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Buyer Beware! How the Department of Energy’s 2023 HVAC Rules May Impact Your Business

The latest round of regulations, put in place by the Department of Energy (DOE), aim to increase the energy efficiency of HVAC units in homes and businesses across the United States. And if you’re in the market for a new commercial heating and air system in 2023, these regulations will apply to you too! 

Before you settle on the perfect HVAC system for your store, office, warehouse, or production facility, read on! The guidelines we’ll share below can protect you from noncompliance fees and help you reduce your energy bills in 2023 and beyond. 

What’s changing in the new year?

In 2023, the DOE will continue slowly increasing the minimum efficiency requirements for newly manufactured and installed commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. In the Southeast region (including both North and South Carolina), air conditioners must improve from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER (for systems under 45k BTU/h) and from 14.0 to 14.5 SEER (for systems at or over 45k BTU/h) using current testing procedures. 

A SEER— which stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio— refers to how well an air conditioner cools your building, compared to how much power it uses in the process. The higher the SEER, the more efficient the system. These DOE regulations are essentially requiring new HVAC systems to be one level more efficient than old systems. But the energy savings you’ll enjoy overtime are more than worth the upgrade!

In addition to heightened efficiency standards for cooling systems, the January 1st regulations include new standards for heat pumps. The minimum efficiency requirements on standard commercial heat pump systems will increase from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER. 

And starting in 2023, there’s one more important update worth noting— the testing standards used to determine a system’s level of efficiency are also changing. Moving forward, efficiency levels determined using these new testing methods will be denoted with a “2”, such as SEER2 for cooling systems and HSPF2 for heating systems. This updated terminology will become the new normal for commercial HVAC systems and residential systems alike. 

Why the new regulations?

The DOE periodically reviews the energy usage, standards, and regulations of many types of equipment across every industry. From windows and vehicles to furnaces and solar panels— if it uses or saves energy, the DOE may have a say in its production process, capabilities, or usage levels. 

When it comes to HVAC systems, the DOE releases new efficiency guidelines every few years as heating and cooling technology develops. This latest round of energy improvement regulations actually applies to both commercial and residential equipment— so keep this information in mind if you’re looking to upgrade your home’s HVAC system next year! 

HVAC manufacturers— and the full Refrigeration Heroes team— are ready to face the challenge

Fortunately, manufacturers saw these new regulations coming months ago. They’re already working around the clock to update, upgrade, and improve every new system that comes off the production line. 

The top-quality manufacturers we’ve worked with for years are in the process of retrofitting their affected air conditioners and heat pumps, restructuring their testing procedures to meet the new compliance standards, and improving the efficiency and performance of new HVAC products. Like Refrigeration Heroes, their ultimate goal is to provide air comfort solutions that are not only reliable but are also effective and standards-aligned. 

In the meantime, our expert team of everyday heroes has been tirelessly training on the latest regulations and procedures. We stay on top of industry updates just like this to ensure every client is comfortable and compliant. 

Ready for an HVAC equipment upgrade? Refrigeration Heroes can help you find the best unit for your business and budget. 

You can try to navigate these changing rules and regulations on your own… Or you can trust your HVAC needs to the highly-trained (and exceptionally helpful!) team here at Refrigeration Heroes. 

With every call and visit, we aim to be the easiest service partner you’ll work with, the friendliest customer service you’ll encounter, and the best repair and maintenance visit you’ll experience. Put our team to the test by calling (864) 834-4078 in South Carolina or (828) 688-0323 in Western North Carolina.

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