We feature heat pump ratings on WebHVAC to give you the opportunity to compare side by side the models you are considering. Rather than having to visit multiple manufacturer’s websites to get the information you want, we pull it together for you in a way that is easy to read and digest. We give details of the key areas most consumers want to know about – operating costs, features, reliability, warranty and an overall rating which summarizes our research. If you are simply looking for our latest heat pump ratings please see the following list:
- March 2020 Top HVAC Stories
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- December 2019 Top HVAC Stories
- October 2019 Top HVAC Stories
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- May 2019 Top HVAC Stories
In this heat pump ratings guide, we explain what goes into the heat pump ratings you read on WebHVAC. You’ll understand what we’re looking for so you can evaluate each unit in light of your own priorities for the heat pump you ultimately choose.
Heat pump ratings in this category are based on energy efficiency, measured in SEER, for how well heat pumps cool. SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating and details how much cooling the unit gets from each unit of electricity it uses. It’s a lot like gas mileage. Heating efficiency is measured in HSPF which stands for Heating Seasonal Performance Factor. SEER and HSPF tend to go hand in hand.
The least efficient heat pumps on the market are 13 SEER units and they get 1 star. 14-15 SEER units are 2 star, 16-17SEER units are 3 star, and 18-19 SEER units are 4 star. The most efficient are 20 SEER and above, and they get 5 star heat pump ratings for efficiency. As you review the operating costs rating, keep a couple of things in mind. First, the more efficient the heat pump is the more it will cost.
The flip side of efficiency is that the more efficient a heat pump is, the less energy it uses and the less it will cost to operate. You’ll pay more up front but less over the long-haul for an efficient model.
Secondly, a high-efficiency heat pump may not be the right choice for all homes. For example, if you live in a very mild climate, without very cold winters or very hot summers, a 13-15 SEER heat pump might be your most cost-effective choice when you balance equipment costs with ongoing operating costs. In hot climates, an efficient heat pump is the best choice and in cool climates a high-efficiency, dual fuel heat pump paired with a gas furnace makes the most sense. Choose an efficiency level that is right for the weather where you live. Don’t be turned off by a 2-star rating if that’s what’s most economical for your climate.
The basic factor that sets heat pumps apart in terms of features is the operation of the compressor. Standard heat pumps have a single-stage compressor. It’s either on at 100% or its off. Two-stage compressors, dual compressors or modulating compressor run on lower power to maintain heating and cooling and on high power to boost it when needed. Staged heating and cooling is slightly more efficient and it also helps to create more balanced temperatures and better humidity control. Other features that affect our heat pump ratings in this category include the presence of communicating technology, internal pressure switches, upgraded coil guards, and other types of premium equipment.
We look at consumer ratings for reliability when available as well as other data from consumer groups. Reliability encompasses short-term dependability and long-term longevity. Models or brands that are known to have fewer mechanical issues get higher marks. Those with more problems get lower heat pump ratings.
A warranty says something about the level of confidence the manufacturer has in its products and, we think, how committed they are to customer service. Entry level heat pumps typically have a 5 year warranty and they get 2 stars. Most of the better heat pumps have a 10-year limited warranty and we give them 3-star heat pump ratings. The best heat pumps might have 12-year or lifetime compressor coverage and those models get warranty ratings that are deservedly higher.
We simply average the ratings to determine overall heat pump ratings. If the average comes out at a quarter star, we use our judgment about the heat pump to decide to round it up or down.
That’s how we approach our heat system. We hope this will help you effectively use our heat pump ratings in your comparisons of the heat pumps on your list to consider.