Are you planning on replacing your air conditioning or heating system in Charleston? If so, make sure you know the new Department of Energy changes that will raise the minimum efficiency standards for HVAC equipment.

These changes are intended to make HVAC systems more efficient and eco-friendly. While several changes will be made, the ones that will impact South Carolina homeowners the most concern air conditioners. Starting January 1, 2023, all installed air conditioning equipment must be rated higher than a 14 SEER. 

While a higher SEER rating equals a higher energy efficiency, it also equals more expensive equipment. You will pay more for these new features, which is a factor to consider if you think you’ll need to replace your equipment in the near future.

If your system is 8 years or older, you may want to get a quote on installing a newer system since it will cost more in 2023 with the changes and having to purchase a more efficient unit.  


SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It’s a measurement of the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. Similar to MPG on a car, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient your system is.

The higher the SEER rating, the less energy you will use to cool your home. Different parts of the U.S. have different standards. South Carolina falls in the Southern region, meaning that air conditioners must exceed a SEER rating of 14.

The standards for heat pumps are also affected, though these are already more energy-efficient. Heat pumps manufactured before 2023 will be allowed to be installed.  

Southeast region of the USA Map


All equipment will have a yellow and black “Energy Guide” sticker showcasing the SEER rating. Starting in 2023, the Department of Energy is changing how they measure the efficiency of HVAC systems.

They will start using new testing standards called SEER2, which gives a more accurate picture of how an installed heating and cooling system will perform. These new standards do not impact your current system. This applies to new equipment that must meet the new SEER2 standards. 


Starting January 1, the minimum SEER rating must be greater than 14; but you can go higher if your budget allows it. The highest SEER rating may not always mean the most significant returns for your home or wallet.

The best way to know what you need for your home is to work with a trained HVAC specialist. Our team at Preferred Home Services can provide you with a free quote and help you understand your options for your home in the Charleston area.

We’re here to serve you if you need repair, maintenance, or replacement services for your new HVAC system. Our level of passion and care, commitment to convenience, and willingness to be held accountable beat any competition out there.

Contact us online or call us at 843-405-3601 to schedule your free consultation to replace your HVAC system in Charleston today!