Broan - Heating and Cooling Systems

Changing Energy-Efficiency Benchmarks

Select Your Next HVAC System Based on New HVAC Standards

Are you in the market for a new heating and air conditioning system? You may want to make sure that the new unit you are purchasing complies with new heating and cooling minimum-efficiency standards. There are many important things to take into account when you are purchasing new HVAC equipment – size, indoor air quality, system type, etc., but efficiency should be one of the most important factors you take into consideration. Your air conditioner or furnace is going to be around for years, you want to make sure that you get continued, efficient performance for potential money-savings and premium home comfort.

Different efficiency ratings indicate different types of system efficiency – SEER and EER for cooling efficiency, and HSPF and AFUE for heating efficiency. The higher any of these ratings are, the more efficient your new heating or air conditioning system is going to be. As technology advances and manufacturers produce more and more efficient heating and air conditioning systems, efficiency benchmarks change. After Jan. 1, 2015, minimum standards for each of the efficiency ratings will be raised by the Department of Energy. Although there will be an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell their inventory, heading off the changes and installing a high-efficiency HVAC system is the best way to go.

Previous Efficiency Ratings

As technology improves, the efficiency ratings have gotten higher and higher. Before 2006, efficiency ratings for cooling equipment were only set at 10 SEER (it was raised to 13 SEER, a 30% increase in efficiency). Before 2015, the minimum SEER rating for air conditioners, heat pump and packaged equipment was set at 13 SEER. It didn’t matter whether you lived in the North or the South – you had to meet a minimum of 13 SEER. For gas furnaces, equipment had to be rated at least 78% AFUE. Also, heat pumps had to have a heating efficiency rating of at least 7.7 HSPF. Again, there were no regional designations and standards that homeowners in different areas had to meet.

New Regional Efficiency Designations

The United States has been sectioned off into three regions according to the number of hours a homeowner will spend cooling their home during the summer. These three regions are the North, the South and the Southwest. The good news for residents in the North is that split system air conditioning units will still only have to meet a minimum-efficiency requirement of 13 SEER. However, homeowners in the South and the Southwest will have to meet a new minimum of 14 SEER (with additional EER requirements for the Southwest).

The Southwest has additional EER requirements for split and packaged air conditioners. Split system air conditioners that operate under 45,000 BTU/H will have to reach an EER efficiency rating of 12.2 EER while units that operate over 45,000 BTU/H will need to be rated at least 11.7 EER. Also, although the packaged air conditioner SEER efficiency rating is a national standard, the EER rating is different for the Southwest. A packaged air conditioner installed in the Southwest must be at least 11.0 EER.

New National Efficiency Designations

National efficiency standards are blanket requirements that must be met by homeowners all over the United States. These efficiency standards apply to split system heat pumps and all packaged systems. The new efficiency ratings are as follows:

    Split system heat pumps - 14 SEER, 8.2 HSPF

    Packaged air conditioners - 14 SEER (additional EER requirement for the Southwest)

    Packaged heat pumps - 14 SEER, 8.0 HSPF

    Gas/Electric Packaged Units - 14 SEER, 81% AFUE

These new efficiency standards must be adhered to by all homeowners – it doesn’t matter whether you live in the North, South or Southwest.

Benefits of Switching to High Efficiency

So, why choose high efficiency? Well, in addition to adhering to the national standards there can be financial benefits to having a high-efficiency air conditioner, heat pump or gas pack installed in your home. The first, reoccurring benefit is money-savings through efficient performance. Your heating and cooling equipment comprises approximately 44% of your monthly utility costs. If your equipment is using the energy that is put into it more efficiently, you won’t have to use as much energy to heat or cooling your home and you could save money. Additionally, when you go to sell your home listing it as including high-efficiency heating and air conditioning equipment can be a great selling point and potentially up the resale value of your home.

Choose Broan HVAC Systems

If you are looking for high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment there is no better place to turn than Broan. Not only do we have a number of ENERGY STAR-rated HVAC systems that meet the new efficiency standards, but we also offer some of the most efficient HVAC systems in the heating and cooling industry. Just remember, in order to receive all the benefits of investing in high-efficiency equipment it is important to find a qualified Broan contractor in your area.

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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