Heat Pump Efficiency

Before we get into the discussion of heat pump efficiency, we need to understand a heat pump. A precise definition of heat pump is that it is an electrical device that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another place. However, heat pumps are not a new technology. In fact, both refrigerators and air conditioners are two common examples that uses the heat pump technology. Heat pumps transfer heat by circulating a substance called refrigerant through a cycle of evaporation and condensation. It is the compressor that pumps the refrigerant between the two heat exchanging coils. The best thing about heat pumps is that their cycle is fully reversible and so they can provide a comfortable climate to homes throughout the year.

As far as the efficiency of heat pump is concerned, the coefficient of performance (COP) is the measure of heat pump’s efficiency. It is determined by dividing the energy output of the heat pump by the electrical energy that is required to run the heat pump at a specific temperature. Hence, higher is the COP more efficient is the heat pump.

The heating seasonal performance factor or HSPF on the other hand is the measure of the total heat output in Btu of a heat pump over the entire heating season divided by the total energy divided in watt hours it uses during that time.

The energy efficiency ratio or the EER measures the cooling capacity of the heat pump. It is determined by dividing the cooling capacity of the heat pump divided by the electrical energy inputs at a particular temperature. The higher is the EER rating, more efficient is the system.

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio on the other hand measures the total cooling offered by the heat pump over an entire season.

The efficiency ratings of different heat pumps uses various terminology. For example, the air source heat pumps have both the heating and cooling ratings. The heating rating is the HSPF and the cooling rating is the SEER. However, in the manufacturers’ manual only COP or EER ratings are found. On the other hand, earth source heat pumps use only COP or EER ratings.

Taking into consideration the energy efficiency of heat pumps, it is always a better idea to buy a heat pump that has high COP or EER rating. This is because the payback for these energy efficient systems will be higher in the long run and you will be able to save on your utility bills. So even if buying energy efficient systems means spending a higher amount initially it should be fine to bear it.

Even having a look at the external features of a heat pump is important while purchasing one. For instance, features like louvered and galvanized steel cabinet to protect the condensing unit from outside hazards is preferred over the others. Similarly, cabinets which are powder painted with a high quality enamel has a better durability and performance.

Last but not the least, carefully choose an HVAC contractor to install the heat pump in your home to enjoy the maximum comfort.



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