How the 2023 HVAC Regulations Affect Homeowners
As technology advances, the U.S. Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency periodically evaluate HVAC efficiency standards to reduce energy usage throughout the country.
The next round of updated regulations goes in effect January 1, 2023, and applies to all units manufactured after that date.
Manufacturing standards directly affect installation pricing for HVAC distributors and installers, but they eventually pay off for homeowners because more efficient units result in lower energy costs.
How Is HVAC Efficiency Measured?
Before we talk about the changes, here’s a quick review of how HVAC efficiency is measured and rated.
For split HVAC systems, there are two main metrics used to measure efficiency:
- Seasonal energy efficiency ratio: SEER ratings measure how efficiently an air conditioning unit cools your home. Generally, ratings range from 13 to 23, so the higher the rating, the more efficient the unit.
- Annualized Fuel Utilization Efficiency: An AFUE percentage indicates how much fuel a furnace consumes is converted into usable heat. For example, 85% AFUE means that 85% of every British Thermal Unit (BTU) of energy used to run the furnace returns to the home as heat, while 15% is wasted.
A third metric, heating seasonal performance factor, was designed for heat pumps and measures how much energy is used to heat a space.
Since 2015, the minimum required SEER rating for the Northern region is 13. However, many newer AC units have SEER ratings as high as 21 to 23. All units have a black and yellow Energy Guide sticker that displays the efficiency rating.
What Are the New Regulations?
HVAC efficiency standards vary based on geographical region. The 2023 regulation changes affecting the Northern region, which includes Minnesota, are as follows:
- New unit efficiency will be measured as SEER2 and HSPF2 instead of SEER and HSPF.
- Split AC systems manufactured in 2023 require a SEER2 rating of 14 SEER while the pre-2023 minimum required 12 SEER.
- All HVAC systems to undergo more rigorous testing during the manufacturing process to simulate a more accurate representation of how external static pressure and the ducts in your home affect an HVAC system, ideally resulting in a product that’s an even better fit for your home.
Do the New Standards Mean I Need To Upgrade My AC?
You don’t need to worry about replacing your air conditioner to comply with the new standards.
Machines produced or installed after 2022 must meet the new rating and testing standards, so homeowners aren’t affected by the changes unless they purchase a new system in 2023 or later.
How Do the New HVAC Efficiency Standards Benefit Me?
Purchasing a more-efficient HVAC system can lead to long-term savings from reduced energy bills and, when properly maintained, fewer repairs.
Systems manufactured even just 15 years ago, which is the typical life span of a furnace or AC, perform much differently and less efficiently than systems manufactured today.
Anytime you upgrade your HVAC system, you’ll reap the benefits of a more reliable and energy-efficient unit.
Choose McQuillan Home Services for Quality HVAC Replacements
The milestone of replacing a furnace or AC is inevitable. If you recently replaced your system, rest easy knowing units produced in or close to 2022 are still highly efficient because they meet the minimum 2015 standards of a SEER 13.
However, if your HVAC system is more than 10 years old, begin thinking about upgrading to a new unit that is significantly more energy-efficient than your current unit that was manufactured under decade-old standards.
McQuillan Home Services provides total HVAC system replacement and service. And because upgrading to a better-performing unit is so important, we offer financing offers to make the investment in your home as easy as possible.
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