Government Changes to SEER Rating

SEER Changes for 2023

With 2023 just around the corner, there are plenty of changes on the horizon when it comes to your home heating and cooling equipment. Starting next year, the U.S. Department of Energy will roll out new changes to SEER ratings and regulations. Read on to learn what this means for your HVAC needs in the near future.

Though these new units may be somewhat more efficient, they will also cost more. You can still purchase and install systems, at the lower price, as long as they were manufactured before January 1st, 2023.

What is SEER?

To get a better understanding of the upcoming changes, let’s take a look at what the SEER rating is. SEER stands for “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio” and it’s used to rate the efficiency of AC systems. Currently, the minimum standard for central AC systems and heat pumps is SEER 13. The more efficient the unit, the higher the rating.

You might have also heard about “EER” or “Energy Efficiency Ratio,” but that rating system is used for window AC units, whereas SEER is strictly used for central AC systems and heat pumps.

What’s Changing About SEER?

The biggest change for 2023 is the unveiling of SEER2 or “Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2.” This new standard more accurately reflects typical conditions under operation, resulting in more accurate ratings for your HVAC equipment.

However, the changes don’t end there. Here’s what to expect starting January 2023:

  • To meet SEER2 standards, the minimum nationwide SEER rating for AC and heat pump systems will increase from 13 to 14.
  • There are also changes for the guidelines involving AC units sold in specific regions. For instance, minimum SEER ratings for central AC systems sold in the North region with less than 45,000 BTU/hour capacity will increase to 13.4.
  • In addition to regional SEER increases, you’ll also see changes in how older, non-compliant systems are sold. Non-compliant systems manufactured before January 1, 2023 can still be sold and installed in the North region. In the South and Southwest regions, however, non-compliant systems can’t be sold after January 1 unless they’re shipped to the North region.

How Does This Affect Your Home?

If you’re in the market for a new AC system, then the upcoming changes for 2023 will have an impact on your home’s efficiency. You might pay a little more upfront, but you’ll have a central AC system that’s more efficient than ever. In this case, the upfront costs can be offset by lower energy consumption and lower utility bills.

Now may be the time to invest in a new AC Unit before the new SEER2 rated AC units become the only units available. Though the new units may be more efficient, they also come at a premium.