In January 2023, the US Department of Energy introduced a new testing procedure to determine the efficiency ratings of air conditioners and heat pumps:
- Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
- Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
- Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
The new M1 testing procedure exposes AC and heat pump units to operating conditions that are more demanding. In other words, if you carry out the old and new test for the same heat pump model, you can now expect slightly lower efficiency ratings.
HVAC manufacturers have added the number “2” to identify efficiency ratings determined with the new test. This means you will find the terms SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 on their equipment specifications. The original nomenclature (SEER, EER and HSPF) is still being used for air conditioners and heat pumps that were manufactured before the new requirements took effect.
The US Department of Energy also increased the minimum efficiency requirements for air conditioners and heat pumps sold through the country. The updated efficiency requirements have been specified with both the new and old ratings, since there is still plenty of equipment with the previous nomenclature in the market (SEER, EER and HSPF).
Did you know? The US also introduced new federal tax credits for energy efficient HVAC equipment in 2023, covering up to 30% of their cost. As you might guess, the efficiency requirements for these tax credits are higher than the minimum nationwide requirements.