The recent energy efficiency regulations issued by the United States Department of Energy, including the SEER2 standards, are a significant development in the industry.
Texas Denton, Dallas, and Fort Worth Metroplex homeowners are facing changes in the way we heat and cool our homes, whether we like it or not. According to the Texas State Climatologist at Texas A&M’s College of GeoSciences, the state is expected to experience warmer weather in the future. This includes an increase in days with extreme heat reaching temperatures of 100 degrees and above. On the other hand, the risk of snowfall, already uncommon in this region, is expected to decrease.
As the Texas economy adapts to limit the impacts of severe weather, discussions about how to do so can often become politically charged. However, it's important to remember that learning about the changes happening in the residential air conditioning and heating industry should not be political. Understanding these changes can help homeowners make informed decisions about how to keep their homes comfortable in the long term.
One crucial aspect to consider is the SEER2 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2) energy efficiency standards that are now appearing on energy rating labels of home appliances. As a company, we want to keep our customers informed about the changes happening in the residential air conditioning and heating industry, and how it's adapting to the market, climate, and regulatory conditions. It's important to note that the new energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy, including SEER2, are significant developments in the industry.
The incorporation of advanced HVAC technology and an increased emphasis on SEER2 efficiency often leads to a higher cost for the consumer
The HVAC industry has been rapidly advancing in recent years, with manufacturers constantly introducing new technologies to improve efficiency and convenience. Examples of these innovations include thermostats that can be controlled with smartphones and multi- or variable-speed air conditioners and heaters that have set records for energy efficiency.
The drive to reduce energy consumption, which began in response to the 1970s energy crisis, has played a major role in this technological advancement. This is why laws were passed to establish a federal energy efficiency standard, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of Energy's Appliance and Equipment Standards Program. This program oversees the efficiency of various home appliances, Including central air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces.
As a result of these advancements, newer air conditioners and heat pumps are significantly more efficient than those from the past. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that new air conditioners today use about 50% less energy than they did in 1990.
However, these technological innovations also come with challenges, such as increased costs and the need for specialized training to install and repair them properly. In addition, some parts may be more expensive when they need to be replaced and repairs and installation require specific expertise in air conditioning and heating.
HVAC technicians are licensed by the state and hold EPA permits to safely handle refrigerant. They are a specific type of engineer who must have knowledge in areas such as refrigeration, ventilation, heating, electricity, plumbing, chemistry, and building science in order to effectively design and maintain comfortable living spaces.
We anticipate that there will be a decrease in the availability of budget-friendly models of air conditioning and heating equipment that are compatible with SEER2 standards.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has recently implemented stricter energy efficiency standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps, which will take effect on January 1, 2023. This means that residential customers in Flower Mound, Texas and the surrounding areas will have to ensure that any new air conditioners they install meet higher Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER2) standards. The new testing procedures are designed to better reflect real-world conditions and will present challenges for HVAC manufacturers.
To comply with these new requirements, manufacturers will have to redesign and renovate their air conditioning and heat pump systems. It should be noted that the standards vary regionally, so while existing equipment that meets the energy efficiency requirements can still be used in other parts of the country, in the southern region of the United States, only new equipment meeting SEER standards can be installed after January 1, 2023. This is a change from previous regulations where older equipment could be "grandfathered in".
As a result, the HVAC industry is currently experiencing a high level of activity and pressure as manufacturers race to meet the new standards. The industry has already been grappling with supply chain disruptions in 2022, which has made obtaining the necessary components for HVAC systems more difficult. We anticipate that this trend will continue, and predict that many budget air conditioning and heating models will no longer be available in the market as manufacturers shift their focus towards higher-efficiency equipment that have a longer lifespan.
As technology continues to evolve, it's likely that the use of matching systems will become more prevalent in various industries. This is due to the increased efficiency and accuracy they offer in comparison to traditional methods. As a result, it's probable that they will become the norm and be adopted as the standard approach
As energy standards continue to evolve, homeowners should be aware of the potential penalties for non-compliance. In addition to facing monetary fines, contractors, manufacturers, and distributors can also face penalties for knowingly providing and installing equipment that does not meet regional efficiency standards. As a company, we are committed to helping homeowners navigate these changes and ensure that their HVAC systems are compliant and efficient.
One of the key ways to stay compliant and save money on utility bills is to invest in certified HVAC matched systems. The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) tests and certifies the efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps, and by choosing an AHRI-matched system, homeowners can be sure that their equipment is designed to work together and meet the latest energy standards.
To ensure that your HVAC system is compliant and efficient, we recommend asking your HVAC technician for an AHRI Certified Reference Number or an AHRI Certificate of Product Ratings. This reference number can be entered into the CEE Directory to verify that you have a matched system and to obtain a Certificate of Certified Product Performance.
In summary, as energy standards continue to evolve, it's important for homeowners to stay informed and take steps to ensure their HVAC systems are compliant and efficient. Our company is ready to help and support homeowners in their efforts to meet new energy standards
The usage and need for heat pumps is expected to rise in the near future. Factors such as cost-effectiveness, energy efficiency and environmental concerns are among the reasons for this trend. As more people become aware of the benefits of heat pumps, it is likely that there will be an increase in demand for these systems. Additionally, advancements in technology are making heat pumps even more attractive to consumers, further driving the market growth. Overall, it is predicted that the heat pump industry will continue to experience growth in the coming years
As the demand for sustainable energy solutions continues to grow, heat pump systems are becoming increasingly popular. These systems use electricity to provide both cooling and heating, making them a versatile option for homeowners. The "reversing valve" feature of heat pumps allows them to change the flow of refrigerant, meaning they can cool a space in the summer and heat it in the winter.
The High-Efficiency Electric Home Rebate Act, which is part of the Inflation Reduction Act, offers rebates for low and middle-income residents who choose to replace their appliances with more efficient electrical options, such as heat pumps and water heaters. However, these rebates will not be available until later in 2023. This indicates that there is a growing demand for electrification in homes and that incentives are becoming more accessible.
As more residential appliances become electrified, it is yet to be seen how this will impact the Texas electrical grid. There may be additional costs associated with upgrading electrical systems in homes and neighborhoods. Texas already consumes more energy than any other state, and the lack of transmission lines from West to East Texas means that energy prices in the Houston area are relatively high. We wonder if homes and neighborhoods will require costly electrical upgrades. According to the Texas Comptroller
A federal report from October 2022 stated that the state's electrical grid is still vulnerable to extreme winter weather, which the Electric Reliability Council of Texas disputes. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) also points out that both gas-powered furnaces and electrical heat pumps will not function if the power grid goes offline, as it did during Winter Storm Uri in 2021. Therefore, they recommend implementing energy efficiency improvements, such as adding insulation, in addition to switching to electrical heat pumps.
Homeowners may be surprised by the rising costs of HVAC equipment and the required upgrades that come with new regulations. It's important for them to be aware of how these changes may affect their home's HVAC system to prepare for the potential financial impact
As a responsible homeowner, business owner or facility manager, it is imperative to keep abreast of the evolving energy efficiency standards
As the temperatures start to change, it's the perfect time to start thinking about upgrading your heating and cooling system. At our company, we offer a wide range of options for heat pumps and air conditioners. Whether you're looking for a new unit or simply need to replace an existing one, our team is here to help. To learn more about your options and find the perfect system for your needs, give us a call at 972-400-3602. We're proud to be an Amana and Rheem Pro Dealer and would be honored to earn your business. Let's talk about how we can keep your home or business comfortable this fall and beyond
Understanding DOE Compliant Match-ups and combinations allowed.
A manufacturer may sell an outdoor unit of identical design in the SE and SW regions, if the manufacturer separates the basic model (i.e., outdoor unit model) into different basic models with unique model numbers for distribution in each region, provided that the basic model certified for the SE and SW regions: (1) does not include any individual combinations that are not compliant with the regional standard applicable at the time of installation; and (2) includes at least one coil-only combination that is representative of the least-efficient combination in which the specific outdoor unit is distributed in commerce. Id.
DOE notes that the install-through provision in 10 CFR 429.102(c)(4)(i) allows existing stock of discontinued basic model combinations to be installed in the SE or SW regions as long as they were
1 SE includes the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories. 10 CFR 430.42(c)(6)(i). 2 SW includes the States of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico. Id.
2 previously validly certified as compliant to the regional standards applicable at the time of installation. DOE further notes that the term “previously validly certified” means that all combinations within the basic model must have previously shown compliance with the regional standard applicable at the time of installation, including, for single-split-system AC with single-stage or two-stage compressor (including space-constrained and SDHV systems), a coil-only combination representative of the least-efficient combination in which the specific outdoor unit is distributed in commerce, in order for the install through provision to apply.
Any basic model that does not meet the amended regional standards (SEER2, EER2) must be: (1) installed in the SE or SW region prior to January 1, 2023; (2) moved to the part of the nation outside the SE or SW region for installation; and/or (3) recertified in accordance with DOE’s regulations, including having at least one coil-only combination that complies with the regional standards for single split system AC with single-stage and two-stage compressors.
DOE provides two examples to illustrate these points.
Example 1: Model A outdoor unit with COIL-ONLY (“C/O”) indoor unit A is certified with a 13.4 SEER2. Model A outdoor unit with C/O indoor unit B is certified with a 14.3 SEER2 and an 11.7 EER2. Beginning January 1, 2023, per 430.32(c)(6) and 429.102(c)(4) and 429.158(a), Model A cannot be certified compliant with regional standards or installed in the SE or SW because all individual combinations of the outdoor unit model do not comply with the regional standards.
Specifically, the certification of Model A with C/O indoor unit A is below the minimum-required 14.3 SEER2 for split-system air conditioners applicable on or after January 1, 2023. Model A can be installed only outside of the SE and SW regions. Alternatively, the manufacturer can split Model A into Model A1 (with C/O indoor unit A) and Model A2 (with C/O indoor unit B) in accordance with 429.16(a)(4)(i). Model A1 can be installed only in regions other than the SE or SW because all its combinations do not comply with the regional standard. Model A2 can be separately certified as a new basic model and installed in the SE and SW provided that all individual combinations show compliance with the regional standards. This is allowed because both Model A1 and Model A2 have a C/O combination rating, which complies with 429.16(a)(1) and 429.16(b)(2)(i).
Example 2: Model B outdoor unit with C/O indoor unit A is certified with a 13.4 SEER2. Model B outdoor unit with blower coil (“B/C “) indoor unit A is certified with a 14.3 SEER2 and an 11.7 EER2. (These are the highest rated combinations available in the basic model.) Beginning January 1, 2023, per 430.32(c)(6) and 429.102(c)(4) and 429.158(a), Model B cannot be certified compliant with regional standards or installed in the SE or SW because all individual combinations of the outdoor unit model do not comply with the regional standards. Specifically, the certification of Model B with C/O indoor unit A is below the minimum-required 14.3 SEER2 for split-system air conditioners applicable on or after January 1, 2023. Model B can be installed only outside of the SE and SW regions.
In this case, Model B cannot alternatively be split into Model B1 (with C/O indoor unit A) and Model B2 (with B/C indoor unit A) because Model B2 would not have a C/O combination rating compliant with regional standards and thus would not comply with 429.16(a)(1) and 429.16(b)(2)(i). Model B with B/C indoor unit A may not be installed in the SE and SW regions.