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How the New 2023 Heating & Air Efficiency Ratings Affect You

If you’re planning to replace your home’s air conditioner or heat pump in 2023, you might have to increase your budget to pay more upfront, but your new system will meet more realistic efficiency standards and cost less to run over the unit’s service life.

As of Jan. 1, 2023, there’s an update to the rating system that heating and air equipment goes through to determine its efficiency. This rating system is called SEER.

What Are SEER & SEER2?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is the measurement of efficiency for heating and air equipment. This measurement is found by calculating COOLING OUTPUT divided by ENERGY (or wattage) INPUT. This measurement is similar to a miles-per-gallon calculation in your car.

The SEER rating is basically a “grade” for heating and air equipment, and the higher the SEER (number), the less electricity is required for the equipment to do its job, and thus the more efficient. These numbers range anywhere from 8 to 30, with the average being between 13 and 16. The minimum SEER number required in each state varies and is regulated by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Now, What’s SEER2?

SEER2 is merely an update to SEER. This update takes into account the changing standards for energy consumption and ultimately will change the conditions the equipment is tested under.

SEER2 aims to mimic more real-world conditions of certain regions across the country. Instead of testing in near-perfect conditions in a laboratory, the new methods will more closely mimic the varied environments of the average home.

Map showing the new SEER2 ratings for different areas of the U.S.
Kentucky’s minimum SEER2 will now be 14.3 (previously 15 under SEER), and Ohio’s minimum SEER2 will be 13.8 (previously 14 SEER). Photo via:

Why Does This Matter?

This update to testing conditions may seem like a moot point in the grand scheme of purchasing heating and air equipment, but this way of testing will be more accurate and ultimately provide us, as your service provider, with more realistic efficiency expectations to share with you.

The biggest downside to this change is cost. SEER2’s change in minimum rating means that equipment manufactured before this change is no longer “good enough” to use. Manufacturers are now required, by law, to produce equipment that meets the new testing standards, and that new equipment comes with an increased price tag.

Because all previously made equipment doesn’t meet the updated standards, it is not usable. Therefore, as a service provider, we’re also required by law to install equipment that meets SEER2’s minimum rating, and we cannot install “old” equipment under the SEER minimum rating.

Although this change comes with an increase in cost, it will also come with the benefit of increased efficiency.

How To Check Your HVAC Unit’s Efficiency Rating

A yellow and black Energy Guide sticker should be attached to your new air conditioner or heat pump. This sticker displays the unit’s efficiency rating and a range that shows how it compares to other units of the same type.

What if My System Doesn’t Meet the New Regulations?  

The regulations only apply to systems manufactured and newly installed after Jan. 1, 2023, so if your current system doesn’t meet the new regulations, you don’t have to take immediate action. If you plan on keeping your current system, we recommend continuing your regular maintenance routine, so it lasts its full service life.

When you decide to replace your heating and air conditioning unit with a unit that has a higher energy efficiency rating, you’ll save more on your monthly energy bills and enjoy a longer-lasting system.

Request a Quote for a New Heating or Cooling System

If you’re looking for an AC, heat pump, or furnace replacement for your Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky home, our team at Schneller Knochelmann Plumbing, Heating & Air can offer you estimates for new systems that meet your home’s needs and budget.

All our licensed and certified technicians stay up to date on technological changes in the heating and air conditioning industry, so we have the expertise and tools to install the latest high-efficiency units.

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