If you are choosing a heat pump for your Southern California home, you are probably making a wise choice. Heat pumps can be a remarkably efficient way to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, especially with the mild climate of Los Angeles.
To get the biggest energy savings possible, you’ll want to compare the SEER and HSPF ratings of the different pumps available. SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) and HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) are two practical measures of the energy efficiency of heat pumps. One measures the efficiency while in cooling mode, and the other indicates how efficient the system is at heating the air.
To fully understand SEER and HSPF, there are a couple of other terms you’ll need to know:
- British Thermal Units, or BTUs, are a unit of measurement for heat change. One BTU is the amount of energy required to heat or cool a pound of water by exactly one degree. (It works for both heating and cooling, because the same amount of heat change is involved either way; to cool something, you simply remove the heat from it.)
- A watt-hour is a unit of electricity consumption. It represents one watt of current used continuously for one hour.
Both SEER and HSPF are measures of BTUs per watt-hour. SEER measures how efficient a heat pump is at cooling the air. A SEER rating of 13 would mean that 13 BTUs of heat are removed from the air for each watt-hour of electricity used.
HSPF indicates how many BTUs of heat the pump can add to the air when in heating mode. HSPF is normally lower than SEER, with a typical system producing 7 or 8 BTUs of heat for each watt-hour of electricity. This is still much more efficient than a regular furnace, however, and can significantly cut down on your heating bills.
To find out which heat pump options would work best for your home in Los Angeles or Ventura County, contact us at Around the Clock Air Conditioning and Heating, Inc. We would be happy to answer whatever questions you may have.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about SEER ratings and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.