We are five months away from the January 1, 2015, implementation date for the new efficiency standards which have been discussed in earlier posts on this site and others. Just to review, the regulations require all split AC systems in the southeast and southwest regions to move from the current 13 SEER to the new 14 SEER minimum. Also, all split system heat pumps in all regions will need to move from 13 SEER to 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF. Due to some legal challenges and lack of clarity on how the new regulations will be enforced, understanding what will happen after January 1 is not entirely clear. The following is a list of what we know and a list of some questions that remain at this point.
What we know:
- All systems produced before the January 1 deadline will have the current SEER rating label (hang tag) and these systems can be sold in all regions (including the southeast and southwest regions) for an 18 month period which ends on July 1, 2016.
- All systems produced after the January 1 deadline will have a “new” SEER rating label and the current design for this label features a range for the SEER level that can be achieved with various options for indoor coil matches.
- Until the current rules are changed, systems built after January 1, 2015, that feature the new label and can achieve 14 SEER when matched with an available indoor coil, can be installed in the southeast and southwest regions. The assumption is that in the southeast and southwest regions, that these systems will be matched with coils to achieve 14 SEER.
- A working group of industry and government experts (Regional Standards Enforcement Working Group) will meet to discuss how the new regulations will be managed after January 1, 2015, and after July 1, 2016. This group is expected to provide a recommendation by the end of October 2014.
- If the recommendation from the working group involves any changes to the current rules (e.g. changes to the rating label design), these changes must be reviewed by the FTC in a rulemaking process and the new rule is not expected to be available until sometime in early 2015.
Some important questions still remain:
- Will there be changes to the new rating label design, and if there are changes, how quickly will they be implemented and enforced?
- What will be the means of enforcement of the new standards during the 18-month grace period in 2015 and early 2016, and also after July 1, 2016?
- Will there be clarification on the legality of building and installing 13 SEER, “dry charged” systems in the southeast and southwest after January 1, 2015?
We will continue to post updates to this site as they become available. Stay tuned!