What is the minimum SEER rating for a new air conditioner?
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
The new minimum standard, effective January 1, 2015, is 14 SEER for both heat pumps and cooling air conditioners. One exception: straight cool air conditioners in the Northern region of the U.S. will remain at minimum 13 SEER. But many newer heat pumps and air conditioners that we see have a SEER of 15, 16, or even higher up to 22.
The last upgrade of the standard was in January, 2006, when the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) required that all new residential air conditioners sold in the United States have a minimum Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio of 13. A higher number indicates less energy usage for the same amount of cooling, and the previous minimum SEER for the decade before the new mandate was 10, with the 13 SEER about 23% more energy efficient than a 10.
For a new system to get an EnergyStar rating, it must jump higher. But window air conditioners are exempt, and most hover around 10.
Systems are now available with ratings above 20, and climbing regularly as the technology advances. Each notch upward in the SEER ratings requires a bigger equipment investment, and the condenser unit (outside part of a split-system heat pump or air conditioner) itself also grows larger as the SEER increases.
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To learn more about heating and air conditioning systems, see these other blog posts:
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