PowerTips | The Remodeler's Guide to Business

Are You Ready for the New 2015 HVAC Efficiency Standards?


As you know, our primary focus on PowerTips is to provide you with tips, tactics, and techniques for building a strong, consistently profitable remodeling company. But sometimes we just need to make sure you’re on top of the latest industry news! This week we’re proud to have Stefanie Petersen with Ferguson to share the key changes to HVAC Efficiency standards in 2015.

How well are you and your team educated about the upcoming changes?

In April 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) confirmed upcoming changes for HVAC efficiency standards for residential and commercial equipment. However, according to a survey by Emerson Climate Technologies Inc., 74 percent of contractors are unaware of the change and how to best prepare their staff and inventory to meet customer demand and new regulations. Below are key aspects every remodeler should know.

What’s changing?

New Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standards will be enforced for air conditioners and heat pumps installed on or after January 1, 2015; however, standards differ by region. The current 13 SEER standard for air conditioners will move to 14 SEER in most areas, but 13 SEER air conditioning units can still be sold in the northern region.

The most significant product change regarding the new regulations involves all split-system heat pumps. All regions will move from 13 SEER and 7.7 HSPF, Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, to the new national heat pump efficiency minimum of 14 SEER and 8.2 HSPF.

Additionally, the changes also affect the FTC EnergyGuide label, commonly referred to as the yellow “hang tag”, attached to the heating and cooling system. The label contains SEER and HSPF ratings for the unit in relation to similar models. Instead of a single rating point, new labels for split-system air conditioners and heat pumps will now be shown in a range representing the lowest and highest SEER ratings for all the condenser’s certified coil combinations. This means all of the component parts in the entire system, inside and out, must have an aggregate SEER that meets the new guidelines.

HVAC Standards by Regiion

How to prepare

Education surrounding the new standards is key, as enforcement will begin in less than five months. Remodelers and contractors should be able to identify that the equipment being installed meets the minimum standards of the new regulations as well as meets the needs of the customer.

The majority of U.S. manufacturers already offer 14 SEER heat pump systems, and many manufacturers may spruce up current 14 SEER designs to meet product demands for 2015 inventory stocking. While the changes are effective January 1, 2015, the new regulation also includes an 18-month grace period for distributors to sell their remaining inventory.

Image courtesy of Emerson Climate Technologies

Stefanie Petersen

About Stefanie Petersen

Stefanie is a Product Category Manager specializing in HVAC for Ferguson, the largest wholesale plumbing distributor in the U.S.

Learn More →

Posted in: PowerTips, Production

Leave a Comment (9) ↓
  • What is more confusing is how these standards effect different equipment and in the various regions. For instances, my understanding is the 18 month inventory rule only applies to SPP air conditioners in the northern region. As long as vendors have inventory of the 13 seer heat pumps, they can still sell it.
    I However, I cannot imagine anyone holding their inventory for 18 months. That just would not make sense.

  • Jova

    Thanks for useful information on this very vague subject! For all HVAC service providers there is a software solution that could help you keep up with the standards: http://fieldskill.co/

  • Laila Keirstead

    I am a little confused with the changes that will be happening. According to the map, I live in the North region. Will the North region only have heating and cooling units that meet the SEER standards? I just want to know in case I have to get a new system for my home. http://www.canprohvac.com/winnipeg-furnace-repair-services.cfm

  • Zach Thalman

    Does this mean that everyone in these regions will have to change their air conditioning units or get new ones? That would be pretty expensive and it would be really hard for a lot of people to get up and replace their heating and cooling units. I think it would definitely be helpful if there was some sort of cash back for switching to the new system. http://www.macdowmechanical.com/residential_hvac_services.html

  • Erle lippard 2

    I am the southeast region. The mandate is 14 seer! Maybe someone can help me with a few Questions? installing 14 seer condenser and 14 seer coil I get .But I am not finding any matches on the Ahri website matching the 14 seer rating without installing a furnace with constant torque (x13] or variable speed motor. My Question is It legal to install 80% furnaces with regular blowers , if the match cannot be certified thru Ahri as14seer

  • I am very amazed by the information of this blog and i am glad i had a look over the blog. Thank you so much for sharing such great information. It really helped me a lot.

  • T.E.

    What about mobile home standards?

  • Mike

    If someone still didn’t upgrade HVAC system according to new standards in CO – can recommend you to ask “Smile” guys – http://smile-hvac.com/co – for assistance. In my case they did the job just perfect, I gave up only a half of the budget I planned to. They’ve come in a couple of hours after my order & upgraded the whole house conditioning system operatively.

  • In just the past few years, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has set or revised standards for dozens of residential and commercial HVACR and water-heating products and components, including commercial rooftop units (RTUs), boilers, water heaters, central air conditioners and heat pumps, furnace fans, electric motors, walk-in coolers and freezers, and many more. Part of my job here at The NEWS is to cover the regulatory actions affecting the industry, and while it’s pretty much impossible to report on all of it (you should see how many DOE notices I get in my inbox every day), we hit the highlights.