If you’ve seen the terms SEER and SEER2, or heard about air conditioner efficiency requirements changing, you might have some questions. How are these ratings calculated? What’s the difference between SEER and SEER2? Why were the standards changed? What makes an air conditioner more efficient? We’ve got some answers for you.
What is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. It is a measurement of how much energy an air conditioner uses. It’s calculated by taking the amount of heat the air conditioner can remove from the air (which is measured in BTUs or British Thermal Units) and dividing that number by the amount of energy the air conditioner uses during that process (which is measured in watt hours). The resulting number is the air conditioner’s SEER rating.
What is SEER2?
SEER2 is an updated way of calculating the energy efficiency of an air conditioner. The ratio is the same, but the process of testing the air conditioner in order to get those measurements is different. The update gives a more accurate picture of how efficient the air conditioner is because the process involves better replicating real-life conditions during the testing. The big difference is the use of the M1 blower testing procedure, which applies greater static pressure. This is more similar to the conditions the AC unit will be working under in reality.
Why Were Efficiency Standards Changed?
Of course, using less energy is better for your bank account. It’s also better for the environment, especially considering much of the electricity used in the US is still generated with coal and other fuels that create a great deal of carbon dioxide. But it’s not simply a matter of raising the efficiency requirements because we want air conditioners to be better. They have gotten better, thanks to advances in HVAC technology in recent decades. That’s what has made it possible to raise the minimum SEER or SEER2 ratings that air conditioners must have.
What Makes the Air Conditioners More Efficient?
There have been a lot of developments that have impacted AC efficiency. Coils made of materials that transfer heat more easily allow faster absorption of heat from your home without using any more energy. Variable-speed fans decrease the amount of power needed from their motors. And multi-stage compressors automatically adjust, so that instead of being either off or on, your air conditioner is able to run at a lower setting most of the time.
What Are the SEER2 Rating Requirements?
Because our country is so large and encompasses such a wide variety of climates, there are major differences in how—and how much—we use our air conditioners. SEER2 rating requirements are divided into the southeast, the southwest, and the north. As of January 1st, 2023, here in the northern part of the US, residential AC systems must have a SEER2 rating of 13.4 or higher, and heat pumps must have a rating of at least 15. But thanks to the new technologies available, if you’re looking for the most efficient options for your next AC installation in Mountain Iron, MN, there are some with ratings in the twenties!
Do you still have more questions? We’d love to hear from you.
Reach out to Mesaba Heating & Air Conditioning today. Service to you is success to us!