2023 HVAC Regulation Changes and What They Mean for You

By Lyle Weischwill | Nov. 28, 2022 3:35 pm PST

Changes are coming to the HVAC industry in 2023 that can influence decisions you make about your heating and cooling system. You may need to act now to get the best value and timeliest solution before the new government guidelines are in place.

Follow the advice of our HVAC experts to avoid problems with maintaining, repairing or replacing your air conditioner or heat pump in 2023.

What’s Changing?

On January 1, 2023 the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) is bumping up efficiency standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

Air conditioners and heat pumps will need to meet these new minimum SEER ratings:

  • 14 SEER for systems used in northern states (2022 requirement was 13)
  • 15 SEER for systems used in southern states (2022 requirement was 14)

(What is SEER rating? See more about SEER ratings and regional states in the frequently asked questions below.)

Although the new SEER standards will help the environment and seem to be just small increases, this regulatory action means all manufacturers must produce new equipment in alignment with these changes. This can cause HVAC supply chain problems and significant price increases in 2023 that you should be aware of.

You’ll need to act quickly if these problems will affect you and your household.

What Should I Do Now to Prevent Problems?

First, get your AC system checked and maintained by a professional now. That way you’ll know if your heating and cooling system shows signs of current or potential issues.

During HVAC maintenance service, our Sears Technician will check the entire system and test its operation. The tech will discuss any potential system problems with you after completing the maintenance service and checkup, as well as what next steps to take.

What To Do If Your System is in Good Shape

If your heating and cooling system is in good shape, the maintenance service will keep it working efficiently and help you avoid any unexpected repairs or replacement needs in 2023. You’ll have the peace of mind that you’ve done everything you can to keep your family comfortable and safe in the coming year.

Continue scheduling professional HVAC maintenance yearly to keep your central AC in top shape and avoid potential problems.

What To Do If Your System Needs Repair or Replacement

If your air conditioner or heat pump is worn down, the technician will discuss repair and replacement options with you during the maintenance service.

If your HVAC system needs replacing, you’ll need to act immediately to better guarantee the best price and installation timelines for your new system.

Read on to learn more about why you should replace a worn out HVAC system in 2022.

Why Should I Replace My HVAC System in 2022?

If you have an older AC unit or heat pump that you’ll need to replace soon, then you’ll need to be prepared for key challenges caused by the new DOE energy use standards going into effect on January 1, 2023.

Higher Prices

According to Area Sales Manager Adam Joyner, “if you’re considering a new HVAC system, the time to buy is now, before the year (2022) ends.” If you wait until 2023, you’ll be paying more for the new unit. Schedule a free consultation now with a heating and cooling expert to tap into 2022 HVAC system pricing.

If replacing your HVAC system during the holidays wasn’t something you planned for, Adam points out that “we have several financing options, including rent-to-own, that could be right for you.” You can get a new HVAC at a lower cost and still enjoy the holidays.

Supply Chain Issues

Russ Katsov, HVAC Product Director explains that “HVAC equipment availability, which is already strained, will likely be negatively impacted by new 2023 DOE regulations as manufactures work to replace all existing inventory with new, compliant models.”

Avoid long wait times for your new HVAC system by scheduling replacement now.

Replacement Parts for Older Systems May Get Scarce

As parts wear out and break down on older HVAC systems, replacement parts will likely be harder to find. You could find yourself in a serious bind if your existing system breaks down. You may not be able to get repair parts to fix your existing AC unit.

Knowledge is power. Use the power of your knowledge about these HVAC regulatory changes and the potential problems ahead to help you make the right decisions about your heating and cooling system.

Keep your family safe and comfortable in 2023. Take action now before the year ends.

Frequently Asked Questions about DOE HVAC Regulations

Understanding key aspects of current and new DOE HVAC regulations can help you make better decisions about your heating and cooling system. These frequently asked questions provide details about SEER ratings and other efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps.

What is a SEER Rating?

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) is the ratio of the total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the air conditioner during the same season. So, the higher the SEER rating, the less electrical energy your air conditioner uses to cool your home.

What is a SEER2 Rating?

SEER2 is basically the same as the seasonal efficiency ratio (SEER) described above but SEER2 is measured differently. The SEER2 rating measures the energy efficiency ratio under test conditions that more accurately approximate real world scenarios of installed AC units. SEER2 ratings often differ from SEER ratings by about .5 SEER.

Starting January 1, 2023, HVAC efficiency standards will be expressed in SEER2 ratings instead of SEER.

Why is the SEER Rating of my HVAC System Important?

Installing a heating and cooling system with a high SEER rating helps reduce carbon emissions and has a positive effect on our environment. Additionally, installing a high-SEER AC unit will save you money through lower electric bills. Over the life of a typical AC unit, the DOE estimates that you’ll see about $320 of savings after replacing an older, less efficient HVAC system.

Why did the DOE enact new HVAC efficiency standards for 2023?

The DOE first implemented energy conservation standards for central air conditioners in 1992 and last updated the standards in 2015. The estimated number of carbon dioxide emissions that will be avoided as a result of the 2015 HVAC standards is 50 million metric tons.

Because of the positive effect on the environment and the successful implementation of the 2015 standards, the 2023 update implements slightly higher efficiency levels and the uses the new SEER2 metric that better measures real-world HVAC installation and use. The intended impact of the new 2023 standards will be to continue to lower CO2 emissions to help our environment.

Why are SEER Standards Higher for Southern States?

Central air conditioner use varies widely between northern and southern states of the country because of significant outside temperature differences. Setting slightly higher efficiency standards for air conditioners in southern states (where cooling is needed more frequently) increases the environmental impact of HVAC regulations.

How are the Northern and Southern Regions Determined by the DOE?

The DOE uses the population-weighted number of heating degree days (HDD) to establish the dividing line between northern and southern states. An HDD is counted when average daily temperature is below 65 degrees (indicating that your home needs heating). HDD’s in a state are then weighted based on population.

States with 5,000 HDD or more are considered part of the northern region, while states with less than 5,000 HDD are considered part of the southern region. Homes in southern states use the air conditioner much more often because they have less HDD’s.

DOE Northern and Southern Zone States

Which States are in the Northern and Southern Zones?

  • Northern region states include: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
  • Southern region states include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

For more information about the new 2023 HVAC regulations, see the DOE 2023 Central Air Conditioner Answers to Frequently Asked Questions. That document has additional details and references to source documents for 2023 DOE regulations.

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