HSPF Rating: Meaning & What Is Good For Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a far better alternative for mild cooling and heating requirements than costly centralized HVAC systems.

They provide energy-efficient heating or cooling no matter how cold or warm the region is. These units use electricity to transfer heat from the cold outdoors to the warmer indoors.

However, not all heat pumps offer the same heating efficiency, which is why it’s essential to check the units’ HSPF ratings before investing in one.

Want to know more about what HSPF is and why it’s crucial to consider? Read on!

Heat Pump in Basement

What Is HSPF & HSPF Ratings?

Heating Seasonal Performance Factor or HSPF is the standard measurement used by the United States Department of Energy or DOE to calculate a heat pumps’ energy-efficiency.

The greater the ratings, the better the heat pumps! Efficient heat pumps result in low energy consumption and higher energy savings.

All HVAC manufacturers should follow DOE standards for rating and testing their products’ efficiencies, including heat pumps.

Currently, there are four primary levels of HSPF ratings you should consider:

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8.2 HSPF

According to DOE standards, this is the minimum and the lowest permitted level of energy efficiency for new devices and equipment.

In many instances, 8.2 HSPF rated heat pumps are much more efficient than most of the older heat pumps you’re planning to replace.

8.5 HSPF

Heat pumps with 8.5 HSPF ratings meet the minimal standards for better energy efficiency in the United States and come with Energy Star certification, ensuring less consumption and higher savings!

11.0 HSPF

Heat pumps with 11.0 HSPF ratings are super-efficient, i.e., Carriers’ Infinity 18VS. It can operate anywhere from 25 to 100%, which means that these units only require the bare minimum energy.

In short, it’s a five-stage heat pump that provides excellent performance!

13.0 HSPF

Carrier Infinity has another heat pump known as the Infinity 20 with an excellent 13.0 HSPF rating of heating efficiency. It’s still considered the highest energy-efficient unit on the market.

This model can offer impressive energy savings compared to most Energy-Star-approved heat pumps.

How To Calculate HSPF

HSPF is the metric unit of energy efficiency for equipment such as heat pumps. Every winter season, we can evaluate:

  • Electricity spent on heating and its power usage in kilowatt-hours kWh
  • The average heating we experience and our heating capacity needs in BTU.

For instance, to heat around 1500 sq. ft of space during long winters, we drain approximately 20,000 kWh.

Meanwhile, the heat pump powered by 20,000 kWh generates almost 160,000,000 BTUs of heat.

Therefore, we can calculate the HSPF rating of heat pumps using this formula:

HSPF = Heating effect (BTUs) / Electricity consumed (kWh)

Now, convert kWh into watt-hours, and since 1kWh = 1000Wh, we get:

20,000kWh = 20,000,000Wh

Now, put this to the HSPF equation:

HSPF = 160,000,000BTUs/20,000,000Wh

HSPF = 8

So, the heat pump’s HSPF rating is 8. But how much electricity did we consume? Well, the average US price per kilowatt-hours is $0.13, and the required power was 20,000kWh. Therefore:

$0.13 8 x 20000 = $2638/heating season

If we used a 10-HSPF heat pump rather than 8-HSPF, we would have consumed only 16,000kWh, and it would have cost us about $2110, saving almost $500.

How To Measure Heat Pump Efficiency

You can measure HSPF or heat pump efficiency through the Coefficient of performance or COP.

COP measures the amount of heat transferred against the electricity consumed. To identify the COP value of a heat pump, you have to multiply the HSPF rating of the heat pump by 0.293.

If you’re wondering where this number came from, read on:

The HSPF ratings can be converted to the seasonally averaged COP by changing BTUs and electricity consumed to joules – a standard energy unit.

Therefore, since:

1BTU = 1055.05 joules

1Wh = 3600 joules

Therefore, the average COP is:

Avg COP = Heat transferred / electricity consumed

And the formula is:

(HSPFx1055.05 joules/BTU) / (3600 joules/ Wh) = 0.293 HSPF

Today, heat pumps have an HSPF rating of about 8, transferring 2.34 times heat against electricity consumed.

Nevertheless, here are some common Heating Seasonal Performance Factor ratings with their COP:

  • 8 HSPF = 2.34 COP
  • 9 HSPF = 2.64 COP
  • 10 HSPF = 2.93 COP
  • 11 HSPF = 3.22 COP
  • 13 HSPF = 3.8 COP
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What Is The Good HSPF? Recommendations For Your Location

The greater the HSPF ratings, the better the efficiency of your heat pumps! Therefore, it would help if you bought one with an HSPF rating between 8 to 10 for your residential property.

A heat pump with an 8.2 HSPF rating is an Energy-Star approved unit by EPA. To qualify for the Energy-Star label, the unit should also have a 12 or above SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio rating. You can read more about HSPF vs SEER here.

Nevertheless, here is our recommendation for the best HPSF ratings for various locations and climates:

  • 8.0 to 8.5 HSPF is ideal for mildest regions; Zones 4 and 3 of the United States, including California and Washington
  • 8.5 to 9.5 HSPF rating is best for some areas of Zones 5, 4, and 3, such as New York, New Jersey, etc
  • 9.6 or higher HSPF rating is perfect for Zones 2 and 1, such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico

Energy Saving Calculator

By choosing a higher-efficiency heat pump, you can reduce your energy bills significantly. To calculate how efficient a heat pump is for a specific place, you can use an energy-saving calculator.

The primary purpose of using this calculator is to identify your heat pumps’ cost, size, and savings you can make.

It’s effortless to use: all you have to do is fill in the required information; this includes product type, condenser type, current and new capacity, existing and new heating efficiency, etc.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

What Size Heat Pump Do I Need For A 1,200 Sq Ft Home?

You’ll need a heat pump with a heating/cooling capacity of 2 to 3 tons for your 1200 sq ft. home. One ton is equal to 12,000 BTUs.

What Size Heat Pump Do I Need For A 2,000 Sq Ft Home?

For an area or home of about 2000 sq ft., you’ll need a heat pump with approximately 4-ton heating capacity.

What Heat Pump Brands Have The Highest HSPF?

Here are a few heat pump brands having the highest HSPF ratings:

What’s The Most Reliable Heat Pump Brand?

Carrier is the most reliable heat pump brand on the market. It provides the best and highest HSPF ratings during heating operations. If you live in colder climates then check out our article here.


Heat pump technology is an efficient and effective alternative to the expensive centralized heating system usually found in houses.

However, it’s better to check the HSPF ratings of heat pumps before purchasing one.

The higher the HSPF ratings, the better your heat pump is at consuming less power and saving more!

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.