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Heat Pump and HVAC Efficiency Ratings Demystified

Last updated 4 years ago

If you’re shopping for a heat pump, you are sure to encounter a lot of industry-specific terms and acronyms. You want to purchase an energy-efficient heating unit that won’t require frequent repair, but how can you choose the right one without enlisting the help of your professional HVAC contractor? Efficiency ratings are actually less confusing than they look. Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling for your home, so you need to learn about both types of ratings.

Ratings for Cooling
The rating you’re most likely to see on air conditioners and heat pumps today is the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). SEER is in some ways similar to miles-per-gallon for automobiles. If you divide the unit’s cooling output during normal annual usage by its total energy consumption, you can calculate its SEER. Any system newer than 2006 is required to have a SEER of 13; unless you’re looking to repair an older unit, you won’t see lower ratings. To be labeled as high-efficiency, the SEER must be 14 or higher.

The Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) is another acronym you might see. This rating was created in 1975 by an HVAC contractor group, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. The EER equals the air conditioner’s cooling output, divided by its input of energy. The difference between EER and SEER is that EER doesn’t take into account seasonal and climate conditions. EER is more of a single rating point, most applicable to peak load. SEER is a better measure of average usage.

Ratings for Heating
For heat pumps, you also need to investigate the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). This is a way to measure a heat pump’s efficiency over one heating season. To arrive at the rating, the total heating output is compared to the total electricity consumed. Your heating contractor can recommend a model with a higher HSPF, which uses less electricity than lower-rated models. Anything with a rating of 8.2 or above is considered high-efficiency.

If you want to know more about choosing and installing energy-efficient HVAC appliances for your home, call Blue Dot Services of Maryland at (410) 698-6465. One of our HVAC contractors can give you a full ratings explanation. Blue Dot has been the Mid-Atlantic region’s source for superior heating, cooling, and energy services for more than 40 years.

 

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