Saying Goodbye to 13 SEER
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. The seasonal energy efficiency ratio is the amount of cooling that a heat pump (or air conditioner) delivers per watt of electricity used to power the heat pump. In other words, a higher SEER unit uses less electricity.
As 2015 rang in so did the road of transition away from 13 SEER equipment. Split system Heat Pump equipment with a manufactured date before January 1, 2015 can still be sold until inventory is depleted. Here in lies the unknown factor. All manufactures had to make decisions on how much inventory to pile up before January 1, 2015. How long will independent dealers offer 13 SEER equipment to the consumer? At what point will pricing become unstable? Will replacement parts be over priced at the end of the manufacture warranty?
I have talked to sales representatives from many manufactures. There is definitely not a clear uniformed strategy among them. Some of the lower end (builder) models will probably be available for most of 2015. Most expect the standard residential replacement models to be available throught the 2nd quarter of 2015. A lot of the manufacturers are still in the process of getting new product into the market place.
Below is the official statement relating to the phase out of 13 SEER systems.
2015 Federal Regionbal Standards for Heating and Cooling Products
On April 24, 2014, the Department of Energy and the American Public Gas Association (APGA) has reached a settlement agreement on the implementation of the Federal Regional Standards. Conditions under the terms of the agreement are outlined below.
- The Federal Regional Furnace Efficiency Standards, which were originally scheduled for implementation in May of 2013, will be removed. A new rulemaking process will begin to evaluate future changes to furnace efficiency standards.
- Federal Regional Standards for cooling equipment will go into effect as planned on January 1, 2015. All air conditioners (A/C) and heat pumps (H/P) (split system and packaged) manufactured after December 31, 2014 must comply with these Federal Regional Standards.
- The Federal Regional Standards for air conditioners sold in the south and the southwest is based on the date of installation; however, the industry will have an 18 month sell-through or grace period (starting on 1-1-2015). Original equipment manufacturers, distributors and dealers will be allowed to buy, sell, ship and/or install non-compliant products (13 SEER) during this period as long as they are manufactured prior to January 1, 2015.
- Split system and packaged heat pumps are not subject to the 18 month sell-through or grace period, as the standard applied is based on the date of manufacture. Split system and packaged heat pumps manufactured before January 1, 2015 can be sold after January 1, 2015 for as long as inventory exists.
- The Department of Energy (DOE) will issue, and publish on its appliance and equipment standards website, an enforcement policy statement clarifying the agency’s policy for enforcing the Federal Regional Standards for split system air conditioners. The industry will work with the DOE to develop these enforcement standards.
Federal regional efficiency requirements are summarized in the illustration below: