Everything You Need To Know About SEER Rating Changes in 2023
As 2023 approaches, there will be several changes in the HVAC industry. The SEER ratings that regulate system efficiency will shift in the new year. Though these new regulations won’t necessarily affect your current system, they’ll impact the design of new products. Learning about these changes now can help you prepare for the future with new HVAC installations.
What Are SEER Ratings and Why Do They Matter?
SEER is short for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and it refers to an HVAC system’s cooling efficiency. Manufacturers create SEER ratings by running an AC system in standard weather and then calculating how much energy the machine uses. The higher the SEER rating, the higher a machine’s efficiency is.
SEER ratings are very useful for comparing efficiency for different models. When looking for a new HVAC system, homeowners can look at different types and select the one with the highest SEER rating. A higher SEER rating means lower energy usage, so you save money on your utility bills.
New SEER Minimums Go Into Effect in 2023
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has strict rules on how efficient a machine must be. They require manufacturers to meet a minimum SEER rating before they can sell the product. This ensures that companies don’t sell poorly-designed products that waste fuel. As part of an initiative to reduce energy usage, the DOE is increasing its SEER regulations.
Starting in 2023, the minimum SEER for any AC unit or heat pump in northern states must be at least 14. This is a one-point jump from the previous minimum of 13. In Southern and Southwestern states, SEER ratings are also increasing by one point. All ACs and heat pumps sold in these regions will need a SEER of at least 15.
2023 Also Marks Changes to SEER Testing Standards
2023 will also begin some new programs for testing SEER standards. This new rating will be called SEER2, and every new machine will have both a SEER and SEER2 rating. SEER2 is somewhat similar because it calculates efficiency, and a higher rating means more efficiency.
However, SEER2 is a different formula meant to fix some deficiencies in how SEER testing works. These changes are meant to reflect more accurately how an HVAC system will run in real-world settings. They will require testers to take into account things like air handler static pressure, fan power, and variable-speed factor.
A SEER2 test won’t return the same exact number that a standard SEER test will. SEER2 ratings are 4.7% lower than SEER ratings. This essentially means that an HVAC unit will only pass SEER minimums if it has a SEER2 rating of 14.3 in the South or 13.4 in the North.
What These Changes Mean for You
If you’re planning on keeping your HVAC system for years, these changes to the SEER system won’t affect you all that much. The regulations only affect systems that are currently for sale. Homeowners are free to keep using whatever SEER rating they prefer. However, the changed guidelines will have an impact on homeowners who are considering purchasing a new system.
When you’re looking at HVAC units for sale, a higher SEER rating results in higher costs. It takes more effort and materials to manufacture efficient machines, so HVAC producers charge more for high-SEER systems. Some budget-conscious homeowners may decide they want to go ahead and purchase a lower-SEER system before these units leave stores for good.
However, going with the lowest possible SEER rating can lead to problems. Not only does it use more energy, but when you’re ready to sell your home, some buyers may be wary of purchasing a property with units that no longer meet energy efficiency standards. If you want to avoid this problem, it’s wise to purchase an HVAC system with a SEER rating of 15 or 16. This ensures that your machine will continue to be compliant with future standards.
Ultimately, it’s a good idea to take new SEER standards into account when you are looking at new systems. Even if your current HVAC unit isn’t broken, a newer, more efficient system can save you money in the long run. Don’t forget that Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC is here to help if you have any questions about SEER ratings or HVAC installations. Our talented technicians can assist you with a variety of HVAC repairs, installations, and maintenance in Billings, MT and surrounding areas. Contact Comfort Heating & Air Conditioning, LLC today to schedule your next appointment.