What is HSPF2?

HSPF, or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, measures how efficiently a heat pump can heat your home during the cold weather months. The Department of Energy (DOE) has recently refined the testing procedure for determining HSPF, resulting in the creation of HSPF2, a more accurate scale to measure heat pump efficiency.

So, what exactly is a high HSPF2 rating?

As of Jan. 1, 2023, the DOE requires all split system heat pumps to have an HSPF2 of 7.5 or higher, and all single-packaged heat pumps to have an HSPF2 of 6.7 or higher. The higher the HSPF2 rating, the more efficient the heat pump, but the right HSPF2 rating for your home depends on multiple different things, like the climate you live in, number of home occupants, and more.

HSPF2 vs. SEER2 rating

Heat pumps are more energy efficient than other heating systems like furnaces. Under ideal conditions, a heat pump can transfer 300% more energy than it consumes, while a high-efficiency gas furnace is about 95% efficient. And, since heat pumps perform both heating and cooling functions, they can be a great investment for homeowners.

Because heat pumps can both heat and cool spaces, heat pumps boast both an HSPF2 and a SEER2 rating. SEER, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, measures heat pump efficiency during the cooling season. Like HSPF, the Department of Energy recently refined testing procedures for SEER, creating SEER2 ratings.

When a heat pump is set to “heat,” it transfers heat into your home to warm it. HSPF2 measures the efficiency of this process. When a heat pump is set to “cool,” it extracts heat out of your home to cool it down. SEER2 measures the efficiency of this process.

You can find both the heat pump HSPF2 rating and the heat pump SEER2 rating on the Energy Guide sticker on your unit.

What’s the difference between these two?

While both HSPF2 and SEER2 are indicators of overall heat pump efficiency, they measure opposite things. The HSPF2 rating measures energy efficiency during heating months in the fall and winter, and SEER2 measures energy efficiency during cooling months in the spring and summer. Because a heat pump can perform two different functions, it needs two separate ratings to determine the efficiency of each function.

Which rating is more important?

The more important rating varies depending on the season. The HSPF2 rating measures energy efficiency during a heating season, so that will be more important during your colder, winter months. The SEER2 rating measures energy efficiency during a cooling season, so that number will be more beneficial during warmer, summer months.

HSPF2 rating is likely more important to you if you live in a region where wintry, cold weather lasts significantly longer than warm or humid temperatures. The opposite is true if you live in a part of the country where it’s hot and balmy more than it’s cool or frigid.

How much can a higher HSPF2 save you?

A higher HSPF2 typically goes along with having a higher SEER2 and an overall more effective system. A smoothly working system can save you time and the stress of dealing with a malfunctioning heat pump, but it can also save you money.

Buying a higher-rated heat pump may cost you more initially than a lower-rated alternative. But, you could justify spending more with the potential money you save on energy bills.

Additional factors that can influence HSPF2 rating and heat pump efficiency

Sizing: Heat pumps are “fit” to your home. During installation, an HVAC professional will determine the correct size heat pump for your home so that it can heat and cool efficiently based on square footage, number of rooms, and floors in the home.

If your heat pump is too small for the size of your home, it could be using more energy trying to heat or cool your home, but ultimately exert so much energy that it’s unable to complete the job. If your heat pump is too big for your home, it’s likely heating or cooling your home too fast, then rapidly turning on and off to repeat the process and keep your home at your desired temperature. The constant on-and-off cycle of the heat pump can use more energy than necessary, making the overall system less efficient.

To avoid installing the wrong size heat pump in your home, always leave sizing to an HVAC professional.

Climate: Your heat pump can provide heat to your home in all kinds of outdoor climates, but when the temperature outside drops below 25°F, it requires more energy to provide sufficient heat. A properly sized heat pump can heat a well-insulated home even in sub-zero temperatures. However, if you live in an older home in a climate that regularly drops below 25°F, many homeowners may prefer a hybrid heat pump to get the best comfort and efficiency from their system.

Need Assistance?

At SS&B Heating and Cooling, we’re ready to help you navigate the complexities of heat pump selection. Reach out to us for expert advice and to find the best solution for your home!

Ready to upgrade your heat pump? Call us today! 417-580-9905, Have questions? Fill out our contact form!

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