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SEER 2 compliance regulations hurting HVAC businesses in Permian Basin

Billy Black HVAC in Midland is already being impacted by the new HVAC regulation changes set to go into effect January 1st, 2023.

MIDLAND, Texas — Starting January 1st of 2023, changes are coming to the AC that keeps us all cool. 

It will become mandatory that HVAC equipment is SEER 2 compliant. This kind of change tends to come every six to eight years by the Department of Energy to make air conditioning more effective and efficient.

These regulation changes will have a direct impact on HVAC companies here in West Texas

"We’ve been buying what we can in order to take care of the customers, then I found out January 1 that we cannot install this anymore, so basically I would have to eat all this and I don’t think that’s right as far as the small guy," said Billy Black, owner of Billy Black HVAC in Midland.

This means he wouldn't be able to use the $150,000 worth of inventory they have in stock. 

"The stock we have right now, not being able to get rid of it and having to eat the total cost of everything you’ve paid is worthless," said Jake McDaniel, Service Manger at Billy Black HVAC.

Which leaves him with one big question: what to do with all these air conditioners that he's already had a hard time getting in stock with the supply chain issues. 

"Had this happened in 2019, 2018 no big deal, you just go to supplies, get what you need, but with the supply crisis we have it’s terrible," said Black. "Shortages in our industry are worst now then what they’ve ever been and now we have this to deal with."

These regulation changes aren't only affecting them but could have an impact on their customers.  

"So say we do a house right now and we finish it at the end of the year, I’d have to put on the new stuff but I’m already locked into a price and that’s not fair to the homeowner," said Black. "Like your first time home buyer, they’re preapproved for this much and they’re building right now... No one knows this is coming and then I go to my builder, I don’t think it’s right to say I have to go up now but at the same time it’s not fair that I should have to eat it but the homeowner shouldn’t have to pay it either."

Although these kinds of changes have happened in past years, he said this time around it's just having a bigger effect.  

"In the past when they’ve done changes it was the manufacturer who shut down so you’d just install what you had left and it’s done but they never put a mandate on us. And there’s no buy back program and there’s several thousand dollars out there in that shop that we have that if I don’t sell it’s done, there’s no reimbursement,"  Black said.  

Black hopes the Department of Energy might take into account the inventory issues and change its mind, extending the deadline to let them install what they have left before switching over to the new system.

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