When deciding on a heat pump system, you want to choose a system that will save you money on your utility bills and therefore provide you with a high return on investment. And though heat pump efficiency is generally higher than the efficiency of other heating and cooling systems, some heat pumps are more energy efficient than others. To make sure you get the biggest energy savings from your system, there are four heat pump efficiency terms you should be familiar with: SEER, EER, HSPF and COP.
SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) is the term most commonly used to describe the cooling efficiency of an air-source heat pump system. It tells you how much cooling power is produced by each unit of electricity consumed. SEER reports the overall average energy efficiency, taking into account all of the weather conditions faced by your home over the long Georgia summers.
EER (energy efficiency ratio) is also used to measure air conditioning efficiency. Though it is often reported for air-source heat pumps (in addition to SEER), EER is more commonly used for geothermal heat pump systems. As the names might suggest, EER and SEER are similar measurements; the difference is that EER is not a seasonal average. Instead, it measures the system’s efficiency when running at a specific temperature and humidity level.
HSPF (heating seasonal performance factor) measures how efficiently an air-source heat pump works when heating your home. Like SEER, HSPF is a seasonal average, and tells you how much heating power is produced by each unit of electricity.
COP (coefficient of performance) measures the heating efficiency of a geothermal heat pump. If a heat pump provides exactly as much heat energy as it uses in electrical energy, it would be 100 percent efficient and have a COP of 1. Most geothermal heat pumps provide at least three times as much heat energy as they consume in electrical energy, though, which means they are 300 percent efficient and have a COP of 3.