With soaring heat outdoors, local Rheem HVAC contractors have been working long hours this summer…
The push for better energy efficiency regulations has recently impacted the HVAC industry in America. The word is out: Change is coming! Whether you have heard about the new efficiency changes or not, they will be here before you know it. In an effort to help homeowners understand the Department of Energy’s new efficiency standards set to go into effect in 2023, we have put together this Q&A guide to help you be prepared. This guide is not intended to be inclusive of all details. Yet, its purpose is to help homeowners better understand the effect that these new regulations will have on your air conditioning and heating needs.
Q: I’ve heard that new efficiency changes with air conditioners and heating units are coming soon. Some are referring to it as “M1”. What exactly does “M1” mean?
A: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has the authority to establish minimum efficiency standards for air conditioning (AC) and heat pump (HP) equipment in the United States. Periodically, the DOE will implement new efficiency standards that will in-turn require HVAC manufacturers to shift their production activity. “M1” is the term commonly used to refer to the new set of energy efficiency increases that will take effect on January 1, 2023. The term “M1” actually comes from an appendix change in the Code of Federal Regulations from Appendix M to Appendix M1.
Q: What are the main changes with the M1 efficiency increases?
A: The primary change with M1 will be the move away from efficiency metrics like SEER, EER, and HSPF. M1 will usher in new metrics called SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2, and will discontinue use of the previous metrics. While the new metrics look like a minor nomenclature change, the new DOE testing standards are an entirely different way of calculating energy efficiency and are more representative of the installations in today’s homes. Minimum efficiency standards will increase roughly 7-10%, or 1 SEER in the traditional metric.
For example: 14 SEER is the current minimum efficiency standard for most residential equipment. The new M1 minimum efficiency standard for some residential systems will be 14.3 SEER2. While the numbers look similar, 14.3 SEER2 is roughly the equivalent of 15 SEER.
With the new standards, HVAC equipment manufacturers have been forced to revamp their product offerings to ensure compliance by the end of 2022. This will result in major design changes to manufacturers’ equipment products, with residential equipment products being most affected.
While the M1 changes are set to go into effect on January 1, 2023, not all families of residential products have the same “phase-in” regulations. It is likely that homeowners in the Southeast will see M1 qualifying A/C split systems hit the market well before M1 heat pump split systems and M1 package units.
Q: How will the M1 changes affect homeowners?
A: Homeowners will definitely feel the effects of the M1 efficiency changes. Homeowners can expect the industry to introduce far more efficient comfort systems that are more intuitive than ever before. This means you can have better comfort in a more integrated fashion for a seamless comfort experience.
As with any new product developments, there are many costs involved with major industry changes like M1. The responsibility of and processes related to manufacturers’ M1 compliance can be very cumbersome. With compliance comes hundreds of hours of research, heavy investments in product development, etc. Add in supply chain issues and component/material shortages, it is no surprise that the expectation within the industry is that the average cost of HVAC systems will rise as the M1 qualifying equipment hits the market.
Q: What is Rheem’s approach to the M1 efficiency changes?
A: Rheem has worked diligently for months to ensure that their residential equipment product offering will meet the DOE M1 standards in a timely manner. As a result of their efforts, Rheem is bringing many new enhancements to their residential product lineup.
New features will include:
- Econet smart technology on more mid- and high-SEER2 systems
- Bluetooth installer setup
- Multi-stage heating and cooling on more systems
- More inverter driven systems
- Smaller footprint for some outdoor units
Q: Will Rheem Pro Partners and dealers be prepared and ready for this new Rheem M1 equipment?
A: Rheem Pro Partners and dealers will go through extensive product and technical training on all new Rheem residential heating and cooling systems to ensure that they are prepared to offer first-class service to their homeowner customers. Rheem will work with their distributor partners to ensure multiple avenues of product training and accessibility throughout the entire M1 transition.
For more detailed information on the new DOE M1 energy efficiency regulations, check out the Rheem M1 Regulatory Guide HERE.