New Air Conditioning Legislation

The Globe and Mail, January 13, 2006.
As published in The Globe and Mail, National Resources of Canada is planning to disallow the installation of new central air conditioners or heat pumps with a SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating below 13. This new legislation is expected to be passed by April of this year.

Presently, the lowest rating central air conditioners available have a SEER of 10, the highest available SEER is 17. The higher the SEER value, the bigger energy saving. Some industry experts claim that the savings in energy cost between a SEER 10 unit and a SEER 13 may be as high as 23%. If you have an older air conditioning unit, its SEER rating may be even lower. A 10-year old unit probably has a rating between 7 and 8. The savings, in such case, should be even higher.

Depending on a location of your unit, installing a new higer-rated air conditioner may present some problems. These units are larger than the older ones, and it may be difficult to bring such a unit into your backyard. There may also be come changes necessary for your furnace. To achieve the SEER 13 rating, the evaporator coil above the furnace will have to be changed. New coils are larger, and may not fit in the available space.

With rising energy prices the savings, however, may reward you for the initial cost difference and installation problems.