New 2024 Residential Efficiency Standards: What HVAC Companies Should Know

Big changes went into effect last year for residential air conditioning and heat pump products. The minimum SEER rating and testing requirements changed in 2023, which affects most HVAC equipment. Is your HVAC business aware of all of the updates?

This may seem intimidating, but don’t worry! We will review all the changes and share key resources so you are well aware of how to stay compliant. 

Which Regulations are Changing?

The Department of Energy (DOE) announced new regulations that went into effect early 2023. These new regulations are most often called SEER2, which is an acronym for the latest Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.

The minimum efficiency required increased by 8-10%. This means that roughly 70% of current products fail to meet new guidelines. 

It also means that all current equipment requires retesting and/or rerateing.

Why are these changes happening? Efficiency updates mean systems will require less energy in order to run. This leads to lower costs and a more sustainable future for years to come.

Efficiency Increasing: Minimum SEER Rating 2024

The minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating remains at 14 set in 2023. This transition to SEER2 also included efficiency increases for split systems in air conditioning and heat pumps. 

But it’s important to note: heat pumps went through a nationwide efficiency increase, while split-system air conditioners went through regional increases. 

In each of the following three charts, we will list the changes by region and nationwide. The charts include new guidelines for:

See the full charts and additional downloadable information from our partner, HARDI.

Residential Split-system Air Conditioners

Region North South Southwest
Compliance Deadline: Date of manufacture Date of installation Date of installation
Inventory Management: Any non compliant equipment manufactured prior to January 1, 2023 can be sold and installed All noncompliant equipment must be sold for installation prior to January 1, 2023 or shipped to the North for installation All noncompliant equipment must be sold for installation prior to January 1, 2023 or shipped to the North for installation
Split-System Air Conditioners with a Certified Cooling Capacity <45,000 Btu/h 13.4 SEER2 14.3 SEER2 14.3 SEER2 / 11.7 EER2** (**9.8 EER2 if ≥ 15.2 SEER2)
Split-System Air Conditioners with a Certified Cooling Capacity≥45,000 Btu/h 13.4 SEER2 13.8 SEER2 13.8 SEER2 / 11.2 EER2** (**9.8 EER2 if≥ 15.2 SEER2)

< swipe to view > on mobile
*Courtesy of HARDI

Residential Single Package Air Conditioners

Nationwide (North + South Regions) Southwest Region
13.4 SEER2 13.4 SEER2 / 10.6 EER2

*Courtesy of HARDI

Split System and Packaged Heat Pump Systems – Nationwide Standard for All States

Compliance Deadline Date of Manufacture
Inventory Deadline Any non compliant equipment manufactured prior to January 1, 2023 can be sold and installed
Split System Heat Pumps (any size) 14.3 SEER2 and 7.5 HSPF2
Single Package Heat Pumps 13.4 SEER2 and 6.7 HSPF2 (This is not an efficiency increase)

*Courtesy of HARDI

Here’s a breakdown of states that fall into each regional area as outlined in the new requirements:

  • Southeast Region: Alabama, Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. 
  • Southwest Region: Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.
  • Northern Region: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

Sell Through Requirements

The sell through requirements differ slightly between the North and South regions of the U.S. For air conditioners, heat pumps and SPP, the date of manufacture is used for compliance.

However, there is an exception for air conditioners in the Southern regions. In Southern states, compliance is determined by the date of install. 

For example, in New York (which is included in the Northern Region) U.S., a dealer can install an older HVAC unit after January 1, 2023 as long as it was compliant with regulations when it was manufactured.  

This would not be the case in South and Southwest regions. The equipment must meet the 2023 regulations, even if produced before 2023. 

2024 Testing Requirements (New as of 2023)

Along with new equipment, 2023 saw changes in testing requirements for HVAC systems and equipment. These are still active in 2024. Manufacturers are working on redesigning system components to meet these new regulations.

There are testing procedures for SEER2 that will better represent external conditions. These new procedures take into account ductwork and static pressure, which were not included in previous tests. 

Heat pumps and air conditioning units will have updated testing requirements:

Heat Pumps

While heat pumps still have a nationwide standard of 15 SEER, there was changes in energy efficiency testing for heat pumps.

The current nationwide heat pump test for SEER, EER and HSPF is 0.1 ESP.

The  nationwide 2023 test procedure for SEER2, EER2 and HSPF2 increases efficiency to 0.5 ESP. 

It’s important for HVAC techs to note these changes to ensure compliance with SEER2 in 2024. 

Air Conditioners, Single Packaged Units (SPUs) and Mini-Splits

Air conditioners and Single Packaged Units (SPUs) will have to adhere to regional minimum efficiencies and testing measures to meet the latest SEER2 ratings.

For Northern states, all air conditioners must meet the minimum 2023 SEER rating of 14. In the Southeast and Southwest, the SEER minimum depends on the size of the unit. Units rated as less than 45000 BTU must be rated at least 15 SEER. Units greater than 45,000 BTU require a minimum of 14.5 SEER.

Read more about updated testing requirements and procedures on the SEER2 website

Download a one-page overview Courtesy of HARDI to share with your customers. 

Price Increases

You’re probably thinking that a need for new equipment will result in higher prices. This is a fair assumption, but no need to panic!

Expect equipment prices to increase across the board. Typically when new energy regulations are implemented, the costs are passed on to the consumer. When buying a new air conditioner, heat pump or packaged system expect to pay from $350-$1500 more.

If you are worried about selling more expensive equipment to customers, you have an easy selling point. The new regulations will make air conditioners much more efficient. This will translate to less energy consumption and increased savings for your customers. 

Yes, customers will pay more upfront for new equipment, but their ongoing energy savings will easily make up the cost. Plus, they can rest assured that their new equipment is better for the environment!


Keeping Up On the Latest Legislation 

Over the last 2 years, legislation aimed at reducing energy consumption and emissions has been enacted. Ensuring that your business remains compliant and informed is crucial.

Plus, following these laws can result in cost savings for both your business and your customers.

  • 2024 EPA Phasedown A recent proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calls for a 40% reduction below baseline levels of HFC production beginning in 2024. 
  • 2024 EPA Rules For HFC Refrigerant Management and Technology Transitions:
    • The EPA’s Technology Transitions Rule aims to decrease global warming potential (GWP) of refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration gear. The ability to install R-410a systems is coming to an end on January 1, 2025. Additionally, more regulations will continue through 2028. 
    • The refrigerant management rule is still in proposal stage but deals with leak repair requirements. There are also additional rules for HFC recycling and cylinder management.

Keeping Up with SEER2 Changes

You now are aware of the recent updates, including the minimum SEER rating in 2023. Though it may seem confusing, the regulations are pretty straightforward and manufacturers are already working to update equipment to ensure compliance. 

Ensure your entire team is aware of these updates – this includes giving customers a heads up on equipment changes if they may need to replace their equipment.

 Learn more and stay up to date using these resources:

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