HSPF: Check Out The Ratings Before You Buy Your Heat Pump
If you’re a homeowner who’s been researching heat pumps, you’re probably impressed by their efficiency ratings — and you should be. In cool weather, a heat pump can reduce the amount of energy your home uses for heating by as much as 40 percent.
When shopping for a heat pump, it’s important to investigate two ratings, HSPF and SEER. SEER will be important when your unit is in air conditioning mode, and HSPF is more relevant during heating mode.
- SEER: The seasonal energy efficiency ratio will tell you how efficiently a system will cool your home over the course of a cooling season. Look for a unit with a SEER rating of at least 14, although some systems are rated as high as 26. The higher the number, the more efficient the unit.
- HSPF: This is the heating seasonal performance factor, which is very similar to SEER. However, the HSPF also accounts for extra energy consumption that occurs during cold weather. Look for a unit with an HSPF of at least 8.
- COP: The coefficient of performance indicates how efficiently the system will produce energy at a single, stable temperature (for heating, the temperature is usually 47 degrees).
Why does a heat pump use more energy in cold weather? For one thing, the system has to defrost itself. Also, it provides heat by gathering warm energy from the outdoors and moving it indoors. Moderately cold weather is not a problem, but when temperatures drop and winter really sets in, performance is affected. There isn’t much warm energy outside, and the system is forced to fall back on other methods of providing comfort. Often, this consists of a set of heated electrical coils, not so different from those in a toaster. It provides less comfort, and costs more to operate.
You can circumvent this problem by going with a dual-fuel system, which allows you to use a heat pump until it loses efficiency, then switches over to a furnace.
If you have more questions about how to find the most efficient comfort system for your home, contact the pros at Sobieski Services.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).