Heat pumps represent a very energy-efficient way to heat and cool a Portland-area home. They can save you money on your utility bills because heat pumps do not expend energy to create heat; they merely pump heat into (or out of) the house. Pumping heat out of the house is essentially how all air conditioners work; the difference with a heat pump is that it can reverse the process during cold weather.
As with all air conditioning or heating systems, some models are more energy-efficient than others. Since heat pumps perform both heating and cooling duties, they have two measures of efficiency: SEER, which rates their efficiency while in cooling mode, and HSPF, which rates their heating efficiency. The SEER ratings of heat pumps do not differ much from other high-efficiency air conditioning systems. When it comes to heating, though, the HSPF ratings can make them much more efficient than even top-of-the-line furnaces or boilers.
HSPF stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. It measures how much heat is pumped into the home, on average, for each watt-hour of electricity consumed. The heat output is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units, so HSPF is simply the number of BTUs per watt-hour. If the heat pump warms the indoor air by 8 BTUs while using only 1 watt-hour of electricity, it would have an HSPF of 8.
The reason that number is so remarkable is because one watt-hour of electricity can produce, at maximum, 3.4 BTUs of heat. But remember, a heat pump doesn’t produce heat; it simply pumps heat. Because of this, it can easily provide 2 to 3 times as much heating power as it consumes in electrical power.
HSPF ratings for new heat pumps typically fall somewhere between 7 and 10. By choosing a higher HSPF rating, you cut down on how much electricity your home will consume. Plus, if your heat pump reaches certain HSPF levels, it can qualify for additional savings in the form of utility rebates.
To learn more, contact us at (503) 266-1249. We would be happy to answer your questions.