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Change Is Coming – Let’s Get Ready Together

The push to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions continues to drive change in the HVAC industry. As a result, the government is instituting significant changes in energy efficiency criteria and ratings for both residential and commercial equipment.

Rather than viewing the regulatory changes as a problem to be solved, Rheem is embracing them as an opportunity to innovate new technologies to create an even better product line for contractors and homeowners.

To help you understand what’s changing, why, and how it’ll affect you, we’re pleased to bring you this HVAC KnowZone™ to act as a central hub, where you can easily access information as it becomes available.

2023

What You Need to Know

For equipment manufactured after January 1, 2023, the minimum standards are changing, and a new test procedure is also being required. These requirements will vary by region but generally are increasing by about 7–10%.

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2025

What You Need to Know

In 2020, a bipartisan Senate bill, known as the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) act, was enacted. It sought to address global warming by ushering in the next generation of refrigerants.

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Information Library

nate

NATE-certification & the Importance of Properly Trained Contractors

When it comes to training and certifications, everyone connected to the HVAC industry benefits —contractors, technicians and even homeowners.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is the nation’s largest nonprofit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, NATE was developed by and has been supported by the industry for over 20 years.

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ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency and provides simple, credible and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions that help them save money and protect the environment.
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As the new DOE Requirements Take Effect Jan. 1, 2023, Rheem will be ready with the all-new Endeavor Line of Furnaces, Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps and Air Handlers. So even as regulations get tougher, your job gets easier.

Endeavor Features & Benefits

  • Easy Fit: We raised efficiency without drastically increasing equipment size
  • Easy Installation: Bluetooth connectivity for easier, more accurate commissioning
  • Easy Service: Better accessibility and Bluetooth diagnostics
  • Easy Registration: Register warranties and claim rewards via mobile app
  • Quieter Operation: Brushless motors and acoustics-conscious design
  • More Choices: Industry-leading Heat Pump selection plus all-electric solutions
  • Smart Home Compatibility: EcoNet® technology available in more products
Keep checking back to see how the all-new Endeavor Line is ready to meet and exceed the demands of tomorrow.
Select models available now for Distributor order.

What’s Changing in 2023 & the new Requirements

Effective January 1, 2023, newly-manufactured residential and commercial equipment sold in the U.S. will be required to meet new minimum efficiency standards set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). For single-phase residential and light commercial central air conditioning systems, the requirements will vary by region.

Appendix M1: A New System of Measurement

For equipment manufactured after January 1, 2023, not only are the minimum standards changing, but a new test procedure will be required. This new test method is commonly referred to as Appendix M1, replacing Appendix M in the Code of Federal Regulations. For decades, we’ve used the classic metrics of SEER, EER and HSPF. Going forward, you’ll hear these metrics referred to as SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2.

Why the Metric Change?

The DOE test procedure has been updated to be more representative of installations in today’s homes and will be used to determine product ratings. This new system of measurement will apply to all single phase air conditioners and heat pumps <65k BTU/HR.

What About Commercial?

Commercial single-phase air conditioners and heat pumps <65k BTU/HR (typically those in the 3-, 4- and 5-ton range) follow the residential standards. Commercial systems ≥65k BTU/HR also have new minimum efficiency levels going into effect in 2023 on a national basis, with compliance based on date of manufacture. Note that while the metrics of IEER and COP are not changing, IEER and COP minimum efficiency levels are increasing from DOE 2018 standard. EER requirements remain unchanged. See the table “DOE 2023 6 to 30 tons” for more details. At this time, DOE has not issued a new efficiency standard or metric that applies to the category of small 3-phase systems, 5-ton and below, but these are under consideration.

Navigating Regional Standards

The 2023 requirements apply nationally—unless superseded by a regional standard.

The regional standards apply in the Southeast and the Southwest, and there is a key difference between the national and regional standards when it comes to enforcement. While both have a compliance deadline of January 1, 2023, the national deadline is based on the equipment date of manufacture, while compliance to the regional standards is based on the date of installation. Heat pumps do not have regional efficiency criteria, so the national criteria apply in all states.

Keeping Track of Regional Standards Is as Simple as 3-2-1
Compliance for Existing Inventory
AFTER JANUARY 1, 2023:

Outdoor AC units manufactured prior to January 1, 2023, rated using Appendix M, can be installed in the Southeast and Southwest Regions, if the lowest FTC label rating (coil-only) is at or above the new minimum efficiency requirements on a conversion basis. Ratings based on Appendix M will need to be cross-referenced with the corresponding Appendix M1 values.

Understanding Compliance by Region:
North, Southeast & Southwest

North
Southeast
Southwest

For the states in the North region, compliance is based on date of manufacture. Therefore, if a product, as part of an AHRI-rated matched system, was compliant on the day it was produced, it can continue to be sold and installed anywhere in the North region.
North Region Existing Inventory:
Units manufactured prior to 1/1/2023 can continue to be installed, provided the equipment was compliant at the time it was produced.

For split air conditioner systems in the Southeast states, a regional standard (as highlighted in red on the table) supersedes the national requirements. Therefore, compliance for that product type is based on date of installation. Compliance for all other product types is based on date of manufacture.
Southeast Region Existing Inventory
The least efficient coil-only rating listed on the EnergyGuide Label, of any AC split system installed on or after 1/1/2023, must meet 2023 Efficiency Requirements on a cross-reference basis for SEER.

Heat pumps and packaged AC systems manufactured prior to 1/1/2023 can continue to be installed, provided the equipment was compliant at the time it was produced.

For split and packaged AC and packaged gas/electric (GE) in the Southwest states, a regional standard (as highlighted in blue on the table) supersedes the national requirements. Therefore, compliance for those product types is based on date of installation. Compliance for the other product types is based on date of manufacture.
Southwest Region Existing Inventory:
The least efficient coil-only rating listed on the EnergyGuide Label, of any split and packaged AC system or packaged GE system installed on or after 1/1/2023, must meet 2023 Efficiency Requirements on a cross-reference basis for SEER and EER.

Heat pumps manufactured prior to 1/1/2023 can continue to be installed, provided the equipment was compliant at the time it was produced.

On the Horizon for 2025 – Refrigerant Change

In 2020, a bipartisan senate bill known as the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act was enacted into law. It authorizes a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) across a variety of applications, including HVAC. The bill gives the U.S. EPA the authority to prescribe the HFC phase down, with rulemaking underway.

What’s Currently Happening

It is expected that the EPA will soon act, setting a 750 GWP limit for air conditioning in 2025. That will mean that R-410A, with a GWP of 2,088, will no longer be able to be used in new equipment manufactured after the compliance date—which has yet to be determined. It is estimated, however, that the transition to lower GWP refrigerants will begin in 2025.

What Are the Most Common Alternatives?

The most common low-GWP alternatives to R-410A are classified by ASHRAE as mildly flammable, or A2L. Due to their mildly flammable characteristics, A2L refrigerants will require updates to standards and building codes to allow for their safe installation.

As a leading influencer on regulatory issues, Rheem is actively involved in the discussions and will continually keep you informed and prepared.

ENERGYGUIDE LABELING
101 & WHAT TO EXPECT
FOR 2023

ENERGYGUIDE 101

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) first issued an Energy Labeling Rule in 1979. The Rule requires manufacturers of major home appliances to attach yellow EnergyGuide Labels to products and post label information to supporting brochures and websites.

Consumers should use EnergyGuide Labels to comparison shop for the best in energy-efficient solutions.

2023 EnergyGuide Label Examples
Split System Air Conditioner, Cooling Only, Northern States

Split System Air Conditioner,
Cooling Only, Northern States

Split System Heat Pump, Cooling & Heating, All States

Split System Heat Pump,
Cooling & Heating, All States

EnergyGuide Labels are required to list:
  • Estimated annual energy cost
  • Product’s energy consumption / energy efficiency rating as determined by the Department of Energy (DOE) test procedures
  • A range that shows the highest and lowest energy costs or efficiency ratings

WHAT IS CHANGING?
Effective January 1, 2023, new DOE efficiency descriptors (SEER2, HSPF2) and updated standard energy efficiency ranges (shown in chart) will be required on packaged and split air conditioner and heat pump EnergyGuide labels. The new EnergyGuide label, which will begin appearing on 2023-compliant products during 2022, will show the SEER2 and HSPF2 efficiency rating specific to your air conditioner and heat pump. The rating, which for a given model can vary depending on the coil installed with the unit, represents the least efficient combination up to the highest efficiency when matched with a furnace or air handler.

ENERGY STAR

ENERGY STAR® is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency and provides simple, credible and unbiased information that consumers and businesses rely on to make well-informed decisions that help them save money and protect the environment.

The ENERGY STAR logo appears on all qualified products that meet specific standards for energy efficiency. The U.S. EPA ensures that each product that earns the label is independently certified.

2023 Changes
For 2023, as the test procedures are changing, so too are the qualifications for a product to be ENERGY STAR certified. In fact, an air conditioner or heat pump that earned the ENERGY STAR symbol before may no longer qualify. For example, the minimum efficiency for an ENERGY STAR-certified air conditioner in 2021 was 15 SEER. In 2023, that number will be XX.X SEER2, which is closer to 16 SEER in the old rating system.

NATE-certification & the Importance of Properly Trained Contractors

When it comes to training and certifications, everyone connected to the HVAC industry benefits —contractors, technicians and even homeowners.

North American Technician Excellence (NATE) is the nation’s largest nonprofit certification organization for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) technicians. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, NATE was developed by and has been supported by the industry for over 20 years.

What Are the Benefits?

NATE-certified contractors and technicians receive a high ROI. They’re considered valuable to employers and preferred among customers. So NATE-certified contractors and technicians are sought out. As such, their salaries are higher than their non-certified counterparts.

Homeowners using NATE-certified contractors and technicians receive:

  • • Higher satisfaction – Thanks to fast service and fewer callbacks and warranty returns
  • • Increased confidence
  • • Lower utility bills – Because their systems are operating more efficiently
  • • Peace of mind – From knowing that their systems are in good hands

What Is the NATE Program & Who Is It For?
Developed by a committee of industry experts, the NATE program is a series of exams that result in either certificates or full certifications and is designed for contractors and technicians of all experience levels. The entry-level tests, Ready-to-Work and HVAC Support are intended for those with less than 12 months of experience. Those who pass the tests earn a certificate, that identifies them as someone knowledgeable and trained in the field. More rigorous exams are required to receive a full NATE certification.

Who is Eligible for Full NATE Certification & What Does It Entail?
NATE certification is recommended for contractors and technicians with two or more years of experience. There are two certification testing pathways available: the Certified HVAC Professional (CHP-5) pathway, a series of five exams, or the Core and Specialty exam pathway, a series of two exams. For more information on either of these pathways, visit the NATE website.

Are There Training Courses Available to Help with Exam Preparation?
NATE has partnered with lnterPlay Learning to launch NATE Training Academy, which allows contractors and technicians to train for NATE certification exams online when convenient for them. The online training includes 3D and VR simulations that mimic in-field experience. Contractors and technicians can start prepping for NATE’s Certified HVAC Professional exam today. Additionally, this fall, training will be available for NATE’s Low-GWP refrigeration certification.

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