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Home heating and cooling equipment just got more efficient in Utah and across the rest of the United States. On January 1, 2023, the Department of Energy (DOE) implemented new SEER and HSPF requirements for central air conditioners and heat pumps. This is in line with the DOE’s mission to reduce the country’s energy consumption and pollution levels.

While the increasing standards are good news for the environment, many Utah homeowners have questions about the changes. Now’s the time to educate yourself on the new minimum SEER requirements and how they affect you. At Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we understand your concerns and are here to help you find a compliant HVAC system that will reduce your energy costs and minimize your home’s carbon footprint for the next decade or more.

Utah’s New Air Conditioner Efficiency Ratings for 2023

An air conditioner’s seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) indicates its ability to remove heat from your home using refrigerant and electricity. Since 2015, the minimum rating for central air conditioners in the northern half of the country, including Utah, has been 13 SEER. However, in 2023, the minimum efficiency rating for ACs installed in the North increased to 14 SEER.

Utah’s New Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings for 2023

Air-source heat pumps also have new efficiency requirements. The minimum cooling efficiency rating for heat pumps was 14 SEER from 2015 to 2022, which has now increased to 15 SEER. Unlike air conditioners, the same standard applies nationwide, so this is the rating from Oregon to Utah to Florida and everywhere in between.

Heat pumps employ the same principles as air conditioners, but by working in reverse, they can also provide home heating. The heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) measures heat transfer efficiency between indoor and outdoor air in the wintertime. From 2015 to 2022, the minimum HSPF rating was 8.2, which has increased to 8.8 HSPF in 2023.

New Testing Procedures – SEER2

Along with raising the minimum HVAC efficiency ratings, the DOE has also implemented new testing procedures. These changes aim to reflect field conditions to more accurately determine heating and cooling efficiency. The DOE has also introduced new labels—including SEER2 and HSPF2—to align with the latest testing metrics.

Under these test procedures, ratings with a “2” after them have a lower number, even though they reflect the same performance. For example:

Utah’s 14 SEER minimum for air conditioners is now written as 13.4 SEER2.
Utah’s 15 SEER minimum for heat pumps has become 14.3 SEER2.
Utah’s 8.8 HSPF minimum for heat pumps is represented as 7.5 HSPF2.

Why Did This Change Happen?

The DOE implemented these changes to increase the minimum energy efficiency of newly installed heating and cooling systems. By requiring new equipment to have higher ratings, the DOE hopes to reduce energy costs for consumers and decrease the carbon footprint of residential HVAC systems. These changes will also help the United States meet its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality, and combating climate change.

What Will the Energy Savings Be?

The increased efficiency standards for residential HVAC equipment will result in significant energy savings for homeowners. According to the DOE, these changes will save consumers approximately $4.2 billion on their energy bills over the next 30 years. In addition, the new standards will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 187 million metric tons, which is equivalent to taking 42 million cars off the road for one year. Overall, the increased efficiency of HVAC systems will benefit both homeowners and the environment.

On an individual basis, upgrading to a 14 SEER (13.4 SEER2) air conditioner instead of the old 13 SEER minimum will save you at least 7% on your cooling costs. Of course, you can also opt for a unit rated much higher than the minimum. For instance, a 20 SEER (19.1 SEER2) air conditioner can save you 35% on your energy bills compared to a 13 SEER unit.

Contact Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for More Information

While replacing your current air conditioner or heat pump to meet the new HVAC regulations in Utah is not mandatory, upgrading your system might be wise if it’s over 10 years old and shows signs of wear and tear. At Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we’re ready to assist you with our high-quality heat pump and air conditioning replacement services, featuring top-of-the-line products from today’s most reliable brands.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have questions or want to schedule an HVAC installation estimate from a qualified HVAC contractor. You can reach us at 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or call 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online to speak with a friendly representative.

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