What Do HSPF and SEER Mean in Heat Pump Selection?
If you are looking for a new heat pump system for your Northern Virginia home, you should pay close attention to the HSPF and SEER efficiency ratings. Energy efficiency should be the main factor in the selection criteria, since the higher the efficiency level of your new heat pump, the more money you will save on energy bills.
Since air-source heat pumps provide dual service – heating in the winter, cooling in the summer – you should be aware of at least two heat pump energy efficiency ratings. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) measures cooling efficiency over the cooling season, while the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) measures heating efficiency over the heating season.
HSPF and SEER
The HSPF is calculated by taking the total heating required during the heating season, in British thermal units (BTUs), and dividing it by the total electricity consumed during the same time period. Similarly, SEER is the total amount of cooling by an air conditioner during the cooling season, divided by the total electricity consumed during that same time span.
In the United States, the lowest allowable SEER for a split-system air-source heat pump is 13. For a system to be granted the coveted Energy Star level, the SEER has to exceed 14.5. For ideal cooling efficiency at an affordable price, look for SEER ratings of 16-18. The minimum HSPF on the market for a split-system air-source heat pump is 7.7, with Energy Star models exceeding HSPF 8.2.
Which Rating Is More Important?
It depends on which season – heating or cooling – is the most expensive for you, the homeowner. If you live in a cold winter area with mild summers, heating efficiency, or HSPF, will be the more important rating for your new heat pump. If you live in a Southern climate, with a very mild winter, SEER should grab your full attention. In Northern Virginia, with cold winters and hot summers, it is probably wise to consider both efficiency ratings.
Brennan’s Heating & Air Conditioning has in stock a range of heat pumps for your home comfort needs. Call us at (703) 491-2771 for more information about heat pumps and their ratings, or if you would like to learn about our other products and services.
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