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Difference Between SEER and HSPF


The efficiency of your heating and cooling equipment will affect your operating costs for years to come. When purchasing a new HVAC system, efficiency should be a factor in your decision. SEER and HSPF are both measures of efficiency, but each relate to different equipment.

What does SEER mean?

Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, is a measure of efficiency used for cooling systems. Air conditioners have SEER ratings, as well as heat pumps, as they can also be used to provide cooling. A unit’s SEER measures the efficiency of its cooling output for the entirety of an average cooling season. To calculate a unit’s SEER, the unit’s total cooling output is divided by its total electricity use, both for the given time period.

What does HSPF mean?

Heat Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF, is a measure of heating efficiency used for heat pumps. Heat pumps have both HSPF and SEER ratings, as they can be used to provide heating and cooling. It compares a unit’s heating output to the watt-hours of electricity consumed for an average heating season.


While both are measures of a unit’s efficiency, it is important to remember that SEER is used to measure cooling efficiency while HSPF is used to measure heating efficiency. When purchasing a new heat pump, it is important that you consider both the SEER rating and HSPF rating of any unit you are considering, as together, they will tell you the overall efficiency of a unit. While SEER is used for both air conditioners and heat pumps, HSPF is only used for heat pumps and not for other traditional heating systems; AFUE, or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, is used to measure the efficiency of combustion heating systems including gas furnaces and boilers.

For both SEER and HSPF ratings, higher means better. The higher the rating, the more efficient the unit is. Lower ratings translate to less efficiency.

Have questions about SEER or HSPF ratings? The heating and cooling experts at Nelson Comfort are happy to answer any questions you may have — give us a call today!

About The Author


Dan Detmer

Dan Detmer is the owner of Nelson Comfort. Dan was born into the heating and cooling industry, coming from a family of well respected HVAC contractors in Dayton, Ohio. After working in the family business, Dan decided to work for a local HVAC wholesale business helping local contractors grow their business. When he felt his heart moving him back into the residential and light commercial business, Dan joined the Mortimer Heating & Cooling team in Cincinnati, where he had called home and become part of the community for several years. After a short period of time Dan purchased the company and created what is today, Nelson Comfort. Today he operates a company based on integrity, honesty, and stellar customer service. If you have any questions feel free to tweet (at sign) NelsonComfort and we will get right back with you!

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