Regional Efficiency Standards: A Settlement Has Been Reached


Recently, regional efficiency standards for HVAC equipment have been changed by the industry and the Department of Energy. Let's go over what this means for your household.

In 2006, the standard SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) for air conditioners and heat pumps was raised from 10 to 13. In 2010, equipment manufacturers partnered with efficiency specialists to develop new regional efficiency standards, accounting for different climate conditions throughout the US. In the South and Southwest, SEER requirements were raised to 14, while they remained at 13 in the North.

Equivalent regional efficiency standards and adjustments have also been set for other equipment, such as gas furnaces.

However, the proposed January 2015 adjustments posed a few issues for manufacturers and distributors, so a new agreement has been reached with the DOE. It affects different equipment and regions in different ways.

Before we jump into the new rules, let’s go over a few terms. SEER we’ve already discussed. HSPF is related to heat pump efficiency, and stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. AFUE is for furnaces, and stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.

These new regional efficiency standards apply to all equipment manufactured after January 2015.

  • Split system air conditioners: SEER 14 (This number applies specifically to the South, including Oklahoma.)

  • Single package air conditioners: SEER 14

  • Split system heat pumps: SEER 14, HSPF 8.2

  • Single package heat pumps: SEER 14, HSPF 8.0

  • Small-duct, high-velocity systems: SEER 13, HSPF 7.7

  • Space-constrained air conditioners and heat pumps: SEER 12 (Heat pumps must meet an HSPF of 7.4.)

  • Gas-fired furnaces: AFUE 80%

While these numbers will become regional efficiency standards as of January 2015, there’s an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell through equipment manufactured before then.

These developments don't mean you’ll be forced to upgrade your equipment. They do mean that if you purchase new equipment made in 2015 or later, it will comply with these standards, saving you money and reducing your impact on the environment.

Let us know if you have questions. Air Assurance has been serving the Greater Tulsa metro area since 1985, and we’ll be happy to help.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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