The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) minimum efficiency standards for residential HVAC systems will change in January. The change specifically affects Southern states, including South Carolina. For Southern states, the new standard applies to all systems while in Northern states a split system will still be allowed at 13 SEER.
Effective January 1, 2015, manufacturers will only manufacture 14 SEER or higher for use in Southern states. Existing inventory of 13 SEER systems may still be installed as long as they are available on the market.
According to an analysis of 13 SEER and 14 SEER systems currently available on the market, the new standard will add about $200 to $300, depending on the size of the system, to the cost of a new HVAC system, plus installation costs. However, cost for the higher-efficiency systems should ease over time.
The current minimum standard, 13 SEER, was set in 2006 when. Prior to that the minimum standard was 10 SEER.