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Information Concerning 13 SEER
 

If you plan on changing or installing a new heating and air conditioning system soon, here are some important facts. The following information regarding new federally mandated HVAC requirements is important, as these changes could have a significant impact on homes with central air conditioning and heat pump systems.

 

Increased SEER Rating Standards Effective January 23, 2006
 

Central air conditioners are rated according to their Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER), the higher the SEER the more efficient the air conditioner or heat pump.  The current national efficiency standard for air conditioning and heat pump systems took effect in 1992, requiring a minimum SEER of 10.  New standards set to take effect on January 23, 2006, will raise the SEER requirement to 13, an efficiency improvement of 30%.  Overall the changes are good for the environment, and can increase peace of mind by improving comfort and indoor air quality.  However, implementation of the new regulations may be a bit costly.

 

What is the Impact of the New Requirements?
 

Beginning January 23, 2006, 10 SEER air conditioning and heat pump equipment will no longer be manufactured.  Once the existing supply of 10 SEER equipment is depleted, only the new 13 SEER equipment will be available for replacement units.  Unfortunately, the new 13 SEER air conditioner and heat pump systems need to be compatible with all the other components in the HVAC system.

 

Here are some of the potential challenges:

If an outdoor condenser needs to be replaced, the indoor evaporative coil and air handler may need to be upgraded to 13 SEER also.  If the refrigerant lines are not sized to handle a 13 SEER R410A system, they must be replaced.  The system requires about 30% more refrigerant to operate and will require a larger outdoor cement pad than the previous unit in most cases.  The 13 SEER indoor air handling units can be up to 3-4 inches taller, meaning sheet metal duct modifications may be needed to fit the new system in the old space. Should the space be too small, costs may be incurred to rebuild the area or relocate the system. 

 

 

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Last modified: 8/1/11

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