HVAC Efficiency Standards Update: When Will New Minimums Go Into Effect?

HVAC Efficiency Standards Update: When Will New Minimums Go Into Effect?If you’re concerned about the new HVAC efficiency standards, you’re not alone. Efficiency minimums have been a source of confusion over recent months. The short answer is: We don’t know right now when and if the standards will be raised. The standard is currently being reviewed by the courts where it may be upheld or it could be sent back for reconsideration. In reality it could be several years before a ruling is finalized.  The timeline thus far:

  • 1987- The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 is passed. This act sets 78 annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) as the standard for all gas furnaces. A rating of 78 means that a unit must be 78 percent efficient.
  • 1992- The National Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987 goes into effect. All new furnaces sold after this date must be at least 78 percent efficient by law. This would mark the first time that utility standards for gas furnaces were mandated in this country.
  • 2007- The Department of Energy (DOE) suggests that the minimum efficiency standards be raised from 78 to 80 AFUE by the year 2015. This proposal is challenged by efficiency experts, who claim that the AFUE should be higher than 80.
  • 2009- Efficiency advocates who feel that standards should be raised prepare a consensus agreement to encourage higher efficiency standards for heating and cooling systems by establishing separate standards according to geographical region.
  • 2011- The DOE comes to a ruling that generally reflects the consensus agreement. Warmer, drier areas will remain at 80 percent efficiency, while colder areas must follow a standard of 90 percent efficiency.
  • 2013- The latest ruling is scheduled to go into effect in May, but is delayed by challenges from an association of natural gas utilities and equipment distributors who argue that upgrading to more efficient furnaces causes problems for consumers.

To see how you can improve the efficiency of your current heating system or if you have any questions about HVAC efficiency standards contact the professionals at Aladdin Heating & Cooling, serving the Sterling Heights and Grosse Point area for over 65 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Warren, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about HVAC efficiency standards and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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