Knowing the two most important heat pump terms can help you manage your electrical consumption and make informed choices when considering this appliance for heating and cooling. HSPF (heating season performance factor) and SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) indicate the energy efficiency of heat pumps.
The current minimum energy efficiency standards for cooling stand at 13 SEER, while the heating function is at 7.7. Air-source heat pumps, the most common variety, work similar to air conditioners during the cooling season, removing heat from your indoor air and depositing it outside. In the winter, they operate in reverse, removing warmth from the outside air and bringing it inside.
Several factors affect the SEER and HSPF ratings for heat pumps, including:
- Electronically commutated motors (ECMs). These motors use less electricity than a standard single-speed motor. Also known as variable-speed motors, they run slower, more quietly and remove more humidity in the summer indoors, making your home feel more comfortable. When combined with a controller that senses indoor cooling or heating needs, the motor adjusts its speed to the load required indoors. In the outside compressor, an ECM saves electricity.
- Dual-speed compressors. When the weather is moderate, summer or winter, the compressor that sits outdoors does not run at full speed, which lowers your energy bill.
Other important heat pump features include:
- Scroll compressors. These are capable of raising the indoor temperature by 10 to 15 degrees higher than a standard piston compressor. A pump with a scroll compressor raises the HSPF.
- Adaptive intelligent recovery thermostats. Air-source heat pumps include an additional heating coil that kicks in when temperatures fall into the 30s and lower. This coil uses more electricity than the heat pump does for heating. But when combined with this specialized thermostat, the pump overrides the electrical coil, saving energy.
If you’d like more information about energy efficiency and heat pumps, contact Comfort Systems. We’ll be happy to show you how to improve energy efficiency in your Wichita area home and increase your comfort.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pump terms heat pump terms and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.