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What is HSPF rating and why is it important?


Heat pumps are a popular choice for year-round comfort, especially in areas where winter months are mild or where other fuel sources such as natural gas or heating oil are expensive. 

Regardless of where you are or why you have a heat pump, the day will arrive when it’s time for a new one. And when it does, understanding HSPF heating efficiency ratings can go a long way towards choosing a model that will provide years of energy-efficient comfort.

What is HSPF?

HSPF is an acronym for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. It’s a standardized rating used by all heat pump manufacturers to compare energy efficiencies between split-system air-source heat pumps. And, like miles per gallon for your car, the higher the HSPF number, the more efficient the system.

HSPF is calculated using the total amount of heat in BTU/h provided during the colder months divided by the total number of hours the system operated during the same time frame. 

How do I find a heat pump’s HSPF?

Most HVAC manufacturers will list each unit’s certified HSPF rating on their website. Printed materials such as brochures or spec sheets available through your local HVAC professional will typically include HSPF ratings. And, every heat pump manufactured in the U.S. will include an attached EnerygGuide label with the unit’s HSPF rating on display. 

Minimum HSPF ratings: Currently, the U.S. Department of Energy has established the minimum allowable efficiency for air-source split-system heat pumps at 8.2 HSPF.

Maximum SEER ratings: Because HVAC manufacturers are always developing newer and better technologies, “maximum” ratings are always changing. For now, the Carrier® Infinity® 20 heat pump with Greenspeed® Intelligence is the highest efficiency heat pump available with 13 HSPF heating efficiency.

Reading between the lines

HSPF ratings can also provide a hint about the comfort-enhancing features and performance of a heat pump. Higher HSPF units often have more comfort benefits, such as more precise temperature control or better summertime dehumidification, due to the technology that achieves the higher efficiency rating. And, because of the additional technology, you’ll probably notice a higher price tag as well.

Turn to the Experts 

Carrier offers a wide range of split-system air-source heat pumps, including the Infinity 20 heat pump with Greenspeed Intelligence and HSPF up to 13.  Make sure to call your local Carrier HVAC contractor for an inspection of your current system and recommendations on how to enhance your comfort.  

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