3 New Rules for AC Systems

AC Systems Rules for Homeowners

Two federal regulatory agencies regulate the manufacturing of heating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and both have regulatory upgrades that took effect on January 1, 2023. Regulatory changes are made with long-range environmental health in mind. These upgrades affect the choices available to consumers who need to replace their HVAC systems in homes and businesses. Without getting super technical, here are some simple explanations of the regulatory changes.

SEER Improvements

In 1992, the Department of Energy introduced Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratings for new central air conditioning products (EER ratings for room air conditioning). It was based on testing completed in laboratory settings that measures the cooling output of a system compared to the energy used. SEER is a long-range measurement, over an entire cooling season and not a snapshot reading. Larger SEER numbers indicate greater energy efficiency.

The same federal agency oversees energy efficiency requirements in automobile manufacturing; the mpg rating for new cars is much higher than new cars a decade ago. Overseeing energy efficiency is done to lower our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce the total carbon footprint of the nation.

SEER requirements have been stepping up incrementally and 2023 is the year for the next efficiency upgrade. For the region that includes Texas, the minimum SEER rating for available air conditioner systems moves from 14 to 15. Manufacturers and contractors have been aware of this change for years, so the old stock of SEER 14 has been moved to other regions and only SEER 15 products are available locally.

SEER 2 Implementation

Researchers, always looking to improve their processes, noticed a slight difference between the measurement methods in laboratory settings and the actual energy efficiency capability that can be produced in the field. A new designation was developed to reflect the current means of measurement, so the new HVAC systems will have a SEER2 designation. This is an internal DOE implementation and has nothing to do with air conditioning operations in your home.

AC System Refrigerant Gas Changes

While the Department of Energy is overseeing air conditioner manufacturing, the Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the production and distribution of the refrigerant gas used in the cooling process.

  • Air conditioning uses a mechanical-chemical process, called heat pump technology. By compressing and suddenly releasing pressure on certain gases, the system moves heat from inside to outside. In some cases, the process can be reversed, moving available heat outside to inside, to heat a home.
  • Scientists have used a variety of refrigerant gases over the years to cool indoor spaces. Some of these gases were discovered to be harmful to the environment, even depleting the ozone layer at the edges of the atmosphere. Ozone deflects significant amounts of ultraviolet radiation. These gases have been phased out and replaced with newer, more environmentally friendly choices.
  • In 2023, a few more gases are being phased out for more environmentally friendly gases. New systems will use new refrigerants; expect to see R-32 designations for new systems.
  • Some new products will also use an A2L type of gas. While the efficiency rating is very high, they are mildly flammable. A new HVAC system might have consumer warnings, denoting this fact.

All Cool has been tracking the regulatory climate and offers only compliant products. We are trained on the new equipment and gases. Existing systems that use older-style refrigerants can still be serviced, including adding gases as needed; we are also equipped to service and repair older systems.

Is Your AC System Effected by New Regulations? Let us help you decide!

Schedule your free AC System consultation by calling AllCool AC & Heating at 281-238-9292 or contact us via email.