Understanding SEER Ratings: Benefits Of An Efficient HVAC
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SEER Standards: A Guide to AC Rebates in Michigan

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Are you thinking about upgrading your home’s HVAC system? If so, you might have read or heard of new minimum efficiency standards for residential heating and cooling equipment. As of January 1, 2023, all new equipment, testing, and certification must comply with revised federal regulations.

Below, we explain the new SEER ratings and how they could affect your decision when choosing a new cooling or HVAC system.

SEER Standards & AC Rebates in Michigan

You’re probably familiar with those bright yellow Energy Guide stickers manufacturers place on home appliances. The labels let you know how much energy an appliance uses and how it compares to similar appliances. Updated SEER2 ratings tell you how much energy and money an HVAC system uses annually.

New minimum energy-efficiency standards vary according to state. Michigan is in the “North Region,” meaning it requires a minimum 14 SEER2 rating for all AC installations.

The current minimum SEER2 efficiency guidelines for Michigan are:

  • Residential cooling systems below 45,000 BTU: 13.4 SEER (14.0 SEER).
  • Split systems or residential central AC systems 45,000 BTU & above: 14 SEER.
  • Heat pumps: 14.3 SEER2 (15.0 SEER) and 7.5 HSPF2 (8.8 HSPF).
  • Gas furnaces: 81% AFUE.

The latest standards only pertain to new systems and don’t affect a home’s current HVAC system. Compliance is set by each system’s manufacturing date, and contractors can continue to sell 13.0 SEER equipment until they deplete their inventories.

What Is SEER? A Guide

SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, represents how much energy and money an AC unit requires to operate effectively annually; the less energy the unit uses, the higher the SEER rating. The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) measures an HVAC unit’s efficiency. Like SEER, the higher an EER rating, the greater the unit’s efficiency.

Several other energy ratings used in the U.S. include:

  1. British Thermal Unit (BTU): This international energy measurement for cooling systems measures how much heat an air conditioner can remove from a room in one hour.
  2. Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE): This rating measures a gas furnace’s efficiency and potential energy savings.
  3. Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSFP): This measures a heat pump’s efficiency. New HSFP2 ratings use the same formula as the previous one but have stricter test conditions

Schaafsma Heating & Cooling’s HVAC team can help you choose the most energy-efficient system for your Grand Rapids or Comstock Park home’s needs.

Benefits of Installing an Energy-Efficient Unit

Installing an energy-efficient HVAC system that meets Michigan’s current requirements can significantly benefit homeowners. Five key advantages include:

  1. Reduced energy costs: Energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment consumes less electricity, resulting in lower energy bills and substantial cost savings over time.
  2. Environmental impact: These units have a smaller carbon footprint, reducing greenhouse gases and creating a more sustainable environment.
  3. Enhanced comfort: Advanced technologies allow for better temperature control and more consistent heating and cooling, ensuring optimal comfort.
  4. Longer lifespan: Energy-efficient units are often built with higher-quality materials and innovative designs, leading to a longer lifespan and fewer repairs than standard units.
  5. Increased home value: Installing an energy-efficient AC unit can increase your home’s value, making it more attractive to potential buyers who value sustainability and cost savings.

Michigan SEER Updates

As part of the North Region, Michigan homeowners must meet slightly lower efficiency standards than South or Southwest Region residents. Heating and cooling systems manufactured after January 1, 2023, must meet the above standards. Available rebates for HVAC systems and high-efficiency central AC include 30% of an HVAC project’s cost, including up to $600 for central air conditioners.

Tax credits are available for purchased and installed products through December 31, 2032.

Choose Schaafsma for HVAC Upgrades

What do these new ratings and incentives mean for our customers? First, you are not required to replace your home’s existing HVAC system to meet the new SEER2 guidelines. However, if one or more components of your existing system are aging out or not performing as efficiently as they once were, you could save in the long term by investing in more energy-efficient models now.

Are you interested in finding out more? Contact the skilled professionals at Schaafsma Heating & Cooling about whether replacing your home’s HVAC system is the right choice. For over a century, we’ve delivered superior heating and cooling services that reflect our commitment to excellence.

If you still have questions, talk to one of the HVAC specialists at Schaafsma Heating & Cooling at 616-458-7304.

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