TL;DR – This article discusses the changes being enacted by the EPA in 2023 which will affect air conditioning efficiency and refrigerants. Call F&S if you would like to learn more.

As you probably know, humanity is growing more concerned with energy efficiency as the years go on. 

The reason for this is because more and more people are caring about a green planet

We want to take care of our planet so that it’ll survive forever. And part of this process means looking into every industry, and creating regulations that’ll help to take that industry to higher levels of efficiency while utilizing the best of the new technology that’s available to it.

With that being said, the EPA is ushering in a few A/C efficiency updates and refrigerant policy changes for 2023. And this will have a limited, yet significant effect on your air conditioning systems moving forward. 

A lot of people don’t understand these changes. So we’re going to lay them out for you as easily and as understandably as possible. 

Let’s dive into it. 

1. Changes To SEER

Moving forward, if you plan to buy an air conditioning unit, you’ll eventually notice that the familiar SEER certification will be replaced by a new SEER2 certification. 

This is a new industry rating that represents a new testing procedure to test the efficiency of HVAC equipment.

Basically, as a consumer, all you really need to know about this is that new procedures have been adopted to test air conditioning equipment, and that this SEER2 rating will represent compliance with the most up-to-date testing for new air conditioning units. 

This new rating should start appearing on equipment in your local stores (and on equipment being installed by local HVAC providers) at some point in the year 2023.

(By the way, if you need a new A/C unit installed and are worried about regulatory compliance, just contact us here at F&S Master Air. We’d be happy to answer your questions for you.)

2. Refrigerant Replacement

The second significant change that’s going to come about as a result of regulatory revisions when it comes to air conditioning units is the phasing out of R410-a refrigerant

Now, this might sound complicated, so let’s break it down a little bit. 

For years, R410-a was the refrigerant that was used in air conditioners all over the country. 

However, the US Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out this refrigerant, and is transitioning to a number of different possible alternatives that are more environmentally friendly

Basically, R410-a is a refrigerant with a higher global warming potential

It’s also technically a hydrofluorocarbon, which is considered harmful for the environment. The new replacement options are technically classified as A2L refrigerants, which are basically a class of refrigerants that have higher efficiency and lower global warming potential. 

The two most likely commonplace candidates (and what will probably end up being the ‘most used’ replacements) are called R-32 and R454-B. 

Here are the main benefits of transitioning to R-32 refrigerant. 

  • No ozone depletion
  • Only possesses one-third of the GWP of R410A (its predecessor)
  • It’s more energy efficient
  • It has improved thermal conductivity
  • There’s less of a pressure drop
  • It boasts a lower toxicity
  • It is easier to handle and recover

Here are the main benefits of the new R454-B refrigerant:

  • It’s even more efficient for heating than the R-32 refrigerant
  • It requires less refrigerant to service the same equipment as compared to R410-a refrigerant
  • It has an even lower GWP than R-32
  • Since its operating pressure and temperature are very similar to its predecessor, R410-a, it makes the transition to updated compliance much easier

What Does This Mean For You?

This may all sound kind of complicated—the truth is that, for you, as a consumer, these things mean big positive changes for the future of air conditioning. 

Here are just a few of the most notable changes you can hope to see in 2023 and beyond:

Lower Energy Bills

The new SEER standards will make HVAC systems more efficient, which will lead to lower energy bills for homeowners.

And this is always a good thing!

Reduced Environmental Impact

These new refrigerant standards will help to reduce the environmental impact of HVAC systems. This is great news for our planet, wildlife, forests, communities, and the ozone layer! 

More Accurate Efficiency Ratings

The SEER2 standard will provide homeowners with more accurate efficiency ratings for HVAC systems, so they can make more informed decisions about which system to purchase.

Now, in practice, this will still probably sound a bit confusing—so what will probably happen is that most homeowners will just come to recognize that the SEER2 label will represent a new minimum threshold for efficiency, and that this should always be looked for when buying an air conditioning unit. 

In Conclusion

Overall, the 2023 HVAC changes will benefit homeowners and consumers by making HVAC systems more efficient, reducing their environmental impact, and providing them with more accurate efficiency ratings.

Thus, this will actually be the best time ever to consider upgrading to a new unit or purchasing new A/C equipment. 

Contact the pros at F&S Master Air if you’re interested in seeing if we can upgrade your system (and get you some amazing tax credits at the same time). We’d love to help you out!