The SEER Rating Mandate Is Changing – What This Means for You
Beginning in January 2023 the measure of air conditioning efficiency used by the HVAC industry is changing. This measurement, called SEER or seasonal energy efficiency ratio, was initiated by the Department of Energy in the mid-1980’s, so HVAC manufacturers would have a standard of energy efficiency for cooling units. This rating system helps homeowners choose the air conditioning unit best suited for their homes and needs.
Nearly a decade later, former President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act establishing a minimum SEER rating of 10 for all newly manufactured units sold in the U.S. The SEER rating specifically measures the amount of energy an air conditioner uses to achieve the level of desired cooling. With every numerical SEER increase, an air conditioning unit uses 10 percent less energy. The higher the SEER rating, the greater the efficiency.
Essentially, the 2023 mandate sets different SEER rating requirements based on the geographic location of the installation. A 14 minimum SEER rating will be required for central air conditioning units sold in the northern U.S., while in the southern states, where the temperatures tend to be hotter, the required SEER will be 15.
What Does This SEER Rating Update Mean to Texans?
Since an air conditioner with a higher SEER is more efficient than those with lower SEER ratings, homeowners will likely have lower utility costs, all things being equal. For example, an 18 SEER cooling unit in Texas will use 10 percent less energy to operate than a 16 SEER unit.
A higher SEER rating may not be the best choice in every case, however. For example, if you’re planning to sell your house soon after upgrading your home’s air conditioner, there will not be enough time to recoup the return on investment for the cost of the new, more expensive higher SEER unit. Other factors to consider are the length of the cooling season, which tends to be longer in Lubbock compared to northern states; and, whether you prefer a warmer indoor environment.
The main takeaway for Lubbock area residents is the SEER rating is important information for assessing the projected overall efficiency of an air conditioner upgrade, and the professionals at Armstrong Plumbing, Air & Electric have the expertise and knowledge to help you navigate the final choice. For more information about upgrading your air conditioning considering the new SEER rating mandate, call Armstrong today to schedule your no-cost in-home consultation with one of our Comfort Specialists.