How Ratings Help?
Efficiency ratings are important for a number of reasons for selecting a home-comfort system. First of all, the heating and cooling efficiency ratings of ductless heat pumps help you perform a cost analysis to determine the estimated operating cost – similar to how an automobile’s estimated gas mileage helps determine the cost of driving the vehicle.
Efficiency ratings give you an apples-to-apples comparison for different models you are considering for your home-improvement project. This process is important for determining the lifetime operating cost, which is the true cost of any home-comfort system purchase, and the return on your investment. Moreover, once you have gained insight on the importance of energy efficiency, you’ll see that the so-called bargain deals aren’t actually bargains, but, rather, an impending headache and potential money pit.
Efficiency ratings help you decide which system is best for your part of the Southeastern United States. If you live in South Florida, you certainly want to put more weight, or performance, into cooling efficiency, which typically includes ductless systems with good humidity management. On the other hand, if your home is in Spartanburg, S.C., you may decide to place a higher value on the heating efficiency of your new ductless system for surefire warmth on those winter days and nights with temperatures hovering or below the freezing point.
Lastly, the location of your new ductless system must be taken into account when considering heating and cooling efficiencies. For instance, if you are converting attic space to a spare bedroom or home office, you may consider cooling efficiency more important than heating efficiency, no matter which state your home is located.
HSPF: Heating Efficiency
The heating efficiency of ductless heat pumps (and any ducted heat pump) is indicated by the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). A higher HSPF value means greater system efficiency. The HSPF is calculated by factoring the estimated heating output over the heating season of a system by the electricity input needed to power the compressor and electric-resistance components.
SEER: Cooling Efficiency
Since ductless heat pumps provide home cooling in addition to home heating, they are rated for cooling efficiency in the same manner as conventional air conditioning systems. Cooling efficiency is known as the Seasonal Energy-Efficiency Ratio (SEER), and is calculated by factoring the estimated cooling output for the duration of the cooling season by the electricity input needed to power the electrical components. Like HSPF, the higher the SEER value, the greater performance and efficiency delivered.
Energy Star: Guide To Energy Savings
The Energy Star program was established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992 as a voluntary program to provide a platform for the development of strategies and manufacturing technologies which reduce pollution. The Energy Star logo and labeling program is internationally recognized, and helps consumers save energy dollars by easily identifying appliances and products that have met stringent efficiency testing carried out by certified third parties.
Energy Star-qualified ductless heat pumps are often identified as such on the bright yellow EnergyGuide label. The EnergyGuide label makes it simpler to quickly compare the efficiency between similar ductless system models, and provides the estimated annual energy consumption.