Everything There Is to Know About the SEER Rating Mandate

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Everything There Is to Know About the SEER Rating Mandate

The SEER rating or seasonal energy efficiency ratio is important information for homeowners to know who are considering an upgrade for their HVAC systems. The Department of Energy determines air conditioning SEER ratings, the HVAC industry’s standard by which to measure an air conditioning unit’s overall performance. It’s also important to know heat pumps and gas furnaces have different measurements for determining overall efficiency. 

In 1992, former President Bush signed the Energy Policy Act establishing a SEER rating of 10 as the ideal benchmark. Ongoing improvements in HVAC technology have caused the minimum SEER standard to increase. The higher the SEER the more efficient the cooling unit. 

Beginning in 2023 another change is coming for the industry. There will be different SEER rating requirements based on the geographic location of the installation. New air-source heat pump systems and central air conditioning units sold in the northern U.S. will have a minimum SEER rating of 14. In the southern U.S., where cooling usage impacts energy use to a greater degree, the required SEER will be 15.


Since a higher SEER equals a greater efficiency level, the more homeowners will save on utility costs. The SEER rating tells consumers how much electricity a unit will use to reach desired levels of cooling. With each increase in the numerical SEER rating, a 10 percent decrease in electric usage occurs. For example, a 16 SEER cooling unit will use 10 percent less energy to operate than a 15 SEER unit.

Other considerations are the number of years you plan to stay in your home, the length of the cooling season and the total run time for your air conditioner. If you’re planning to sell your home in a short amount of time after upgrading your air conditioning unit, the full return on your investment may not be realized. If your location has a milder climate or you prefer your home a little on the warmer side in the summer, a higher SEER rating may not be what you need.

Merts Heating & Air Conditioning has all the information you need to learn more about SEER ratings and how to choose an air conditioning unit that’s best for you. Call our office today to schedule an in-home consultation at no out-of-pocket cost to you.