Understanding SEER Requirements for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

This article provides an overview of Seasonal Energy Efficiency Index (SEER) requirements for 2023 set by United States Department of Energy (DOE). It explains how SEER2 works and what are its benefits.

Understanding SEER Requirements for 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) requires all air conditioning systems to meet a certain efficiency rating, known as the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Index (SEER). This rating is calculated by dividing the amount of energy used by a unit in one hour by the number of BTUs (British thermal units) of heat it has removed from the air in the same period. Ductless heat pumps and minisplits have two different energy efficiency measures, with cooling efficiency measured in SEER and heating efficiency measured in the Seasonal Heating Performance Factor (HSPF).The DOE is introducing a new system, known as SEER2, which works exactly the same way as its predecessor. The difference is that it increases the amount of static pressure at which the unit is tested.

Static pressure refers to resistance to air flow and is important, because the higher the pressure, the harder the HVAC fan will have to work to circulate air throughout the duct system. This means that the air conditioner or other HVAC unit will need to run longer and use more energy to fully cool the house. The new laws will change both the minimum SEER and the minimum HSPF, but for now, we will focus only on the SEER. With the old SEER system, units were tested with a static pressure of 0.1 inches, while the new SEER2 system uses 0.5 inches of static pressure. This is an important change, as few, if any, air conditioning systems have a static pressure as low as 0.1 inch.

Problems such as dirty ducts, air leaks, clogged air filters, and closed or clogged vents can contribute to increased static pressure. By testing units at higher static pressure, the new SEER2 system should be able to more accurately estimate energy efficiency and better reflect actual operating conditions. With the new system, all refrigeration units in the northern part of the country must have 13.8 SEER2, which is equivalent to 14 SEER. The new requirement in the southern half of the country is 14.3 SEER2, equivalent to 15 SEER. However, in the south-east and south-west regions, this requirement applies only to split air conditioners and heat pumps of 45,000 BTU or more. For anything lower than 45,000 BTU, the requirement is still 13.8 SEER2 or 14 SEER. The new SEER2 system is an important step forward for energy efficiency standards in air conditioning systems.

By testing units at higher static pressures and increasing minimum requirements for both cooling and heating efficiency ratings, consumers can be sure that their HVAC systems are running as efficiently as possible. In order to ensure that your HVAC system meets all current energy efficiency standards and runs as efficiently as possible, it's important to keep up with all changes in regulations and requirements. By understanding what's required for your particular unit and making sure that it meets those requirements, you can save money on energy costs while also helping to reduce your environmental impact.