First, a quick crash course on what SEER means: SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, and refers to the cooling efficiency of a heat pump system.
The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient the heat pump will be during summer. That said, heat pumps with high SEER ratings are also more expensive.
So, which SEER rating is best for Portland homes?
We recommend any heat pump with a SEER rating of at least 14. For a more personalized SEER recommendation, we would need to take into account factors specific to your home and consider your budget and heating/cooling preferences.
In this blog, we’ll explain:
- Why we recommend any heat pump that is at least 14 SEER
- Why you should consult with a professional before choosing a heat pump
Want a professional to help you pick the right heat pump for your home? Our comfort specialists can give you honest recommendations based on your family’s heating needs and budget.
Why we recommend any heat pump that is at least 14 SEER
Starting in 2023, all new heat pumps in Oregon will need to have a minimum SEER rating of 14, per federal requirements.
Even though you can get heat pumps with lower SEER ratings now, it’s better to plan ahead and get a system that will be compliant with the new federal energy standards. That way, it will be easier to get replacement parts or a replacement system from the manufacturer if your heat pump breaks down in the future.
Besides SEER, you’ll also want to consider the HSPF (Heating Seasonal Performance Factor), which measures the heating efficiency of the heat pump. Similar to SEER, the higher the HSPF, the more energy efficient the heat pump will be during the winter months. HSPF ratings also have a new federal standard. Starting in 2023, all new heat pumps sold in the United States will need to have an HSPF of at least 8.8.
Interested in a heat pump with a SEER and HSPF that are higher than the national requirements?
If so, you’ll need to make sure the long-term energy savings of the heat pump exceed (or at least equal) the higher installation cost of the unit. And this is where you’ll need to consult with a professional...
Why you should consult with a professional before choosing a heat pump
Want a Portland pro to help you choose a new heat pump?
To get an accurate estimate of the long-term savings of a particular heat pump, you’ll need to have a professional consider the following factors specific to your home:
- The condition of your ductwork: If your ductwork is leaky, then you may not see the energy savings of a high SEER/HSPF system because your heat pump will have to work overtime to compensate for the temperature fluctuations caused by leaky ducts.
- The insulation levels in your home: If your home has poor insulation, then a heat pump will have to work extra hard to keep your home at the desired temperature. This essentially cancels out any energy savings you’d get from a high-efficiency heat pump.
- Your family’s cooling and heating preferences: How you normally set your thermostat during summer and winter influences the overall energy consumption of your heat pump. For example, you’ll naturally have higher energy bills if you set your thermostat really low in the summer or really high in the winter.
Without considering the factors above, you won’t get an accurate estimate of the potential savings of a particular heat pump, which makes it difficult to compare different SEER ratings and HSPFs.
A professional will have the knowledge and tools necessary to account for these factors and provide other recommendations (such as the size of the heat pump) to help you choose the best heat pump for your home.
Our comfort specialists can take into account all of the factors listed above to help you choose the right heat pump for your heating/cooling needs and budget.
For more information about what to expect when you hire Four Seasons, visit our heat pump installation page.