How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Why does it say INSTALLATION PROHIBITED IN THE SOUTHWEST on my air conditioner label?
Thursday, September 1, 2022
The minimum SEER standards for energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps are set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and one standard was applied nationwide until 2015. That’s when they switched to regional standards, dividing the country into north, south, and southwest. A higher minmum SEER rating was then required for air conditioners in the South, and higher still in the Southwest, so units manufactured to the lowest acceptable SEER standard for the north are not allowed in the other two zones, and minimum units in the South are not allowed to be sold in the Southwest. That’s the reason for the “INSTALLATION PROHIBITED IN SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST” and “INSTALLATION PROHIBITED IN SOUTHWEST” warning at the bottom of the data label at the side of some air conditioners.
The SEER standard for heat pumps is currently the same for all three regions, so you won’t see the “INSTALLATION PROHIBITED” notice on a heat pump data label. But new regional standards are coming in 2023 and you can expect them to be nudged up, and possibly unevenly, again every few years after that. Where the prohibition for minimum SEER condenser installation applies may shift around over time and might appear on some heat pumps too.
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Field Guide for Home Inspectors, a quick reference for finding the age of 154 brands of HVAC systems, water heaters, and electrical panels, plus 210 code standards for site-built and manufactured homes, and the life expectancy rating of 195 home components. Available at amazon.com for $19.95.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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