Regional Standards Enforcement

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For the first time, central air conditioner energy conservation standards vary by region, so different air conditioners will be available to customers living in the North, Southeast, and Southwest regions.  A central air conditioner meeting the new standards will save you money through lower energy bills. These standards apply based on the kind of air conditioner installed and when and where the central air conditioner is installed. The "Southwest" includes: Arizona, California, Nevada, or New Mexico.  The "Southeast" includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories.  The "North" includes the remainder of the United States.

The "Southeast" standards only apply to split-system air conditioners.  The "Southwest" standards apply to split-system air conditioners and single-package air conditioners.

Common Questions about Regional Standards

Regional Standards Enforcement Regulations - These regulations were developed by a working group representing a broad and balanced array of stakeholder interests and expertise, and included efficiency advocates, manufacturers, utility representatives, contractors, and distributors.

Regional Standards Brochure - for installers and purchasers of central air conditioners.

DOE will post information about regional standards violations here. It is illegal to sell a routine violator any kind of central air conditioner (including heat pumps).

  • Findings of Violation of the Regional Standards
  • Findings of Routine Violation of the Regional Standards

For consumers:
If you live in the North:
The amended standards that impact the northern region are based on the product’s date of manufacture.
•  Units manufactured before January 1, 2015, must meet the standards that were in effect before January 1, 2015.
•  Units manufactured after January 1, 2015, must meet the new standards.

If you live in the Southeast or Southwest:
The amended standards that impact the Southern region are based on date of installation. Therefore, units installed on or after January 1, 2015, should meet the new standards.  Although DOE had issued an enforcement policy that was valid for units installed until July 1, 2016, that policy has expired. DOE will strictly enforce the regional standards.

If you believe your air conditioner installer has installed an illegal air conditioner, you may report it to DOE at EnergyEfficiencyEnforcement@doe.gov or 202-287-6997.

Based on a report of an illegal installation, DOE can request records from the installer, as well as the dealer, distributor, or manufacturer of the air conditioner.  These records must be provided to the DOE within 30 days of the request. If DOE finds that an installer has violated regional standards, DOE will issue a Notice of Violation to the installer. 

DOE regulations provide an incentive to the installer to promptly "remediate" the violation by replacing the noncompliant air conditioner with a compliant product, at no cost to the consumer.  As noted above, DOE will post information about regional standards violations here.  DOE will note if the violation has been remediated, and will identify those it has found to be "routine violators" of regional standards, such as installers with repeated violations of regional standards that have not been remediated.

For installers:
Based on a report of an illegal installation, DOE can request records from the installer, as well as the dealer, distributor, or manufacturer of the air conditioner.  These records must be provided to the DOE within 30 days of the request. If DOE finds that an installer has violated regional standards, DOE will issue a Notice of Violation to the installer.  If the installer remediates the violation before DOE issues a Notice of Violation, DOE will not issue the Notice.  If the installer remediates the violation after DOE issues a Notice of Violation, the violation will not count toward DOE finding that the installer is a "routine violator" of regional standards.  DOE may assess penalties of up to $440 per violation against manufacturers, private labelers, or distributors who sell air conditioners or heat pumps to routine violators.

DOE regulations provide an incentive to the installer to promptly "remediate" the violation by replacing the noncompliant air conditioner with a compliant product, at no cost to the consumer.  If an installer is found to routinely violate the regional standards, distributors and manufacturers will no longer be able to continue to provide product to the installer for sale.