2023 Regulatory Rules & Your AC
How the Phase Out of SEER 13 Air Conditioners is Going to Affect You
Government Revising Rules on what AC You Can Buy
It may seem like years away, but a new government regulation is already affecting HVAC companies like us at R-Mech. Because of an air conditioner’s effect on energy use and the environment, the government has set rules on its use. From what type of refrigerant can be used to how AC units are mades, there have been governmental regulations on air conditioners for decades. Over time these regulations change, and the next one is scheduled to go into effect in 3 years. How will this stricter governmental regulation on AC units affect you, your home, and your wallet?
What is SEER?
Understanding this change to AC efficiency requirements starts with understanding what SEER is. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and it is a measurement of efficiency for air conditioners. The SEER number indicates its energy efficiency. The higher the number, the better efficient that AC is.
KANSAS CITY FACTS: Typically, the air conditioners operating in Kansas City homes have a SEER rating between 10 – 20, however smaller and larger SEER-rated units do exist.
There are rules for how low of a SEER rating an air conditioner have. Since 1975 the U.S. Department of Energy (EPA) has been able to set standards for your home’s appliances and equipment. In 1987 the EPA set it’s first SEER rating standards. However, the minimum SEER rating permitted wasn’t the same in every state. The climate of a particular region plays a big factor in determining what level of SEER your cooling unit needs to have.
KANSAS CITY FACTS: For those of us in the Kansas City area – both in Kansas and Missouri – the requirement for air conditioners is to have a SEER rating of at least 13.
This SEER 13 minimum for our area was put into effect in 2015. And just as the EPA has raised the efficiency requirement over the years, it’s about to do it again.
What if My AC has a Lower SEER Rating?
That’s not a problem. The SEER 13 requirement that is currently in effect applies only to new AC units that are getting installed. If you have an older air conditioner at a lower SEER rating and it’s working fine, there is no law forcing you need to get it replaced by a newer, more efficient unit (although there are many reasons why you should consider doing just that).
Just like the current SEER regulation doesn’t require homeowners to go out and purchase an entirely new cooling system, the new AC regulation change coming in 2023 will not cause you to do anything immediately.
What the 2023 Seer Regulation Change Means
Starting in 2023, R-Mech and every other heating and cooling company in the United States will no longer be permitted to install an air conditioner with a SEER rating of 13 or lower. Instead, the new minimum for all our customers in Kansas and Missouri will be SEER 14 (in southern states the minimum rating will raise to SEER 15).
How Will You be Affected?
Realistically, you shouldn’t be affected by this. This SEER rating change may only be an issue for homeowners who are needing to replace their aging air conditioner after January 1, 2023. However, even if that is your situation, you probably won’t actually be affected by this rule change. Why not? Because HVAC technology has made amazing advances over the years resulting in a wide range of high efficiency cooling options.
If you find yourself needing a new AC in 2023 (or even before then), chances are you won’t even be considering that low of a SEER rating. For not much more money, you have the option of purchasing an air conditioner with a much higher SEER rating that will run more efficiently and provide more reliable cooling of your home.
It’s not often that a homeowner chooses to go with a SEER 13 AC. If you’re dealing with a reliable professional heating and air company like R-Mech, you’ll be given good information about why a more efficient AC is right for your home. And one of those reasons is that it will save you money. That’s right. A more expective air conditioning system is better for your wallet. That’s because the amount of money you spend every month on your energy bills will be greatly reduced by a higher efficiency unit. So, over time, you can expect to see those energy bill savings make up for the higher installation price tag.
What Should You Do Now?
There is nothing you need to do. If and when you need a new air conditioner installed, you would be best served going with something above SEER 13 anyway. However, if you are worried about needing to replace your AC unit and you know you want to go with a SEER 13 unit, you have a couple of options. You can replace your unit before 2023 so that you are still allowed to purchase a SEER 13 AC. You can just be extra diligent in AC maintenance and cleaning to extend the life of your unit. This is good advice for everyone.
What Impact will this SEER Rating Change Make?
To individual homeowners, as we’ve explained, this rule change will have a minimal impact. If you are dealing with a reputable HVAC company, you will be getting the valuable information you need to see that a higher SEER rating is most beneficial for your home. Fortunately, this SEER rating change will force those reluctant to pay more for a better system to have this improved efficiency.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, these new standards will in total save $2.5 billion to $12.2 billion on energy bills during the 30 years following the 2023 regulatory change.
The Other AC Regulation that Could Affect You NOW
The SEER 13 rating change isn’t the only new rule affecting homeowners. A governmental regulation change that will be felt more directly by many homeowners is the one that just went into affect. New environmental rules have phased out R22, the refrigerant used by many homeowners’ air conditioning units, also known as Freon. Learn exactly how this R22 Phase Out will affect you this summer and what actions you can take on your home right now to help you avoid frustrations and avoidable expenses.
Have Any Questions on Your Cooling Needs?
Just ask! Our team at R-Mech is vigilent of any and all rules affecting heating, cooling and plumbing regulations. We are trained and experienced in the HVAC industry and happy to help make sure homeowners are well informed and ready for any changes that may affect them. Call us at (816) 920-5955 and we would be happy to discuss any concerns or questions you have about AC rule changes. We can also walk through your home’s cooling needs and current energy bills to help you determine if you’re getting the most out of your system.