2023 Energy Standards

The Department of Energy (also known as the DOE) regulates minimum efficiency standards for HVAC equipment based on regions in the USA. There are several substantial changes that will go in affect January 1, 2023. This includes changes in the seer rating test conditions, increased minimum seer rating requirements,  and introduction of the term, "SEER2."

Read about these updates and how they affect you below.

What does a seer rating measure?

Seer rating measures a unit's efficiency by using a lab test with a specific set of guidelines. These tests determine how much energy is used to provide cooling. The minimum seer rating is increasing as of January 1, 2023. The requirements of the seer rating test is also changing. This is the first time that both of these have been affected at the same time. 

What do the different seer ratings mean?

You can think of a seer rating as miles per gallon on a car. Regardless of the miles per gallon on a car, the car is effective in getting you to your destination. A car with higher miles per gallon is more efficient than one with low miles per gallon, similar to the seer ratings on HVAC equipment. Typically, higher seer rating equipment costs more to install but costs less in monthly energy bills.

What is SEER2?

The lab test that determines the seer rating on AC equipment is changing. It is the same test, but now under new, tougher conditions that are more similar to the real-world conditions your unit will face. This goes into affect January 1, 2023.

How will this affect me?

Anytime efficiency standards or testing conditions are changed, prices of equipment almost always increase. If you are currently or soon to be in the market for a new unit, you will be able to avoid the price increase of the SEER2 equipment if you act sooner rather than later.

Is this change negative?

No, the Department of Energy's new testing conditions are more similar to the real-world conditions that your unit will face rather than a lab simulation in close to perfect conditions.

If I buy the current 14 seer, when does it have to be installed?

Current 14 seer heat pumps, gas packs, and dual fuels can be installed at any time. After January 1, 2023, equipment manufacturers can no longer produce the current 14 seer equipment and may only produce equipment that meets SEER2 standards. Assembly lines have already converted to manufacture this new standard of equipment.

Is the current 14 seer unit low-quality?

No, there is no difference in quality, warranty, or workmanship between the current 14 seer equipment and the new SEER2 equipment. The changes only affect the efficiency.

Is this only affecting Trane equipment?

No, this change must be implemented across the board by all HVAC manufacturers.

How long should my current unit last?

Typically, a unit that is well-maintained will perform for 15-20 years before it needs to be replaced.

What size units are affected?

Residential equipment is considered all units up to 5 tons. All residential units are affected by this change.

What if I have a business and my unit is over 5 tons?

Light commercial units are between 6-25 tons. The Department of Energy made the largest jump in history in increasing the minimum efficiency of light commercial standards. This extreme change means that assembly lines have been shut down for months while the lines are completely reconfigured and rebuilt in order to produce equipment that will meet the new standards by January 1, 2023. Commercial units will see the largest price increase, possibly as high as 50% more than the current baseline models.

If you would like more information,

Feel free to call us at 252-583-0004 or contact us to schedule a price appointment to discuss your specific unit needs.