HVAC systems are at the forefront of innovation in the skilled trades world. The goal of manufacturers and installers is to ensure greater efficiency and performance than ever before. Homeowners in Austin and San Antonio, TX might have heard about new efficiency standards being introduced, namely SEER2. You may have heard this word once before, especially if you were in the market for a new A/C system. We asked our team of HVAC professionals to give us the rundown on what a SEER rating is and what to expect in 2023 with new SEER2 rated systems.
What Is SEER
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This efficiency rating was developed by the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and if there’s one thing you need to know, it’s the higher the better. An appliance’s SEER score is calculated by dividing the cooling output during a typical warm season with the total electric energy input over that same period.
The higher your AC’s SEER score, the less electricity it needs to achieve the desired temperature. Keep in mind this is a maximum efficiency rating, much like the miles per gallon for your car. Old faithful might have an MPG of 60, but we all know that’s only true when there’s little to no traffic. Likewise, your AC’s SEER score reflects optimal performance. A variety of factors can lower your system’s efficiency.
What Is SEER2
SEER2 is the latest iteration of this rating system. The main difference is a more controlled testing environment. This updated version utilizes a new procedure called “M1 testing” to do its calculations. SEER2 factors in the amount of heat that was removed from the conditioned space throughout the annual warm season when the AC was most active. The new M1 testing method is then utilized to more accurately reflect the real-life conditions of an installed system. Simply put, the SEER2 score you see on newer systems is more reliable.
New DOE Regulations
As of January 1, 2023 new Department of Energy regulations are in effect. The minimum acceptable efficiency level has been raised and SEER2 is the new standard. In the southeast region, residential air conditioning units above 45K BTU need a SEER2 rating of at least 13.8, while for systems below 45K BTU the target is 14.3. For heat pumps, the magic number is also 14.3.
Home service providers in the southeast, like Radiant, only install new systems that meet these efficiency standards. When it’s time to replace your system, you can be confident knowing that your choice of model will be more efficient than ever. Bear in mind that SEER and SEER2 numbers do not correspond perfectly. For example, a SEER2 score of 13.8 is equal to a SEER score of 14.5. When you’re shopping for a new AC unit, pay close attention to the presence or absence of a “2” after the word “SEER” to avoid confusion.
The Benefits of SEER2
With a more accurate rating system, homeowners can make a more informed decision when investing in a new air conditioning system. A high SEER2 rating also ensures more energy efficiency than ever. It allows residents to waste less energy to cool their homes and save considerably in the long run. For homeowners who are environmentally conscious and want to minimize the carbon footprint of their home, the introduction of SEER2 is a step in the right direction.
As mentioned before, your system’s SEER2 score reflects optimal conditions. For your air conditioner to consistently reach that target, you will need to make sure you choose the right model for the size of your home, schedule regular HVAC maintenance, and invest in quality ductwork. When deciding which new AC make or model to purchase, be on the lookout for manufacturer rebates and tax credits.
Radiant has been serving local communities across Central Texas for more than 20 years. Our ever expanding service area covers Austin, San Antonio, and neighborhoods everywhere in between. HVAC installation is what we do best. We have an array of makes and models stored at our warehouse. When you’re ready for HVAC replacement, we’re ready to help! Complete our contact form to get the conversation started.