In 2006, the national standard for split system air conditioners and heat pumps was raised from a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) requirement of 10 to 13. In 2010, manufacturers and efficiency advocates negotiated an agreement and presented it to the US Department of Energy to increase efficiency standards for split system air conditioners and heat pumps. In the agreement, the standards will vary for the three regions of the United States: the South, the Southwest and the North and will better reflect the varying cooling and heating needs for each region. The Department of Energy issued a direct final rule in 2011 based on the agreement and it went into effect on October 25, 2011. The new standard increases the minimum cooling efficiency requirements to SEER 14 for split system air conditioners in the South and Southwest regions, while maintaining the SEER 13 standard for the North region. The new standards also include Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) requirements for the Southwest region to ensure efficient operation at high outdoor temperatures. For heat pumps, the standards raise the cooling efficiency to SEER 14 for all three regions and also increase the heating efficiency requirements.
The effective date of the increase in SEER for central air conditioners and heat pumps is January 1, 2015. However, due to uncertainty caused by recently settled litigation, the Department of Energy has agreed to an 18-month grace period during which central air conditioners manufactured prior to January 1, 2015 may be installed. The grace period will end on June 30, 2016. For more information regarding the increase in efficiency standards, check out this link HERE.
What this means is that 13 SEER split system air conditioners and heat pumps will no longer be able to be installed in Central Florida after June 30, 2016. In light of new efficiency standards, if your system is struggling and in need of replacement, it may make sense to upgrade before they go into effect. Please feel free to contact us for a free estimate.