Why HSPF Matters When Replacing A Furnace

Are you looking to replace your home’s furnace, but want to know which system will save you the most money? It’s tempting to buy the cheapest model, but you’re a savvy buyer. You want a system that will save you the most on your energy bills for the next 15 to 20 years.  For that, it’s time to look at Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings. These ratings offer a simple number to represent a heating device’s energy efficiency. This number gives homeowners an easy way to gauge what they can expect to pay in energy costs with whichever furnace, heat pump, or water heater they purchase.  But what is an HSPF rating? What’s the real difference between an 8.2 HSPF system and a 9.0 HSPF system? Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to answer here today. 

What is an HSPF Rating and What Does it Mean? 

An HSPF rating measures the energy efficiency of all heating devices from heat pumps to furnaces to water heaters. This number represents the total heat routinely delivered by the device divided by the amount of electricity it takes to achieve that heat.  Therefore, this gives us an easy number to represent how much heat (BTUs) is delivered per Kilowatt hour (kWH). That means the higher the number, the more efficient the device. For example, a device with an HSPF rating of 9.0 delivers 9 BTUs per 1 kWh.  When buying a heating system such as a furnace, look for the government-backed EnergyStar label. This will show you the HSPF rating and give you an idea of what you’ll pay in energy costs. The current label as of 2021 will show a bar graph between 8.2 to 13.5. 

What’s Good for an HSPF Rating? 

If you’re looking for a benchmark to measure your current system, look no further. The U.S. Department of Energy established minimum requirements for device HSPF back in 1992 at 6.2. As a result, American homes are consuming fewer fossil fuels than ever before despite the rising energy-consuming devices in the home. 
Additionally, the minimum has been rising ever since, providing consumers with more and more efficient devices as an industry standard.  That means today’s shopper is looking for systems with a rating of at least 8.2. However, with the mandated minimum set to rise to 8.8 in 2023, the more the better. If you’re looking to improve your energy efficiency whether it be residential or commercial, you’ll want to upgrade to the 2023 minimum at least.  But if you’re looking to save more money than the average joe, you’re looking for a heating device with an HSPF rating of 9.0 or more. That’s money saved on your monthly bill, but what’s more, higher efficiency devices typically give more accurate temperature and humidity regulation.  That means you’re leaving a smaller carbon footprint and more comfortable than ever. 

What You Can Save With a Higher Efficiency

So, is it worth upgrading to a higher efficiency unit? Well, the answer to that question depends. Do you want to save more on annual energy costs? If you answered yes, then it’s worth upgrading.  Investing in a higher HSPF efficient system can save you thousands over its lifespan. Although a high-efficiency system comes at a greater initial cost, it’ll pay for itself soon enough.  To demonstrate, let’s do some quick math.  A 9 HSPF device is 23% more efficient than an 8.2 HSPF.  That means if it costs you approximately $2,500 annually with an 8.2 HSPF system, you’ll save nearly $500 annually with a 9.0 HSPF.  Assuming your furnace lives its average 15 to 20-year lifespan, that’s approximately $7,500 to $10,000 in savings over the lifetime of your system.  You can hardly argue with those numbers.

The Bottomline 

At the end of the day, HSPF is a simple way to measure a complicated subject. Investing in a high HSPF rating furnace now to replace your old one can save you thousands of dollars over the next decade and beyond. That’s not even to mention the higher quality control that a high-rating heating system can provide you, your family, and your home. Plus, you can always feel good about doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

If you’re looking to replace your furnace with a high HSPF rating heating system, don’t forget you’ll need an experienced HVAC team to help. Look no further than Kelso Heating and Cooling for all your HVAC needs! Whether you’re checking for blockages or other routine maintenance, our team of HVAC professionals is here for you.