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Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

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Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps since 1992. Residential central air conditioners and heat pumps are installed as part of a home's central heating and cooling system. They use ducts to distribute cooled or dehumidified air to more than one room. Residential central air conditioners and heat pumps include split system central air conditioners and heat pumps; single package central air conditioners, small-duct high-velocity products, and space constrained products.

The standards mandatory in 1992 and 1993 will save approximately 2.9 quads of energy and result in approximately $29 billion in energy bill savings from 1993-2023. The standard will avoid about 160 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 31.4 million automobiles.

The standard mandatory in 2006 will save approximately 6.8 quads of energy and result in approximately $70.6 billion in energy bill savings from 2006-2035. The standard will avoid about 369.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 72.4 million automobiles.


Recent Updates | Standards | Test Procedures | Waiver, Exception, and Exemption Information | Statutory Authority | Historical Information | Contact Information


Recent Updates

DOE published a Federal Register notice initiating a rulemaking and requesting information and data to help DOE determine whether amended standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pump products would result in a significant amount of additional energy savings and whether those standards would be technologically feasible and economically justified. 79 FR 65603 (November 5, 2014) For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.

DOE published a notice of public meetings for the regional standards enforcement working group. 79 FR 50856 (August 26, 2014). For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.

DOE published a final rule regarding definitions for “through-the-wall central air conditioner” and “through-the-wall central air conditioning heat pump that were established in section 5 of the American Energy Manufacturing Technical Corrections Act. 79 FR 20091 (April 11, 2014). For more information, please see the rulemaking webpage.




Standards for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

The following content summarizes the energy conservation standards residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. The text is not an official reproduction of the Code of Federal Regulations and should not be used for legal research or citation.

Current Standard

Split system central air conditioners and central air conditioning heat pumps manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16), after January 1, 1992 and before January 23, 2006, and single package central air conditioners and central air conditioning heat pumps manufactured after January 1, 1993, and before January 23, 2006, must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(c)(1). This information is also available in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. They shall have Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factors (HSPF) no less than:

Table 1. SEER and HSPF for Split System Central Air Conditioners and Central Air Conditioning Heat Pumps, and Single Package Central Air Conditioners and Central Air Conditioning Heat Pumps
Product class Seasonal energy efficiency ratio Heating seasonal performance factor
(i) Split systems (1992- 2006) 10.0 6.8
(ii) Single package systems (1993 – 2006) 9.7 6.6

Central air conditioners and central air conditioning heat pumps manufactured and distributed in commerce, as defined by 42 U.S.C. 6291(16) on or after January 23, 2006, and before January 1, 2015, must meet the energy conservation standards specified in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(c)(2). They shall have Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios and Heating Seasonal Performance Factors no less than:

Table 2. SEER and HSPF for Central Air Conditioners and Central Air Conditioning Heat Pumps
Product Class Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF)
(i) Split system air conditioners 13
(ii) Split system heat pumps 13 7.7
(iii) Single package air conditioners 13
(iv) Single package heat pumps 13 7.7
(v) Small duct, high velocity systems 11 6.8
(vi)(A) Space constrained products- air conditioners
(vi)(B) Space constrained products- heat pumps
12
12

7.4

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this standard, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Amended Standard

On June 27, 2011, amended standards were issued for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. The full text of the amended standard is available in the Code of Federal Regulations, 10 CFR 430.32(c)(3). It is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Central air conditioners and central air conditioning heat pumps manufactured on or after January 1, 2015 will have Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratios and Heating Seasonal Performance Factors not less than what is indicated in the table below.

Table 3. Amended Energy Conservation Standards for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps
Product Class Seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) Heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF)
(i) Split system air conditioners 13
(ii) Split system heat pumps 14 8.2
(iii) Single package air conditioners 14
(iv) Single package heat pumps 14 8.0
(v) Small duct, high velocity systems 12 7.2
(vi)(A) Space constrained products- air conditioners
(vi)(B) Space constrained products- heat pumps
12
12

7.4

In addition to meeting the applicable requirements in the table above, split-system air conditioners installed on or after January 1, 2015, in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, or in the District of Columbia, shall have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio not less than 14. Split-system air conditioners installed on or after January 1, 2015, in Arizona, California, Nevada, or New Mexico shall have a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio not less than 14 and have the Energy Efficiency Ratios (at a standard rating of 95 °F dry bulb outdoor temperature) indicated in the table below:

Table 4. Energy Efficiency Ratios for Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico
Product class Energy efficiency ratio (EER)
(i) Split-system rated cooling capacity less than 45,000 Btu/hr 12.2
(ii) Split-system rated cooling capacity equal to or greater than 45,000 Btu/hr 11.7
(iii) Single-package systems 11.0

Central air conditioners and central air conditioning heat pumps manufactured on or after January 1, 2015, shall have an average off mode electrical power consumptions in accordance with the following table:

Table 5. Off Mode Electrical Power Consumption
Product class Average off mode power consumption PW,OFF (watts)
(i) Split-system air conditioners 30
(ii) Split-system heat pumps 33
(iii) Single-package air conditioners 30
(iv) Sing-package heat pumps 33
(v) Small-duct, high-velocity systems 30
(vi) Space-constrained air conditioners 30
(vii) Space-constrained heat pumps 33

After a regulatory action has been completed, Executive Order 12866 requires agencies to identify the substantive changes between the draft submitted to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for review and the action subsequently announced, and to identify those changes made at the suggestion or recommendation of OIRA. The document below provides more information:

Test Procedure for Residential Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Current Test Procedure

To determine compliance with DOE standards, manufacturers must follow the test procedures specified at 10 CFR 430.23(m) for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps as of April 21, 2008. The methods to conduct the test procedure are further specified in 10 CFR Part 430 Appendix M to Subpart B. This information is also in the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations.

For further guidance or to submit questions related to the implementation of this test procedure, visit the Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions page.

Waivers, Exceptions, and Exemptions

Waivers

A test procedure waiver has been issued for residential air conditioners and heat pumps. The waiver specifically addresses a product that uses a variable refrigerant flow zoning system using R-410A, which is not covered under the current DOE test procedure. For more information on the waivers granted and those waiver petitions still pending final action, if any, please see waiver actions.

For information about obtaining test procedure waivers, see 10 CFR 430.27.

Exceptions

DOE's Office of Hearings and Appeals has authorized exception relief for central air conditioners and heat pumps.

Exception Issued To Date Case No.
SpacePak, Inc. 05/24/2004 TEE-0010
Unico, Inc. 05/24/2004 TEE-0011
Energy Savings Products, Ltd. 09/28/2005 TEE-0026

For information about obtaining exception relief, see 10 CFR part 1003.

State Exemptions to Federal Preemption

DOE has not exempted any state from this energy conservation standard. States may petition DOE to exempt a state regulation from preemption by the Federal energy conservation standard. States may also petition DOE to withdraw such exemptions. For details, see CFR part 430, subpart D.

Small Business Exemptions

Any manufacturer of a covered product with annual gross revenues that do not exceed $8,000,000 from all its operations and meets certain other conditions may apply for an exemption to the energy conservation standard. For details, see CFR part 430, subpart E.

Statutory Authority

The current energy conservation standards for central air conditioners and heat pumps are mandated by Part A, the "Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products Other Than Automobiles" of Title III of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA), as amended. (42 U.S.C. 6291–6309) Central air conditions and heat pumps are "covered products" under Part A. (42 U.S.C. 6292(a)(3))

Historical Information

DOE published a final rule amending the energy conservation standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps on January 22, 2001. It subsequently published a technical amendment to incorporate the SEER and HSPF standards for all classes of air conditioners and heat pumps on August 17, 2004. DOE published amended energy conservation standards and test procedures on June 27, 2011.

Previous Test Procedures

Helpful Links and Contact Information

Helpful Links

Find tips and guidance for making your home, workplace, or vehicle more energy efficient visit EnergySavers.gov.

DOE supports the testing and verification of ENERGY STAR® products in close collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR qualified central air conditioners are about 14% more efficient than standard models.

Contact information

For more information related to the regulation of this product, please email:


central_air_conditioners_and_heat_pumps@ee.doe.gov