A January 2020 survey of contractors and wholesalers by Emerson has found that only about half of HVAC professionals are familiar with upcoming 2023 efficiency and refrigerant regulations. Contractors and wholesalers surveyed said training service people and technicians is both a top concern and top priority as they think about getting their businesses regulation ready.

“With three years to go before new residential and commercial air conditioning energy efficiency regulations take effect, and with alternative refrigerants required as early as 2023 in California, contractors and wholesalers are becoming more aware of the extent of this transition,” said Jennifer Butsch, manager regulatory affairs for Emerson. “The higher efficiencies and shift to mildly flammable refrigerants have contractors concerned about their readiness. As a trusted partner, we will continue to provide information and resources for the industry as we work through this changeover together.”

The Emerson survey asked HVAC contractors and wholesalers about their knowledge of and preparation for increasing federal minimum SEER/IEER efficiency requirements mandated for a/c systems and heat pumps by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in January 2023. About 50 percent of HVAC professionals surveyed said they had at least a basic understanding of the efficiency standards and its requirements. But only 7 percent said they currently have an extensive understanding of these regulations and the requirements for their businesses.

Two-thirds of respondents say that the efficiency standards will affect daily operations of their HVAC business. But 40 percent of contractors and wholesalers surveyed say they have taken no action to address these changes in their businesses to date.

For both the efficiency standards and refrigerant regulations, contractors who are actively working to get their businesses ready say they are preparing by talking to their OEM or distributor, training their service people and technicians, creating inventory plans, attending product information sessions and developing new marketing plans to address the standards.

Asked about the requirement to begin using lower GWP refrigerants as early as January 2023, 58 percent of contractors and wholesalers surveyed say they have at least a basic understanding of the requirements. And 73 percent say this requirement will affect their company’s daily operations; however, about two-thirds of contractors surveyed have not taken action yet to prepare.

In comments provided with the survey, contractors and wholesalers stated they are not only concerned about getting educated themselves on these regulations but also what they will need to do to help their customers get through these changes. Issues like repair versus replace and talking customers through new equipment and refrigerant options are all upcoming challenges for HVAC professionals.

For more information on HVACR industry regulations and how to get regulation ready, visit Emerson’s online resource at Emerson.com/HVACRregulations.