What are Heat Pump Ratings?

March 29, 2016

When shopping for a heat pump system for your home, study your options carefully before purchasing. Not just any heat pump will do, and several important factors should be considered. The heat pump's capacity is important, of course, but so is energy efficiency. In general, the higher the efficiency of a heat pump, the more it will cost upfront and the less it will cost to operate. Heat pump ratings, specifically devised to rate both the cooling and heating efficiency of electric heat pump systems, provide valuable information when shopping for a new heat pump.

Heat Pump Ratings
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. This rating measures a heat pump's cooling efficiency, specifically the amount of BTUs of heat removed from a building during the whole heating season, divided by the kilowatt hours of electrical energy that was required to remove that heat. HSPF stands for Heating Season Performance Factor and measures the heating efficiency of an electric heat pump, using a similar formula to that used for SEER, except calculating the amount of heat created rather than removed. With both SEER and HSPF, the higher the number the greater the energy efficiency. The federal government enforces minimum SEER and HSPF levels. A split-system air-source heat pump (the most common variety) can't be sold without a SEER of at least 14 and an HSPF of at least 8.2. A package unit heat pump must have a minimum SEER of 14 and HSPF of 8. The federal government's Energy Star program, which awards the distinctive blue logo to products that are proven energy-savers, has higher minimum heat pump ratings. Before an air-source heat pump can be granted the Energy Star, it must have an HSPF of at least 8.5 for a split system and 8.2 for a package unit. The SEER for both must be at least 15. In areas like ours with cold winters, heating efficiency (HSPF) is the more important number.

For more help understanding heat pump ratings, please contact us at Lozier Heating & Cooling. We provide superior service to the Des Moines area. Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Mathias Rosenthal/Shutterstock"