What is the new SEER2 requirement?

If there’s one thing you can count on in the HVAC industry, then it’s the inevitability of change. One change that’s recently happened is the switch to new energy efficiency standards for heat pumps and air conditioners. The new Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2 or “SEER2” standard came into effect on January 1, 2023 and it’s making big waves in how HVAC manufacturers design and build more efficient systems.

Read on and see what changes have come about and how they’ll affect your next AC or heat pump purchase.

M1 Testing Standards

The new SEER2 standards demand more accurate testing methods. As a result, the U.S. Department of Energy came up with new testing standards that rely less on controlled test environments and more on environments with more realistic field conditions. One major change reflected by the new M1 testing procedures involves an increase in external static pressure, which better reflects how ducted AC systems normally operate.

By emulating how heat pumps and AC systems operated when installed in customers’ homes, HVAC manufacturers gain a better understanding of how efficiently they’ll operate under those conditions. HVAC manufacturers can not only rate these systems more accurately, but also tweak them for energy efficiency and performance gains.

New SEER2 Ratings

The biggest change for 2023 comes in the form of a new ratings standard for split-system ACs and heat pumps. Instead of using the old SEER standard, HVAC makers now rely on the new SEER2 ratings system. You might notice that the new ratings are a bit lower than before, but that only reflects the more accurate testing methods in use. Needless to say, you’ll get more efficiency and savings from your new system.  

Like SEER, SEER2 also splits up the U.S. into three regions based on their overall climate – Southeast, Southwest and North. As you’d expect, these regions have different SEER2 minimum rating requirements for new heat pumps and AC systems:

  • Southeast – 14.3 for AC systems below 45,000 BTUs, 13.8 for AC systems at or above 45,000 BTUs.
  • Southwest – 14.3 and an EER2 of 11.7 for AC systems below 45,000 BTUs. 13.8 and an EER2 of 11.2 for AC systems at or above 45,000 BTUs
  • North – 13.4 for all residential AC systems.

Things are slightly different for heat pumps. Unlike AC systems, all heat pumps must have a minimum 14.3 SEER2 rating regardless of where they’re sold or installed in the U.S.

Complying with SEER2

The new SEER2 requirement also limits where and how non-compliant HVAC systems can be sold and installed. Simply put, all heat pumps and AC systems built or sold on or after January 1, 2023 must meet the SEER2 standards. In the Southeast, any AC system that doesn’t meet SEER2 standards can’t be purchased or installed after January 1.

Fortunately, the pros at Essential Air Conditioning can steer you in the right direction when it comes to your air conditioner replacement needs.

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