Understanding the Energy Star Label on your unit:
The following explanation can be used when seeking clarification tied to SEER rating on the Energy Guide Label vs. advertised SEER Rating.
The SEER Rating listed on the label is the MINIMUM Seer rating for the unit. It is important to look at the asterisk (*) information to the right. "Your air condition's efficiency rating may be better depending on the coil your contractor installs". meaning when matched with the proper coil as per the AHRI Institute's system, it will match the advertised SEER rating and in some cases when it is paired with a variable speed furnace, it can surpass it.
Region-Specific Regulations and Restrictions
Some regions in the US and Canada have specific regulations regarding the installation and maintenance of residential heating and air conditioning systems. Restrictions can vary on minimum energy efficiency requirements, refrigerant types, pollution emissions and qualification of installers and repairers. These regulatory regions can range from groups of states all the way down to a city or district level. Here is a brief overview of some of the broader regulations currently in place:
Refrigerant Type and Usage
The EPA has mandated a transition from ozone-depleting R-22 refrigerant (freon) to the more environmentally friendly refrigerant R410-A (Puron). As of 2019, new installations in the US and Canada must use R410-A refrigerant. All air conditioning products on this website either contain or are compatible with R410-A refrigerant and meet this refrigerant compliance mandate.
Minimum Seer Ratings
All states have a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) that all new air conditioning installations must meet. For the states of WA, OR, ID, MT, WY, CO, ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH, WV, PA, NJ, NY, CT, RI, MA, NH, VT and ME, the minimum SEER rating is 13. For the states of CA, NV, AZ, NM, TX, OK, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, FL, TN, KY, SC, NC, VA, MD and DE, the minimum SEER rating is 14. Each product listing states compliance with these restrictions.
US Southwest District
While 14 SEER is the minimum requirement, the states of CA, NV, AZ and NM have further regulations in order for 14 SEER units to be installed in those states. To meet these requirements, the special Southwest-compliant 14 SEER models must be used. Each product listing states compliance with these restrictions.
California Gas Emissions Standards and Air Quality Management Districts
The State of California has regulations on the emissions output of gas furnaces. Statewide, 80% efficiency (non-condensing) gas furnaces may only be installed if they comply with the minimum requirements. Most gas furnace brands carry a special California-compliant line of 80% efficiency furnaces. Each product listing states whether or not compliance with these restrictions are met. These minimum requirements do not apply to 90%+ efficiency (condensing) gas furnaces.
Certain regions of California have stricter regulations on emissions output and charge an environmental air quality management fee for the purchase of gas furnaces intended to be installed within their jurisdiction. This fee must be charged on any gas furnace sale being shipped to any ZIP code in these districts, including high efficiency furnaces. Because this rule only applies to gas furnaces, electric furnaces are a possible alternative to avoid this fee. For more information regarding air quality zones, please visit these links:
San Joaquin Valley Air Basin: https://www.valleyair.org/rules/currntrules/Rule4905.pdf Fees are located on Page 6
South Coast Air Quality Management District: http://www.aqmd.gov/docs/default-source/rule-book/reg-xi/rule-1111.pdf
Installation and Maintenance Permits
The installation of residential air conditioning and heating systems must be done by a qualified HVAC technician. The permits and qualifications necessary to be compliant with all governing bodies will vary depending on state, county, city and district regulations. Because of the variations in these requirements, it is highly recommended to contact your city and county jurisdictions to ensure your installation is fully compliant.
If you have any questions or require further clarification regarding regional regulations please give us a call at 1-888-286-0211