DOE Will Implement Higher HVAC System Efficiency Standards

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) attempted to implement higher HVAC system efficiency standards for HVAC equipment several years ago that would have had a serious financial impact on homeowners in northern states. HVAC industry leaders brought the DOE to court over their decision and the court ruled against the DOE. It ordered the DOE to work with industry groups to establish a more realistic heating standard for northern states.

The DOE wanted to increase the minimum AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating for heating systems to 90, up from the current 78.  The AFUE indicates how much of the fuel the system uses that goes directly toward heating the home. A system with a 78 AFUE wastes 22 percent of the fuel it uses.

One with a 90 AFUE wastes only 10 percent, and achieves such high efficiency by using a second heat exchanger. They’re called condensing furnaces, and are more cost more to purchase and in some cases, costly to install.

However, other portions of the new efficiency standards will go into place throughout 2015 while the DOE and the HVAC industry work out a realistic solution to establish a higher standard for heating equipment. The DOE was allowed to raise the minimum AFUE standard to 80 for all regions in the U.S. by November 2015. Experts don’t expect a higher performance standard for heating systems in the northern region until 2021 or 2022.

While the central air conditioner efficiency standards won’t go up in Colorado, heat pump efficiency will. As of January 2015, the new SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating will be 14 for split systems with a minimum HSPF (heating season performance factor) of 8.2. Package systems will have to have a SEER of 14 and an HSPF of 8.0. A package system has all the components in one unit, while a split system has an indoor air handler and an outdoor condenser.

To learn more about the higher HVAC system efficiency standards, contact the pros at Balance Point Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for Fort Collins homeowners since.

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