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How the 2023 Changes to HVAC Efficiency Regulations Affect You

Technician working on an outdoor AC unit

On January 1, 2023, the efficiency rating for air conditioners in the southwest region increased from 14 SEER to 15 SEER (or 14.3 SEER2). This means that all air conditioners installed in California must meet or exceed that efficiency rating starting this year. Heat pump and furnace ratings also increased.

You’ll notice the effects of these rating increases if you’re upgrading to a new HVAC unit. When it comes time to install, you’ll get an impressive and highly efficient system that will help you save more on your energy bills over time, but you’ll likely pay a higher initial cost than any price you estimated in 2022.

Who Controls the Regulations?

The Department of Energy updates the HVAC efficiency rating requirements every six years to optimize HVAC efficiency across the United States and encourage environmental friendliness.

HVAC equipment manufacturing is rated by how efficiently air is cooled or heated by a unit in your home:

  • SEER or EER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) is used for air conditioners
  • HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor) is used for heat pumps
  • AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) is used for furnaces

What Are the New Regulations in California?

There are two major changes in the 2023 regulations:

1. HVAC Rating Increases for Equipment Installed in California Homes

  • Air conditioner ratings will increase from 14 SEER to 14.3 SEER2 (15 SEER).
  • Heat pump ratings will increase from 8.2 HSPF to 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF).
  • Furnace ratings will increase from 80% to 81% AFUE.

2. More Rigorous Testing & Rating System

EER, SEER, and HSPF ratings will now be listed as EER2, SEER2, and HSPF2 to reflect the Department of Energy’s more precise rating system for new HVAC units.

How To Check the Efficiency Rating on Your HVAC System

A yellow and black Energy Guide sticker is affixed to every HVAC unit sold in the United States. On the sticker, you’ll see the unit’s SEER2, EER2, or HSPF2 rating (or SEER, EER, or HSPF rating if installed before 2023), along with a spectrum that shows how the unit’s energy efficiency compares to other similar units on the market.

What if My AC’s SEER Is Lower Than 15?

There’s no need for immediate action if your AC’s SEER is lower than 15. The regulations only apply to new systems manufactured and installed in 2023 and later. But if you purchase a new AC in 2023, it will be rated 15 SEER (or 14.3 SEER2) or higher and cost more than you might have planned.

Choose AIS for Top-Quality AC Replacement in Fremont & Livermore, CA

The AIS Heating & Air Conditioning team wanted to communicate these changes so you can make informed decisions about your home comfort — even if they don’t immediately affect you.

If you live in the Bay Area and are considering an AC, heat pump, or furnace replacement this year, our team can provide free estimates on any new equipment. We proudly install Bryant systems.

We also offer convenient financing options, so you never have to wait to access the HVAC systems you need.

Request AC replacement today by contacting us online or calling (510) 792-4328.

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