How to Determine Heat Pump Efficiency
If you are in the market for a new heat pump, efficiency is probably a key factor in your search. The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has a universal ranking system for heating and cooling units that serves to help. These rankings relate to the EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program, which offers a government-backed symbol for energy efficiency, which is designed to help consumers make wise decisions on all types of appliances, electronics, lighting, and building products.
Deciphering and Decoding
You might have seen assorted abbreviations like HSPF or SEER, but what do they actually mean? They are a form of nomenclature that rates a heat pump based on efficiency. A more efficient heat pump will result in less energy use and increased energy savings. HSPF rates heating, and SEER rates cooling. A heat pump will therefore have both ratings because it can both heat and cool a home. Here is a quick guide to determining heat pump efficiency.
What Is HSPF?
HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. This rating represents the amount of heat units produced (BTUs––British Thermal Units) by the total amount of electricity (watt-hours) used over the course of a season. Generally speaking, the higher a heat pump’s HSPF, the more efficient it is.
The US ENERGY STAR® program has set a minimum HSPF of 8 for single-package equipment, which is a traditional heating and cooling unit. For mini split configurations, also known as ductless systems, the minimum HSPF is 8.2.
What Is SEER?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. It is essentially the equivalent of HSPF, but for cooling. A system’s SEER rating is determined by the amount of cooling power (BTUs) divided by the amount of energy (watt-hours) used within one season.
A higher SEER means a more efficient heat pump (or air conditioner). The typical rating ranges anywhere from 13 to 23. The minimum ENERGY STAR-qualifying SEER is 14 for single-package equipment and 14.5 for mini split systems.
Which Heat Pump Should I Get?
Generally speaking, if you live in a cooler climate, HSPF should have more weight in your decision than SEER, since you will likely be running the system on this setting more frequently. You should favor SEER for the same reason in hotter climates, like East Tennessee.
However, it is important to note both of these rating systems refer to a heat pump operating under optimal conditions. If a heat pump is not the right size for your Kingston home, you can run into all sorts of problems.
An oversized unit may short cycle, potentially increasing your energy bill a very significant amount. An undersized unit will run for too long, which means its components may be overworked, and it may use more electricity than expected.
The best way to get the most efficient heat pump is to schedule an in-home consultation with one of our Central City professionals. We will perform the necessary heat-load calculations to determine which heat pumps will perform ideally in your Tennessee space. Out of these options, you can choose the best one to meet your efficiency standards.