SEER Rating and its Effect on the Heat Pump Unit
SEER is an acronym for the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating which is used to indicate the efficiency of a central air conditioner. For a heat pump, which not only performs the air conditioning for your home, but also satisfies your heating demands, SEER is a term which reflects how efficiently a heat pump turns electricity into air conditioning.
Higher the SEER rating, the better will be the efficiency of a heat pump. Some older models of heat pumps have a SEER rating starting at about 8 and goes as high as 20 or above for the advanced top line models. An average SEER rating is estimated to be in the range of 14-16.
There are many factors which account for the cost of a particular heat pump, SEER rating is one of those primary factors. The cost of a heat pump increases in accordance with the increase in SEER rating. But don’t forget, the higher the SEER, the more efficient the heat pump will be. A heat pump having higher SEER rating will consume less energy which in turns lowers your energy costs reducing your home electricity bills. It is highly recommended to consider how much frequently you will use your heat pump for both cooling and heating purposes before you decide for a particular unit.
If you live in a hot region where your heat pump will have to work in a cooling mode for a longer period, it is better to purchase a unit with a high SEER rating. You will be right on the money in no more than 3 to 5 years depending on the use; therefore don’t hesitate to go for a more energy-efficient unit. In case you live in a colder region where temperatures aren’t below freezing; purchasing a heat pump with a lower SEER rating might be most cost-effective. You might consider a unit with SEER ranging from 13 to 16.
Since a heat pump also works in heating mode, there is an efficiency rating related to the heating known as Heating Seasonal Performance Factor abbreviated as HSPF. Same is the case with HSPF, the higher the HSPF, the higher the efficiency. It ranges from 7 to over 10 in the current models. SEER and HSPF have a great compromise; a heat pump efficient in cooling will be equally effective for heating and one that is unable to cool properly will be inefficient to satisfy your heating demands also.
When a heat pump is running, either in cooling or heating mode, the SEER and HSPF are the only two possible efficiencies. Given below are a few steps that you can follow to maximize the efficiency of your heat pump.
1. A unit that is poorly installed will not perform as per your expectations. So, make sure the system has been installed properly.
2. Maintenance is a necessary factor to keep the system up. If the coils are not cleaned thoroughly, filter is dirty, or the blower fan is not set to a proper speed, then the efficiency of the system will be highly reduced.
3. Make sure the ductwork has no cracks; it should be in a fine working condition. Otherwise the treated air will be lost through these cracks which will affect the efficiency badly.
4. Both the excess and shortage of the refrigerant are bad. Get the refrigerant level checked every 1-2 years for the better performance of the system.
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