Air Conditioning Industry Regulations

Test Procedures for Central Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps

Over the past few years, the Air Conditioning and Heating industry has seen significant change. In fact, in a three-year period, it feels like Air Conditioning and Heating has been entirely reinvented. This makes it difficult to keep up with the technological changes in equipment, but it also makes it more painful to the consumer with regards to cost. There’s some new drama in our industry, though. It’s called SEER-2. SEER-2 is going to drastically change how HVAC Units are Rated for Efficiency.


Takes effect January 1, 2023

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)

How Air Conditioning and Heating Systems are Rated

Over the past couple of decades, there has been increased scrutiny on the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. Rightfully so. As Contractors and Consumers, we are using and installing products that can have an adverse impact on our environment. As technology has evolved, so has the air conditioning and heating industry - especially the latest equipment on the market now.

The What and Why of SEER2

Cars are rated in MPG, Air Conditioners in SEER

When you go to purchase a new car now, your fuel mileage is always reported in Miles Per Gallon or “MPG.” This simple rating system helps the buyer understand what to expect when operating the vehicle. The higher the “MPG” the more economical the vehicle is to operate - especially long distance.

The same can be said for the rating of an air conditioning system. The higher the seasonal energy efficiency ratio, the more economical it is to operate the equipment through the cooling season. 

Here’s how the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio came to be…

Legislation that was signed and approved in 1987 went into effect in 1992. When the legislation went into effect in 1992, the minimum SEER Requirement was 10-SEER for newly installed air conditioning and heating systems. 

  1987 - SEER Requirements Signed into Law
  1992 - SEER Requirements Implemented, 10-SEER Minimum
  2006 - SEER Requirements Updated, 13-SEER Minimum
  2015 - SEER Requirements Updated, 14-SEER Minimum
  2023 - SEER2 Requirements Implemented, 15-SEER Minimum

SEER2 New Efficiency Standards

The latest iteration of the SEER Rating System is SEER2. These requirements require an increase in SEER Ratings in specific states - California being one of them. This change brings new opportunity, obviously, but from a logistical standpoint, it’s a nightmare. Effective January 1, 2023, any HVAC System purchased in the Southwest Region that does not meet SEER2 Requirements cannot be installed.

What should I do?

We are not in the position to tell you what you “should” do. Rather, advise you that there are changes coming. Change that is a byproduct of regulation will undoubtedly bring an increased price tag with it. In fact, the prices started creeping up in late 2020, and have only gone up since. As of today, March 22, 2022 we have seen more than a 56% Increase in Cost of Goods when it comes to air conditioning and heating system replacements.

The Best Advice We Can Offer

The best advice that we are comfortable offering our customers is to seriously look at their needs. If they suspect that the next couple of years will bring forth a required changeout of equipment, it may be best to consider doing it prior to the end of 2022. We suspect that equipment availability will slip as we enter season, and manufacturer’s will likely ramp-down production of units that do not conform to SEER2 Standards this year.