the DOE, all air conditioning and heat pump products sold in the south and southwest region to the country on or after January 1, 2023, must meet the new minimum standards.

However, the northern region of the country is a different story. HVAC installers may still install 13 SEER after January 1, 2023. The caveat is that HVAC system manufacturers may no longer produce units that do not meet the minimum SEER requirements. Eventually, all HVAC systems offered on the market will meet minimum DOE standards in a short amount of time.

What Does This Mean for Homeowners?

As a homeowner, there’s no immediate action that you need to pay attention to regarding these HVAC standard changes. If you have an existing HVAC system installed in your home that doesn’t meet the new standards, you may still use it throughout the end of its lifespan. However, when you go to purchase a new unit for your home, it will need to meet the new minimum standards.

Moving From SEER to SEER2

Another component of these new energy efficiency changes set by the DOE is the testing procedure utilized to determine a system’s SEER rating. The new protocol set forth by the DOE requires manufacturers to utilize a SEER2 rating system as compared to the traditional SEER rating system. What this means for HVAC installers and homeowners is that systems will now be marketed with SEER2 ratings instead of SEER ratings.

A Note on Refrigerant

When it comes to HVAC changes, most people are familiar with the constant updates going on with system refrigerants. This is a vital substance that is utilized in all home cooling processes. In the past, all HVAC systems have been required to remove R22 freon from their systems as it’s known to be damaging to not only human health but the ozone layer as well.

Another thing to look forward to coming into 2023 is the Environmental Protection Agency requiring another switch in the type of refrigerant utilized. They’ll be switching from the R410 Puron refrigerant to the A2L refrigerant.

Expert HVAC Services

Midwest Mechanical offers expert HVAC services for the entire Wichita, KS region. We can also assist with all of your plumbing, water heater, geothermal, thermostat, and indoor air quality needs. Simply contact us today to get the help that you need.

Meet the Author

company icon