Does my existing unit have to be changed out because of the minimum 14 SEER requirement starting January 1, 2015?
During many recent visits to service calls and estimates our customers are aware and asking about the 14 SEER minimum requirement equipment starting January 1st, 2015. The question asked the most is "Do I have to change out my current system even though it still works?"
Although the new requirement will be 14 SEER equipment when you replace your system after January 1st, 2015, your existing system is still safe. Unless you plan to upgrade your equipment whether its to save more money or because it failed your current system does not have to be replaced. This new law only applies to new change outs and replacements. For instance, your compressor fails and you get an estimate for replacement. In this situation it would be wise to ask about new equipment that contains R-410A refrigerant, thats free of ozone depletion. This will require you to replace your air conditioner and evaporator coil which is the other part to your air conditioner that lies atop of the blower. Of course you can always just replace the compressor and refill the system with R-22 freon. The negative side to this option would be paying and investing a chunk load of money on old technology and used equipment. Since R-22 is being phased out the cost of buying it, has increased dramatically. Of course the decision is up to the homeowner of the property. Sometimes going the more economic route is the only option but upgrading to new refrigerant would be wise and for sure a better investment. Here is an article below.
Under the new rules, non-weatherized residential furnaces and mobile home gas furnaces installed on or after May 1, 2013, in the Northern Region must be at least 90% AFUE. The North region is comprised of the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
In all other states, non-weatherized gas furnace and mobile home furnaces installed on or after May 1, 2013 would be 80% AFUE.
Split System Air Conditioners
Starting January 1, 2015, split system central air conditioners installed in the Southeastern Region must be at least 14 SEER. The Southeastern Region includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.
Starting January 1, 2015, split systems central air conditioners installed in the Southwestern Region must be a minimum 14 SEER and 12.2 EER. The Southeastern Region contains the states of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
Starting January 1, 2015, split system central air conditioners installed in all other states must meet 13 SEER, which is the current national minimum standard.
Starting January 1, 2015, the new minimum efficiency standard for split system heat pumps is 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF. There are no regional standards for heat pumps, just a single nationwide standard.
ACCA filed comments on the Direct Final Rule earlier this month recommending the withdrawal of the Direct Final Rule, so that it could be considered more carefully. The primary elements of the Direct Final Rule are based on a “Consensus Agreement” drafted by HVAC equipment manufacturers and energy efficiency advocates.
ACCA contended that the Consensus Agreement represented the view of a minority of stakeholders and utilized a fast tracked process that did not consider all stakeholder concerns. ACCA urged the DOE to withdraw the Direct Final Rule, because it justified condensing furnaces in the Northern region based on incomplete or inaccurate assumption on the costs and installations issues when replacing non-condensing furnaces with condensing furnaces.
The next step in this process for the DOE will be to figure out how to enforce these new regional standards. The agency must initiate a rulemaking on enforcement by mid January. By law, the DOE must include all stakeholders, including installers, in the enforcement rulemaking.