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Changing HVAC Energy-Efficiency Standards

New HVAC Standards Could Affect Homeowner's HVAC System Choice

There is nothing more important in terms of overall home comfort than the search for the right air conditioner, heat pump or gas pack. That is why it is very important to take some time and find the right system for your home. You can do this by talking to your local contractor and comparing efficiency ratings. The best indicator of the lifelong performance of your heating and air conditioning system is the unit’s efficiency. The higher the efficiency rating of your unit the more efficient that unit is – this applies to SEER, EER, AFUE and HSPF. An air conditioner purchase is not a purchase you are going to make frequently – after all, your air conditioner may last up to 16 years – so it is important that the unit you choose is the one that you want working in your home for years to home.

As technology improves and advances are made in the heating and cooling industry, standards are changed in order to be more eco-friendly. Recently, the Department of Energy has introduced new minimum-efficiency standards that heating and cooling equipment will have to meet in order to be installed in homes. Some of these standards vary by region and some are national standards that apply to all homeowners in the United States. These changes are slated to take effect on January 1, 2015, and include an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell their remaining inventory.

Old Efficiency Standards

Prior to 2015, the efficiency standards were as follows (the units included are the ones affected by the new minimum-efficiency standard changes):

    Split System Air Conditioners: 13 SEER

    Split System Heat Pumps: 13 SEER, 7.7 HSPF

    Package Air Conditioners: 13 SEER

    Package Heat Pumps: 13 SEER, 7.7 HSPF

    Gas/Electric Packaged Units: 13 SEER, 78% AFUE

New Regional Efficiency Standards

The new efficiency standards that are going into effect on January 1, 2015, are not only increasing the minimum-efficiency rating that each type of heating and cooling system needs to meet, but varying a few of them by region. There will be three regions – the North, the South and the Southwest. These regions have been determined by the amount of time a cooling system in that area of the country will spend cooling a home throughout the year. The new regional standards are as follows:

Split System Air Conditioners:

    North: 13 SEER

    South: 14 SEER

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 12.2 EER (<45,000 BTU/H) or 11.7 EER (=45,000 BTU/H)

Packaged Air Conditioners:

    North & South: 14 SEER

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 11.0 EER

New National Efficiency Standards

In addition to the regional efficiency standards, there will also be national efficiency standards going into effect for split system heat pumps and all packaged equipment. The new standards include:

    Split System Heat Pumps: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    Packaged Air Conditioners: 14 SEER (additional EER requirement for the Southwest)

    Packaged Heat Pumps: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    Gas/Electric Packaged Units: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

What Homeowners Should Know

There are numerous benefits that come along with choosing a high-efficiency air conditioner, heat pump or packaged system. These come in the form of month-to-month savings and a potential increase in the value of your home. The main benefit for homeowners who choose to have a high-efficiency HVAC system installed in their home is the money-saving potential of high-efficiency performance. HVAC equipment comprises the majority of a homeowner’s utility bills – up to 44%. So, increasing the energy-efficiency of the unit in your home can lower your yearly heating and cooling costs by hundreds of dollars (depending on the efficiency of your old unit, the quality of the installation of your new unit, adherence to regular maintenance, etc.). Additionally, when you go to sell your home, having heating and air conditioning equipment that already meets the new efficiency standards can be a major selling point.

For High Efficiency, Choose NuTone

NuTone heating and cooling has a number of ENERGY STAR-rated products that already meet or surpass the new efficiency standards. For example, our iQ Drive cooling products use an inverter-driven rotary compressor to modulate between 40% and 118% of capacity. This gives it the ability to always use the right amount of energy to cool your home at any given point – maximizing home comfort and efficiency. Want to know if a NuTone heating and air conditioning system is right for your home? Talk to a local NuTone heating and air conditioning contractor.

For Regional Efficiency Standards, Which Region Are You In?

Northern Region: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.

Southern Region: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Hawaii and Delaware.

Southwestern Region: California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Breakdown of the New Efficiency Standards

Split System Air Conditioners - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 13 SEER

    South: 14 SEER

    Southwest:<45,000 BTU/H = 14 SEER, 12.2 EER or =45,000 BTU/H = 14 SEER, 11.7 EER

Split System Heat Pumps - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    South: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

Packaged Air Conditioners - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER

    South: 14 SEER

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 11.0 EER

Packaged Heat Pumps - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    South: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

Gas Packs - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

    South: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

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