Today I want to talk about “SEER” ratings for your existing or potential replacement system.
Most Florida residences have what we call a split-system; meaning you have an indoor unit connected to an outdoor unit that provides your heat or cool to your home. These can be heat pumps or gas furnace/ac systems. When the system requires replacement, specific government requirements must be met. Replacing just one of the components can result in a mismatched system and may not meet efficiency standards, as set by U.S. Department of Energy and the Florida building code.
The cooling efficiency of your AC units is rated by “SEER”, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.
Here in Florida the current requirement is that your system must meet a 14 SEER standard. If the system is not a rated match then by law the contractor is not allowed to repair the system with unrated parts. Rated match means both the inside and outside were tested together and will meet the requirements. Unrated system can actually increase your energy consumption, possibly cause humidity issues leading to mold problems, and cause warranty issues for your new piece of equipment. The 14 seer standard means that the system you buy, under laboratory conditions, will use the exact same amount of energy as every other manufacture available.
Consider this the same as selecting a car based solely on a gas mpg rating.
Beginning January 1 2023, a new “SEER” standard will go into effect. The new rating will be a “SEER 2” rating, and be required for equipment manufactured after the January 1 2023 date. The industry has determined that all systems do not perform as well in the field as the do the lab. Several factors can reduce your systems efficiency. Regions located in, poor installation, leaking or incorrectly sized duct work, improper load sizing for the house, or air infiltration issues with the home. The current seer standard is based on the climate conditions in the state of Virginia. A system installed in Florida will perform differently than the same system in Virginia due to temperature and humidity conditions. So, to solve this problem systems will be rated based on regions vs one city. As an example all units will still be required to meet the 14 SEER standard, however for a system to still do that in Florida and may need a manufacture SEER rating of 15 to still be in compliance with the law. To meet SEER2 requirements in the southeast region, residential central air systems below 45,000 Btu must have a SEER2 rating of 14.3 (15.0 SEER). Residential central air systems 45,000 Btu and above must have a SEER2 rating of 13.8 (14.5 SEER). In addition, heat pumps in any region must meet 14.3 SEER2 (15.0 SEER) and 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF) requirements.
For more information on SEER2 rules and regulations, visit SEER2.com. As a homeowner you probably won’t see any changes, however it will be an additional burden on your contractor to ensure your system still complies with standards. The bad news is this will probably result in an increased cost to the customer due to having to get a higher efficiency unit in order to still meet the current 14 SEER regulations. The replacement market still requires only a 14 SEER, but new construction is being raised to 15 SEER minimum and in some locations 16 SEER. However you should request that your contractor provide the AHRI rating sheet that is available to prove that the system is as advertised. If they fail to when ask or won’t provide this simple to get document you should look for a different contractor.
Your contractor should have your best interest in mind and provide and explain several replacement options to choose from. Going to a higher efficiency system may provide a cheaper operating cost long term, paying for the difference in cost to upgrade. A higher efficiency unit may also provide increased comfort and indoor air quality benefits
If you have questions about your Energy Efficiency and SEER rating on your current system, OR you would like to speak with someone at Tempacure HVAC about your needs, click to call today!
Florida AC licensed contractor