A lot of people have been talking, blogging and posting about 13 SEER units. Not everything you’ve read is accurate. Some dealers and retailers have been blasting reports about 13 SEER units trying to scare consumers into buying all new equipment. It’s time to hear the truth about 13 SEER.
What does 13 SEER mean?
SEER is an acronym for seasonal energy efficiency ratio. This measurement tells you how much cooling your heat pump or air conditioning unit delivers per watt of electricity that it has used. It’s the ratio of energy in versus cooling power out. Higher numbers mean more efficient use of energy so a SEER 10 uses more energy to do the same job when compared to a 13 SEER.
What’s changed about 13 SEER units?
Nothing about the heat pumps or AC unit has changed. They haven’t been recalled and they aren’t dangerous. There’s nothing “wrong” with a 13 SEER unit. So if you have one that works, there’s no need to purchase a whole new air conditioner installation, no matter what the salesman says.
The only major change is that now we have the option of buying 14 SEER units. Since 14 SEERs are more energy efficient, the Department of Energy wants them in use and they’ve put a deadline on it. Air conditioning maintenance and installation companies are legally bound to comply with this deadline.
What does this deadline mean for homeowners?
The deadline is really for manufacturers, retailers, installers and contractors rather than homeowners. If you have 13 SEER in your home right now, you don’t have to do anything. There is a more energy efficient option on the market but if your unit is working well then don’t feel pressure to make any changes.
Manufacturers can’t make a 13 SEER unit anymore, starting on January 1, 2015. There’s an 18 month “sell-off” period for contractors and retailers to move the equipment they already had in stock. As long as the unit was made prior to January 1, 2015 they can legally sell it and install it through June 30, 2016. After that date, any remaining 13 SEER equipment will be unsellable and anyone selling or installing an AC unit or heat pump must comply with the 14 SEER rating.
What do I need to know as a homeowner?
Know that the new regulations are in place now and that equipment with a 13 SEER rating has an expiration date on it. Be aware that some installers may be trying to unload equipment before they get stuck with unsellable goods. Understand what the ratings mean and how they will affect your energy bills so you can make the right purchase for you home, not the convenient one for the installer.