Did you know that building codes changed in 2023? If you're planning to upgrade to a new air conditioning unit, you'll need to find one that meets the new minimum standards for Florida. SEER rating has long been the standard for measuring efficiency, but the new rating system, SEER2, is rolling out. As the next generation of efficiency measurement, it's more accurate and gives you a better picture of what you could save.
The general rule of thumb is that a higher SEER2 rating means more savings on operating costs in the long term. But is it really worth it? How much more efficient does the unit need to be for you to see significant savings?
This blog looks at energy-efficiency ratings and answers questions like:
Our expert HVAC installers calculate load to pick the perfect air conditioner for your Tampa home and recommend the right SEER2 unit for optimal cooling. Call your Red Cap Family to schedule a free in-home estimate and enjoy the family treatment. We know your time is valuable, so we're always on time for our appointments and provide 5-star workmanship.
It all comes down to the testing method. SEER and SEER2 are ratings that determine how well an AC unit handles energy during seasonal use. When calculating the rating, the SEER2 scale aligns more with real-world conditions and includes ductwork and external static pressure.
What does that mean for rating numbers? Expect to see lower numbers on the SEER2 scale. This rating system reduces the number by about 4.5%, but SEER2-rated air conditioners are more efficient across the board than their SEER counterparts.
Changes to manufacturing regulations mean that all new units will be rated according to SEER2 standards, giving you a better idea of actual performance and savings.
The Department of Energy requires a minimum efficiency of 14.3 SEER2 rating in Florida. That is equal to a 15-SEER rating. You may see reduced minimum ratings in Northern states, where summers aren't as hot or as long.
SEER2 regulations are based on geographic locations since that often determines how much you'll run the air conditioning unit in the summer. In areas where you need to keep the AC running longer and at lower temperatures, the energy efficiency requirements are higher than in areas where AC is more optional.
Regardless of state, you must meet the newest efficiency guidelines when installing a new air conditioner. These changes went into effect starting in 2023. While 14.3 SEER2 is the minimum required rating, you can always exceed the energy efficiency and purchase a unit rated up to 21.5.
While the minimum standard is a 14.3 SEER2, a high-efficiency unit starts at 16.2 or is equivalent to a 17 on the SEER scale. While more expensive to install, these high-efficiency units save you money in the long term.
If you can afford it, we recommend upgrading to the best SEER2-rated system within your budget. Why? Because it's usually a great way to save money over the unit's life. For a detailed breakdown of how much you can save, have one of the HVAC pros at Red Cap Plumbing, Air & Electric perform an audit to calculate your savings.
Here's an example using a 3-ton unit that might be what you'd install in a 2,000-square-foot Florida home. Using the SEER2 savings calculator, the breakdown shows you that your annual cooling for a unit will run:
A higher-rated unit could save you substantially over 10 years. However, many factors can affect your level of savings. To maximize your savings, you'll need to perform routine maintenance, make sure your home is well-insulated, and keep your ductwork in good repair. Investing in a smart thermostat can also help decrease energy costs.
Typically, yes, high-SEER2 systems do help you maintain higher levels of home comfort. Most high-efficiency units are multi-stage and can keep your home cooler without as much noise. Plus, variable efficiency controls mean that the temperature in your home stays even with these units, so you don't have to fiddle with the thermostat to stay cool. With hot Florida summers and heat waves that can seem endless, having reliable and efficient cooling is a big boost to your comfort level.
We hope we've helped you better understand the changes from SEER to SEER2! If you have any questions or want an in-home estimate on a high-efficiency SEER2 air conditioner, call our Red Cap Family and schedule your next appointment today. We always deliver honest 5-star service and transparent pricing for Tampa homeowners.