When does is make sense to replace your AC?
Would you spend half of your pay on a new AC system? With inflation rampant in 2022, homeowners are asking how air conditioner prices could go up dramatically starting January 1, 2023.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has set new minimum efficiency standards that go into effect on the first of the year. A small increase in the baseline efficiency means the current 14 SEER AC systems can no longer be sold or installed. New requirements means new inventory at higher costs.
Making it more confusing, the SEER rating system is changing as well. The new “SEER2” ratings are similar to comparing Miles per Gallon (MPG) with Miles per Liter (MPL); still measuring how much energy an HVAC system is using, but using different metrics. Comparing the SEER and SEER2 standards, an “old” 14 SEER equals a “new” 13.4 SEER2 in 2023. Starting January 1, the SEER2 rating standards will jump up one SEER2 to 14 (air) and 15 (heat pump). That means the minimum efficiency systems in 2023 will be equivalent to today’s “plus” rated systems, mandating that homeowners buy more expensive systems in 2023 than is required today.
HVAC industry alerts are now warning of significant price increases for 2023. There are four reasons for this increase:
- Higher Quality and Longer Lasting Equipment: The cooling equipment components will perform higher to achieve the high-efficiency rating. This is a good thing as these components generally have higher quality and will last longer.
- More Materials: The physical size of the indoor cooling and outdoor air conditioner coil will increase to gain efficiency. This equates to more copper, aluminum, and steel and hence more cost.
- Shipping and Handling: With the physically larger units comes more labor in handling the equipment, and fewer units will fit in a rail car or tractor-trailer. Both handling and shipping costs will be increased.
- New Fan Design: Fans and the top that covers fans in air conditioners will be a different design to achieve a higher efficiency rating. The cost of the design is more with the larger units.
With this change, you might be thinking, “should I replace before January 1, 2023?” We recommend considering replacement if you meet one of the following:
- An air conditioner that operates with an ozone-depleting refrigerant known as “R22,” whether the system is working or not.
- If your cooling system operates with an ozone-friendly refrigerant (known as R410A or Puron) and is over 12 years old, whether the system is working or not.
- If your cooling system is operating with an ozone-friendly refrigerant (known as R410A or Puron) and is under 12 years old, but you are facing repair costs over $500.
We would love to offer you our 2022 pricing while the equipment is still available. Schedule a visit to get a free quote now.
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