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AC efficiency updates and what they mean for homeowners

If the last couple of years have revealed anything, it’s that change is inevitable and far reaching — even the heating and cooling industry has seen its fair share of change! Since 2020, we have seen several factors place a strain on our industry — from product and part availability due to supply chain issues to multiple price increases throughout each year — and we have had to adjust and adapt to these challenges to meet the needs of our customers. Because our team at Duane Blanton is committed to providing a range of options to meet your needs and budget.

While all has not been easy, it’s still important to acknowledge the high points and wins during difficult times. Such as our partnership with Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems, which has been nothing but positive, and has grown to include Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating and Cooling being named to The Bryant Circle of Champions for 2021! Bryant’s commitment to producing top quality products in these difficult times and circumstances has been impressive, allowing Duane Blanton to continue to supply our customers with Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems with only minor disruptions. And for that, we are very grateful!

With that said, we would like to look toward the future of our industry, and talk with our customers about more upcoming changes in the heating and cooling industry that will begin January 1st, 2023. 

DOE’s New Testing Procedures Become a System-wide Requirement — What Does That Mean for You?

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced changes to their minimum efficiency requirements for air conditioning systems installed after January 1st, 2023, and these changes could affect homeowners who upgrade or replace their air conditioner after that date. But to understand how this may affect homeowners, lets break down a bit of the information about the DOE’s changes. 

The efficiency of air conditioners is rated on a scale known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) scale, with a higher rating generally meaning a unit is more efficient. This is based on a calculation of a unit’s cooling output compared to its energy intake in a given cooling season. The DOE has set a standard for the minimum efficiency air conditioners need to meet since 1992, when the initial minimum efficiency rating was set at 10 SEER. 

Since then, the DOE has regularly reviewed these minimum efficiency requirements, and increased the required SEER rating at regular intervals. Now, with their latest set of changes, the DOE has ruled that new air conditioning systems need to meet a rating of 14 SEER, up from our current minimum SEER rating in our region of 13 SEER, which was put into place by the DOE in 2015. Not only has the SEER rating been adjusted by the DOE, but also the testing procedures that each equipment manufacturer must comply with to meet this new rating. 

The Benefits of Installing a More Efficient A/C Unit

Because of all of the changes that come with the minimum efficiency rising from 13 to 14 SEER, new indoor units (furnaces, fan coils, etc.) will be fitted with different controls and components to meet and exceed the testing requirements in the upcoming year. We will talk more about indoor unit changes in a future post, so for now, let’s focus on the outdoor air conditioner. While change can be frustrating, it does have its benefits.

Homeowners buying new Bryant 2023-compliant systems will benefit from: 

  • A higher energy-efficient system leading to potentially reduced monthly utility bills. 
  • Enhanced comfort benefits, such as more consistent indoor temperatures and improved control over indoor humidity.     

However, as we alluded to, these changes will also bring challenges. While these more efficient A/C units are great to lower utility bills and improve indoor comfort, the increase in efficiency requirements — and the consistent rise in the cost of manufacturing — ensure that installation prices are also going to increase. Manufacturers will begin a phased reduction of all their current 13 SEER inventory throughout 2022, so it is also apparent that supply of these units will become scarce.  

Change can be hard to navigate, but we at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating and Cooling are here to help you make the right decision for your needs, and the comfort of your home and family. If you have any questions, or are thinking about possible replacement of your current heating and cooling system to get ahead of the upcoming changes and hot summer weather temperatures, please call to talk to one of our Service Experts. Our team at Duane Blanton can be reached at (815) 781-2567, or online via our online scheduling portalMaking you Smile is Our Favorite!

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