Federal Regulation Changes
Like many consumer products that use energy, air conditioners and heat pumps are manufactured to meet or exceed minimum efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy. For nearly a decade, that minimum had been 10 SEER. However, on January 23, 2006 the minimum jumped to 13 SEER. This 13 SEER mandate applies to new equipment production. It provides significant energy savings for the country while reducing energy bills for homeowners. 13 SEER efficiency delivers about 23% energy savings compared to 10 SEER models.
Another change that you need to be aware of is the phase out of R-22, otherwise known as Freon, the refrigerant most commonly used in today’s air conditioners and heat pumps. By 2010, all new equipment will be required to use “environmentally sound” refrigerant, such as Puron or R-410A. This phase out has been mandated by the Clean Air Act of 1990, in an effort to help protect the Earth’s ozone layer. This is similar to the phase out of refrigerant R-12 in automotive air conditioners in the late 1980’s. If your car’s air conditioner needed service you may have experienced the rapidly rising costs of R-12, or the expense of upgrading to newer technology.
By making the change to R-410A now, you can protect yourself from the potentially higher future costs of servicing an air conditioner or heat pump that uses R-22. As supplies of R-22 begin to decrease and demand increases, the prices of R-22 will also increase significantly.
R-410A is now used in new air conditioning equipment from nearly every major manufacturer in the world, and offers significant performance advantages and improved system efficiencies over R-22. Seliga Heating and Cooling has been recommending and installing equipment with “environmentally friendly” R-410A refrigerant since 1998.