If you've been in HVAC a while, you know that periodically the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) rethinks its guidelines for energy efficiency, boosts the requirements and institutes other changes that affect this industry. Now is one of those times. In January 2023, new energy standards went into effect for air conditioners and heat pumps.
Referred to as "M1," (the name is taken from the appendix to the code ... governmental red tape, in other words) it establishes new energy-efficiency standards for AC and heat pump equipment here in the United States.
It impacts HVAC manufacturers, installers and ultimately, homeowners. What are these changes, and what do you as an HVAC pro need to know? Don't worry. We've got you covered. Here's your guide to the 2023 M1 regulations.
The M1 change and its impact
The M1 changes are sunsetting efficiency standards SEER, EER and HSPF, in favor of new standards: SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2.
In simple terms, the existing efficiency standards were bumped up a notch.
It's an effort by the Department of Energy to continue its mission of reducing energy consumption by making AC and HP units more efficient.
Long-term benefits: Ultimately, it will be good for the planet because of the positive impact on the environment more efficient AC units will have, and good for homeowners, who will see their energy bills drop as a result of the new efficiencies.
Short-term headaches: The new standards can be a headache for manufacturers and HVAC pros, who need to make sure they're complying with the new regulations and standards. It may mean inventory shortages and challenges in getting parts for older units.
SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2: What you need to know
Make no mistake about it. This can be confusing. The SEER, EER and HSPF (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, Energy Efficiency Ratio, and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) terms all just got a "2" tacked on, to make them SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2. These are new metrics resulting from new testing procedures that the Department of Energy is using to better simulate "real-world conditions." Bottom line, ACs and heat pumps need to be more energy efficient.
You may find units that still carry the old names — they were tested under the old requirements. Anything that is designated SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 has been tested and cleared under the new rules. It means they were manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2023, and meet or exceed the new minimum requirements.
If that's clear as mud, here's something to muddy the waters further. These standards vary by the region of the country where the equipment is sold and used, and enforcement varies, too.
New standards for the Northern region
Goodin customers are located in the Northern region of the country. For our region, the new standards in effect since Jan. 1, 2023, are:
Split system AC: Less than 45k BTU: 13.4 SEER2, 11.7 EER2. Greater than 45k BTU: 13.8 SEER2, 11.2 EER2.
Single-packaged AC: 13.4 SEER2, 10.6 EER2.
Split system heat pumps: 14.3 SEER2, 7.4 HSPF2.
Single-packaged heat pumps: 13.4 SEER2, 6.7 HSPF2.
A word about enforcement. HVAC pros in the Northern region, unlike some other parts of the country, may install units that were manufactured before Jan. 1, 2023, even if they do not meet the new standards. New units must meet the standards.
Tips for educating homeowners
When you're installing new units, recommending replacement units for your customers or doing repairs, you may find homeowners are confused about the new standards or don't know about them at all. Here are a few talking points to use:
- The new standards took effect Jan. 1, 2023, and are designed to make AC and heat pump units more energy efficient.
- Homeowners who purchase and use these new units will likely see savings on their energy bills.
- When deciding to repair or replace an AC or heat pump, homeowners should consider the new standards. Continuing to use older units might prove to be a headache if it's tough to find replacement parts if those units fail.
- Homeowners may nonetheless choose to install and use units built under the old standards, and that's perfectly legal.
- If their HVAC system is working just fine, there is no need to upgrade to the new standards. With regular maintenance, it should last a long time. They should just be aware that as their system ages, finding parts might become an issue.
Bottom line for HVAC pros: Make sure you know the energy standards of units you're purchasing. At Goodin, we've got your back. We know all about these new regulations and are making sure the units we sell are up to current and future standards.
To learn more, contact your local branch!