Starting in 2023, the government will require that all new residential systems in the northern United States have a minimum SEER rating of 14. Those in the southern United States have a minimum SEER rating of 15. SEER measures a system’s cooling efficiency, with higher ratings indicating more energy-saving equipment.

As a result of these updates, the SEER rating will no longer be used to evaluate central air conditioners and heat pumps. Instead, the SEER rating will be the sole metric for determining energy efficiency. For consumers, this means that models with higher SEER ratings will likely save more on energy costs in the long run.

While pre-SEER2 models may still be available after 2023, they may still need to meet the updated minimum efficiency requirements. They could potentially result in higher energy bills. To ensure maximum energy savings, upgrading to a SEER-rated model is recommended before the new standards go into effect.

These changes were made in response to improved energy efficiency. The Department of Energy projects that these updates will save consumers $35 billion on their energy bills over the next 30 years while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 54 million tons.

It is important to note that these updates only apply to newly manufactured equipment. Older units will not be required to meet these standards. However, an upgrade for increased savings and environmental benefits is still worth considering.

Consumers can expect to see the new SEER ratings (SEER2) listed on equipment labels and brochures starting January 1, 2023. In the meantime, keep up with regular maintenance and consider upgrading older units. Additionally, continue to look for Energy Star-certified products, as they meet even higher standards for energy efficiency.

While older systems may not have M1/SEER2 ratings, they can still achieve high energy efficiency through regular maintenance and proper installation. Please consult a qualified HVAC technician to ensure your system performs at its best.

To meet these new standards, manufacturers can choose to implement technologies that improve the efficiency of their equipment. Or switch to producing high-efficiency equipment, such as variable speed compressors and scroll compressors. For example, one high-efficiency air conditioner that will become more common on the market is the SEER 12+ air conditioner. SEER measures cooling efficiency for central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps. The minimum allowed SEER in the northern regions under the 2015 standards was 14, and in the southern regions, it was 16.

The new standard sets a minimum SEER of 14 for both regions, with an additional requirement for some units sold in each region to have a SEER of 12 or higher.

In addition to the increased efficiency requirements, the new standards include improved temperature and humidity control, quieter operation, and enhanced durability. These changes will result in energy savings for consumers and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the residential cooling sector.

Any homeowners considering replacing their existing air conditioning or heat pump system should look for equipment that meets the 2023 SEER2 minimum efficiency standards to ensure maximum energy savings and comfort in their homes.

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