How Much More Efficient Will Your Next Heat Pump Be?

South End Plumbing, Heating, & Air Expert Tips

How Much More Efficient Will Your Next Heat Pump Be?

SEER Ratings Savings Chart
SEER Ratings Savings Chart

How Much More Efficient Will Your Next Heat Pump Be?

Heat pumps are now more efficient. Entering into widespread use in the 1970s due to a rise in natural gas costs, heat pumps are perfect for Charlotte’s moderate winter seasons and hot summer seasons. Years ago, heat pumps weren’t practical in climates where winter temperature levels fell below the mid-40s. Over the years, advances have actually made heat pumps an efficient option in temperature levels down to 0 degrees. Today, thanks to innovation and development, heat pumps are more efficient than ever.

Gains in Energy Efficiency

The seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) measures the cooling performance of a heat pump; the heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF) measures its heating performance. Both rankings compare the quantity of electrical power entering into the unit to the cooling or heating capacity that comes out. The greater the score, the higher the performance. Federal standards have increased the minimum SEER ratings throughout the years:

  • Before 1980, 6 SEER
  • 1980-1985, 7 SEER
  • 1986-1991, 8 SEER
  • 1992-2005, 10 SEER
  • 2006-2021, 13 SEER

In 2015, the minimum standards for heat pump effectiveness call for a SEER rating of 14 and HSPF ranking of 8.2.

As the SEER number climbs, the amount of power needed to cool your home declines. For example, a heat pump with a 12 SEER score uses half of the electrical energy of a 6 SEER system. A 10-SEER system purchased in 2005 is 30 percent less effective than a more recent design with a minimum SEER rating of 14.

The most effective heat pumps have a SEER score of 23 and an HSPF score of 10.2. Heat pumps achieve this performance through 2 considerable advances: variable speed motors and 2-stage compressors.

Variable Speed Compressors/Blowers

To have maximum comfort, you require the correct amount of airflow. Unlike standard blower motors that have only one speed, variable speed motors run at different speeds. The secret is that a variable speed motor monitors temperature, humidity and other factors and automatically makes modifications based upon the data it receives. For instance, a variable speed motor will increase its speed in the early morning to cool your house to a comfy level. Once it reaches the preferred temperature level, it drops down to a lower speed and enters into cruise control mode.

Variable speed fan motors allow for more accurate control of air flow throughout your home. Enhanced airflow uses a number of advantages:

  • Cleaner air: A variable speed blower continually flows air throughout your home, enabling filters to capture more dust particles and other indoor contaminants.
  • Improved comfort: A variable speed fan prevents the drastic temperature level swings that include a single-speed motor.
  • Increased effectiveness: Variable speed blowers use 66 percent less electrical energy.
  • Less noise: A variable speed motor eliminates the whoosh of air when your system cycles on since the fan motor gradually increases its speed rather than starting from scratch.

2-stage Compressors

Two-stage compressors work comparable to motors with variable speeds. A single-stage compressor performs at one level: full blast. Since it cools at only one speed, your heat pump cycles on and off often. The constant stopping and starting usage extreme energy and wears your system quicker.

A 2-stage compressor runs on a low setting on milder days and after that kicks into high gear to handle Charlotte’s hot summer season days. The low setting meets your needs 80 percent of the time, which decreases energy consumption. Due to the fact that your system runs longer on the low setting, it gets rid of more humidity from your indoor air and leaves you more comfy. It also extends the lifespan of your devices by getting rid of the frequent cycling.

Whether you are interested in the energy efficiency of a heat pump for a custom-made house, wish to include heating and cooling to an older home or need to update your current a/c system, our convenience professionals at South End Heating & Air have the experience and knowledge you need.


At South End Heating & Air we specialize in Furnace Repair and Replacement, contact us for a free consult. We’ll evaluate your system and help make recommendations for optimum value. After all, we want to keep you cool all summer long and warm in the winter. Just schedule a visit with one of our technicians to talk about how we can help with your thermostat’s settings. Would you like to learn more options our techs can help you with? give us a call at 704-684-5339


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