Herbert Chu, Regional Director of Maintenance and Construction, RAM Partners, LLC
Many changes are happening this year in the HVACR industry.With global warming more important than ever, EPA has implemented a few changes that will change this industry forever.
First and foremost, changes will impact all contractorsinstallingnew HVACR units.The annual SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) will change from 14 SEER to 15 SEER for most southern parts of the United States. What this means to the public is a price increase. The most important point is HVACR contractor will not be able to install 14 SEER units after January 1st, 2023.
That said, any older unit that was not sold at the dealers will not be able to sell to any contractor, and it is illegal for the contractor to install 14 SEER units after that date.
“Keep and repair as much as you can for the existing system, then when the time comes, go for the new A2L Refrigerant system.”
So, all HVACR contractors will rework that strategy and start to stock up on the new 15 SEER units. Because the 14 and 15 SEER units are incompatible, we have to replace the condensing unit and air handler as a matched set and even a lineset (the copper line that connected the system).
With that said, the average homeowner can still save some money if they can purchase the unit this year and install it themselves. Most of the time,homeowners are not HVACR technicians; they cannot or do not want to do it themselves.
The other option is to have someone knowledgeable enough and have the certification or License to do a private installation under the Owner’ssupervision (remember I mentioned before, all Licensed HVACR Contractor will not be able to install 14 SEER units after January 1st, 2023)
Add that to the pain; Refrigerant R-410A will start to phase out in the United States in 2024. Approximately 60 percent will be phased out by the end of that year. Then it will continue to phase out until it is gone, so the price will increase due to the higher Global Warming potential for R-410A Vs.’,another type of refrigerant.
Then EPA is underway to approve a new type of refrigerant; at this point, it appeared to be R-454B or R-32.
That is good for the environment but not for the public because this new type of refrigerant is slightly flammable or rated as A2L by EPA.
What it means to the public is that this new system is a new design completely from the ground up and will not be compatible with any existing system, so if you replace a new R-410A unit this year, you might be looking to install a new system again, if you can get any replacement parts for R-410A system, or the refrigerant itself get very expensive, you might think of replacing it again.
My little piece of advice is to keep and repair as much as you can for the existing system, then when the time comes, go for the new A2L Refrigerant system. But the most important part is please save some money as emergency funds, so there will be no surprise when the time comes.