Get Familiar with New Home Air Conditioner Standards
By John Voket
I have previously reported about how mid-winter is the best time to get great deals on home air conditioning. But homeowners shouldn’t go out shopping for air conditioning systems until they become familiar with new national mechanical guidelines going into effect this spring.
A notice from Chandra Gollapudi at the Ohio-based Emerson Climate Technologies (ac-heatingconnect.com) informed both consumers and contractors that although there are some legal challenges to the implementation date, the next round of efficiency standards for residential air conditioning is still expected to apply to air conditioners and heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2015.
Even if the challenges are successful in delaying the enforcement date by a few months, Gollapudi says contractors should still try to become familiar with the structure of the new regulations because that is not likely to change.
For example, there will actually be three, new minimum efficiency levels with the new regulations because the standards for air conditioning are different for the three specified geographic regions.
The most significant product change in 2015 will involve moving all split-system heat pumps in all regions to the new national heat pump efficiency minimum of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.
Depending on the outcome of the legal debate mentioned above, contractors can probably expect to see the planned elimination of 13 SEER heat pumps from OEM lines and an increased offering of new, low cost, 14 SEER heat pumps which should be available on time for 2015 stocking programs.
Here is a summary of what consumers and homeowners need to know about the new regulations:
- In Northern States – minimum 13 SEER air conditioning remains the standard, but heat pumps go to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.
- In Southern (Southeastern) States – minimum efficiency goes to 14 SEER for both air conditioning and heat pumps and 8.2 HSPF for heat pumps. The 8.2 HSPF/14 SEER heat pump rating will become a national standard.
- In Southwestern States – minimum efficiency also goes to 14 SEER for air conditioning, but there is a new standard for EER that will call for 12.2 EER for systems less than 45,000 BTUH and 11.7 EER for systems over 45,000 BTUH. Heat pumps require national standard of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF