Regional HVAC System Efficiency Standards Are Going to Rise

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Heating and Air Conditioning Fort Wayne Indiana

Regional HVAC System Efficiency Standards Are Going to RiseFor more than two years, there has been a legal battle between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and several HVAC trade organizations over regional HVAC system efficiency standards. The long-running dispute has come to a close with a recent court decision that accepted a joint settlement agreement that was filed on March 11.

One part of the settlement rescinds a previous ruling on nonweatherized natural gas furnaces (the most common residential variety). The main efficiency rating for furnaces, annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), was one of the targeted points in the ruling. The current standard for AFUE is 78 percent, until it increases to 80 percent, effective January of 2015. The DOE originally had proposed a rule that would have required new furnaces to achieve a minimum AFUE of 90 percent in Northern States and 80 percent in the South. That was a main bone of contention between the federal agency and industry groups. The latter argued that setting the AFUE minimum at 90 percent would force Northern homeowners to upgrade to more efficient and costly condensing furnaces, which require venting and infrastructure upgrades before or during installation.

The court agreement means only the slight increase to 80 percent AFUE, which won't make a difference for most homeowners, who probably would have been shopping for the more efficient furnace anyway.

Some changes in cooling efficiency, however, might make a difference to Indiana homeowners. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. An A/C or heat pump with a higher SEER number will use less electricity. Under the court agreement, the minimum SEER for our area may increase from SEER 13 to 14 (depending on the system) for air conditioners and heat pumps in 2015. Higher SEER A/Cs and heat pumps do use less electricity for the same amount of cooling, so in the long run, it makes sense for homeowners to buy the more efficient products, even if the purchase price is higher.

If you have concerns or questions about how the new HVAC system efficiency standards will affect your search for a new A/C, heat pump or furnace, please contact us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. You can schedule an appointment with one of our professional staff to help alleviate your concerns.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about HVAC system efficiency standards and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “patrimonio-designs-ltd/Shutterstock”

New Haven , HVAC system , indiana , A/C , Heat Pump , SEER , AFUE , U.S. Department of Energy , Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio , Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency , HVAC System Efficiency Standards , DOE , HVAC trade organizations

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