HSPF and SEER Ratings Matter When You’re Looking at Heat Pump Installation in Augusta GAPublished on: July 20, 2012
No matter what the climate is, Augusta GA residents need heating and cooling options at some point during the seasonal changes. Depending on the system you use, when the outdoor climate affects the indoors, your options are to either turn on an air conditioning service unit or lower the temperature setting to allow a cooling atmosphere to settle throughout your indoor environment. The convenience of heat pumps is that they provide both heating and cooling options in one.
Mechanisms of a Heat Pump
In its simplest form, heat pumps work like an air conditioner, which has a reversal valve that allows it to provide both cooling during the warmer seasons and warming during the cooler seasons. A heat pump looks very similar to an exterior standard central air conditioning unit. AC service experts are typically able to perform installation and maintenance of both.
During summer seasons, the heat pump transfers indoor heat to the outside by utilizing a refrigerant gas element. During cooler times, the reverse happens; the system gathers outdoor heat (even during cold days) and transfers it inside, providing a comfortable and level climate throughout your indoor environment.
Heat pumps work much better as a dehumidifier than a traditional air conditioner. Since they move heat, as opposed to actually creating it, heat pumps are the most efficient when it comes to energy costs and can provide four times more the energy they consume, according to energysavers.gov.
Heating and Cooling Efficiency Rating
When you’re seeking air conditioning service or looking for a new heat pump, a standard rating system has made it pretty easy to compare the energy efficiency of the variety of brands companies have to offer. Different sets of ratings are used for specific types of products, but all of the same product types use the same rating system. For example, all heat pumps use a particular set of ratings, all furnaces use another particular set of ratings, and so on. Heat pumps use two primary set of ratings: SEER and HSPF.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
SEER is a rating ratio used to specifically measure the cooling efficiency of heat pump system units and how efficiently they use energy. Simply put, the higher the numerical rating, the better the cooling energy efficiency. Units manufactured before the early nineties had a typical SEER rating of 6.0. Currently, a minimum of 14.0 SEER is mandated by the government. The highest rating units can currently have ranges anywhere from 17-20.
In some cases, acquiring air conditioning service on your old unit may not be worth the cost. Keep in mind that many air conditioners that are ten years old or older may be so deteriorated that their true operating rating may be somewhere around 5-7 SEER, even though they initially had a higher rating. Air conditioning service and maintenance on an old central air conditioner unit that runs excessively during the summer might make less economic sense than purchasing a newer model with a higher SEER, especially if it has to service a large indoor environment. Newer systems can be twice or more as efficient as existing systems.
Heating Seasonal Performance Factor
Like SEER, HSPF is a heating efficiency rating standard for a heat pump. As with SEER, the higher the HSPF number, the less energy the system will use to heat an indoor environment. The current minimum standard mandated by the government is 7.7 HSPF, with high efficiency systems being as high as 9.35.
The Necessity of Professional Advice
If you decide to purchase a new HVAC system, there are other factors that could potentially impact the efficiency of an air conditioning system that may require a professional AC service expert. For example, many newer heat pump models use both an outdoor and indoor system, called a “split system,” which consists of a condenser (outdoor) and evaporator coil (indoor). If the condenser component doesn’t properly match the evaporator coil, you may not get the maximum SEER and/or HSPF efficiency potential. Imagine putting brand new tires on one side of your vehicle, while leaving the other side with the old worn-out ones. Most likely, you wouldn’t get the full potential of performance and fuel efficiency desired.
Energy Efficiency in the Long-Term
It’s imperative that you replace both units if you decide to go the route of a new HVAC system, in order to get the maximum performance and optimal efficiency for your value. When Augusta GA residents compare the SEER and HSPF ratings of different heat pumps, they will indeed notice that the more efficient units come with a higher price tag, but this shouldn’t deter your decision. The higher the SEER/HSPF efficiency, the less it will cost to run on a monthly basis, which means you will get a hefty return on your investment in the months to come, even though your initial investment is larger.