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Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings - What Do HSPF And SEER Mean?

All heat pumps carry heat pump efficiency ratings issued by the EPA that indicate how well they use electricity to heat and cool your home. The terms SEER and HSPF describe the cooling and heating functions. SEER stands for seasonal energy efficiency ratio, and HSPF is short for heating season performance factor. Higher numbers indicate better performance.

The EPA regulates the efficiency of heat pumps. The minimum SEER as of 2012 is 13, and the HSPF is 7.7. The ratings increase with more advanced features that enable heat pumps to provide more heating and cooling efficiency. Such features include:

  • Variable-speed motors. These motors rest inside the blower or air handler and use less electricity than a single-speed blower motor, which can use 625 watts of electricity per hour. A variable-speed motor uses only 100 watts, lowering your electric bill. These are electronically commutated motors (ECMs) that convert AC power to DC, using electricity more efficiently. The motors also run slower and quieter, and increase both the SEER and HSPF ratings for heat pumps.
  • Dual-speed compressors. These increase energy efficiency for heat pumps by changing the speed at which they run, depending on the weather. They run at top speed when temperatures are extremely hot or cold, and at slower speeds when the weather moderates.
  • Scroll compressors. Most compressors use pistons, but a scroll compressor has two scrolls that do a more efficient job of moving heat during the winter. Equipment that uses this type of compressor has a higher HSPF rating because it adds 10-15 degrees of heat for your home. A compressor like this improves the heating function, especially in places like Fayetteville, where winter temperatures can be cold.

Although it doesn’t affect heat pump efficiency ratings, where you place the outdoor compressor affects its performance. The equipment should be placed out of strong winds and have enough clearance on all slides for good ventilation with no obstructions from buildings, fences or vegetation.

Blanton’s Heating & A/C carries a variety of high-efficiency heat pumps that can increase your energy efficiency and home comfort. Contact us to learn more.