When you’re comparing ductless, mini-split heat pump brands, trying to get a handle on heat pump efficiency terms is time-consuming and frustrating.
Much like attempting to finish a 1500-piece, hot-air balloon, jigsaw puzzle.
You can only go at it for so long.
So, here’s the simple explanation on efficiency & why you’ll want to have a heat pump that has the highest efficiency as practical.
The Pieces of Heat Pump Efficiency:
- What is heat pump efficiency?
- 4 ratings to compare between brands
- Oil / Electric Baseboard VS Ductless Heat Pumps
- Savings – What to Expect
What Is Heat Pump Efficiency?
High efficiency models use the most technologically advanced components to reach high efficiency levels, like variable-speed compressors. Variable speed operation saves energy and wear and tear on the compressor. That’s why the more efficient the unit, generally can also have a longer lifespan with fewer maintenance issues.
Testing laboratories find heat pump energy efficiency by metering how much electricity they use to heat/cool an indoor space compared to its rated outdoor operating temperature. They run the heat pump continuously to judge its usage over the course of a season.
The industry terms to pay attention to are; HSPF, COP & SEER.
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4 Heat Pump Efficiency Ratings to Compare
Remember when you’re comparing heat pumps, for all things to be equal, make sure you’re looking at models of the same size. For more information on the best size heat pump for your home, check out our Sizing article.
The HSPF (heating season performance factor) is a value to measure how efficiently the pump heats. When comparing models based on this rating, first make sure you’re comparing units that are the same size. Secondly, keep in mind the higher the HSPF, the lower it costs to run the unit.
The second rating is the COP (coefficient of performance). The COP is easier to understand because it reveals how much heat the heat pump creates using one watt of electricity. If it has a COP of 3, the pump is capable of producing 3 units of heat for every watt of power used.
In South Shore, NS the most significant benefit of a heat pump is the heating function, but they can also keep your space cool in the summer. The cooling efficiency of a heat pump is called the seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER). The minimum SEER for heat pumps stands at 14, and most kinds of mini splits easily exceed that standard.
Rated Outdoor Temperature
The rated outdoor temperature refers to the coldest temperature that the heat pump can still provide adequate heat. In South Shore, Nova Scotia, look for one whose rated temperature is -15 C, while a few models have outdoor temperature ratings as low as -20 C. The lower the temperature, the better the system will supply heat. To get more info on how low outdoor temperature affects a heat pumps performance, read our article on temperature here.
Heat Pump Efficiency VS Electric Baseboard / Oil Furnace
Heat pumps are particularly efficient at heating compared to electric baseboard or space heaters. All heat pumps extract heat from the outdoors and use the refrigerant to send the heat inside. Electric heaters use resistance coils that need one watt of electricity to create one unit of heat. Compared to these types of heating systems, heat pumps, especially ductless units, offer far greater efficiency for much less energy consumption and cost.
Compared to oil furnaces, heating bills with a high efficiency heat pump will be 2-3 times lower (depending on the price of oil). The output will be different. Heated air coming from an oil furnace will feel warmer, but there’s no risk of carbon monoxide exposure and no need for an oil storage tank.
You’ll still want your electric or oil heat as back up on cold days, or for the other areas of your home. But turn down that thermostat in the areas the heat pump covers to get the most savings.
Savings with High Efficiency Ductless Heat Pumps
The higher the HSPF, COP and SEER, the higher your energy savings. Theoretically, each single increase in the HSPF indicates the system uses over 10 percent less energy, which translates to lower energy bills for you. To learn more about your potential savings with a heat pump check out our Savings article here.
Have questions about heat pump efficiency for Nova Scotia climates?
Ask us at South Shore HVAC for a risk-free estimate. Give us a call at 902-530-5002 or submit the form on this page to request an estimate. We service from Chester to Shelburne, Nova Scotia.