With 2023 right around the corner, many homeowners in Galveston, TX, will no doubt start considering replacing their HVAC systems. As they do, however, they’ll need to be aware of some regulatory changes that will impact their buying decisions. They revolve around the federally mandated HVAC efficiency standards, as measured by SEER ratings. Those standards are changing in the new year. Here’s what homeowners need to know about the changes.

What Is SEER?

Before we get into the changing efficiency standards, it’s important to first discuss what SEER ratings are, to begin with. SEER is an acronym that stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. It’s a numerical rating system that lets you know how efficient you can expect a given HVAC system to be.

Crucially, though, SEER ratings take average seasonal usage into account, which means they’re more representative of real-world use. So, they don’t tell you how efficient an HVAC system is under ideal conditions. They instead try to capture a performance measure based on your projected use during a typical cooling season.

SEER ratings begin with an HVAC system’s raw efficiency rating, which results from dividing its peak cooling output in BTUs per hour by the amount of energy consumed per hour. Then, to simulate a typical cooling season, SEER ratings assume that you’ll:

  • Use your AC at 100% power for 1% of the season
  • Use your AC at 75% power for 42% of the season
  • Use your AC at 50% power for 45% of the season
  • Use your AC at 25% power for 12% of the season

The SEER rating listed on each new HVAC system is the result of the calculation above.

The SEER Standards for 2023

As a result of federal legislation passed in 1978, the federal government sets minimum efficiency standards for all new HVAC systems sold within the United States. The first one that governed residential central air conditioning systems went into effect in 1992 and called for a minimum of a 10 SEER rating.

Since then, the standards have periodically increased as the technology to improve HVAC efficiency improved. Then, in 2015, the federal standards changed to take location into account. The minimum SEER standards are split into individual requirements for HVAC systems in the North, South, and Southwest of the US.

Homes here in Galveston, TX, fall into the South and have specific SEER requirements. Up until the end of 2022, the minimum SEER rating of a new HVAC system sold here is 13. Beginning in January of 2023, the minimum will rise to 14. In addition, the SEER system itself will get a name change, becoming SEER2 for the foreseeable future.

What This Means for Galveston Homeowners

The changes to the SEER requirements won’t have any practical effects on homeowners in Galveston, TX. Unless, of course, you’re thinking about replacing your home’s HVAC system. After December ends, there will be only HVAC systems with a SEER rating of 14 or higher to choose from.

That will impact the upfront costs involved in buying and installing a new residential HVAC system. However, it’s important to note that few homeowners purchase new HVAC systems with SEER ratings below 14, to begin with. The average SEER rating for a central air conditioner operating today is 16, and it’s not hard to find systems even more efficient than that.

In fact, today’s most efficient central air conditioners often have SEER ratings as high as 26. They’re many times more efficient than HVAC systems at the lower end of the scale. But they do come at a higher upfront cost. So, homeowners must balance their budgets against their desired efficiency to decide which HVAC system makes the most financial sense to them.

Trust the HVAC Experts

SEER ratings aren’t the only thing that homeowners must understand before they purchase a new HVAC system. Fortunately, George’s Air Conditioning can help. We have more than 20 years of experience installing and maintaining all kinds of HVAC systems in the Galveston, TX, area. Plus, we offer complete HVAC maintenance and repair services and comprehensive indoor air quality solutions. We also have a multilingual staff to better serve our Spanish-speaking customers. So, no matter what your indoor comfort needs may be, we can handle them for you.

If your home needs a new HVAC system in the new year, contact George’s Air Conditioning, and we’ll help you choose and install the perfect system to meet your needs.

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