Minimum Efficiency Standards Are Changing – Here’s What You Should Know.

Empire vanAs we get closer to a new year, many people start to think about how they can improve, whether it’s personal changes or improvements to their homes. For many people, a new year can mean hitting the gym, eating healthier foods, or learning a new skill. Around the house, people might be thinking about ways they can make their homes more comfortable, such as decluttering, taking care of remodeling projects, and improving their home comfort.

When the new year begins, the Department of Energy will establish some changes in an effort to promote energy efficiency. There will be new minimum efficiency standards on home comfort equipment that consumers should be aware of. In this article, we’ll talk about these new standards, and how they might affect you as a homeowner when it comes time to replace older equipment. Keep reading to learn more.

Minimum Efficiency Standards Set to Increase for AC and Heat Pump Systems

Beginning January 1, 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) will increase minimum efficiencies for both central air conditioning and heat pump systems. In Georgia, homeowners use AC nearly year-round, and many homeowners have heat pump systems installed to keep homes cool during warm weather, and warm when temperatures turn chilly. The DOE will require both AC and heat pump systems sold in the Southern US to have a minimum SEER rating of 15.0. And, while the DOE has left the minimum AFUE the same for heating systems in the South, it has required that blower capacities for furnaces increase.

What do these changes mean for me as a homeowner?

These changes can be confusing. Many people aren’t sure what SEER or AFUE means. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It helps a homeowner understand the energy efficiency offered by an air conditioning or heat pump system. The higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the equipment is. SEER2 is an updated way of measuring the SEER ratings, which will go into effect on January 1, 2023. This new means of measuring SEER uses a new blower testing procedure that is more accurate than the current system.

AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and measures furnace heating efficiencies. Like SEER, the higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the equipment is. As we explained above, the new regulations don’t directly affect heating systems in the South but will affect the blowers used in manufacturing the systems. And, as you can probably guess, these changes will mean that the cost of HVAC equipment will increase as well.

Nobody wants to pay more for heating and cooling, but there is some good news.

We understand that most homeowners don’t want to pay more for home comfort equipment. Air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces are already costly, and the idea of paying more can be frustrating. However, the improved efficiency standards also mean that home comfort equipment will operate more efficiently. Over time, most homeowners will notice a steady decrease in their utility bills, so while up-front equipment costs will likely be higher, the savings over time will be much improved.

Additionally, there are enhanced tax credits anticipated to be available in 2023 that will make the purchase of heat pump systems more affordable as well. The new tax credits offered under the Inflation Reduction Act will be for high-efficiency heat pump systems. It is expected that up to $8,000 in tax credits will be available for the installation of certain heat pump systems. These changes will become effective starting in 2023.

How can Empire Heating & Air Conditioning help?

At Empire, we always put the comfort needs of our customers first. If you need new equipment, we’re ready to help you understand the new requirements and find a system that fits both your lifestyle and budget needs. And, we provide our customers with several financing options in order to make equipment purchase and installation more affordable for you. And, we frequently offer savings packages on equipment tailored to help you save money upfront on equipment costs.

When you need better home comfort, Empire is ready to help. Just give us a call at 404.294.0900. We’ll be more than happy to discuss our products and services with you and schedule an appointment with you today!