Heating & Cooling

SEER2: The Evolution of SEER Ratings

Understanding what is SEER2 vs SEER and how it determines energy-efficiency of heat pumps and air conditioners

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As of January 1, 2023, SEER2 is the newest efficiency rating system that 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 requirements for air conditioning and heat pump systems that measures how much cooling or heating you get per unit of energy used over an entire year.

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

You can find the SEER2 unit rating 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

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) that measures the energy efficiency of central air systems over an entire cooling season. Unlike the current SEER testing system, new testing stansards consider blower motor and cooling performance to determine efficiency of cooling systems..

The higher the SEER2 score rating, the more energy efficient the HVAC system is. This means that it requires less energy to maintain comfortable temperatures, resulting in lower energy bills and reduced environmental impact.

How SEER2 is Calculated?

SEER score determines the energy efficiency of a cooling system. It divides the amount of 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 is used to measure the energy efficiency of AC units precisely and is calculated by measuring the amount of 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 aware 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 who live in hot and humid climates will benefit from a higher SEER2 rated system as it offers a greater degree of efficiency for air systems. In contrast, people in cooler climates may not need as high of a SEER2 rating as they will not use the system as frequently.

DOE 2023 Regional Residential Efficiencies Map
MAPPING STANDARDS: 2023 Department of Energy (DOE) energy-efficiency minimums for split and single packaged units in different regions of the U.S. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

North Region:

Unit TypeSEER SEER2
Air Conditioner1413.4
Heat Pump1514.3
Single Package Units1413.4

Southeast Region:

Unit TypeSEER SEER2
Air Conditioner1514.3
Heat Pump1514.3
Single Package Units1413.4

Southwest Region:

Unit TypeSEER SEER2
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 right SEER2 rating. If you have a larger home and/or a complex layout, you will need a more powerful HVAC system with a higher SEER2 rating to cool and heat your space properly.

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 high-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.

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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 regions 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.

Conclusion

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 making 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.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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