Heating & Cooling

SEER2: The Evolution of SEER Ratings

As of January 1, 2023, SEER2 is the newest efficiency rating system promises to lower energy consumption and reduce carbon footprint. All manufacturers must meet minimum efficiency standards and print the SEER2 rating on the EnergyGuide label. But what is SEER2, exactly?

SEER2, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2, is the new minimum efficiency requirement for air conditioning and heat pump systems that measure how much cooling or heating you get per unit of energy used over a year.

This updated energy efficiency regulation considers realistic field conditions by adding a blower testing procedure to determine how central air conditioning systems operate over a cooling season, giving consumers a more accurate idea of their HVAC system’s efficiency.

The SEER2 unit rating is printed on the Energy Guide label on Energy Star air-source heat pumps, split air conditioning outdoor units, and package AC systems.

Seer2 Rating

Understanding SEER Ratings: SEER vs SEER2

Understanding the minimum SEER rating can be a challenge for homeowners. With rising energy costs, it is essential to understand the different ways to rate energy efficiency to make informed decisions about home appliances and heating and cooling central air systems.

SEER2 score is the new cooling efficiency standard for air conditioning units and heat pumps, providing more accurate energy use and performance estimations.

What is SEER2?

SEER2 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating 2) measures the energy efficiency of central air systems over an entire cooling season. Unlike the current SEER testing system, new testing standards consider blower motor and cooling performance to determine cooling system efficiency.

The higher the SEER2 score rating, the more energy-efficient the HVAC system is. This means it requires less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures, lowering energy bills and reducing environmental impact.

How SEER2 is Calculated?

SEER score determines the energy efficiency of a cooling system. It divides the cooling produced in British Thermal Units (BTUs) during a regular cooling season by the total electricity consumed over an entire season. SEER2 score calculation evaluates the performance of each system at multiple capacity levels for a more accurate estimation of cooling efficiency.

The SEER2 rating system measures AC units’ energy efficiency precisely. It is calculated by measuring the cooling output generated compared to the amount of electric energy used.

But wait, there’s more! Each unit testing criteria at different output capacities, ranging from 25% to 100%, to accurately simulate its usage during distinct temperatures and working conditions throughout an entire cooling season.

The testing conditions of the new SEER2 testing procedures are a comprehensive, all-encompassing rating system that compares the system’s real-world performance under varying conditions to deliver a complete and accurate energy efficiency measurement.

To be exact, only 58% of the average weighted time is spent at standard capacities, while the rest is spent at a lower or higher capacity. The testing method at different output levels guarantees that the rating reflects real-world operating conditions, which is essential when purchasing or upgrading your AC unit.

Thus, the new standardized testing requirements accurately simulate real-world conditions of each piece of equipment’s capabilities, allowing consumers to select an energy-efficient unit that meets their needs while reducing their carbon footprint and energy bills.

Benefits of SEER2 Standards

There are many benefits to the new high-efficiency heat pumps. The main three advantages include:

Increased energy efficiency: A unit with a higher rating translates into increased efficiency levels in its energy usage. That means that less energy is required to provide the same amount of cooling, leading to substantial energy savings on your utility bills.

Lower operating costs: A high-efficient heat pump or air conditioner system produces lower operating costs. Using less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures will decrease your monthly utility bills and save money in the long run.

Positive environmental impact: When less energy is used to produce the same level of cooling, we reduce our carbon footprint on the environment. So, investing in high-efficiency SEER2 residential air systems is not only good for our wallets, but it’s also an environmentally responsible decision.

SEER2 Regulations and Compliance

The new SEER2 energy efficiency standards will take effect on January 1, 2023, and will require newly manufactured residential and commercial HVAC products to meet minimum efficiency standards for heating and cooling. All models produced in 2022 but sold in 2023 must have a SEER2 unit rating that meets the 2023 standard.

Manufacturers must ensure that their products meet or exceed these standards to comply with the regulations. Distributors and installers must also ensure they provide compliant products to their customers.

Regarding installation and maintenance, contractors need to be aware of the new requirements to ensure that their customers’ systems are up-to-date and compliant. It is also important for homeowners to be mindful of the new regulations to ensure their central air systems are running efficiently.

How to Choose the Right SEER2 Rating

When deciding on the ideal SEER2 rating for your HVAC system, there are several factors to consider. Here are some of the main factors to keep in mind:

1. Local Climate

The local climate plays a significant role in determining the ideal SEER2 rating for your HVAC system. People living in hot and humid climates will benefit from a higher SEER2-rated system as it offers greater efficiency for air systems. In contrast, people in cooler climates may not need a SEER2 rating as high as they will not use the system as frequently.

Doe 2023 Regional Residential Efficiencies Map 1024X592 1
MAPPING STANDARDS: 2023 Department of Energy (DOE) energy-efficiency minimums for split and single packaged units in different regions of the US (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

North Region:

Air Conditioner1413.4
Heat Pump1514.3
Single Package Units1413.4

Southeast Region:

Air Conditioner1514.3
Heat Pump1514.3
Single Package Units1413.4

Southwest Region:

Air Conditioner1514.3
Heat Pump1514.3
Single Package Units1413.4

2. Home Size and Layout

The layout and size of your home should be considered when choosing the proper SEER2 rating. If you have a larger home or a complex design, you need a more powerful HVAC system with a higher SEER2 rating to cool and heat your space correctly.

Depending on the layout of your house and the number of floors, you may need multiple smaller HVAC systems or one larger multi-zone HVAC system.

On the other hand, if your home is smaller and has a simple layout, you may get away with a more basic HVAC system or even go with ductless mini-splits with a highly efficient mini-split heat pump.

3. Lifestyle and Comfort

It is critical to determine your comfort level and temperature preferences when selecting the ideal SEER2 rating. If you tend to keep your home at a particular temperature throughout the year, you should factor it in when choosing your HVAC system’s SEER2 rating. This will enable you to make an informed decision concerning the efficiency required for your home.

See our Manual J Calculation: Sizing of HVAC Systems

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SEER2 Rating FAQs

What are the SEER2 requirements in Texas?

Texas is in the Southeast Region and requires a minimum SEER2 rating of 14.3 for split air conditioners and heat pumps. Single-package systems require a 13.4 rating.

What is the minimum SEER2 rating in 2023?

As of January 1, 2023, all newly installed SEER2 heat pumps and air conditioners must have a minimum efficiency level SEER2 rating of 14.3, with only two minor exceptions. Residential air conditioners in the north region and single-package systems in all areas must have a minimum rating of 13.4.

What are the requirements for SEER2?

All HVAC cooling equipment installed after January 1, 2023, must have a minimum SEER2 rating of 14.3, with two exceptions. Central air conditioners in the north region and single-package systems in all regions must have a minimum rating of 13.4.


In conclusion, upgrading or installing an HVAC system with a high SEER2 rating is a wise investment. These rating systems provide a comprehensive energy efficiency measure and can help reduce energy consumption, leading to significant monetary savings and a positive environmental impact.

By prioritizing energy efficiency in HVAC systems, we are doing our part to help the environment and make our homes and businesses more comfortable and cost-effective.

Investing in an HVAC system with a high SEER2 rating will significantly affect your heating and cooling bills and your overall satisfaction with your HVAC system. If you want to install or upgrade your HVAC system for cost, comfort, and environmental reasons, consider the SEER2 rating when choosing your unit.



Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.