HVAC Energy Efficiency Standards

“SEER2” stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2. The efficiency standards for a split air conditioner are divided into three regions, Raleigh (all of North Carolina) is in the Southwest Region. The regions themselves throughout the US will stay the same. The most recent change to the minimum efficiency standards for air-conditioners and heat pumps will focus on two key areas:

  • Energy Efficiency
  • Testing Procedures

Based on 2022 testing standards, the DOE has set new minimum standards for split air conditioners. They will have the following minimum efficiency requirements in 2023. 

Southwest Energy Efficiency Region

  • 15.0 SEER | 12.2 EER* ≤ 45,000 BTUH
  • 14.5 SEER | 11.7 EER* ≥ 45,000 BTUH
  • *10.2 EER is SEER > 16.0

The ratings published on a unit’s EnergyGuide label will determine whether or not an air conditioning unit can be installed on or after January 1, 2023. 


The new 2023 HVAC prices will increase in cost due to various high-end components that make it more efficient. Along with that other pieces of the system may need to be replaced so it will match up with the new unit.


As we all know Freon was out the door years ago making the way for R410. The EPA is probably going to require another class of refrigerants called A2L by 2025. It has less of a Global Warming potential but it is also mildly flammable.

Energy Savings

A 7-8% increase over previous minimums saves 300 million KWH over 30 years with a saving of $38 Billion in utility costs. These units will also reduce the energy you use.

The goal of these new efficiency standards is to increase energy efficiency which will help lower heating and cooling usage. 

Products Pre-2023

70% of current products do not meet new minimum standards. All products will require re-testing with new standards. The previous standard products may not be sold on or after January 1, 2023. It will be a violation to knowingly sell to and/or install for an end user a central air conditioner subject to regional standards.

If in violation, installers should replace the non-compliant ACs at no cost to the consumer. Along with that, manufacturers/distributors may be unable to do business with routine violators.

If you’ve been putting off replacing a unit, you might want to consider it now before you have to purchase one of the new 2023 units. The current ones aren’t quite as costly as they will be in 2023 and they are no longer being made, so whatever is in stock is it.

If your current unit is working fine you do not have to replace it or do anything. But I would suggest joining our Comfort Club so you are sure it is being maintained properly to keep it running as low as possible.