DOE HVAC Standards: Basics, Regions and SEER Rating

DOE HVAC Standards: Basics, Regions and SEER Rating

While many are not aware of it, did you realize that the area where you live in the United States has a direct impact on the HVAC products available to you? This is just one of several impacts of the US Department of Energy's minimum energy efficiency standards that have been introduced and updated over the last several years, standards that have saved homeowners billions of dollars in energy.

At Airtime Heating & Cooling, we're happy to provide numerous HVAC services specifically related to energy efficiency, from precision tune-ups of your entire system to new installation of energy-efficient furnaces, air conditioners and other products. This two-part blog series will go over the DOE's standards for energy efficiency based on where you're located in the country, plus will go into minimum standards in various areas plus some other developments from the DOE that are relevant to homeowners.

DOE Standard Basics

While the basic DOE standards for air conditioners and heaters were meant to be published over a decade ago, there were delays here and this process didn't actually take place until 2017. There are a number of specifics that go into these standards, but the most important area is this: For major home appliances and equipment, including both HVAC areas like air conditioners and also washers, dryers, refrigerators and more, there are minimum energy standards required – and these standards vary depending on the region of the country you're located in. These standards are designed specifically for their region, helping maintain efficient energy usage among people.

Regions and SEER Rating

Why do regions matter here? Well, because their climates vary across a large country like the United States, and climate differences lead to changes in how HVAC components are used. Those living in the southern-most climates of the country use their air conditioners more often, for instance, and may require more efficient systems.

The metric used for these DOE standards is known as SEER Rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It refers to the ratio of the cooling output of an air conditioner over a typical cooling season, divided by the energy used in watt-hours. There will be different SEER minimum requirements based on your region.

Regional Breakdown by State

Here's how the DOE breaks down regions for these energy standards:

  • Southwest: Arizona, California, Nevada and New Mexico
  • Southeast: Alabama Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the US territories
  • North: The rest of the country not named above, including our clients in Utah (while Utahns are well aware it gets hot in the summer, it also gets much colder in the winter than most other southern states named here)

In part two of our series, we'll go over the minimum standards for these regions plus some other important DOE HVAC standards, including what the future promises to look like in this area.

For more on US Department of Energy efficiency standards, or to learn about any of our heating or cooling services, speak to the staff at Airtime Heating & Cooling today.