The HVAC industry will undergo some changes in 2023. These changes will impact the whole country, including Oak Ridge, TN. They will target heat pumps, air conditioners and your system’s refrigerant. Find out about the new 2023 efficiency standards and the phase-out of R410 refrigerant.
The 2023 Air Conditioner Efficiency Standards
The United States introduced new efficiency standards that central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps must meet starting January 1st, 2023.
Usually, air conditioners in the northern region of the United States should have a minimum SEER rating of 13. Those in the southern half must meet the minimum SEER rating of 14.
The US Department of Energy will require the systems manufactured for the southern region to have a minimum SEER rating of 15. Those manufactured for the northern half should have a minimum rating of 14.
A SEER rating shows how efficient a system is in cooling your home. The rating considers the energy your appliance uses to cool your living space versus the cooling output it offers you. Currently, you may find modern systems with ratings as high as 26 in the market.
Systems with a higher rating have blowers and compressors that use a variable-speed system in the cooling process. This technology helps to save your cooling energy.
Systems that use variable speeds don’t need to operate at 100% capacity all the time. For instance, your home’s temperatures may rise above your preferred range by three to five degrees. Rather than going full force to cool your home, a system with a higher SEER rating will operate at less than 100% capacity — something like 25% capacity at all times.
This technology reduces the energy required to cool your home. On the other hand, older systems with a SEER rating of less than 13 operate at 100% capacity all the time.
This means these units require more energy to perform their duties. Typically, the higher the rating, the more cooling efficiency you will enjoy.
The 2023 Heat Pump Efficiency Standards
The heat pump’s heating seasonal performance factor will also increase from 8.2 to 8.8. The heating seasonal performance factor operates similarly to the SEER rating.
The performance factor shows your heat pump’s efficiency by measuring its heat output against the electricity it uses. A higher rating means more energy efficiency and vice versa.
When these changes come into effect, the government won’t require you to replace your air conditioner or heat pump if you’re already using the older models. If you want to replace your air conditioner or heat pump, you won’t be able to find new AC systems with a SEER rating of less than 14 and heat pumps with HSPF ratings of less than 8.8 on the market.
The initial cost of purchasing these modern systems may be higher than that of older ones. However, you’ll save money in the long run through reduced energy costs. In addition, you’ll achieve increased comfort together with your family.
A New Refrigerant for 2023
Residential cooling systems have been using the R-410a refrigerant since 2010. This refrigerant is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC); its leakages harm the environment and contribute to global warming.
To save the environment, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is cutting the importation and manufacture of this refrigerant by 85%. This legislation will be in effect for the next 15 years.
Manufacturers will now use the R-454b refrigerant for their air conditioners and heat pumps. This refrigerant has a lower global warming effect. However, it’s mildly flammable.
This means your best bet will be to have a professional service technician conduct repairs when you notice any leaks. If your system uses the R-410a refrigerant, this refrigerant will still be available on the market for the next few decades for repair purposes.
We Can Help
If you want to learn more about the new changes, reach out to Melton Heating and Air Conditioning for professional HVAC services and advice. We always follow up on recent developments in the HVAC industry and train our service technicians in line with these changes. We ensure only highly skilled professionals work on your system.
Image provided by iStock