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What Is SEER 2?


In 1975, the U.S. Department of Energy took on the task of instituting energy conservation standards for appliances, including HVAC equipment. Efficiency ratings were established to help guide shoppers toward the most efficient products. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) was the rating used for residential and commercial cooling systems. Those ratings have been updated. As of Jan. 1, 2023, air conditioning systems now receive a SEER2 rating. Find out why that's good news if you're in the market for a new AC system. At ComfortUp, we care about your indoor comfort and don't want you to spend money you don't need to.

SEER Versus SEER 2

One way to answer the question "What is SEER?" is to describe it as a score. SEER ratings are determined by comparing an AC system's cooling output to its electrical energy usage over a single season. The higher the rating, the less energy it uses. Whether you need to cool your entire home or just a single room, the improved SEER ratings can help you select an energy-efficient model.

The problem with the testing was that it needed to be conducted in real-world situations. The tests didn't fully account for factors like air ducts and external static pressure and their impact on HVAC performance. The new "M1" testing process does a better job of representing conditions seen in the field. By providing a more accurate assessment, SEER2 ratings make it easier to select a product you can count on to lower your energy expenses.

electrician checking home air

Which Types of HVAC Systems Have SEER Ratings?

Most central air conditioning, heat pumps, and ductless mini split systems manufactured after Jan. 1, 2023, will have the new type of SEER rating on their labels. Some will also have an Energy Efficiency Ratio rating, now known as EER2. Reflecting how efficiently a cooling system works under extended periods of warm temperatures, EER2 is often used as an alternative to the SEER 2 rating in areas of the country that experience long, hot summers. You can't beat the efficiency of one of our single- or multi-zone mini splits when it comes to point-of-use cooling. Even models with relatively low SEER 2 ratings are significantly more efficient than noisy window air conditioners that block out natural light. It's no wonder these versatile systems are soaring in popularity!

Additional Considerations

Before choosing a product with the highest SEER 2 on the planet, remember other factors also influence HVAC efficiency. For example, if you opt for ducted central air conditioning, you can expect to lose efficiency over time. The Department of Energy estimates that in the average ducted system, up to 30% of the air that passes through the ducts escapes through leaks and loose connections.

Personal circumstances matter, too. Do you live in an area with generally mild temperatures? The money you'll save with a higher SEER 2 might not justify the higher up-front cost. On the other hand, if you live someplace where the weather gets hot and humid, a higher SEER 2 product will provide the performance you need to stay comfortably cool and dry. Our GREE Flexx Central Systems boast some of the highest energy efficiency ratings on the market. 

Which SEER Rating Is Right for You?

All new residential air conditioning systems and air-source heat pumps manufactured after Jan. 1, 2023, must meet SEER 2 standards. The minimum ratings for both AC and heat pumps vary from region to region. 

AC equipment under 3.5 tons:

  • North = 13.4 SEER2 (14 SEER)
  • Southeast & Southwest = 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER)

Package AC:

  • North, Southeast, and Southwest = 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER)
  • North, Southeast, and Southwest = 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF)

Heat Pumps:

  • North, Southeast, and Southwest = 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER)
  • North, Southeast, and Southwest = 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF)

Package Heat Pumps:

  • North, Southeast, and Southwest = 13.4 SEER2 (14 SEER)

What is a good SEER rating and which one is best for you? The Gree brand offers many ductless mini-split systems with SEER ratings into the 20s and 30s. 

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