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National and Regional Efficiency Standards

New Energy-Efficiency Benchmarks Change the Heating and Cooling Landscape

The experts at Maytag heating and air know that there are things that homeowners have to know when they enter into an air conditioning purchase. There are so many different systems to choose from with different features, efficiency ratings and additional home comfort features to take into account. This isnt even considering the fact that buying a new HVAC system isnt something a homeowner is going to do frequently throughout his or her lifetime after all, an air conditioner is going to last, on average, 16 years. So, in addition to recommendations by a qualified heating and air conditioning technician, a homeowner should also be aware of certain HVAC terms.

One quality of a new unit that needs to be at the forefront of a homeowners mind is energy-efficiency ratings. These indicators of performance efficiency include a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) and Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The higher these ratings are, the more efficient the system is and the more a homeowner can depend on their system for monthly savings on utility bills. Efficiency ratings are also important because the Department of Energy (DOE) has energy-efficiency benchmarks that heating and air conditioning manufacturers must meet. These standards of efficiency on air conditioners, heat pumps and all packaged systems are set to take effect on January 1, 2015. However there is an 18-month grace period to allow distributors to sell their remaining inventory.

How Efficiency Standards Have Worked in the Past

Prior to these new efficiency standards passing, homeowners in every part of the United States had to meet the same efficiency standards. Prior to 2006, efficiency standards were low air conditioners only had to be rated at 10 SEER. After that, the efficiency standard became 13 SEER a 30% increase in efficiency. HSPF and AFUE minimum-efficiency ratings, prior to the new changes being implemented in 2015, were at 7.7 HSPF and 78% AFUE respectively. Efficiency standards in the past were all national efficiency standards that applied to all areas of the country. One of the new efficiency standards implemented in 2015 is a regional standard that varies according to where you live.

Changing Regional Efficiency Standards: Air Conditioners

Currently, standards for homeowners anywhere in the nation are consistent. It doesnt matter if you live in the North, South or Southwest you have to adhere to all of the national efficiency benchmarks. However, when it comes to cooling efficiency, the Department of Energy is mandating different minimum efficiency ratings for different areas of the country. The Department of Energy has divided the United States into different sections depending on the amount of hours your split system air conditioner will spend cooling your home during the hotter summer months. Split system air conditioners will remain at a 13-SEER minimum efficiency rating for homeowners in the North while homeowners in the South and the Southwest will have to meet a higher, 14-SEER energy-efficiency minimum. This only applies to split system air conditioners .

Additionally, homeowners in the Southwest will also have to meet a higher minimum EER requirement. Split system air conditioners that work under 45,000 BTU/H will have a minimum EER requirement of 12.2 EER. For split system air conditioners that are over that benchmark, homeowners in the Southwest will have to meet a minimum EER requirement of 11.7 EER. Additionally, unlike the other regions, homeowners in the Southwest will have to meet a minimum EER requirement for packaged air conditioners as well; however, this new standard does not depend on the BTU/H. Packaged air conditioners in the Southwest must meet a minimum 11.0 EER.

Changing National Efficiency Standards: Which Changes Apply to Everyone?

In terms of blanket changes to the entire United States, split system heat pumps and packaged units are the main concern. Heat pump efficiency ratings everywhere are moving up to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF. Packaged units are slightly more complicated. Efficiency ratings for packaged air conditioners, packaged heat pumps and gas packs all have to be at 14 SEER. However, gas packs also have another stipulation. Heating efficiency ratings for gas packs are being bumped up to 81% AFUE.

What Does This Mean for Your Home?

If a person is planning on purchasing a new air conditioner, heat pump or gas pack, they will need to meet these benchmarks at the very least. And, if a homeowner decides to install an HVAC system that already meets or surpasses the 2015 efficiency standards, it could increase the resale value on their home. Ultimately, having a high-efficiency air conditioner, heat pump or gas pack is going to maximize the heating or cooling power you get out of the energy your HVAC system consumes. This means that you may be able to lower the amount of money you spend heating or cooling your home throughout the year. Heating and cooling costs comprise about 44% of your monthly utility bills so, it is best to go with the most efficient unit possible.

Go with a High-Efficiency Maytag System

If a homeowner is in the market for a new, highly efficient, dependable system, a good place to start is browsing ENERGY STAR-rated HVAC systems by Maytag. Not only will one of these systems meet the new efficiency standards, but come with additional home heating and cooling benefits that ensure optimum comfort for homeowners.

For Regional Efficiency Standards, Which Region Are You In?

Northern Region: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine.

Southern Region: Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Hawaii and Delaware.

Southwestern Region: California, Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona.

Breakdown of the New Efficiency Standards

Split System Air Conditioners - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 13 SEER

    South: 14 SEER

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 12.2 EER (<45,000 BTU/H) or 11.7 EER (=45,000 BTU/H)

Split System Heat Pumps - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    South: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

Packaged Air Conditioners - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER

    South: 14 SEER

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 11.0 EER

Packaged Heat Pumps - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    South: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

Gas Packs - Effective Jan 1, 2015

    North: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

    South: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

    Southwest: 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

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