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AFUE is how heat efficiency is measured, minimum efficiency is 80% and I believe york makes a 98% efficient furnace, once you get to 90% or above you are usually dealing with a condensing furnace. Most gas packs are going to be 80% depending on the age. I am not sure on high efficiencies of gas packs.
I dont do much with heat pumps JC, but I do know they have a lower temperature rise that a forced air gas. Warm air from a gas furnace is usually 45 to 65 degrees warmer than room temp, but I think heat pumps are between 20 to 30.
A decent heat pump is pulling heat out of the air into the teens, but not usually enough to satisfy the heat loss of the house. This is why a heat pump system has a back-up heat source. In my opinion the best heating system for the money and not sacrificing comfort is the heat pump system with fossil fuel for back up heat. This is called a hybrid system or duel fuel.
For most of the heating season the heat pump will run, which is one of the top economical ways to heat your home. Yes there are disadvantages to the heat pump, the biggest being the added air noise. Another popular one is the fact that if you feel the air coming from the vents in heat pump mode it feels cold. This is because of wind chill and the air temp is closer to room temp than that of a fossil fuel heat.
When the outdoor temp goes below 35 or 40 degrees the system shuts off the heat pump; and via an outdoor temp sensor; turns on the fossil fuel furnace. In the colder parts of the year the fossil fuel furnace gives you the added comfort of, lower air noise and volume, and higher air temps.
Just a little side note for those of you who think that; for good reason; they will only use AC two weeks out of the year. That is a false presumption because with the AC you will be comfortable in the home during the in-between months before and during the summer. As for me I was able to sleep better throughout the entire night because of the dehumidification of the AC and the cooler house temps.
my last home had a heatpump with electric heat strips to back it up. gets kinda pricey on the electric bill. but it was an all around great system when I got the 20 year old one replaced with a brand new one.
No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.