The 2023 SEER Rating Mandate & What It Means For You
Some homeowners may know what a SEER rating or seasonal energy efficiency ratio is. If not, the SEER rating is important information to have for those who are considering a cooling system upgrade. They are determined by the Department of Energy. They are the HVAC industry’s standard by which an air conditioning unit’s overall performance is measured. The efficiency of heating sources such as heat pumps and gas furnaces are measured differently.
In the early 1990’s, President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. This set a SEER rating of 10 as the ideal benchmark for air conditioning efficiency. Improving HVAC technology has increased the minimum required rating. The important takeaway for homeowners is the higher the SEER, the more efficient the air conditioner.
For the first time since SEER ratings have been used to determine a unit’s efficiency, beginning in 2023, the required rating will be different based on the geographic location of the installation. The minimum rating for new central air conditioning units and air-source heat pump systems sold in the northern U.S. will be 14. In the southern states, where air conditioning is used more heavily, the required minimum SEER will be 15.
Why You Should Care About the SEER Rating
It tells homeowners the amount of electricity an air conditioning unit will use to reach their desired level of cooling. With each incremental increase in the numerical SEER rating, the amount of electricity used decreases by 10%. For example, a 13 SEER cooling unit will use 10 percent more energy to operate than a 14 SEER. Since a higher SEER equals greater efficiency, over time, homeowners will save on utility costs.
Other factors homeowners should consider when deciding which SEER rating is best are whether they plan to sell their home soon, the total length of their cooling season and the total amount of time they run the air conditioner.
If the home is sold relatively soon after purchasing a unit with a higher rating, there won’t be enough time to recoup the money invested for the upgrade. Additionally, if the geographic location of the home has a milder climate or the homeowner generally prefers a warmer indoor climate, a higher SEER rating may not be the best economic solution.
Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air can help when you need an air conditioning upgrade. Our Comfort Specialists will evaluate your home and provide the necessary information for you to choose the cooling unit with the best rating for your needs. Call Dixie today to schedule a no-cost in-home consultation.