On January 1, 2023, new federal standards for minimum energy efficiency in A/C systems went into effect. What do these new standards mean, and how do they affect homeowners in the Miami metro area? As Miami’s most trusted air conditioning experts, Direct Air is here to break down everything you need to know about the new SEER standards.
In 1992, the Energy Policy Act was signed, and with it came the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) standard. SEER is a regional standard that measures how efficiently an air conditioner is working.
The SEER standard looks at how well A/C units and air-source heat pumps are functioning from an energy perspective by measuring the AC unit’s output of cool air compared to the amount of electricity it uses. The regional SEER standard applies to air conditioners throughout the entire season, not just in peak-use periods.
Regional SEER ratings were initially mandated by the Department of Energy when it became apparent that air conditioning-related energy consumption varied across the country. Unsurprisingly, the southern part of the United States experiences a warm-weather season that lasts much longer than it does in the North, so air conditioning systems in warmer states naturally use more energy to keep homes cool.
New SEER Regulations for 2023
January 2023 ushered in two changes to the federally mandated regional SEER standards. The first change is an increase in the minimum SEER rating for air conditioning. Since 2011, the minimum SEER rating for AC systems has been 11; the new SEER standard minimum is 14 or higher in Northern US states and 15 or higher in Southern US states.
The second change is known as SEER2. While the original SEER standard measured the ratio of how much energy was needed to pump out cool air, the new SEER2 ratio measures the amount of energy that is needed to remove heat from a space. The SEER2 implementation is unlikely to have much practical effect for Miami homeowners, other than giving you more visibility into your potential energy usage. SEER2 ratings will be displayed on the packaging for new AC units.
When the time comes to replace your air conditioner, a high regional SEER rating can play a significant role in helping Miami 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.
Choosing an AC system with a high SEER rating also has some great environmental perks. The newer AC units that are more energy-efficient also reduce atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases, so they help bring down your carbon footprint. In addition, today’s AC units use a coolant called Puron which, unlike freon, doesn’t cause damage to the planet’s ozone layer.
If your current AC unit or heat pump has a SEER rating below the new standard, don’t worry—you don’t need to replace it. When the time comes to get a new one, however, you’ll need to purchase a unit with a SEER rating of at least 14 or 15, depending on where you live. Additionally, new appliances that meet the new SEER rating are 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, how large your home is, the kind of insulation that you use, and whether you’re experiencing any leaks around your windows or doors. In the Southeast and Southwest regions of the US, the new SEER requirement of 14 applies only for split air conditioners or heat pumps that are 45,000 BTUs or higher. An expert AC professional from Direct Air will come out and do an assessment of your current setup and help you determine the right appliance for your home. Get in touch with us at 786-875-3097.
It’s important for Miami-area homeowners to consider these factors when they need to make their homes more energy-efficient while getting the biggest bang for their buck from their air conditioning system. An expert AC technicians from Direct Air can make it easier for you to pick an A/C system that’s energy-efficient for your home. Give us a call today at 786-875-3097.
Ready to find out how to make your home’s air conditioning more energy-efficient and lower your energy bill? The air conditioning repair, installation, and maintenance professionals at Direct Air are here to help. Give us a call today at 786-875-3097 to learn how you can save money on your energy bill and make sure your AC is up to date.
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.