What You Should Know About New Minimum SEER Requirements in Texas
Standards for air conditioners, heat pumps, and weatherized furnaces will take effect on January 1, 2015.
Split-system air conditioners installed on or after January 1, 2015, in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or in the District of Columbia, shall have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio not less than 14 SEER.
The Department of Energy sets energy-efficiency standards for HVAC equipment that manufacturers must meet. The standard is measured as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER): a number prominently displayed on the bright yellow Energy Guide sticker on the side of air conditioners, heat pumps and other equipment.
The higher the SEER rating, the more energy efficient the unit is, and the more money you can expect to save by operating it. If you have an older air conditioning unit, you might see that it has a rating of 8 or 10 SEER.
More recently, units have been manufactured to achieve 13 SEER, to meet the DOE’s requirements.
According to DOE, the AC and heat pump standards will save about 156 billion kilowatt hours of electricity over 30 years, or roughly enough to power 8.7 million typical U.S. homes for one year.
The furnace standards will save about 31 billion therms of natural gas over 32 years, or about enough to heat 62 million typical U.S. homes for one year.
Although the average installed cost of a new furnace, AC or heat pump is estimated to increase some as a result of the standards, this cost is more than outweighed by energy bill savings over the life of the product.
According to DOE, the typical buyer will net about $150 in savings over the life of a new air conditioner meeting the standard, a heat pump buyer will net about $146 and a furnace buyer will net $571 compared to a product just meeting the current standard.
A typical northern furnace buyer will save about $54 per year on heating bills, a typical southern air conditioner owner will save about $22 per year and an average heat pump buyer will save $29.
The DOE is allowing an 18-month grace period to sell, distribute and install these units, as long as they have a manufacturing date before January 1, 2015.
Standards for air conditioners, heat pumps, and weatherized furnaces will take effect on January 1, 2015
To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(m)PDF for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps as of April 21, 2008.
The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR Part 430 Appendix M to Subpart B PDF.
This information is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.
Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.
DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency.
ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners are about 14% more efficient than standard models.
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