Will Prices Go Up After The New AC Efficiency Regulations Go In?

The air conditioning and heat pump efficiency regulations that went into effect on January 1, 2015 will only affect new equipment, including both the indoor and outdoor units.  General repairs to an existing system should not be affected unless the whole indoor or outdoor units are replaced. For example, the cost of replacing a part or general maintenance costs should not be affected.

It is not clear what will happen to prices of new systems as a result of these regulations but we have heard of a few instances of increases of around 5% or less which would translate into a few hundred dollars on the price of an entire system, depending on the size of the system. The new equipment is often a little larger too so if you have a space constrained situation you might have to also pay a little more for the installation. There are also a lot of old, pre-regulation systems still available on the market and these can be sold and installed through 6/30/16.

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2 thoughts on “Will Prices Go Up After The New AC Efficiency Regulations Go In?

  1. How can I identify an old pre-regulation system and what are the hazards in purchasing said system besides cost?

    • Hello Randi,

      This is a very good question. It is not easy for a home owner to identify the manufactured date of an outdoor unit. The manufactured date is usually buried in the ‘serial number’ of the unit and each manufacturer codes their serial numbers differently. Outdoor units have a ‘model number’ and a ‘serial number’. The model number usually describes the specifications and features of a unit, for example it could specify the SEER and EER level and this is usually common across any given family of products.

      Serial numbers are unique to the specific unit and these are used by the manufacturer to track build dates for each unit, often for warranty purposes. A homeowner is not generally expected to know the manufacturing date. However, it would be good for you to collect certain information like: the contractor receipt, model number, serial number, SEER rating and the installation date just in case you need to contact either the contractor or the original equipment manufacturer in the future.

      The major difference between pre-build models (manufactured before 1/1/15) and current models would probably be the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). For example, if you purchase a pre-build model, the SEER might be 13 instead of the new 14 SEER minimum – so, approximately 8 percent less efficient. There are probably some pre-build models left in stock there could be some in your area. Again, the main difference will likely be that they could have somewhat lower efficiency than the newer models.

      The contractor and manufacturer are usually expected to ensure that the right unit is installed in your house. Good contractors should know the federal and local requirements for your area and should be able to answer your questions about these regulations.

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