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It’s likely that when you last had an HVAC system installed, your contractor talked about the the unit’s SEER. As you know, SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is the current national standard for assessing the energy efficiency of an AC. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the AC.

But starting in January 2023, the US Department of Energy will transition to SEER2 for all ACs. In essence the rating works the same as the current system, where the higher SEER2 number means better energy efficiency.


What is SEER2 anyway?

HVAC manufacturers use the exacting standards created by the DOE (Dept of Energy) to determine the efficiency of their appliances and equipment. SEER has been the guidance for years.

Why change the standards now?

The DOE is implementing SEER2 because these new AC efficiency rating calculation methods are more compatible with real-world, “field” conditions in homes and businesses.

HVAC industry reporting and articles have noted that updated test procedures, intended to reflect field conditions more accurately, are driving the new “2” ratings.

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The new testing regimen includes adjustments for minimum air handler static pressure; fan power for coil-only units; heating load calculation; heating mode test; variable-speed factor for SEER2 ratings; and off-mode power test.

Take static pressure as an example…the DOE ascertained that the current SEER testing doesn’t accurately take it into account, so they raised external static pressure testing conditions by a factor of five. Each adjustment like that is geared toward efficiency, which in the end benefits home and business owners, and the planet as a whole.


Why does SEER2 matter to me?

The beneficial overall effect of moving to SEER2 is that air conditioners will be more efficient moving forward. But some of ways it could affect you, specifically, include:

  1. Depending on the region, units sold and installed will have minimum SEER2 ratings that are higher than the current minimum rating. In the North and Northeast, the minimum SEER2 will be 13.4; in the Southeast, for example, the minimum will be 14.3. More efficiency is always good.
  2. More efficiency helps homeowners with energy costs, not to mention comfort and air quality. While the upfront equipment costs will likely rise modestly, in the end the efficiency over time will be better for your home and the environment.
  3. Before buying a new unit that uses the current SEER system in 2022, consider some of the pros and cons. You may want to opt for the a unit with new SEER2 ratings – especially if you’re considering selling your home. Prospective buyers often prefer homes that are more energy efficient. On the other hand, you may be able to find a good deal on a SEER unit from a trusted HVAC dealer if you’re looking to buy one before the end of the year.


Go with a trusted HVAC company

The changes coming involve a lot of details and compliance issues – meaning it’s more important than ever to choose a trusted HVAC contractor, with a team of expert techs who know the ins and outs of SEER2 and every other aspect of heating/AC.

Not all situations are the same, and there are multiple heating/cooling systems to choose from depending on what’s best for your home. A professional local HVAC company can provide you with answers to any questions, like which type of AC is best for your home in the first place. Or maybe you’re interested in discussing the benefits and disadvantages of purchasing a 2022 system before the end of the year.


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