Higher Minimum Efficiency Standards Appear Likely for HVAC EquipmentIn an ongoing effort to contain energy consumption, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will raise the minimum efficiency standards for central cooling and heating equipment in 2015. The DOE estimates that half of the amount of energy consumed in the average U.S. household goes toward keeping it comfortable and setting baseline standards helps homeowners use less.

When the DOE looked at energy standards for this new increase, they divided the country into geographic areas based on climate. The new standards would have been implemented earlier, but a lawsuit was filed against their decision to require high efficiency furnaces in northern states that have high demand for heating.

The court recently ruled that those heating requirements would cause hardship to many homeowners and ordered the DOE to move forward with the help of HVAC industry representatives to set a reasonable standard for heating.

In the meantime, the DOE adopted these new minimum efficiency standards for California homeowners:

  • Cooling systems. The minimum SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) will be raised from 13 to 14 and the EER (energy efficiency ratio) must be 12.2 for air conditioners or heat pumps that are four tons and less. The EER for larger systems must be 11.7. The minimum EER for package systems will be 11.0. The EER rating indicates how efficiently the system runs when temperatures are 95 degrees F and the SEER is calculated at a seasonal temperature of 82 degrees.
  • Heating systems. Heat pumps both heat and cool, and the new HSPF (heating season performance factor) must be 8.2 for split systems. The minimum efficiency for gas heating equipment will go from 78 AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) to 80.

These standards go into place for cooling systems manufactured after January 1, 2015, and homeowners can install the remaining inventory of 13 SEER cooling equipment until July 1, 2016. The new 80 AFUE standard goes into place January 2015.

For more information about the new minimum efficiency standards, contact Around the Clock A/C and Heating. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for the Los Angeles region since 1967.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Los Angeles, North Hollywood and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about energy efficiency and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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