What Ratings Should I Be Looking For in a New Furnace or Heat Pump?

Close-up portrait of thinking little girl looking away with thoughtful facial expression

As the weather turns cooler, some Oregon homeowners may find themselves in a position of needing to purchase a new furnace or heat pump before winter. This can be a major endeavor, requiring a great deal of time, money, and research, and you may run into unfamiliar terms in the process. Our team of experts at HomeRx Heating & Air Conditioning wants to make sure you have the information you need to make the best decision for your family.

Here are some important notes about efficiency ratings as well as other tips before you make the big investment.

What is AFUE?

During your research, it is likely you will run across the term Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratio. This rating refers to the percent of heat produced for every dollar of fuel consumed. The rating is governed by the US Department of Energy. For example, a heating unit that has an AFUE rating of 80 means that it converts 80 percent of its fuel into heat for your home. The rest of the energy is lost through inefficiencies such as system leakages.

When you select a furnace with a high AFUE rating, you may lower your fuel costs. Furnaces that hold an AFUE rating of 90 percent or higher can be marketed as high-efficiency furnaces.

What is HSPF?

Like AFUE, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) is a rating system that is used to measure the efficiency of heat pumps. This ratio measures the heat output to electricity use during one heating season. Again, the higher the HSPF rating, the more efficient the heat pump. The highest performing variable speed heat pumps hold ratings of about 10 HSPF.

Why Are Efficiency Ratings Important?

Roughly half of your Bend home’s energy use probably goes into your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Although the upfront cost of a new furnace or heat pump as well as installation costs are important, efficiency ratings can help you protect your long-term energy and utility costs. Since the average lifespan of a furnace can be upwards of 20 years, these ongoing operational costs can make a difference in the long run.

Higher efficiency ratings also mean that you are being gentler on our environment, consuming less overall energy while still keeping your family warm during the winter.

Other Purchasing Considerations

Although efficiency ratings are important in making your decision about a new furnace or heat pump, there are other considerations to take into account. Here are some other things to think about:

Fuel Types

Most homeowners will probably opt for the same fuel type they currently have, but it is a good idea to consider others in the mix before making such as large investment. Many homeowners use natural gas as it is currently one of the least expensive fuels. However, if you do not have access to natural gas lines, you may opt for oil or propane, which are delivered in tanks throughout the winter season. Electricity is also a popular fuel as electric furnaces can be less expensive to purchase and install but may be more expensive to operate.


Any time you replace HVAC equipment, be sure to consider the space you need to cool or heat. If you have added on to your home or are using your home differently, you should re-evaluate the heating and cooling capacity you need. You might want to consider adding a supplemental system such as ductless units.


Be sure to take into consideration installation costs. It is always wise to use an HVAC professional to install new equipment. This is usually required in order to benefit from manufacturer warranties.

Call HomeRx Heating & Air Conditioning Today

Contact HomeRx Heating & Air Conditioning in Bend, OR, to learn more about installing a new furnace or heat pump. We’d be happy to explain efficiency ratings in further detail as well as consult on your specific heating needs. Call 503-479-5290 or contact us online.

Need HVAC Service?

Contact the experts at HomeRx.

Call us at 503-479-5290!