What homeowners need to know about 2023 efficiency regulation changes for HVAC equipment

As many homeowners make their plans for home improvements for the coming year, there are new 2023 efficiency regulations to consider.

Every six years the US Department of Energy (DOE) reanalyzes the effects of energy usage, sets minimum efficiency requirements, and manages testing standards by which HVAC equipment efficiency is measured.

On January 1, 2023, the DOE’s new minimum 2023 efficiency regulation standards for air conditioners and heat pumps will go into effect. The testing procedure for determining the efficiencies is changing as well. These new regulations are part of the DOE’s ongoing effort to reduce the overall energy consumption in the United States.

The Central Carolina team is here to help you navigate the changes in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Electricity meter on home

Pending 2023 HVAC Efficiency Changes

For air conditioners in the southeast, including North Carolina, the minimum efficiency increases from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio under today’s test procedure. The heat pump minimum efficiency also increases from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER. Learn more about efficiency ratings.

In addition to increasing the minimum efficiency standard, HVAC manufacturers will be required to comply with a new testing procedure, the M1 Standard, when developing efficiency ratings for equipment. Compared to current test procedures, the external static pressure used during testing will be increased to better reflect field conditions. Because these new requirements are stricter and reduce the resulting efficiency rating, new metrics and nomenclature will also be introduced in 2023. The new metrics homeowners should expect to see include SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2.

2023 Efficiency Rating Changes

The new 2023 efficiency standards will continue to follow the regional borders established in 2015. In North Carolina this means we follow the Southeast standards as shown below.

Split System Air Conditioner 2023 Efficiency Ratings

Split System Air Conditioners (including ductless) 2023 SEER Requirement New 2023 SEER2 Requirement
(<45K Btu/h) 15.0 SEER 14.3 SEER2
(>=45K Btu/h) 14.5 SEER 13.8 SEER2

Sell-Through Deadlines: In North Carolina any air conditioner that does not meet the requirements above cannot be installed on or after January 1, 2023.

Heat Pump 2023 Efficiency Ratings

Heat pump minimum efficiency requirements follow national standards. On January 1st, the new minimum efficiency standard for heat pumps increases to 15.0 SEER. At this time, split system heat pumps will also have a new minimum of 8.8 HSPF or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor.

Split System Heat Pumps

(including ductless)

2023 SEER/HSPF Requirement New 2023 SEER2/HSPF2 Requirement
15.0 SEER and 8.8 HSPF 14.3 SEER2 and 7.5 HSPF2

Sell-Through Deadlines: Any heat pump built before January 1, 2023, can be installed on or after January 1, 2023.

Packaged Product 2023 Efficiency Ratings

Single packaged air conditioners and heat pumps will not have an increase in efficiency from the current 14.0 SEER and 8.0 HSPF, but they will be required to comply with the new testing procedures.

Single Packaged Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps, Gas Electrics and Dual Fuel Heat Pumps 2022 SEER / HSPF Requirement New 2023 SEER2 Requirement
14.0 SEER and 8.0 HSPF 13.4 SEER2 and 6.7 HSPF2

Impact To Consumers

Fortunately, this brings good news to homeowners throughout Greensboro, High Point, and the rest of the Piedmont Triad. These new 2023 efficiency rating standards can result in significant savings on utility bills for consumers. If an air conditioner or heat pump is over than 15 years old, a homeowner may benefit from an upgrade to a new, higher efficiency model. Newer equipment can also offer more energy saving features, such as a two-stage fuel system or a variable speed compressors or motors. Ask a Central Carolina team member for more information to help you determine what options will fit your home and your comfort needs.

Next Steps

Want to set up a free consultation to discuss your options? Simply fill out the form below to get started.

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Efficiency Ratings: Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding different HVAC terminology and efficiency ratings and regulations can help homeowners make better decisions about their HVAC system. Here are a few frequently asked questions about efficiency standards for air conditioners and heat pumps.

What is a SEER rating?

The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER is the ratio of total heat removed from the conditioned space during the annual cooling season divided by the total electrical energy consumed by the air conditioner during the same season. The higher the SEER rating, the less energy used by the air conditioner to cool the home.

Bag of repairman's work tools, gloves on top of two air conditioner units outside a brick home in a residential neighborhood.  The air conditioners are in a back yard in the hot summer season. Service industry, working class.

What is a SEER2 Rating?

A SEER2 is also a measure of HVAC efficiency, but it is measured differently than SEER. A SEER2 rating measures the energy efficiency under test conditions that more accurately represent real world scenarios of installed air conditioners. Typically, SEER2 ratings will be around .5 lower than SEER ratings. Beginning with the efficiency standard changes on January 1, 2023, efficiency standards will be expressed in SEER2 ratings instead of SEER.

Why Is An Energy Efficiency Rating Important?

HVAC systems with a higher SEER rating reduce carbon emissions and have a positive impact on the environment. Equipment with a higher SEER or SEER2 rating will also help homeowners save money on utility bills.

Why Are SEER Requirements Higher In North Carolina?

Air conditioning in southern states is used more frequently due to the significantly higher outside temperatures during the warm months in spring, summer, and fall. As a result of increased use, there is a higher impact on the environment. As a result, the Department of Energy (DOE) places more stringent regulations on residential HVAC equipment in these areas.

Interested in upgrading your HVAC system?

Set up a free consultation to discuss your options? Simply fill out the form below to get started.

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Is It Time For An HVAC Duct Cleaning

If you are concerned about the air quality in your home you may have considered having your HVAC ducts cleaned. This service removes dirt, dust, and other pollutants that are pulled into your heating and air system each time it runs.

Not sure if your HVAC system could use a professional duct cleaning? If you answer yes to 3 ore more of these questions it may be time to schedule your service.

  • Does anyone in the home have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems?
  • Does anyone in the home suffer from headaches, nasal congestions, or other sinus problems at night or first thing in the morning?
  • Is there a smoker in the house?
  • Do you have any pets?
  • Do you notice a musty or stale odor when the furnace or air conditioner is running?
  • Do you notice dust on your furniture shortly after cleaning?
  • Does it seam like the air flow from the vents has decreased?
  • Do you use a standard, disposable fiberglass filter in your furnace?

In addition to improving the indoor air quality, a professional HVAC duct cleaning also has benefits for your HVAC system including restoring system capacity, reducing running time, and lowering the cost to heat and cool your home.

Want to learn more about Central Carolina's professional HVAC duct cleaning service?  Learn more and schedule your service today.

Understanding Inverter Technology

Heat pumps have been an efficient and versatile option to condition homes throughout North Carolina for many years. Now, thanks to inverter technology, they are even better.

What Is Inverter Technology?

In a traditional system, the equipment cycles on and off as needed to maintain the desired temperature. Each time the system cycles on to provide cooling or heating, the motor runs at full speed (100%).

In a system utilizing inverter technology, the temperature is maintained by adjusting the speed of the motor only what is required to efficiently condition the air. Instead of cycling on or off, the system analyzes the temperature and conditions and adjusts the speed of the motor (anywhere between 0% and 100%) to provide maximize efficiency and comfort.

Benefits Of Inverter Technology

Increased Consistency

Thanks to inverter technology, the heat pump can self-adjust and provide consistent room temperatures. (Compared to traditional systems that cycle on and off, resulting in temperature fluctuations throughout a home.)

Energy Efficiency

The system only uses the energy needed to produce the exact amount of hot or cool air required to reach the desired temperature, maximizing comfort and minimizing costs.

Reduced Wear And Tear

Inverter technology allows for a smooth ramp up operation, avoiding spikes in energy use, and unnecessary wear caused by the on and off cycling found with a traditional system.

Ready To Trade Up With Inverter Technology?

Simply fill out the form below and someone from our office will be in touch with you within one business day to set up your free consultation and estimate.

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Types Of HVAC Systems

Do you know what kind of system you have in your home? If you live in the Piedmont Triad, chances are you probably have one of these systems in your home.

Air Conditioning and Gas Furnace System

The most common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior air conditioner with an interior air handler or furnace. These two pieces of equipment work together to circulate air throughout your home. When the air conditioner is matched with a compatible air handler or furnace it will result in optimum efficiency and ideal system performance.

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How The Air Conditioning And Gas Furnace System Works

  1. When it gets warm inside your home, your thermostat automatically activates your air conditioner to compensate.
  2. The air conditioner on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs heat from the indoor environment through the coil as it travels between the indoor coil and the air conditioner outside.
  3. As refrigerant flows through the evaporator coil, a blower in the furnace moves the warm air across the coil surface, removing heat and dispensing the cooled air through your home's ductwork.
  4. The captured heat is then sent back to the air conditioner outside- to be release into the outside air, cooling your home comfortable and efficiently.

Heat Pump System

Another common type of HVAC system pairs an exterior heat pump with an interior air handler to circulate air throughout your home. When a heat pump is paired with a furnace, it is referred to as a dual system. (Learn more about duel fuel technology.) Matching your heat pump with a compatible air handler or furnace will ensure maximum efficiency and system performance.

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How A Heat Pump System Works

  1. The heat pump on the outside of your home circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the heat pump and the air handler inside.
  2. When its cold outside a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air through the refrigeration process and transfers the heated refrigerant to the indoor system.
  3. The refrigerant flows through the air handler's evaporative coil. The blower moves air across the coil surface to warm air that is sent through your home's ductwork.
  4. The cold refrigerant is sent back to the heat pump outside so the process can repeat itself and keep your home comfortable. When it's warm outside, the heat pump reverses direction and acts like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

Packaged Unit

A packaged unit is a complete HVAC system that conveniently packs heating and cooling into one box and is optimized for performance and efficiency.

How A Packaged Unit Works

  1. When your home gets too warm, the air conditioner component of the packaged system cools it down by removing heat from the air inside.
  2. To warm your home comfortably and efficiently on cold days, the packaged heat pump reverses the refrigeration cycle and transfers heat from the warmed coils.
  3. Rather than attaching to individual components within the home, the packaged system connects directly with ductwork to disperse warm or cool air in every room.
  4. Gas-electric packaged units- which combine an electric air conditioner with a natural gas-powered furnace- offer the best of both worlds for outstanding energy efficiency and performance.
packaged system-03

Is It Time to Replace Your HVAC System?

If it's time to replace your system, no need to worry. Check out these money saving tips before calling the first HVAC contractor.

What Is A Dual Fuel System?

A dual-fuel system is a home comfort system that combines an electric heat pump with a gas furnace. The system is designed to alternate between the electric and gas to maximize efficiency while ensuring a comfortable home.

During the summer months, when you need cooling, the heat pump works like an air conditioner, cooling the home as needed.

During the mild weather in the spring and fall the heat pump continues to condition the home, providing heating as needed.

heat pump

However, when the temperatures fall as winter approaches, the heat pump turns off and lets the furnace take over. As long as the outside temperature is over approximately 35°F, a heat pump can pull heat from the outside air to condition the home for less than it would take to start the furnace. Essentially, the furnace is only used during the coldest times of the year to heat the home.

How Does A Duel Fuel System Work?

During the milder weather the comfort system transfers energy instead of making it by burning fuel. Using the furnace for air distribution only (no burners, no heat), the heat pump will send hot refrigerant through the air conditioning coil inside the furnace. The furnace’s fan takes the cooler air from the home via the air returns and blows it across the warm coil, warming the air. The warmed air is then circulated throughout the house to keep the home at the proper temperature.

It’s the same process used during the cooling season, just reversed, courtesy of a dual fuel heat pump. While an air conditioner can only move refrigerant through the system one way, a heat pump can force refrigerant in either direction – one way to cool and one way to heat.

Is A Dual Fuel System Right For My Home?

Here are a few things to review as you consider a dual fuel system.

Complete A Load Analysis

Despite your existing system’s specs, you may experience a difference in load if you’ve completed any improvement projects since installation or have an issue with system design. We recommend having a load analysis performed by a professional HVAC company to get started.

Compare System Options

The best way to compare different technologies is to rely on the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or SEER. As a general rule, the higher the SEER number, the more efficient the equipment. While more efficient equipment can cost more to purchase, homeowners typically see a reduction in cooling costs by up to 15% for every two-point increase in SEER.

Review Utility Costs

If natural gas is increasing faster than electrical rates the payback period would be shorter than if you have lower priced natural gas and extremely high electrical bills. A key benefit of a dual fuel system is switching the utility load to a less expensive source in milder weather.

Confirm Project Scope

Dual fuel heat pumps work well as an air conditioning replacement as long as the furnace is compatible. Older furnaces may have to be replaced to work with a dual fuel heat pump which can add to the scope of the project.

Explore Savings Opportunities

Energy saving tax credits could help offset additional purchase costs. Be sure to add additional special discounts or rebates from the HVAC contractor as well as any expected energy savings to get a true view of the cost of the HVAC system upgrade.

Ready To Learn More?

To request a free consultation to explore your HVAC system replacement, simply fill out the form below. An associate will be in touch with you within one business day to set up an appointment time that is convenient for you and your family.

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Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Ductwork

Hidden behind the walls, in attics, and crawl spaces, is your HVAC ductwork. Many homeowners overlook their ductwork when they plan for HVAC equipment replacement, but it’s important to understand when it is time to consider replacing your HVAC ductwork.

Here are 7 signs it is time to replace your HVAC ductwork:

1. Ductwork Age: Just like your air conditioning unit, your air ducts can last 10-15 years with proper care. Over time, air duct seals, joints, and seams can deteriorate. This can lead to higher energy cost, poor equipment performance and decreased comfort in your home.

2. Airflow issues: If the airflow is diminished because your ductwork is worn, damaged, or dirty you will notice an increase in your utility bills.

3. Poor performance of new equipment: There could be many reasons your new air conditioning unit is unable to adequately cool your home. Checking your air filter and changing it, if necessary, is the first step you can take to improve performance. If your system is still not functioning properly, it may be time to have someone check and test your ductwork if it wasn’t replaced when you purchased your new equipment.

broken ductwork

4. Damage: If you notice damaged or disconnected ducts, deteriorating joints, and evidence of corrosion, it is best to let a trained professional assess the damage to your ductwork system. Punctures and dents can decrease the effectiveness of the system. Ignoring the issues will only continue to increase the overall utility spend.

5. Dirty Ducts: If you notice a smell in your home when you turn your air conditioning system on, it may be time for a duct inspection. Another indication of dirty ductwork is that there is simply too much dust in your home. An inspection can check for issues like mildew and mold as well as holes in your ductwork that can impact the air quality in your home.

6. Noise: If you notice new noises when your air conditioning system cuts on, it could be a sign that you have an issue with your duct system. Rattling and vibrating ducts indicate it is time for an inspection. The first step  is to have a professional service company check for damage and clogs in your duct system. They can recommend next steps- to either repair damage or replace your ductwork. Ignoring the issues will result in increased costs to heat and cool your home and potentially additional damage to your equipment from increased use and premature aging.

7. Hot / Cold Spots: Your system should be designed to heat and cool your home efficiently and effectively.  If you are noticing high energy bills and have areas of your home that aren’t comfortable, it could be an issue with your ductwork design.  A professional service company can do an inspection for you and identify any concerns with the design that could be leaving you with an uncomfortable home and high utility bills.

If you notice these issues in your home, taking steps to understand the condition of your ductwork system is the first step. Schedule a free consultation for a ductwork replacement today with Central Carolina.

dirty ductwork

The Importance Of HVAC Ductwork

Ductwork is an important part of your heating and cooling system. Your HVAC system relies on ductwork to circulate air throughout your home. Supply ducts send conditioned air into each room to maintain the temperature regulated by your thermostat. Return air ducts re-circulate the air in the home back through the HVAC system.

Ductwork problems can impact your home year-round if you have leaks or damage. The impact to your home can include:

1. Increased energy: Leaky ducts can cause air to enter your attic or crawl space, making your HVAC system work harder than required or designed. This will increase your utility bills and can prematurely age your equipment. Estimates show that a damaged duct can cause a system to work as much as 40% harder to maintain a comfortable temperature in the home.

2. Decreased comfort: Temperatures throughout your home could be inconsistent if the ducts aren’t able to circulate air as intended. This can result in hot and humid rooms in the summer and cold rooms in the winter.

3. Allergy issues: When there is a leak or damage to ductwork, dust, mold, allergens, and other particles can be drawn into your HVAC system and circulated throughout the home. This can lead to an increase in allergy or asthma issues for family members and pets.

Now that you know why your HVAC ductwork is important, if you are noticing an increase in your utility spend and inconsistent heating or cooling in your home, check out these seven signs it’s time to replace your HVAC ductwork.

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