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As technology and scientific research continually advance, one area that’s getting attention is the effects of modern appliances and vehicles on the environment and natural resources. One effort by the Department of Energy is to enact sustainable measures to help protect the world. For this reason, the DOE is changing how HVAC systems are tested to ensure they meet new SEER2 standards.

Starting January 1st, HVAC systems must be SEER2 certified. This includes gas furnaces, heat pumps, and air conditioning systems. Air conditioners, evaporator coils, condensing units, and single-packaged units are all affected. Are you ready for the change?

Why Is This Happening?

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. When it comes to an air conditioning system, SEER is the average cooling output of your system divided by the energy your system uses to cool the room. It helps determine energy efficiency. Formerly, the calculations tested the system but only considered a standard situation with no variation. It didn’t take different home layouts or other outlying factors into consideration.

SEER2 is SEER but adding a Ratio 2. It’s the calculation of heat removed from an interior area during the cooling season. Currently, the SEER tests do not consider how ducts within the building influence performance or how external static pressure can impact the test results. This creates fluctuations in exactly how energy-efficient a system is. What is rated as 15 under SEER isn’t going to be the same when you add in these other factors.

With SEER2, a new test will require that external static pressure is increased by a minimum of 5 to create more realistic conditions for HVAC equipment after it’s installed. HVAC specialists must start following these M1 testing procedures at the start of the new year.

Changes Are Based on Your Region

As the new SEER2 standards roll out, it’s posing an issue with some people. Some current AC systems that have been manufactured and tested using the old standards and do not meet the new SEER2 minimum standards cannot be installed or sold.

The general guidelines are that split system air conditioners in the Southeast that do not meet the new M1 requirements cannot be installed, though there are some exceptions for units that were already manufactured. Manufacturers of AC and HVAC equipment are busy redesigning and altering systems to meet the SEER2 ratings. Installers in some regions may need to add thermal expansion valves or other equipment to ensure systems meet M1 testing requirements.

Single-packaged air conditioners that were already manufactured and don’t meet the requirements can be installed, though it could pose a problem for homeowners when it comes time to sell their homes.

In the Southeast, including Florida AC systems, the new SEER2 standards shift the SEER ratings of 15.0 for AC units rated 45,000 BTUs or less to 14.3.

Split systems rated over 45,000 BTUs were at 14.5 and must now be 13.8 under SEER2.

Single-packaged AC systems are currently 14.0, but the new SEER2 standard will be 13.4.

With these changes, energy savings can be tremendous. According to Trane, a SEER2 14.3 rating would save about 6% on your energy costs. Pay extra and aim for an AC system with a SEER2 16 rating and save 16% on your energy bills. But if you go up to SEER2 18, you’d save 26%. By lowering your electricity bill, you’ll have a return on your investment in little time.

What Consumers Need to Know About the New Standards

AC dealers and contractors must follow the new requirements or they face fines and penalties. For this reason, customers must be aware that the unit they wanted may no longer be available. If an AC system doesn’t meet current standards, it can be illegal to sell and install it.

There’s another factor to consider. If you go to sell your home in the future and it is not SEER2 compliant, you could run into problems when the potential buyers learn the AC system doesn’t meet current requirements. You could end up with a buyer demanding you install a new system before they agree to purchase your home.

We understand the importance of saving money as the cost of living rises. As tempting as it may be to buy a clearance system you spot in a liquidation sale or similar, don’t purchase it, as you won’t be able to find a technician to install it for you. Contractors cannot do so without risking legal action from the government.

While it’s going to cost more, you need to consider the future. You want a system that is efficient and meets the new standards to prevent frustration down the road. If your system is nearing its end of life, consider upgrading your system to the more efficient SEER2 models now.

Don’t overlook the tax credits and rebates offered by the federal government and Florida electricity companies. The information for Florida Power & Light’s rebates is provided, but customers of other electricity companies may find similar options. You can save hundreds on a new SEER2 AC system. Take a closer look at some of the options available to Florida’s homeowners.

Central AC Rebates:

The federal government is extending a $300 tax credit on package systems and split system central AC systems. To qualify, your system must meet SEER2 requirements and be installed by a professional HVAC contractor who provides a Manufacturer’s Certification Statement as proof it meets the requirements.

If you’re an FPL customer, there is a $150 instant rebate on new AC systems. Your system must be installed through a Participating Independent Contractor, be installed in a residential home, meet the FPL’s SEER2 standards, and be a new system with new indoor and outdoor units installed.

Home Insulation Rebates:

Improve the insulation in your ceiling and roof and get a $220 rebate from FPL. Your current home’s insulation must be less than R-8 to qualify. You can claim this rebate every 20 years.

Claim a tax credit when you complete your yearly taxes. The federal government extends a tax credit of up to 10% of the cost of materials, not counting the installation. This includes house wrap, insulation (batts, rolls, blown-in fibers, pour-in-place, and rigid boards), spray foam, weather stripping, and caulk.

The best way to ensure your AC system meets the new SEER2 standard is by purchasing from a licensed, knowledgeable Florida AC installation specialist. Ask about SEER2 ratings when you purchase a new AC system.

All Year Cooling is ready for this change and has SEER2-compliant systems ready to install. We also know about all of the rebates and tax incentives that help you save money on a new efficient central AC system. We’ll offer a free quote and ensure you have the right system for your home’s size and cooling needs.

Ask us about our new customer special that ensures you get a professional same-day installation on a new AC unit. All Year Cooling has live chat for convenience. If you prefer to email or call us, feel free. We’re here for you, no matter how you choose to get in touch.

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