Heating and Air cooling professionals with excellence of twenty five years

Mon-Sat: 24 hours

Non Stop | Emergency | Assistance

Call: 708-673-5633

Hillside, IL 60162

SEER vs HSPF: Heat Pumps Efficiency Ratings

Heat pumps are multifunctional devices that can provide warmth and cooling to your home. They work by transferring heat from one location to another while being powered by electricity. Depending on the environment and the quality of the unit, heat pumps can be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than other device systems.

But how do you measure and compare the efficiency of heat pumps? To measure their efficiency, SEER and HSPF ratings are essential. These metrics indicate how well a heat pump performs in cooling and heating modes. Below, we’ll discuss SEER vs HSPF ratings and how these ratings can be calculated.

What is the SEER Rating?

SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures a unit’s cooling efficiency relative to its energy consumption during a typical season. Higher SEER ratings, typically 13 to 23 or more, signify greater cooling efficiency. 

In the US, new heat pumps have a minimum SEER rating of 14, but advanced models can achieve ratings as high as 26. A higher rating means less electricity usage for cooling, reducing energy costs and environmental impact.

What is the HSPF Rating?

HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, gauges a heat pump’s heating efficiency by comparing its electricity consumption to its output over a typical heating season. HSPF ratings range from 6.8 to 13.5 or higher. 

The minimum HSPF rating for consideration is 8.2 for single package units and 8.5 for split systems, while traditional systems typically fall between 6.8 and 7.7. A higher HSPF rating means reduced electricity usage for heating, leading to lower energy costs and a smaller environmental footprint.

SEER vs HSPF: Making Sense of HVAC Efficiency Ratings

SEER vs HSPF (Graphic explanation)

Here’s a comprehensive table to better understand SEER vs HSPF with examples  :

AspectSEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor)
PurposeIt Measures cooling efficiency during a typical cooling season.It Gauges heating efficiency during a typical heating season.
Range of RatingsIt Typically ranges from 6.8 to 13.5 or higher.It Typically ranges from 6.8 to 13.5 or higher.
Minimum Requirement (US)New heat pumps must have a minimum SEER rating of 14.Minimum HSPF rating for consideration: 8.2 for single package units, 8.5 for split systems.
Climate RelevanceMore relevant in warm climates where cooling is the primary concern.More relevant in cold climates where heating is the primary concern.
Energy EfficiencyA higher rating means the unit is more energy-efficient in cooling mode, leading to cost savings.A higher rating means the unit is more energy-efficient in heating mode, reducing heating costs.
Environmental ImpactA higher rating leads to a smaller environmental footprint due to reduced electricity consumption for cooling.A higher rating reduces the environmental impact by lowering electricity usage for heating.
Cost ConsiderationHigh SEER-rated units may have a higher initial cost but lower lifetime operating costs.High HSPF-rated units can also have a higher initial cost but lower lifetime operating costs.
Factors Affecting EfficiencyUnit size, quality, installation, maintenance, home insulation, thermostat settings, and usage patterns.Unit size, quality, installation, maintenance, home insulation, thermostat settings, and usage patterns.
Calculation FormulaSEER = (Total Cooling Output in BTU) / (Total Electricity Input in Wh)HSPF = (Total Heating Output in BTU) / (Total Electricity Input in Wh)
Example CalculationIf a heat pump provides 48,000 BTU of cooling output per hour and consumes 3,260 Wh of electricity per hour, the SEER rating is 14.72.If a heat pump delivers 36,000 BTU of heating output per hour and uses 4,233 Wh of electricity per hour, the HSPF rating is 8.51.

Read Also: EER vs CEER: Energy Efficiency Ratings

The Impact of SEER and HSPF Ratings on Heat Pumps

SEER and HSPF ratings significantly impact the performance and efficiency of heat pumps. They affect how much electricity the heat pump uses to provide heating and cooling for your home, affecting how you pay for your energy bills.

A higher SEER or HSPF rating means a lower operating cost and environmental impact. However, other factors also influence the efficiency of heat pumps, such as:

  • The size and capacity of the unit
  • The quality and condition of the unit
  • The installation and maintenance of the unit
  • The insulation and air leakage of the home
  • The thermostat settings and usage patterns of the homeowners

it would help if you considered other essential factors than SEER and HSPF ratings while buying the ideal heat pump for your home.

Which Rating is More Important?

SEER and HSPF ratings are essential when evaluating heat pump efficiency as they measure cooling and heating. Consider both ratings, but their significance varies with your climate. 

If you reside in a warm area where cooling prevails, a higher SEER rating promises enhanced energy efficiency and cost savings. Conversely, a higher HSPF rating is vital for efficient heating and reduced expenses in colder climates where heating is the priority.

SEER vs HSPF Cost

The cost plays a significant role in choosing a heat pump. Higher-rated heat pumps are more expensive due to advanced technology, but opting for a cheaper, low-rated heat pump solely for initial cost savings isn’t advisable

Low-rated heat pumps have lower upfront costs but higher lifetime operating costs, as they consume more electricity, leading to costly bills and environmental concerns. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider both the initial and lifetime costs, encompassing purchase price and energy bills throughout the unit’s expected lifespan.

How SEER is Calculated

SEER is calculated by dividing the total cooling output in BTUs over a 1,000-hour typical cooling season by the total electricity input in watt-hours (Wh). This season covers various outdoor temperatures, ranging from 65°F to 104°F.

The formula for calculating is:
SEER = (Total Cooling Output in BTU) / (Total Electricity Input in Wh)

For example, if a heat pump or an air conditioner gives 48,000 BTU of cooling output per hour and utilizes 3,260 Wh of electricity per hour, the rating will be:

SEER = (48,000 x 1,000) / (3,260 x 1,000) = 14.72

How HSPF is Calculated

HSPF is calculated by dividing the total heating output of a heat pump over a typical heating season by the total electricity input over the same period. This calculation utilizes data from three key points: 47°F for high-temperature testing, 17°F for low-temperature testing, and 35°F for frost accumulation testing.

The formula for calculating is:
HSPF = (Total Heating Output in BTU) / (Total Electricity Input in Wh)

For example, if a heat pump gives 36,000 BTU of heating output per hour and consumes 4,233 Wh of electricity per hour, the rating will be:

HSPF = (36,000 x 1,000) / (4,233 x 1,000) = 8.51
Why is SEER Higher than HSPF?

SEER ratings are higher than HSPF ratings because heat pumps’ cooling mode is generally more efficient. Heat pumps transfer heat using a refrigerant cycle: in cooling mode, heat is moved from inside to outside, where it dissipates efficiently, while in heating mode, heat is transferred from outside to inside to warm the air. 

However, less heat is available for transfer in colder temperatures, reducing efficiency. Some heat pumps use backup heating systems, like electric resistance heaters or gas furnaces, in low temperatures, but these consume more energy, increasing costs and environmental impact. Therefore, SEER ratings exceed HSPF ratings due to the cooling mode’s greater efficiency.

Final Words

When comparing heat pump efficiency, SEER and HSPF ratings are vital. SEER measures cooling efficiency, while HSPF measures heating efficiency. These ratings impact energy costs and environmental effects, with the choice depending on climate. Despite higher initial costs, higher-rated heat pumps are often more cost-effective over time.

Comments are closed.
About

We can provide expert 24 hour Emergency Service available to you 365 days a year for your all you’re Heating, Cooling, and Hot Water needs. We are here when you need us to service both your residential and commercial properties!