New Federal Regulations = Higher Prices on AC Units in 2023!
Q: As a homeowner, what should I know about the new Federal Regulations on Air Conditioners?
A: New Federal Regulations require all HVAC manufacturers to redesign air conditioners to be more energy efficient effective January 1, 2023. And, they will no longer be allowed to sell less energy-efficient models.
The new standard will be known as SEER2 and these new regulations mean a whopping price increase for air conditioners in the new year.
Q: What is the purpose of the new Federal Regulations?
A: Regulations relating to some HVAC system components continue to be evaluated and amended as government agencies implement methods to reduce negative environmental impacts and manage future demand for our growing population.
Q: What does SEER2 mean?
A: Traditionally, SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement of an AC unit’s efficiency. However, as its name suggests, the SEER measures the unit’s efficiency over the course of an entire cooling season. SEER2 is the latest regulation increasing minimum efficiency to save energy. All Air Conditioners have a SEER rating identifying its energy efficiency.
Q: Does the new efficiency have any effect on how well it will cool my home?
A: A SEER rating only quantifies efficiency, not capacity. The 14 SEER model that’s going away January 1st, has the same cooling capacity as a 20 SEER.
Q: How much will the new SEER2 Air Conditioners cost?
A: Some estimate the new Basic Air Conditioning Unit will cost more than the current Basic Air Conditioning Units. The factors affecting this increase include:
- Higher-performing components inside the air conditioner
- A larger air conditioner means more copper, aluminum, and steel
- New system design for higher efficiency
- Shipping and handling price increases
Q: How much will the new SEER2 Air Conditioners cost to operate?
A: The good news is that they will cost approximately 10% less to operate than the current Basic units going away on January 1st. A 14 SEER is still likely more efficient than your current model. (Here’s the math: operating costs are approximately 10% less per each rise in SEER rating. For example, a 14 SEER is about 40% less to operate than a 10 SEER).
Q: What is the difference between traditional SEER Ratings and the new SEER2 Ratings?
A: AC unit’s SEER Ratings are tiered from basic models to top-of-the-line which means the top-level AC unit already meets or exceeds the new minimum efficiencies required by the new regulations. Most homeowners currently have 10-13 SEER equipment installed in their homes when those were the basic efficiency levels. 14 SEER is the current basic level and 15.3 SEER is the forthcoming one.
Q: Do the new regulations require me to replace my old air conditioner?
A: No … It’s not obsolete, it’s just a SEER rating that’s slightly under the forthcoming minimum requirements.
Q: After January 1, will I still be able to buy the older models?
A: No … manufacturers are not allowed to sell the older less efficient equipment after January 1.
Q: Is there a benefit to buying a new AC unit now before the new regulations take place?
A: For homeowners with an AC unit that is more than 10 years old, there will be savings on buying the current Basic option (14 SEER) which won’t be available after Jan. 1st, and legally, we can’t even sell what’s left in stock. The new Basic AC Unit will now be (almost) the same efficiency rating but at a higher price point. Think of it like buying the prior year of a car model at a cost substantially less than the current year…yet it’s essentially the same car.
The Anderson HVAC Design Consultants would appreciate the opportunity to give you a free estimate and options to best suit your particular home.