Air conditioners are necessary in many parts of the country. However, AC use affects the environment in several ways, and the government has taken several measures to minimize these effects. For example, the government regulates AC efficiencies and refrigerant use. Below is an overview of these regulations.
The government regulates HVAC efficiencies because energy is a limited resource. High-efficiency HVAC systems use less energy than low-efficiency systems, helping to conserve the environment.
The minimum efficiency standards change every few years depending on the available technology. For example, beginning in 2023, the government requires all residential HVAC systems to have a minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) rating of 14 and 15 for the northern and southern states, respectively.
SEER is the ratio of an AC system's cooling output to energy consumption during the same cooling season. A high SEER means high efficiency and the reverse is true, too. The SEER requirements vary for northern and southern states due to their differing cooling needs. The southern states use more energy for cooling than the northern states.
In addition, the minimum heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) rating is 8.8. HSPF represents a heat pump's heat output compared to its electricity consumption over the same period. HSFP is to a heat pump what SEER is to an AC.
Many cooling systems use refrigerants for cooling. The refrigerant absorbs heat inside the house and releases it outside. The main refrigerants (hydro-chlorofluorocarbons) currently in use include R-22 in many residential AC systems.
Unfortunately, most of the refrigerants are bad for the environment. Specifically, refrigerants affect and deplete the ozone layer – a layer of gases far above the earth that protects us from harmful radiation. Thus, the government is switching to safer refrigerants. The switch will save many people from the harmful effects of ozone depletion, such as cancer.
You don't have to replace your R-22 system now; you can still use it as long as your cooling system meets other relevant safety regulations. However, you will need an R-22 system if your current one breaks down and requires replacement.
You don't have to worry about AC regulations or changes if dealing with a professional contractor. Contractors understand and incorporate government regulations in their practices. Ensure you use licensed and insured AC contractors for all your HVAC needs, and you will always confirm with the prevailing requirements. Reach out to a residential AC unit replacement service near you to learn more.