Like other industries, the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is subject to government regulations. The government regulates the HVAC industry to protect the environment and the public by continually mandating minimum requirements. Below are two major changes the government has planned for the year 2023.


ACs use a fluid called a refrigerant to transfer heat from inside to outside the house—that is how the AC cools your house. There are different refrigerants, but hydrofluorocarbon compound—with the short form name R-410a—is the main one in use today. Unfortunately, R-410a is bad for the environment.

The R-410a can leak and release compounds that harm the environment, especially by contributing to global warming. Therefore, the government plans to phase out R-410a and replace it with a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, the R-454b.

HVAC contractors cannot retrofit R-410a systems to use R-454b because the two are markedly different. For example, R-454b is mildly flammable and operates at a different pressure than R-410a.

You do not have to replace your existing R-410a system with the R-454b system. However, you won't be able to purchase any new R-410a system after the deadline. Thus, you will automatically have to install an AC that uses the new refrigerant if you have to replace your AC after the deadline.


An AC's efficiency determines its energy consumption. Energy consumption is a critical issue because a good percentage of the energy in the U.S. comes from nonrenewable sources. Secondly, many energy-generation activities harm the environment. For example, burning coal releases dangerous gases into the environment.

For the above reason, the government has a minimum efficiency rating for ACs. The required minimum efficiencies vary by:

  • Region (due to climate differences)
  • Type of HVAC
  • HVAC capacity

For example, the government will require 14.0 SEER for ACs in the northern states. The SEER, which stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, compares the cooling output to the energy the system consumes over the same season. A high SEER ratio translates to high efficiency.

Note that SEER is just one of the ratios the government considers. Others include the energy efficiency ratio (EER) and heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). Your HVAC contractor will help you understand and meet the specifications when you replace your HVAC.

The good news is that you don't have to worry about these changes if your current HVAC works well. A professional contractor will help you install the right system if you want to upgrade your HVAC.

For more information, contact air conditioning services near you.