There¿s a New Minimum Efficiency for 2006
Like many consumer products that use energy, air conditioners and heat pumps are manufactured to
meet or exceed minimum efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy. For nearly a decade, that minimum has been 10 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). On January 23, 2006, the minimum will jump to 13 SEER, a 30% increase over the current standard.
Who will this affect?
The 13 SEER minimum applies to everyone - consumers, your local HVAC dealer and all manufacturers of air conditioners and heat pumps. However, it only applies to new equipment manufactured on or after January 23, 2006. In other words, you can continue to use your current system indefinitely, even if it operates below 13 SEER. However, if you own an older system that often needs repair, or if it is simply time to replace your current system, purchasing a 13 SEER model now will give you two advantages:
- You'll start saving money on your monthly utility bills with a newer, more energy efficient system.
- You'll be able to make the switch at today's costs instead of tomorrow's.
What does it mean to me?
For many homeowners, a 13 SEER air conditioner or heat pump will represent money saved on each month's electric bill. Exactly how much you can save will depend on the efficiency of your current system.
Here's a comparison:
13 SEER Efficiency
- Delivers about 23% energy savings compared to 10 SEER models
- Delivers about 8% energy savings compared to 12 SEER models
Actual savings will depend on the age, efficiency and condition of the unit being replaced, but for anyone currently considering a new air conditioner or heat pump, it makes a lot of sense to start saving now with a 13 SEER product.
Much like miles-per-gallon (MPG) for
a car, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency
Ratio (SEER) measure the efficiency
of air conditioners and heat pumps.
The higher the SEER, the more
efficient the product.
Enhanced Comfort and Reliability
Looking at currently available products that meet the 13 SEER minimum, Bryant's Evolution™ System and Preferred™ Series air conditioners and heat pumps can actually deliver up to 18 SEER efficiency. In addition to saving money, these products are quieter than older, less efficient models to create a more relaxed home atmosphere. Some of these models have been tested at 69 decibels, which is quieter than an average running refrigerator. In addition, these products use environmentally sound Puron® refrigerant and also feature built-in reliability features for lasting performance.
Your Refrigerant is Due for a Change, Too.
Another change you need to be aware of is the phase out of R-22, the refrigerant most commonly used in today¿s air conditioners and heat pumps. By 2010, all new air conditioners and heat pumps will be required to use "environmentally sound" refrigerant, such as Puron®. This phase out has been mandated in an effort to help protect the Earth¿s ozone layer. We¿ve seen this before. In the late 1980s, environmental concerns led to a total phase out of R-12 in automotive air conditioners. If you owned a vehicle during that time, you may have experienced first-hand the rapidly rising costs of R-12, or the expense of upgrading to newer technology. By making the change to Puron refrigerant now, you can protect yourself from the potentially higher future costs of servicing an air conditioner or heat pump that uses R-22.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
The 13 SEER minimum efficiency law and R-22 refrigerant phase out are unavoidable. Making an informed decision now on your home¿s air conditioner or heat pump system can save you money later.
2006 Efficiency Change
- Any new system manufactured on or after January 23, 2006, will
- Purchasing a 13 SEER system now, at today¿s prices, will allow
2010 Refrigerant Change
- Phase out of R-22 refrigerant will likely cause a significant increase
in the cost of R-22
- Puron® meets the 2010 standard for non-ozone depleting refrigerants
Bryant Leads the Way
In 1996, Bryant was the first to offer residential air conditioners and heat pumps using environmentally sound Puron refrigerant. Today, we offer the most comprehensive line of products designed to meet tomorrow¿s standards.
To learn more about the 2006 13 SEER efficiency mandate, visit www.energy.gov.