The Department of Energy’s (DOE) new minimum efficiency standards for split system air conditioners (AC) and split system heat pumps went into effect on January 1, 2023. This is part of the DOE’s ongoing effort to reduce energy consumption in the United States. The minimum efficiency increases for 2023 will vary by product type and region. In addition, HVAC manufacturers are now required to comply with a new testing procedure for determining efficiency ratings.
Minimum Efficiency Increases
In the North, the minimum efficiency for air conditioners increased from 13.0 to 14.0 SEER. However, the south’s minimum efficiency for air conditioners has risen from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER. For heat pumps, the minimum efficiency increased from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER nationwide.
New Testing Procedure
The Department of Energy announced changes to the testing procedures that HVAC manufacturers must follow to determine their products’ efficiency ratings. These changes aim to more accurately reflect real-world conditions and require manufacturers to increase the external static pressure used during testing by up to 5 times. As a result of these changes, new metrics and terminology have been introduced, including SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2.
These ratings are lower than the last year’s ratings, and the minimum efficiency requirements have been adjusted to account for the more stringent testing procedures. In order to comply with these changes, all tiers of products now need to be retested, optimized, and relaunched in accordance with the new test procedure. In addition, the changes to the testing procedure have resulted in changes to the airflow set point on indoor blowers such as fan coils and furnaces.
Dealers/contractors, distributors, and manufacturers are required to track the model and serial numbers of equipment sold, delivered, and installed, as well as delivery addresses and installation locations. This includes cash sales. These records will protect businesses in the event of a DOE investigation. Depending on the type of business, records may need to be kept for up to 60 months:
- 48 months for dealers/contractors
- 54 months for distributors
- 60 months for manufacturers
Impact on the HVAC Industry
The new efficiency standards and testing procedures for split system ACs and heat pumps will significantly impact the HVAC industry. Manufacturers need to retest and optimize all product tiers according to the new testing procedure, which is a major undertaking. Dealers, contractors, distributors, and manufacturers also need to keep track of detailed information about equipment sales, deliveries, and installations for an extended period of time.
Staying informed about the new standards and procedures and making sure to order products that meet the necessary efficiency requirements will help protect your business. Training employees on the updated regulations and keeping track of the required information for record-keeping purposes is crucial for compliance.
Tips for Business Owners
Here are some helpful tips for business owners to embrace the new 2023 minimum efficiency standards:
- Stay informed about the new efficiency standards and testing procedures.
- Train your staff on the new requirements.
- Make sure to order region-appropriate products that meet the efficiency requirements for your area.
- Keep records of sold, delivered, and installed equipment, including delivery addresses and installation locations.
- Be prepared to keep these records for a specified period of time in case of a DOE investigation.
Following these tips can protect your business and ensure compliance with the 2023 minimum efficiency requirements.
The DOE’s new minimum efficiency standards for split system ACs and heat pumps, which went into effect on January 1, 2023, have significantly impacted the HVAC industry. Businesses need to stay informed and prepare for the changes to testing procedures and record-keeping requirements if they have not yet already. These tips can help protect your business and ensure compliance with the new regulations.