SEER2 – What Is It?

The last time you purchased an AC, you may have considered the unit's SEER before making your purchasing decision. Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, (SEER) is a standard for gauging an air conditioner’s efficiency. The higher the SEER number, the more efficient the AC.
However, since January 2023, SEER is no longer the standard. Instead, every new AC now has a SEER2 rating. A higher SEER2 will still be more efficient than a lower SEER2, however SEER2 is essentially an all new standard and is calculated differently.

What changed from SEER to SEER2?

The standards for SEER were established many years ago by the US Department of Energy (DOE), and manufacturers have been abiding by their specific calculation guidance for the relative efficiency of their equipment. The reason for the change to SEER2 is to make up for deficiencies in the way SEER has been calculated. The DOE is looking to better align AC efficiency ratings with real world operating conditions by changing the testing procedure. New SEER2 ratings should better reflect the actual “field conditions” in your home.

Basically, the goal of SEER2 is to make air conditioners more efficient. Except this time, instead of increasing minimum SEER requirements, the DOE is now changing the process entirely by requiring the new SEER2 standards.

How will this affect home and business owners?

Every AC available for purchase in our region (North US) now requires a minimum SEER2 of 13.4. This equates to 14 SEER under the previous system, so the least efficient unit you can now buy in 2023 is more efficient than the least efficient unit you could buy in 2022 in our region. (Minimum SEER2 for Southeastern and Southwestern states is 14.3)

These changes will create a new generation of HVAC systems designed to be more efficient and eco-friendlier. However, as a result new air conditioners will be more expensive because it costs more to manufacture a more efficient system.

If you're buying a new air conditioner before the end of this year, you'll have to decide whether it makes sense to install a new 14.4 SEER unit.

You may be thinking that replacing your aging or obsolete AC unit with a less expensive SEER 14 unit, while the option still exists, is the best and least expensive way to go. It may be, but keep in mind that in 2006 when the DOE raised the minimum SEER from 10 to 13, many homeowners ended up regretting it when they went to sell their homes. Real estate agents started using the SEER ratings as either selling points (if they were good) or liabilities if they weren’t. Consequently, some buyers demanded that sellers replace still-new ACs with the even newer ones with higher SEER ratings.

You will need to make the best decision for your circumstances and budget. It might be a good idea to purchase a SEER 15 or 16 unit now before SEER2 goes into effect. It would be less expensive than a 13.4 SEER2, and would still leave you in the clear come January 1, 2023.

Rheem Air conditioner and heat pump units outside in cherry hill, NJ

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at Cardwell HVAC & Plumbing.

Call us at (856) 208-5088!