How the 2023 HVAC Regulations Affect Homeowners

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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.

Contact us online or call (651) 292-0124 to request a free replacement estimate for your Twin Cities home.

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Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?

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Should I Repair or Replace My Furnace?

Although we are an entire season away from winter, it doesn’t hurt to prepare in advance. It’s never too late to start equipping your home for winter, especially if you are a homeowner in Northern US cities like Minneapolis. One of the most crucial steps of readying your house for the cold is inspecting your furnace for signs of wear and tear. The last thing you want to do is wake up to a freezing cold house in the middle of winter.

However, many people have trouble deciding whether they should keep forking out their money for furnace repairs or just replace the furnace entirely. Ultimately, each case is unique, and the decision to repair or replace varies. Ideally, this decision should be made long before winter starts. This will give you more time to research and ask around for estimates. Also, it’s likely that it will cost you less in parts and labor as there will be less demand for a White Bear Lake HVAC contractor at the time. 
Additionally, you will be able to plan and budget your finances. Below is a guide prepared by the White Bear Lake heating and cooling experts at McQuillan Bros. Use this guide to help you decide between repairing or replacing your furnace.

repair or replace my furnace? - McQuillan Bros

Your Furnace Is Leaking Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that is fatal if inhaled for extended periods. If your furnace has a cracked combustion chamber and is leaking carbon monoxide, it needs to be replaced ASAP. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2,200 people died from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning between 2010 and 2015. Majority of these deaths happening during winter.
If you notice any of the following, your furnace may be leaking carbon dioxide:

  • Streaks of soot around the furnace.
  • Excess moisture on surfaces like windows and walls.
  • A yellow flame instead of blue in the furnace.
  • Rust on the furnace exhaust pipe.
  • Nausea, disorientation, headache, and other flu-like symptoms. 

Immediately evacuate the building and seek medical attention. Once you have called the fire department and notified your utility company to shut off your gas, contact a White Bear Lake HVAC contractor to replace your furnace.

Your Furnace is Over 15 Years Old

A high-quality furnace should last 15-30 years before being replaced, according to the US Department of Energy. Over time, even the best made and maintained heating systems would start breaking down, working less efficiently, and requiring more repairs. It would be economical to replace an old furnace instead of spending thousands of dollars on repairs. However, if the furnace is relatively young and still has much of its lifespan ahead of it, having it serviced would be the better choice.

The Cost of Repairing the Furnace is Over Half the Cost of Replacing It

It makes basic economic sense, and even the experts recommend it. If the furnace repair cost is more than 50% the cost of a new furnace, replace it. An older system that has exceeded around three-quarters or 75% of its life expectancy should be replaced if repairing it is more than a third of the replacement cost.

Your Heating Bills Are Increasing

Aside from the usual fluctuations due to weather patterns, supply, and demand, you should be concerned if you notice unusual spikes in your energy bills. Due to wear and tear and simple aging, the furnace’s internal components start breaking down and work less efficiently. This puts extra strain on the furnace.

To ensure the output remains the same, the furnace will use more energy. So, you end up paying more for the same level of heating. Our friends at Gilmore Heating and Air, a heating and cooling company in Placerville, say that if the furnace is less than 15 years old and the cost of repair is less than half the cost of replacing it, it makes economic sense to replace the defective parts. However, if the furnace is older than 15 years, it would be better to replace it with a newer heating system.

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Your Furnace is Working Less Efficiently 

Have you had to tinker with your thermostat settings more often than you used to? Does your home seem to be heated unevenly, with some rooms being warmer than others are? Although your heating system may just be losing power, or the duct system may be struggling to distribute heat, it is also likely that your furnace is working less efficiently than it used to. If it is a relatively new system and the repair cost does not exceed half the replacement costs, contact an HVAC contractor in White Bear Lake. Our team of professionals will come out for heating maintenance. However, if the furnace is advanced in age, repairing it would only be postponing the inevitable. Replace it instead.

A healthy and well-functioning furnace is crucial to living through the cold months of winter. When contemplating, “should I repair or replace my furnace?” use this guide to help you make the best decision. McQuillan Bros, MN furnace installation experts, are happy to help. Contact us today for honest work at fair prices.

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