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Whether you’re selecting a new heat pump or assessing your current system, it’s helpful to know what the ratings are for these versatile HVAC systems. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requires that all heat pumps carry energy efficiency ratings, normally placed on the outdoor condenser, and that these ratings meet specific minimum standards.
The HSPF (heating season performance factor) describes the heat pump’s energy efficiency in the heating cycle. The minimum HSPF for new heat pumps stands at 8.2. You may also find the COP (coefficient of performance) rating on the specifications sheet for the pump, which is actually an easier way to understand how efficiently it heats. An electric space heater has a COP of 1, which means it creates one unit of heat for each unit of electricity it uses. Heat pumps have much higher COP ratings because they generate much more heat per unit of power they use. The COP might range from 3 to 6 or more. A system with a COP of 5 generates 5 units of heat for each unit of electricity it uses.
The SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) rating describes the cooling efficiency. The minimum starts at 14 SEER and systems are available that have cooling efficiencies into the mid-20s. Each numeric increase in the SEER indicates the system uses 10 percent less electricity for the same amount of cooling. Another pertinent rating for a heat pump is its EER (energy efficiency ratio). Unlike the SEER, the EER indicates how well the system performs when outdoor temperatures reach 95 degrees F. The SEER is tested at 82 degrees. Like the SEER, higher EERs indicate more efficient equipment. While the DOE requires the SEER to be prominently displayed on central heat pumps, it does not require the EER rating. The most important numbers to keep in mind when evaluating a heat pump are the SEER and HSPF and remember that higher is always better. For more information, contact Russell’s Heating & Cooling, providing trusted HVAC services for Hampton Roads homeowners. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pump ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 757-750-1831. Credit/Copyright Attribution: “PublicDomainPictures/Pixabay”