The Real Estate Encyclopedia
How Do I Measure The Efficiency Of My Hot Water Heat Pump?
Category - Home Ownership Questions - Building Your Home FAQ's

Have you been looking for an alternative method of heating the water that your home needs for bathing, washing dishes and washing clothes? These days, many families are turning to hot water heat pumps because they are said to be the most efficient method, but how do you measure the efficiency of these units so that you can effectively compare them with your other options? Fortunately, there are actually four types of measurement that can be used to describe the pumpís efficiency and any of them can be used at any one time.

In this article, we have attempted to shed some light on the ways that you can determine the efficiency of your heat pump. One thing that you should keep in mind during your perusal is that the higher the number, the higher the actual efficiency of the pump.

Coefficient of Performance (COP)
This refers to the ratio of the pumpís kWh output to the kWh electrical output. A water or ground source unit will have a rating of three to five, whilst an air source until will usually have a rating of two to four. When the outside temperature drops, the COP of an air source unit will decrease Ė make sure that, when you compare ratings, they are based on the same outside air temperature.

         Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER)
This evaluates the efficiency during the cooling cycle of the pump and is also commonly used for air conditioners. This is generally calculated using a 35 degrees Celsius outside temperature and an inside temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius. It is a realistic measurement for warmer climates. If the EER rating is higher than 10, you can rest assured that you have a good machine.

         Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF)
This refers to the ratio of kWh heat output over the heating season to watt-hours of electricity used. If the rating is between five and seven, you can rest assured that you have a good pump on your hands. Ratings of over eight are often considered to be high efficiency and can enable you to receive an Energy Tax Credit in some countries.

         Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
This refers to the cooling output during a typical cooling season divided by the total electric energy input during the same period. Instead of being evaluated at a single operating condition, it represents the expected overall performance for a typical yearís weather in a given location. A good rating will fall somewhere between eight and ten.

It is important to keep in mind that each of these hot water heat pump efficiency measurements are essentially factory or lab tests. The unit in question could have a different measurement when it comes to its actual usage. The measurement could also vary depending on the weather or how much heat is required for the task at hand. Because of this, the best (or most realistic) way for you to determine the efficiency of the pump is based on seasonal calculations, such as HSPF and SEER (outlined above).

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