The New

D.O.E Efficiency Standards

On January 1, 2015 the new U.S. Department of Energy Minimum Efficiencies Standards went into effect. So will the new standards effect HVAC System Replacement for the average homeowner?

The first thing to know is that 13 SEER equipment still exists and is available, although existing stockpiles are declining by the day. Equipment manufacturers can continue to sell and HVAC contractors can continue to install 13 SEER equipment until the existing inventory is depleted. Most wholesalers are predicting that the inventory will be sold out by as early as March or as late as June depending on who you talk to. Suffice to say for the immediate future the equipment is still available and is currently a less expensive option than the new 14 SEER equipment that is now hitting the marketplace. If you are considering HVAC System replacement and price is the most important factor, you may want to move quickly so that you may still be able to get equipment at reduced rates. As the inventory depletes deals will be harder and harder to come by.

Ok now for the new law and what it means to Tucson homeowners, essentially the law will be seamless for the homeowner. The minimum efficiencies have changed in the Southwest region from a 13 SEER minimum to the following:

All Residential Split Systems (Condenser, Coil and Furnace Systems) must meet the following

Sizes up to 3.5 tons of cooling must meet 14 SEER and 12.2 EER

Sizes 4 tons of cooling and larger must meet 14 SEER and 11.7 EER

All Residential Split Heat Pumps (Condenser & Air Handler) must meet  14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) there is not a minimum EER requirement on heat pumps.

All Residential Packaged Systems must meet the following

AC Only – 14 SEER  11 EER

Gas Electric -14 SEER 11 EER  81% AFUE

Heat Pump – 14 SEER  8.0 HSPF

So what does all this mean for the homeowner? First it means that the new equipment will be more efficient and cost effective to operate than the old 13 SEER equipment. Secondly it will cost the homeowner more, like with most mandated changes they will come at a cost to the homeowner. Manufacturer’s were required to spend a lot of money to engineer and certify the new equipment would meet the new minimum requirements. Additionally coils have increased in size resulting in more raw materials per system and higher efficiency motors are being used now to help achieve those new standards. All of these costs have been added into the new equipment, most major manufacturer’s have already announced new price increases of anywhere from 6% to 12% depending on the manufacturer. While we typically see price increases this time of year from manufacturers, this year they are on the upper end of the spectrum due to their increased costs.

Ultimately the Tucson homeowner will save around $30 – $40 per year on energy usage compared to the 13 SEER equipment while having the pleasure of having to pay more for the new design changes and technology. If you have been thinking of replacing or updating your system, act now before the option of the 13 SEER equipment is removed. Call us today (520) 433-9215 if you have questions or wish to find out more.

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