Laws and regulations around AC units and heat pumps haven’t been updated since 2015. That will change with the implementation of SEER2, a 2023 HVAC efficiency standards update.
Starting January 1, 2023, all new HVAC units must be SEER2 compliant. It will be illegal to sell or install a unit not compliant with SEER2.
Here’s what you need to know about the new 2023 HVAC regulatory changes and how they impact you.
Changes in Air Conditioner Efficiency
SEER2 (the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2) impacts new AC units and heat pumps and attempts to standardize and optimize their energy efficiency. SEER2 establishes new standards for materials and coolants, ensuring more environmentally-friendly options are used. It also creates a standardized method for measuring energy consumption in units.
With its new standards, SEER2 should provide more accurate measurements that simulate real-world energy usage while also helping reduce energy consumption.
What Does This Mean for Homeowners in Utah?
The 2023 HVAC efficiency standards under SEER2 are changing the HVAC market and how manufacturers develop, test, and market new units. Absolute Air stays up-to-date with all regulations and is already preparing for the SEER2 changes, so you don’t have to.
With the introduction of SEER2, technicians must learn about the new required refrigerants. They must also understand the rating differences between the new units that manufacturers are starting to create to become compliant. Some contractors are not aware of this change in the market, but Absolute Air continues to stay on top of all regulations with frequent training.
New units will include new metrics about the model and have a standardized method of evaluating their energy efficiency. These changes will make it easier for consumers to quickly identify which unit is best for them based on its energy efficiency and cost. The only way this will directly impact the average consumer is when you’re in the market for a new HVAC unit.
There may be a slight uptick in the cost of units. Because SEER2 standardizes measuring energy efficiency and the materials used in a unit, some manufacturers will have to update their manufacturing and testing processes. These small price increases will be worth the investment because the units will be more energy-efficient.
What Is SEER2?
SEER2 stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. It establishes the ratio of total cooling capacity during normal periods of operation divided by the total electric energy input over the same period. In simpler terms, SEER2 helps improve the efficiency of HVAC units, ensuring that new units efficiently use energy to provide better cooling rates.
Consumers will have access to a standardized metric to compare HVAC units based on their energy efficiency. The comparisons will help consumers make better purchases for their energy bills and the environment. As an added benefit, SEER2 will help provide consumers with a more accurate rating for HVAC systems that is more realistic to real-world usage.
Do I Need to Replace My Existing Unit?
No. The change from SEER to SEER2 only affects new HVAC units. There’s no legal need to update your existing unit.
SEER2 will require a change for new models only and changes in the refrigerant material they use to keep your home cool. The refrigerant in new units doesn’t have as high of a global warming potential as some of the previously used refrigerants (like R-410A) and is better for the environment. Older refrigerants will still be sold for repairing old units but won’t be allowed in new HVAC units.
How Does SEER2 Affect Homeowners?
Existing homeowners with older units are not affected by the new SEER2 requirements. Because the unit has already been sold and installed, there’s no need for it to be compliant with SEER2.
For new homes and homeowners looking to upgrade their HVAC to a newer model, there should be a measurable increase in energy efficiency with your new unit. The new unit will be able to keep your home at a comfortable temperature while requiring significantly less energy than your older unit. The improved efficiency translates directly to a lower energy bill.
If you’re looking to buy a unit before January 1, 2023, we recommend purchasing one that’s SEER2 compliant. While these units can be a bit more of an investment up front, they provide significant long-term efficiency savings and lower carbon emissions.
What Does the Energy Guide Mean?
With SEER2, every new unit will have an energy guide available for consumers when shopping around or available with the US Department of Energy. This guide is similar to the existing SEER regulations, but a new testing procedure will create a more accurate SEER2 rating that reflects realistic field conditions.
The top of the guide will have a SEER2 rating, shown on a scale. Low-performing units that are not energy efficient will have a lower rating. By comparison, newer units will receive a higher rating.
Some areas of the US have stricter requirements to become SEER2 compliant. For example, in the southwest region (CA, NV, AZ, NM), smaller systems must have a minimum SEER2 rating of 14.3, while larger systems must have a SEER2 rating of 13.4. Utah falls within the north region. Both smaller and larger systems there must have a minimum SEER2 rating of 13.4.
How Do I Find My Current HVAC Energy Efficiency Rating?
Energy ratings are required and recorded by the US Department of Energy for a wide range of products. You can search for your specific make and model on their Energy Compliance Certification Database. As part of the database, you can search by your unit’s model number, which will pull up the full information about your unit and its SEER2 rating.
Choose Absolute Air
Compliance isn’t optional, and many contractors out there might not be up-to-date. If you want a second opinion about your HVAC system, call us for an honest answer.
Do you still have questions regarding the new 2023 HVAC efficiency standards and SEER2 energy efficiency regulations? Call us today to speak to an expert.