Looking to buy a new heat-pump system for your home? If so, we’ve got your number – your HSPF number, that is. HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, is a little number that can save you big on your home heating bills.
You can think of HSPF as being a little bit like the MPG rating on a car. Instead of miles, HSPF uses British Thermal Units, which measure the amount of heat produced by heat pumps. In place of gallons, HSPF uses watt-hours of electricity. So, HSPF is literally the number of British Thermal Units produced per watt-hour of electricity used.
Different heat pumps can have considerably different HSPF ratings, so you want to look for models that have a relatively high HSPF. Even a small change can add up to big dollars. A 10 percent increase in the HSPF rating means your heating bills will drop by about 10 percent. Over the long life of a heat pump system, that can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings.
You’ll also want to check out the heat pump’s SEER rating, which measures its energy efficiency when it comes to cooling your home. However, HSPF is often seen as the more important number when it comes to heat-pump efficiency. You see, it is possible to find air-conditioning systems with SEER ratings that rival those of heat pumps. When it comes to HSPF and heating efficiency, though, no furnace or boiler comes close. This is because a heat pump does not create the heat in your home; it merely pumps the heat in from an outside source. This allows heat pumps to provide more heat energy than they consume in electrical energy – often, two to three times more. In fact, a rather basic heat pump with an HSPF rating of 6.8 is all that is required to reach 200 percent efficiency; a high-efficiency system with an HSPF of 10.2 would be 300 percent efficient.