Bonfe Insider: May 2023

A Homeowner’s Guide to New HVAC Requirements

In the HVAC business, SEER means something very different from how you’d like your steak prepared. SEER is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and if you’ve been looking for new A/C equipment recently, you may have seen this term quite a bit and wondered what it means.

We’re here to break it down for you.

Air conditioners and heat pumps have always given a SEER rating to determine how much cooling the equipment is producing in exchange for how much energy it’s using. For decades, this grading scale has stayed the same as ‘SEER 1’. Starting January 1, 2023, the grading scale has changed to ‘SEER 2’.

SEER 2 grading is much truer to real life. Think of SEER 1 grading coming from running equipment in a clean, pristine laboratory while SEER 2 grading is based on how equipment will run in an everyday home with dust and other resistance. Because of this change, equipment that may have once received a SEER 16 rating based on those laboratory conditions, would now receive a SEER 14 rating in a real-life home.  At the same time, the minimum SEER rating required by law on new equipment manufactured has risen from 13 to 14. So, standards for the efficiency of new equipment have increased two-fold. Equipment meeting those old standards can still be sold through the end of this year, but that equipment has become scarcely available as manufacturers started making the switch over last year.

What about heat pumps?

Heat pumps are increasing in popularity in northern climates. A heat pump can run your air conditioner backwards to draw warmth into your home as opposed to taking it out. You can use this to heat your home in temperatures as low as 32 degrees. Below 32 degrees, it will automatically turn your furnace on.

The benefit of a heat pump is that it uses electrical energy instead of gas. And you may be eligible for tax credits and rebates from energy providers. If you have a heat pump installed with Bonfe, we will handle the rebates for you. We also recommend consulting with a professional to acquire tax credits you may be eligible for.

What does this mean for homeowners?

New SEER 2 equipment costs more to manufacture and test, and therefore is more expensive to install, but it runs more efficiently. This means lower operating costs and a reduced environmental impact, which can help offset the higher price tag. Many manufacturers are offering introductory price promotions to help bring down costs for a limited time.  New air conditioners are improving in other ways as well. In the past, having high-efficiency units meant big equipment. But as technology advances, they are taking up less space and getting quieter.

Overall, our experts recommend finding the most efficient HVAC equipment that fits in your budget. Remember, equipment will always be less expensive today than it will be next year or any time in the future. Cooling equipment is a long-term investment that is backed by a Bonfe lifetime warranty. If your equipment is nearing the end of the typical lifespan of 13 to 15 years, we suggest installing now rather than waiting for it to break down.

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