What Efficiency Ratings Predict About Heat Pump Performance
Heat pumps carry efficiency ratings that help consumers choose a system based on how much energy it consumes. The cooling efficiency is its SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating. The heating efficiency is called HSPF, or heating season performance factor. The minimums stand at 13 and 7.7, respectively.
Another term describes cooling efficiency, known as EER (energy efficiency ratio). Companies selling heat pumps must disclose the SEER and HSPF, but not necessarily the EER, although EER is as good an indicator as SEER.
Here’s how these ratings work: To arrive at a system’s SEER, testing labs measure the amount of electricity a heat pump takes to cool a space to 80 degrees when the outdoor temperature is 82. The EER, on the other hand, measures the amount of electricity a heat pump uses to cool a room to 80 degrees in an hour when it’s 95 degrees outdoors. When selecting a heat pump, high SEER and EER ratings indicate that the system is highly efficient.
These upgrades also help to increase the efficiency ratings for cooling:
- Dual-speed compressors. This type of compressor runs at slower speeds when temperatures are mild. Not only do they save energy, they also prolong your compressor’s life by running at top speed only when it’s exceptionally hot.
- Thermal expansion valve (TXV). This is similar to a dual-speed compressor. The valve varies the amount of refrigerant the heat pump sends indoors based on outdoor temperature.
- Scroll compressor. This upgrade increases the HSPF of a heat pump. Instead of a standard piston compressor, scroll compressors utilize scrolls to increase the heat of the refrigerant going indoors, creating up to 15-degree warmer air.
- Variable-speed motor. This type of motor in the blower increases the HSPF, SEER and the EER. These motors use less electricity than single-speed motors and are quieter. The slower operating speed also removes more humidity during the summer. These motors can be found in both the blower and condenser.
Sobieski serves Wilmington, Delaware and the surrounding areas. Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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