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New SEER Rating Geared to Save Energy

Posted by: Victoria Gillum on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 12:00:00 am

What is a SEER rating?

Cooling efficiency is measured in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) and heat pump heating in HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor).  Ratings works like gas mileage on your car. The higher the SEER or HSPF number, the higher the efficiency and the greater the energy savings. For instance, if your old unit is 10 to 15 years old, the efficiency rating could be a wasteful 6 SEER. The systems purchased today typically range from 13.00 SEER to 20.00 SEER. The old SEER rating was raised from 13 to 14.

Recently, a settlement agreement was reached putting in place new regional standards for residential unitary air conditioning regulations. These new standards will save energy and lower energy bills.

Manufacturers have been required to comply with the Department of Energy’s (DOE) energy conservation standards for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps since 1992. Residential central air conditioners and heat pumps are installed as part of a home's central heating and cooling system.

How Much Can I Save?

An average home with a 3-ton (36,000 BTU/Hour) size or cooling capacity with the new SEER rating will save an average of $60.00* per year. This is based on the annual cost to cool your home with the SEER existing unit being 14.

The settlement does the following:

  •   On January 1, 2015 the efficiency standard for central air-conditioners in the South will be 14-SEER. In the Southwest, that standard will be 14-SEER/12 EER.

Do we know how the DOE is planning to enforce the new regulations?

Although the specific roles and responsibilities of the contractor, distributor and manufacturer are not defined yet, it is likely that all parties will be involved with some aspect of enforcement.  In any case, contractors should be able to verify that the equipment being installed meets the minimum standards provided by the new regulations and also meets the expectations of the consumer.

Find tips and guidance for making your home or workplace more energy efficient by visiting If you have any questions specific to your home and want to know more about how typical savings from replacing an existing air conditioner will affect you, call us today.

*Costs are estimates are based on South Florida area averages.

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