New Heating and Cooling Regulations

It’s important to know that the Department of Energy (DOE) raised the minimum efficiency standard for HVAC units to 14 SEER in most regions of the U.S. as of January 1, 2015.
What is SEER?
SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio.” SEER can be compared to miles per gallon on your car. The higher the number, the more efficient the HVAC unit.


What are the new SEER regulations in the SOUTH Region? 

Heat Pumps
The standard for all split-system heat pumps has increased to the new national heat pump efficiency minimum of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).
Air Conditioners

The AC standard has increased to 14 SEER.


Exceptions
Existing systems less than 14 SEER may continue to be used as long as they can be repaired with available parts. Replacement systems less than 14 SEER may continue to be purchased and installed as long as the system was manufactured prior to January 1, 2015. 13 SEER (straight cool units) may still be installed until June 30, 2016.


More efficient systems are often larger and contain more expensive components. When you purchase a home, this is an important reason to get a one-year home warranty on the property. Most policies will protect you from potentially higher repair and replacement costs, and they will continue to install the appropriate SEER equipment for covered breakdowns. It’s always important to check contract details to understand coverage limitations. For example, making structural changes to accommodate the new larger systems will not be covered.

A significant value to consider is that when a covered breakdown occurs, the repair may require installation of more efficient equipment which could present compatibility problems with the existing system components. In these situations most home warranty companies will replace the covered components necessary to make the system compatible. Just make sure you read the policy to know what's covered and call the company to do the repairs.

For more details on the new guidelines, go to: http://www.energy.gov/energysaver/articles/central-air-conditioning