How the 2023 HVAC regulations impact homeowners

How the 2023 HVAC regulations impact homeowners

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In 2023, the HVAC industry will make big strides toward sustainability. While the new 2023 HVAC regulations may not have an immediate impact on your home, it’s good to know what to expect.

Heightened energy efficiency and eco-minded refrigerant requirements will soon take effect. We’ll fill you in on everything you need to know.

SEER regulations

SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It measures an air conditioner’s cooling output compared to the electrical energy it consumes. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the AC.

Beginning January 1, 2023, there will be two SEER-related changes. First, the minimum SEER rating will increase on HVAC equipment.

Currently, new air conditioners must have a minimum SEER of 13 in northern states and 14 in southern states. In 2023, this will change to 14 and 15, respectively.

2023 SEER regions map

Additionally, the industry will adopt the SEER 2 standard. SEER 2 is similar to its predecessor in that it measures the total heat removed from a specific space versus how much energy it uses in the process. The required testing conditions will change to better mirror real-life circumstances.

In 2023, HVAC equipment, including AC condensers and heat pumps, will have to display their SEER 2 rating on their packaging.

This change won’t necessarily impact consumers beyond giving you a slightly better estimate of your potential energy usage when shopping for new HVAC equipment.

AC refrigerant regulations

Recently, the industry moved away from R-22 (Freon) towards R-410 (Puron) refrigerant. It’s less damaging to the environment and human health and doesn’t harm the ozone layer.

Next year, the Environmental Protection Agency is likely to require another move to a class of refrigerants called A2L by 2025. A2L has a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than alternatives, but it’s also mildly flammable.

HVAC manufacturers are already designing new technology to accommodate A2L. This includes new technology to store and transport systems with A2L and equipment with automatic shutoff capabilities in case of a leak.

What are the benefits of these new HVAC regulations?

Pros Cons
🌎 Positive environmental impact 🔧 More difficult to find replacement parts for older systems
💰 Reduced utility bills 📦 Initial inventory challenges

Most HVAC equipment, including central air conditioners and gas furnaces, require a lot of electricity to operate. This creates carbon dioxide emissions, which contribute to global warming.

As the world experiences extreme temperatures due to climate change, we rely on our HVAC systems to stay comfortable more than ever. If we don’t develop new eco-friendly standards and technologies, global warming will only intensify.

Most industry changes, including the 2023 HVAC regulations, move towards more energy-efficient, green products. These will not only positively impact the environment, but you’ll likely see a reduction in your utility bills.

Is there any downside to the 2023 HVAC regulations?

While the impact of the 2023 HVAC regulations is positive overall, they may create minor inconveniences for individuals.

For example, you may need to wait a little longer for parts or replacement units. Local dealers may initially experience challenges obtaining inventory that meets the new requirements.

Additionally, if your older system needs repair, your technician may not be able to access compatible parts easily, as the industry phases out dated technologies.

Should I upgrade my old HVAC system?

If your HVAC equipment is in good condition and fulfilling your heating and cooling needs, there’s no need to buy a new one that meets the new industry standards. Make sure you’re scheduling spring and fall maintenance appointments to keep your system running at its most efficient.

As your system ages, it may be harder to find compatible parts, as dealers stock items that satisfy the new regulations.

When your system’s reached the end of its useful life or the cost of a repair exceeds the cost of a replacement, it’s time to consider new equipment that meets the current standards. 

Connect with an HVAC technician now 🧑‍🔧

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