2015 HVAC Legislation: What You Need to Know

In 2015, consumers saw a new update to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) 1975 act to regulate energy usage, which changes the energy efficiency standards for HVAC equipment. What does this mean for you? No matter where you live, understanding these new HVAC regulations are essential if you’re planning to buy a new property or need to have your current HVAC units upgraded. These changes, which went into effect on January 1, are designed to help property owners save energy and money while also protecting planet Earth.

HVAC TipsUnderstanding New 2015 Energy Efficiency Regional HVAC Standards

Don’t let shopping for a new HVAC unit stress you out. The important thing to consider is the efficiency ratings of new equipment. Choosing energy efficient equipment is a great way to cut down on your energy bills and give back to the planet. The DOE issues guidelines that set the minimum efficiency ratings of equipment available on the consumer market. HVAC contractors should follow these regulations when installing new HVAC systems, lest they enjoy the idea of looking for a new job.

New HVAC guidelines for 2015 focus on updating the efficiency requirements for air conditioners, heat pumps, natural gas furnaces, and mobile home furnaces. Efficiency requirements for all of these devices are increasing partially in response to increased energy consumption by American households. Of course, new technological innovations are also a driving force behind the increase in efficiency standards.

If you’re going to be purchasing a new heat pump or mini-split system, you’ll need to meet the following guidelines depending upon your geographic location:

  • Heat pumps must be at least 14 SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and 8.2 Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) in all regions. 
  •  In the southern regions, all split systems must be rated at 14 SEER. Packaged systems must be 14 SEER and 8 HSPF in all regions. 
  • Split systems in the northern regions must be rated at 13 SEER. 


Why Do the Standards Differ by Region?

Some property owners investing in new HVAC equipment may wonder why the 2015 Energy Efficiency Regional HVAC Standards impose different requirements for each region. These differences came about because of variations in HVAC system use in different areas. The northern regions adhere to a less rigorous standard when it comes to cooling systems because these areas tend to have lower overall temperatures. The DOE anticipates that consumers in southern regions will use more energy to meet their cooling demands.

Does Your System Meet 2015 Energy Efficiency Regional HVAC Standards?

You can’t play the game if you don’t know the rules. Understanding the new HVAC standards for 2015 is the first step in successfully evaluating the efficiency of your own heating and cooling system. Whether you need to replace your unit or not, it’s a good idea to check your system’s efficiency. Find the owner’s manual and determine SEER, HSPF and other efficiency ratings. You should also figure out if the unit features an ENERGY STAR label. This will provide information about the anticipated annual operating cost for the unit.

Once you’ve located system information, compare your unit’s efficiency ratings to the new standards for your region. If your heat pump or cooling system is rated below current standards, take measures to ensure that your system is functioning as efficiently as possible. Compare energy bills over a period of several months to see if there are any unexplained increases in cost that might be attributed to your HVAC system.

Continuing regular maintenance services is one of the best ways to ensure that your HVAC system works as efficiently as possible. It’s a good idea to have a professional technician perform maintenance at least twice a year. Schedule one appointment shortly before the cooling season and another shortly before the heating season.

Replacement Options If Your System Isn’t Up to Standards

Saving on energy costs is a top priority for many property owners. If you’re purchasing a new property, it’s essential to choose the right HVAC equipment for your space. Opt for a high-efficiency system that offers the flexibility and comfort controls you need. Investing in the right system now Large HVAC systems require routine maintenance is key to enjoying the best energy savings in the future.

You don’t want to deal with a system that runs like a ’72 Ford Pinto. If you’ve inspected your air conditioner or heat pump and found that it just doesn’t offer the efficiency you need, consider replacing it with a more recent unit. As you shop, consider buying a system that offers the higher efficiency ratings required by the DOE. Homeowners in all regions will save money by opting for a system with a minimum of 14 SEER. Of course, you’ll also need to decide between a mini-split air conditioner system and a heat pump.

Mini-Split Air Conditioners

Air conditioners are favored by homeowners in humid, hot climates where immediate relief from scorching summers is required. Split systems feature an outdoor AC unit paired with indoor air handlers. The configuration of these systems is very similar to that of split heat pump systems. If you buy an air conditioner, make the most of its efficiency by pairing it with a smart thermostat.

Split-System Heat Pumps

Homeowners who have year-round heating or cooling needs are well served by choosing heat pumps. They provide efficient operation by using the earth’s natural energy to move hot air out of your home and replacing it with cool, treated air. Use ceiling fans to make the most of a heat pump’s efficiency promises. In with the good air, out with the bad.

Taking the Sting out of Efficiency Upgrades

Finding a heating and cooling system that meets 2015 Energy Efficiency Regional HVAC Standards doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Ask your trusted HVAC dealer about any discounts, rebates or special financing offers on efficient equipment. Some governmental bodies also extend rebates or promotions to homeowners who want to upgrade to efficient HVAC systems. If they’re requiring you to upgrade your system, the least they can do is extend some rebates. Call HD Supply Facilities Maintenance today to find out more about how new efficiency requirements will impact your home.


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