2025 brings big changes to air conditioning units, says industry expert

According to industry experts, air conditioning units will undergo significant upgrades in 2025. These changes aim to improve energy efficiency and environmental impact, aligning with global sustainability goals.

Stricter energy efficiency standards

Starting in 2025, air conditioning units will be required to meet stricter energy efficiency standards. These new regulations are part of a broader effort to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Experts believe that these changes will benefit the environment and result in cost savings for consumers over time.

Environmentally friendly refrigerants

One key change involves the refrigerants used in air conditioning units. Traditional refrigerants, which contribute to global warming, will be phased out in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives. These new refrigerants have lower global warming potential, helping to mitigate climate change.

Paul Howard, general manager of Benefit Air Conditioning, a family-owned full-service A/C company, told FOX 10 Phoenix, "Starting in January of this coming year, they're rolling out two new refrigerants, which is going to kind of throw the whole A/C industry on its head a little bit. They're stopping the production of the current refrigerant, R-410A. Those systems will no longer be produced after December 31 of this year. They will allow us to sell through until the end of 2025. But, after that, we will no longer be able to sell or install the systems that use this current refrigerant right now."

What you need to know about the government HVAC refrigerant mandate

The government HVAC refrigerant mandate, initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and set to take effect on January 1, 2025, will phase out the use of the commonly used R-410A refrigerant in residential-type HVAC systems. 

Depending on the manufacturer, it will be replaced with more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as R-454B and R-32. This measure aims to combat climate change by requiring new systems to use refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP), thereby reducing their environmental impact and contributing to global sustainability efforts.

Impact on consumers

These changes mean that new air conditioning units will be more energy-efficient for consumers, leading to potential savings on electricity bills. 

However, the initial cost of these advanced units may be higher due to the new technologies and materials used. Howard notes, "With the changes in refrigerant, they're factoring in about a 20 to 25% cost increase for an A/C install overall once the new refrigerant comes out. That's due to testing of new equipment, producing the new equipment, training."

Howard also points out that while the new refrigerant cannot be used in current units, the good news is that your current unit can still be serviced until it completely dies. Once that happens, you'll need a brand-new unit using the new refrigerant.

Smart technology integration

Another significant development is the integration of smart technology into air conditioning units. 

Future models will feature advanced sensors and connectivity, allowing for more precise control and monitoring. This will enable users to optimize their energy usage, reduce waste, and improve overall efficiency.

Industry response

The phone calls are already starting to roll in at Benefit Air Conditioning, a family-owned full-service A/C company. "When we get the first hot week in April, that's where, you know, people start thinking about air conditioning, and we get really flooded with maintenance calls," Howard said.

The air conditioning industry is gearing up for these changes by investing in research and development to meet the new standards. Manufacturers are working to ensure that the transition is smooth and that the new units are readily available to consumers by the 2025 deadline.