HVAC Efficiency requirements are changing for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps starting January 2023.
Who Sets HVAC Energy Guidelines
The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975 first gave the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) authority to develop, revise, and implement minimum energy conservation standards. EPCA requires DOE to periodically amend energy conservation standards if the amendments are energy-saving, technologically feasible, and economically justifiable.
The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 established the first minimum efficiency requirements for central air-conditioning and heat pump equipment sold in the United States. These standards went into effect in 1992, and later updates went into effect in 2006 and 2015.
The majority of systems installed prior to 2006 are a 10 SEER or lower. Since January 2006, all residential air conditioners sold in the United States were required to have a minimum of a 13 SEER.
A Country Divided
January 2015 is the most recent change to the minimum efficiency standards. It was also the first time requirements standards were established for separate parts of the county.
The Department of Energy (DOE) divided the United States into two main regions – North and South based on the population-weighted number of heating days (HDD).
- Northern Region = > 5,000 HDD
- Southern Region = < 5,000 HDD
They further divided the Southern Region by the number of cooling operating hours and relative humidity during those hours.
- Southwest Region – Hot and dry
- Southeast Region – Hot and humid
Maryland is part of the Southeast Region.
Current Air Conditioning Guidelines
As of January 1, 2015, newly manufactured air conditioning units had to have a SEER rating of 13 if installing in Northern Region States and a SEER rating of 14 if installing in the Southeast and Southwest Regions.
2023 HVAC Guidelines
Efficiency requirements for residential central AC and heat pumps to rise in 2023
Beginning January 1, 2023 the DOE is raising the minimum SEER rating for all new residential central air conditioning and air-source heat pump systems.
- Northern Region = 14 SEER
- Southeast and Southwest Region = 15 SEER
This won’t affect your current air conditioning system but will affect your options when you are ready to replace your system.
What To Do Next
If you are confused about SEER ratings, or you want to know if now is the right time to replace your system, or how to best plan for a replacement, call the experts at Presidential Heating and Air Conditioning. We have been advising the residents of Montgomery County, MD since 1982. Call us today at 301.265.5213 or schedule an appointment online.