Recent advances in heat pump technology make them one of the best ways
to cool and heat homes, even in Indiana’s climate with its cold winters.
These HVAC appliances must meet specific energy standards. The minimum
SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) stands at 13, and the HSPF (heating
season performance factor) must be 7.7. Features that raise both the SEER
and HSPF include:
Variable-speed motors: These are electronically commutated motors (ECMs) that use less electricity
than standard blower motors. While these motors raise the SEER in both
the blower and outdoor compressor, in our region, the benefits of having
an ECM in the blower also increase indoor comfort. The motors run more
quietly than standard blower motors, and for longer periods. In the summer,
the longer operational time removes more humidity. The motors start and
stop slowly; in the winter, this stops the cold blast of air coming from
Dual-speed compressors: These save electricity by compressing the refrigerant at different speeds,
only operating at high speed when the weather is the hottest. Not only
does this save a lot of electricity in the summer, it also lowers the
wear and tear on the compressor.
Scroll compressors: Because heating demands are high here, a heat pump with a scroll compressor
delivers 10 to 15 degrees more warmth indoors than a standard compressor.
These compressors also have a longer life than a piston compressor.
Dual-fuel heat pumps: These systems utilize the energy efficiency of a pump until temperatures
drop into the 30s, at which time they switch to a burner that uses combustible
fuel. Instead of having to burn fuel all winter, you can harvest what
heat is in the air during the fall and spring, relying on fuel only when
the weather is coldest. The AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency)
ratings of the burners, along with the HSPF of the heat pumps, drive the
efficiency of the dual-fuel systems.