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SEER and HSPF: How Heating Pump Efficiency Is Measured

    Trying to understand the technical specifications of complex machines can turn bewildering. Heat pumps are no exception. Don’t worry: with a skilled technician helping you either with selecting a heat pump or repairing one, you’ll have a guide through the technical maze.

    We can help you right now by explaining two of the most important numbers for heat pumps, SEER and HSPF. These two acronyms will tell you how efficiently a heat pump uses energy to provide you with cooling and heating. One measures cooling efficiency, the other heating efficiency.

    For more help with heat pumps, call Comfort Zone Heating & Air. We have earned the trust of many homeowners over the years with our services for heating in North Atlanta, GA.


    SEER is the efficiency rating for a heat pump in cooling mode. SEER stands for “seasonal energy efficiency rating,” and is similar to EER, “energy efficiency rating,” except that it measures the average efficiency over a season, rather than on a single test. SEER is the ratio of the amount of cooling energy the heat pump provides in BTUs (British Thermal Units) to the amount of energy consumed in watt-hours. The ratio is expressed as a whole number. The higher the number, the more efficiently the heat pump uses electricity to remove heat from indoors and move it outdoors. In order for a heat pump to qualify for the U.S. government’s Energy Star label, it must have a SEER of 14 or higher.


    When in heating mode, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured as HSPF, which stands for “heating seasonal performance factor.” It is measured in an almost identical way to SEER: the ratio of heat provided in BTUs to the energy consumed in watt-hours, as measured over a season. Again, the higher the HSPF number, the more efficient the system. HSPF is usually lower than SEER, because heat pumps are not as effective at drawing heat from cold outdoor air as they are drawing it from warm indoor air. Most heat pumps will have an HSPF of around 9 or 10.

    If you are currently considering installing a heat pump, knowing a unit’s efficiency is only part of finding the right heat pump. Let your installer guide you in finding the right type and size of heat to provide you with the optimal comfort in your home.

    When you need assistance with your heating in North Atlanta, GA, call up the skilled professionals at Comfort Zone Heating & Air. We can help you install, repair, or maintain your heat pump so you have the maximum year-round comfort.