Air conditioners and refrigerant cost more, due to Biden administration regulations

Air conditioners and refrigerant cost more, due to Biden administration regulations

An LU blogger recently got his air conditioning unit, refrigerant, and furnace replaced. It cost nearly $10,000, roughly double what it would have cost back in 2020. The Biden administration is making matters worse, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute:

When your air conditioner breaks, you might think that nothing can make sweaty days and nights any worse.

The Biden administration begs to differ. It has implemented regulations that result in rising AC costs.

Your air conditioner bears the brunt of a climate agenda zeroed in on home appliances. CEI experts have warned from the beginning of President Biden’s whole-of-government approach that an onslaught of regulations would quickly lead to price hikes. Now, CEI Senior Fellow Ben Lieberman confirms in the Wall Street Journal that the price of a new AC unit has skyrocketed under the latest mandates.

These days, staying cooler is more expensive to the tune of $12,000, about twice 2020 costs. Though factors such as rising material costs…have contributed to the increase, regulations play an outsized role.

The Department of Energy’s new efficiency standard for residential systems issued in January 2023, for example, necessitated a major redesign that increased costs of new AC units by $1,000 to $1,500.

If you’d like to avoid cost increases by keeping your current unit, you may face steeper prices nonetheless. Repair costs have also risen. Among the reasons, a refrigerant leak now requires a recharge with replacement equipment made more expensive by federal limits on supplies. These repairs cost $400 to $500 more today than a few years ago.

Financial burdens will only intensify as the regulatory assault continues. A new regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency set to take effect in 2025 will require air conditioning equipment makers to use new refrigerants…Manufacturers estimate that the price of equipment to comply with the rule will increase at least 10 percent—hundreds of dollars per system. Changes will also require additional technician training and extra installation steps that are likely to increase labor costs for installations and repairs.

The Biden administration’s message is clear: You must sacrifice comfort, financial peace of mind, and choices as a consumer to purportedly fight climate change.

Catch Lieberman [discussing this] on Fox Business’s Varney & Co., The Lars Larson Show, and Just the News.

Air conditioners are not the only thing that costs more due to Biden-era regulations. Dishwashers and washing machines cost more, take longer to run than they used to, and get clothes and dishes less clean, due to federal regulations. These regulations aim to save water, but it is not scarce in most of the country, and does not need conserving. The regulations do this by making washing machines use ridiculously little water, too little water to get many clothes and some dishes clean. As a result, some people run their washing machine or dishwasher multiple times rather than just once, increasing energy use. The Trump administration attempted to roll back these regulations to the extent that they were counterproductive and actually increased energy use. But the Biden administration undid the Trump administration’s steps toward fixing this situation.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is trying to get rid of the Biden administration’s counterproductive regulations, explains:

The Biden administration recently learned that it does not have an easy, unobstructed path to regulating your home appliances under the pretext of “green” goals. Last month, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the administration’s attempt to prohibit faster dishwashers.

Decades ago, consumers enjoyed a one-hour wait for a clean load of dishes. Today, you wait more than two and a half hours, and likely often find dishes that need rewashing. Still the Biden administration insists on mandating appliances that use less energy and water, restricting manufacturers from making more efficient options. In 2022, the Department of Energy (DOE) tightened the existing rule, further pushing painfully slow and inefficient dishwashers into the market.

However, in Louisiana v. US Department of Energy, the Court of Appeals invalidated the DOE’s rule. The court found that, instead of leading to ecological gains, the rule forces more rewashing, prewashing, and handwashing, thus more energy and water usage that nullifies the purpose of the regulation.

If you think the rule sounds “arbitrary and capricious,” the court would agree. It scolded the DOE in these terms and highlighted regulators’ inability to justify the regulation. In fact, the court suggested that the DOE may be entirely without authority to regulate dishwasher water use at all.

This victory stems from CEI’s presence at the frontlines for home appliance deregulation. In March 2018, CEI petitioned the DOE to consider new standards for dishwashers with cycles of one hour or less. The government granted our petition and adopted our proposed standards in 2020. However, President Biden reversed the measure through executive order on his first day in office. Biden’s DOE then reinstated and tightened previous regulations. Several states sued. CEI filed an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit case that culminated in the court’s decision last month.

Now, the agency must either restart the process to promulgate a rule allowing one-hour dishwashers or at least come up with a more convincing rationale for not doing so.

George Will of the Washington Post features the DOE’s dishwasher regulations as “a dirty joke” in a recent column. He adds:

“This issue was catnip for the admirable Competitive Enterprise Institute, which was founded 40 years ago to be a nuisance to government that makes a nuisance of itself. CEI’s prodding in 2018 produced the Energy Department’s 2020 ruling permitting dishwashers that were better at washing dishes than were machines that complied with the 2012 regulations.”

The Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist also says, the Energy Department’s regulators seem to have an “unsleeping search for reasons to boss us around for our own good.” CEI doesn’t let them. We paved the way for this latest deregulation, and we will continue to do so with other unwanted mandates on home appliances.

Effects of this court decision may ripple into clothes washers and dryers, which have struggled with decreased efficiency thanks to similar restrictions. Moreover, the court found that the regulators had taken such an expansive view of their own authority that the DOE may have been improperly regulating consumer appliances beyond dishwashers for decades.

LU Staff

LU Staff

Promoting and defending liberty, as defined by the nation’s founders, requires both facts and philosophical thought, transcending all elements of our culture, from partisan politics to social issues, the workings of government, and entertainment and off-duty interests. Liberty Unyielding is committed to bringing together voices that will fuel the flame of liberty, with a dialogue that is lively and informative.


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