Like it or not, two new regulations will soon go into effect.

The first is a State Law that starts October 1, 2005 and is designed to decrease the amount of energy lost through leaking heating and air conditioning ducts. This will be accomplished by a test, which may result in a repair or possibly even replacement of your ducting.

There are a variety of rules and exemptions, and no one is certain how this program will be implemented, monitored or enforced, but it’s here.

The second is a Federal Law, which mandates that all air conditioning units manufactured after January 22, 2006 be a minimum of 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). Equipment made prior to that date and below 13 SEER can still be sold and installed.

It is important for any homeowner who has a heating or air conditioning system, or has plans to have one installed, to know the rules. Any reputable, licensed contractor should be able to fill you in on the details, and how the new laws affect you.

Here’s a little review: A typical air conditioning system consists of a condenser, cooling coil, and furnace that are matched to create a specific energy efficiency rating, known as the SEER rating.

So, if a new high efficiency condenser is installed on an older furnace and cooling coil, there is no way to determine what the true efficiency rating will be. However, I guarantee that it will not be the SEER rating that is printed on the tag of that new condenser.

The cooling coil, depending on its age, may have a SEER rating substantially lower than the new condenser. The only way to ensure that a system will achieve the listed SEER rating of the condenser is to make sure the system is matched. In addition, the probability of this type of mismatched equipment working properly is unlikely.

Also, don’t be checking your mailbox for any rebates from your utility company on a mismatched system. Rebates will only be provided if your new system has SEER rating that is above 13. These rating are listed by The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (

If it is time to replace your existing air conditioner, learn the advantages of installing equipment with higher SEER ratings, and make certain that the entire ‘system’ will achieve the desired SEER rating. One sure way to save money on your electric bill is to install matched high-efficiency air conditioning systems.

We will be discussing the new duct testing requirements at our next Homeowners Workshop. There is no cost, no calories and zero carbs. So, come and join the fun! If you are interested in attending call (818) 886-2600 to make a reservation. Join us and your neighbors for a cup of coffee and some useful information.

Jim Berry was a heating and air conditioning service technician prior to becoming a Sales Consultant for Kahn Air Conditioning. Kahn hosts free monthly workshops to help homeowners learn more about heating and cooling systems. For questions regarding heating or air conditioning, send an e-mail to Jim at

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