As of January 1st, 2023, the Government of Canada has changed the way energy efficiency standards for HVAC systems are measured, and increased the minimum allowable standard in the process. These air conditioner and heat pump energy efficiency requirements will help Ottawa homeowners save energy and money. Moving forward, when evaluating new HVAC systems, the two most important metrics to look at are SEER2 and HSPF2. In this blog post, we dive deeper into these ratings, their significance, and how they can help us make informed choices for a greener wallet and future!

What’s the difference: SEER vs SEER 2 

Until January 2023, the energy efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps were measured in SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), but moving forward will be measured in SEER2. During this transitionary period you will likely see both systems being used, as equipment produced before January 2023 will still be measured in SEER. It’s important to pay close attention to this because the two scales are not comparable. 

SEER2 is an updated version of SEER that more accurately represents real-world conditions. Specifically, SEER2 more realistically accounts for the influence of ductwork and external static pressure on the HVAC system. 

At the same time as this testing change was implemented the Canadian Government also increased the standards for how energy efficient a HVAC system has to be. As a homeowner, this is great news as the bar has been raised across the industry.

SEER2 Rating Chart

What is SEER2?

SEER2 (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio 2) is a measurement used to determine the cooling efficiency of air conditioners and heat pumps. It represents the ratio of cooling output in British Thermal Units (BTUs) (12,000 BTU = 1 Ton) to the amount of energy consumed in watt-hours. The higher the SEER2 rating, the more energy-efficient the cooling system. For example, a new air conditioner or heat pump with a SEER2 rating of 16 will provide more efficient cooling compared to a unit with a SEER2 rating of 13.  

Although the minimum standard for new HVAC systems is a SEER2 rating of 13.4, it’s very common to see heat pumps with SEER2 ratings of 18 to 20+, as they are highly efficient in cooling during the summer months. 

SEER2 takes into account factors such as outdoor temperature variations, system startup and shutdown cycles, and part-load performance. These factors combined allow for a more accurate representation of the system’s efficiency throughout the cooling season. When purchasing a new cooling system, opting for a higher SEER2 rating can lead to significant energy savings and lower utility bills over time.

What is HSPF2?

HSPF2 is an important metric to understand as the next air conditioner you buy will likely be a heat pump! 

HSPF2 (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor 2) is a metric used to evaluate the heating efficiency of heat pumps. HSPF2 calculates the ratio of the total heating output in BTUs (12,000 BTU = 1 Ton) to the amount of energy consumed in watt-hours over an entire heating season. A higher HSPF2 rating signifies better heating efficiency. Heat pumps with higher HSPF2 ratings require less energy to produce the same amount of heat compared to units with lower ratings.

HSPF2 considers factors such as the system’s ability to operate efficiently in colder temperatures and the performance of auxiliary heating elements during defrost cycles. This means that by choosing a heat pump with a higher HSPF2 rating, homeowners get increased energy efficiency, and can enjoy enhanced comfort and substantial energy savings!

So what does this mean for you?

Energy efficiency is a critical consideration when it comes to buying HVAC systems. The bar has been raised for all equipment manufactured on January 1st, 2023 and onward. By selecting units with higher SEER2 and HSPF2 ratings, Ottawa homeowners can reduce their energy consumption and lower utility bills!

When purchasing a new HVAC system, it’s essential to consult with professionals who can guide you toward the best options for your home. Any reputable contractor will be able to provide valuable insights into SEER2 and HSPF2 ratings. 

At Francis Plumbing Heating & Cooling, our expert comfort advisors can guide you through your purchase decisions based on multiple factors. Whether you live in Ottawa, Kanata, Stittsville, Barrhaven, Nepean, Gloucester, or surrounding areas. We can help make a significant impact in the fight against climate change and provide you with the best advice in increasing energy efficiency in your home.