For many years, the Department of Energy has been trying to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Heating and cooling is the second-largest source of personal emissions in the United States. Transportation is the largest source. On January 1, 2015, new federal regulations went into effect for heating pumps and air conditioners.
Heating pumps and air conditioners are rated in a unit known as SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). In 2015, new heating pumps have to be at least 14 SEER, the previous rating was 13. In 15 southern states, where it is much warmer, air conditioning units will have to meet a 14 SEER minimum.
Utah was group as a state in the northern region and is not included in this mandate, and the SEER remains at 13. However, heat pumps must now meet a 14 SEER minimum rating.
How Does This Affect You?
However, just because Utah homes may install a unit with a 13 SEER, manufacturers cannot make these units any longer. There is a grace period where the remaining inventory can be sold and installed, but eventually, consumers will be limited to units with a higher SEER rating, no matter where they live.
Older units will still be able to be repaired, but as they break down you may find it more difficult to find parts. When you need to upgrade, you will have to purchase a newer unit. More efficient units may have some installation issues because of older materials that are currently being used, but higher-rated units will save on your utility costs.
Homeowners need to be aware of these regulations. If you’re considering replacing your current system, look at the price difference between a 13 and 14 SEER. Because the 13 SEER units are no longer being made, it may make sense to upgrade to a higher rating.
Here to Stay
Although the new furnace regulations are being challenged in court, the new AC and heating pump regulations are now in effect. The efficiency standards are not going to go away, and they will only increase over time as technology advances.
It may be that the dates for implementation change, but reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global issue that faces every corporation, government, and individual. Fortunately, newer AC units will perform better and more efficiently, which will also benefit your pocketbook in the long run.