The rules regarding refrigerant handling tightened and the standards for ventilation in new home construction loosened.
REFRIGERANT HANDLING RULES
The U.S. EPA is tightening their regulations on how HVAC technicians handle the refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer, like R-22. They must pass a qualifying test to handle them, and keep track of how much they remove or replace in air conditioners and heat pumps. The technicians must also record how they disposed of the old equipment that used R-22.
As the deadline for the total phaseout of R-22 approaches in 2020, the price will continue to increase, which you will certainly feel if your system uses this refrigerant. There’s a chance it might if it was manufactured before 2010.
You may find that it’s more cost effective in the long run to replace a heat pump or A/C rather than repair it and replace the R-22. The new refrigerant, R-410a, is much more environmentally friendly and energy efficient, which will help you offset the cost of the new system through lower energy bills.
The International Residential Code lowered its ventilation requirements for homes built after 2017 to the standards established in 2010. Unless you’re buying new construction, the new code won’t affect you, although it could if you’re selling your home and the buyer wants a HERS (home energy rating system) analysis. A HERS report assesses its energy efficiency and ventilation plays a small role in the results.
With the change in the ventilation standard, the overall score might be different. Since the changes are small, the differences will probably be of little consequence to the seller or the buyer. It's also fairly easy to make improvements to the rates of home ventilation.
If you’d like more information about these HVAC industry changes, especially for the refrigerant regulations, contact Valley Heating, Cooling, Electrical by calling us at (408) 868-5500 or visiting our website. We provide HVAC services for Santa Cruz and South Bay Peninsula homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the South Bay Peninsula and Santa Cruz areas of California about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).