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Updated SEER Regulations for 2023 in Idaho

Air Conditioning, Heating, Indoor Air Quality

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New regulations went into effect on January 1, 2023, that raise the minimum requirements for HVAC efficiency throughout the United States. Put into place by the U.S. Department of Energy; these standards are designed to reduce energy consumption nationwide while helping consumers save money on utility costs. SEER, HSPF, and AFUE ratings have been updated, and new SEER2, EER2, and HSPF ratings have been introduced, offering more realistic efficiency comparisons. If you are buying a new HVAC system for your Idaho home soon, these changes may directly impact your purchase.

What Are the New HVAC SEER Rating Minimums in Idaho?

Idaho is part of the northern region, as detailed in the new regulations. This means that any new HVAC equipment manufactured after January 1, 2023, must meet the following standards:

  • All central air conditioning systems must have a minimum SEER2 rating of 13.4, equivalent to 14 SEER.
  • Heat pumps must be rated at least 14.3 SEER2 or 15 SEER for cooling. For heating, they must have a minimum rating of 7.5 HSPF2 or 8.8 HSPF.
  • Gas furnaces must have an AFUE of 81% or higher.

HVAC systems manufactured before January 1 can still be installed in Idaho and the northern region, allowing distributors to clear out old stock.

What Is a SEER Rating, and Why Does It Matter?

EER, SEER, HSPF, and AFUE ratings make it easier for consumers to directly compare HVAC equipment, regardless of the brand or model. The yellow Energy Guide sticker is included on all new HVAC equipment. It lists the ratings of each system, allowing you to choose the one that offers the best combination of performance and efficiency for your budget. Here is what each term means:

  • EER: The energy efficiency ratio of an air conditioner compares the system’s output to the energy it uses. Higher numbers indicate more efficient performance.
  • SEER: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio compares the cooling output of an air conditioner to the amount of energy used during the cooling season alone, which provides a more accurate estimation of system performance than the EER.
  • HSPF: The heating seasonal performance factor compares the output of a heat pump to the amount of energy it uses for heating, with higher numbers indicating greater efficiency.
  • AFUE: The annual fuel utilization efficiency indicates the percentage of fuel converted directly into heat for your home.

The new SEER2, EER2, and HSPF2 ratings reflect an updated testing regimen that better reflects the real-world performance of HVAC equipment. These ratings will be lower than the originals. For instance, an HVAC system rated at 14 SEER will have a SEER2 of 13.4.

Why Have Seer Ratings Changed?

The SEER ratings are being changed to help reduce energy consumption nationwide. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, heating and air conditioning systems consume up to 55% of the energy used in residential homes. Even minor efficiency improvements can make a huge difference when applied across Idaho or the nation. And although the initial cost to install a more efficient HVAC system will be higher, the consumer will save money monthly on utility costs.

How Is HVAC Efficiency Measured?

The EER rating of an air conditioner is equivalent to the output in BTUs divided by the amount of electricity used during a controlled test with an outdoor temperature of 90 degrees, an indoor temperature of 80 degrees, and a relative humidity of 50%. For example, a 15,000 BTU air conditioner with 1,000 watts would have an EER of 15. 

The SEER rating of an AC unit is an average of the EER over varying cooling conditions that would be present during a typical cooling season, better reflecting real-world performance. Similarly, HSPF represents the heating output of a heat pump compared to the energy used, and the AFUE represents the percentage of fuel that a furnace tuns directly into heat.

What if My HVAC Doesn’t Meet New Regulations?

If the current HVAC system in your Idaho home does not meet the new standards, you have nothing to worry about. You can continue to use your system until it reaches the end of its service life. You need to consider the current efficiency ratings when it is time to replace your HVAC system.

HVAC Replacement in Southeast Idaho

Does your home need a new HVAC system? Talk to our team at Advanced Home Services for a heating or air conditioning replacement that complies with the new SEER regulations. Our team will evaluate your home, determine your heating and cooling needs, and recommend the best system for the job and your budget. We feature well-trained, experienced technicians, exceptional customer service, and work backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Save energy and money with a new HVAC installation from Advanced Home Services. Call us today at 208-745-9406 or contact us online to request an estimate for HVAC service anywhere in Southeast Idaho.

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