map highlighting the Southeast region of the US including Virginia

Every 6 years, the Department of Energy (DOE) reanalyzes the effects of energy usage, sets new minimum efficiency requirements, and manages the testing standards by which these efficiencies are measured. In 2023, the DOE is increasing the minimum efficiencies for ACs and HPs. They are changing the testing procedures to determine these efficiencies as well.

Minimum Efficiency Changes

Each region of the U.S. has new minimum efficiency requirements for ACs and HPs, which go into effect on January 1, 2023. For ACs in our region (Southeast), the minimum efficiency will increase from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER (15.0 SEER up to 45k BTU, 14.5 SEER at/above 45k BTU). For heat pumps, the national efficiency standard will increase from 14.0 to 15.0 SEER.

Sell Through Deadlines

In our region, any AC that does not meet the above requirements cannot be installed on or after January 1, 2023. This rule does not apply to heat pumps, which are on a national efficiency standard. Any 14.0 SEER heat pump built before January 1, 2023 is grandfathered and can still be installed on or after January 1, 2023.

New Testing Procedures Means New Nomenclature

In addition to meeting these minimum efficiency ratings, manufacturers will also be required to comply with new testing procedures that are more stringent to better reflect installed field conditions. To denote the more difficult testing standards in 2023, equipment will be rated using new metrics and nomenclature - SEER2 and HSPF2. All equipment must be tested and relaunched in accordance with the new 2023 standards. See our chart below for a comparison of how SEER will stack up against SEER2 in terms of ratings.

Split System ACs chart showing the 2023 Southeast Regional Standards
Split System HPs chart showing the 2023 National Standards