The cooling efficiency of a heat pump, like an air conditioner, is measured by its SEER. Because (unlike an air conditioner) a heat pump has a heating capacity, its heating efficiency is measured by the unit's HSPF. The minimum SEER rating for heat pumps was raised – by the U.S. Dept of Energy – in 2015 to 14; the minimum HSPF is now 8.2.
Effective January, 2023 the minimum SEER & HSPF rating for heat pumps was raised again to 15 SEER and 8.8 HSPF. Also, the DOE changed its testing procedures by increasing static pressure by up to five times what it previously was to better reflect field conditions. With that, new efficiency standards were born: SEER2 & HSPF2. We suspect both SEER & HSPF will eventually go away.
Federal tax credits are available for those interested in converting from a fossil fuel base heating system to an all electric heat pump system. Households that are making 80% of their area’s median income can receive a maximum rebate covering up to $8000 towards your new heat pump system. Other households who make at or above their area’s median income may still be able to qualify for up to $2000 toward a new heat pump system. Specific details on what equipment qualifies have yet to be released.
The indoor unit in a heat pump or all electric system is referred to as the air handler. The air handler consists of a blower motor, evaporator coil and auxiliary heat package. A common misconception is that this unit is the home's primary source of heat when - in reality - it is only a back-up.All manufacturers now – as mandated by the US Dept of Energy in 2019 – offer indoor electric air handlers with a high efficient ECM blower.
Because of the high cost of electricity & because in central Ohio we heat 7 or 8 months out of the year, we at Hetter Heating & Cooling recommend, when purchasing a heat pump, focus on a unit with an HSPF of at least 10.0 or higher. For more information, go to www.trane.com, www.tempstar.com, www.ruud.com.