At the beginning of 2023, new federal standards for minimum energy efficiency in A/C systems went into effect. Even if you’re not aware of this change, the new regulations can have a meaningful effect on your home’s energy efficiency and on your energy bill!
The air conditioning experts at Direct 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 ratio is meant to cover the entire season rather than just peak-use periods.
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, 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
There are two changes to the SEER standards that went into effect on January 1 of this year. The first change is an increase in the minimum SEER rating for air conditioning. Since 2011, the minimum SEER rating has been 11. The new minimum SEER standard is 14 or higher in northern U.S. states and 15 or higher in the South.
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-area homeowners, other showing you how much energy your system potentially uses. 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-area 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 environmental benefits. The newer AC units that are more energy-efficient also reduce atmospheric pollutants and greenhouse gases. Plus, modern A/C units don’t usually use freon anymore—most now use Puron which doesn’t cause damage to the planet’s ozone layer.
If you have an older AC unit or heat pump has a SEER rating below the new standard, don’t worry—you don’t need to replace it if it’s still working fine. 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, and the kind of insulation that you use. In the southern parts of 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. 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 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 looking for ways to make their homes more energy-efficient while getting the biggest bang for their buck from their air conditioning system. An expert AC technician from Direct Air can advise you on finding an A/C system that’s energy-efficient for your home.
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.