Thinking about buying a new air conditioner or heat pump soon? Then you’ll want to know about the changes on the horizon for 2023 and how they’ll impact not just your budget, but your home comfort and energy savings. Let’s see what’s in store for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating or SEER for short as we move closer towards a new year.
What’s Changing About SEER
Right now, the U.S. Department of Energy is set to replace the old “SEER” efficiency rating and requirements with a new form, known as “SEER2.” The SEER2 rollout not only impacts efficiency ratings for AC systems and heat pumps, but also how manufacturers test their equipment. Starting January 1, 2023, all heating and cooling systems built and sold in the United States must meet or exceed the new requirements.
The reason for the change? As it turns out, the old SEER testing methodology didn’t accurately reflect the real-world environments and conditions that nearly all AC and heat pump units operate under. More accurate ratings mean more savings and better overall home comfort.
What’s New for the Southeast
The other big news in the HVAC industry is the U.S. Department of Energy increasing the minimum energy efficiency requirements for new ACs and heat pumps sold throughout the country. Like SEER, SEER2 ratings depend on which region of the country you’re in and plan to buy your new system. For now, let’s focus on the Southeast region, which contains Florida and most other states in the Southeast as far as Maryland and Delaware.
For instance, central AC systems with a cooling capacity under 45,000 BTUs will need a SEER2 rating of 14.3 or better, while systems above 45,000 BTUs need a SEER2 rating of at least 13.8. Meanwhile, any heat pump sold in the Southeast needs a SEER2 rating of 14.3, at minimum. After January 1, all HVAC manufacturers wanting to sell their equipment in the Southeast must make sure it meets or exceeds the new minimums.
How It Impacts You
Let’s say you’ve already bought a new central AC system in late 2022, but haven’t had it installed just yet. In that case, you can still install your new system. If you haven’t bought it and it’s still on the manufacturer’s shelf, on the other hand, then said manufacturer can’t sell it in Florida or anywhere else in the Southeast region. They can, however, sell and install the equipment in the North region. That’s because the new SEER2 standards grandfather AC and heat pump units built before January 1, 2023.
With higher minimum ratings, SEER2 raises the bar for AC and heat pump manufacturers. In the long run, you’ll get more comfort and better performance out of your next HVAC system, not to mention lower operating costs thanks to significant drops in overall energy usage. Now that’s change you’ll be glad to see in 2023.