New federal standards for minimum energy efficiency in A/C systems have been implemented as of 2023. While you may not know all the ins and outs of the new regulations, they can have a meaningful effect on your home’s energy efficiency and on your energy bill!
The HVAC experts at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air are here to break down everything you need to know about the new SEER standards.
Since 1992 when the Energy Policy Act was signed, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standard has been in place to gauge how efficiently an air conditioner or heat pump is working. The regional SEER standard measures the AC unit’s output of cool air against the amount of electricity it uses.
The Department of Energy mandated regional SEER ratings when it became apparent that the amount of energy used by air conditioning systems and heat pumps varied across the country. For example, since the southern United States experiences a longer warm-weather season than the north, air conditioning systems in those states use more energy to keep homes cool.
New SEER regulations for 2023
There are two changes to the SEER standards for 2023. The first change is an increase in the minimum SEER rating for air conditioners. The previous minimum SEER was 11, and the new standard is 14 or higher in northern U.S. states and 15 or higher in the South.
SEER2 is the second change, and it measures the amount of energy that is needed to remove heat from a space. This probably won’t have much practical effect for individual North County homeowners, other showing you how much energy your system potentially uses. SEER2 ratings should be displayed on the box or on a label on new AC units.
When the time comes to replace your air conditioner, a high regional SEER rating can play a significant role in helping North County homeowners choose an energy-efficient AC unit. When you’re looking for a new AC unit, keep in mind that the higher an A/C unit’s SEER rating, the more you can save on your electric bills, since your system requires less energy to cool your space. You can reduce your annual electric bill significantly just by choosing an A/C system with a SEER rating of 16 versus a SEER rating of 14.
You can also enjoy some environmental perks if you use an A/C system that has a high SEER rating. Energy-efficient air conditioning units bring down your carbon footprint since they reduce atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases. Also, today’s new A/C units use Puron instead of freon, which is safer for Earth’s ozone layer.
Updating your AC to meet the new SEER Standards
If you have an older AC unit or heat pump with a SEER rating below the new standard but is still working fine, you don’t need to. When you’re ready get a new one, however, you’ll need to find an AC unit with a SEER rating of at least 14 or 15, depending on where you live. These new appliances have the added benefit of being more energy efficient and will save you money on your electric bill.
When the time comes to update your A/C unit, consider your unit’s BTUs, the size of your home, and the kind of insulation that you use. You should also have your home inspected to make sure there aren’t any leaks around your windows or doors. An expert AC professional from Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air can assess your current setup and help you determine the right appliance for your home. Get in touch with us at 760-935-6101.
The air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance professionals at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air are here to help. When you’re ready to find out how to make your home’s air conditioning more energy-efficient and lower your energy bill, give us a call today at 760-935-6101.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a measure of the general energy efficiency of air conditioners and air-source heat pumps. SEER ratings indicate how well an air conditioner will perform, from an energy standpoint, during warm seasons.
When did SEER become a federal regulation?
SEER regulations were first put into place in 1992 when President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. At that time, federal regulations required a minimum SEER rating of 10 for heating and air conditioning systems.
How do I find the SEER rating of my AC unit?
Most AC units have a label that lists the SEER rating, among other specs.
What should my AC unit’s SEER rating be?
The new standards for 2023 will require a SEER of 15 or higher for the states in the southern part of the US.
What are regional SEER requirements?
In 2011 the US Department of Energy established regional SEER rating standards, understanding that the amount of energy used for air conditioning varied in different parts of the country. For example, the Southern region has a longer warm-weather season than the North, so AC units run longer and use more energy to cool homes in the region.
Why is a high SEER rating important?
A good SEER rating can be a key factor in selecting an energy-efficient AC unit. The higher the SEER rating, the more you can save on electricity over the season, because the AC system needs less energy to function.
What does a high SEER rating mean for the environment?
An energy-efficient AC unit with a high SEER rating can help reduce your carbon footprint by lowering greenhouse gases and other atmospheric pollutants. Newer units also use a new coolant that does not damage the ozone layer.