New Federal mandate affects homeowners with air conditioners
Central air conditioners are rated according to their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the higher the SEER the more efficient the air conditioner. The current national efficiency standard for air conditioning systems took effect in 1992, requiring a minimum SEER of 10. New standards, which took effect on January 23rd, 2006, will raise the SEER requirement to 13, an efficiency improvement of 30%. Overall the changes are good for the environment and increase consumer’s peace of mind by improving comfort and indoor air quality.
As of January 23rd manufactures of HVAC equipment are no longer allowed to make 10 SEER air conditioning equipment. That means that once the supply of 10 SEER equipment depletes, only the 13 SEER equipment will be available for replacements.
How does this affect YOU?
A 13 SEER unit costs approximately $200 – $300 more than 10 & 12 SEER units. Several major components of an air conditioner can be replaced independently of one another, allowing a system to be repaired vs. replaced. However there are incompatibility issues between 10 SEER and 13 SEER equipment that may require additional components to be replaced rather than the one component that failed.
For example: When a 10 SEER condenser can’t be repaired and must be replaced with a 13 SEER unit, the 10 SEER evaporative coil must also be replaced with a 13 SEER unit even though there is no mechanical malfunction with the 10 SEER evaporative coil. In addition, modifications may be required to convert to a 13 SEER system – which may result in additional costs to the homeowner.
For more information about this law change, visit the web sites below:
News for Realtors and Consumers provided by the National Home Service Contract Association: New Air Conditioning Mandates
News Flash From the Home Warranty Association of California: Industry Reports On New Air Conditioning Mandates
U.S. Department of Energy: http://www.energy.gov – type ’13 SEER’ into the search bar
Check with your local utility company for 13 SEER equipment rebates