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Which Brand HVAC???


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Looking into replacing our 20+ year old HVAC, even though it's going strong. Figure it's time to increase efficiency on my terms before of a failure. Looking for opinions on different brands. Split system, 3.5 Ton with gas furnace.

Is there much difference in brands anymore these days?

Thanks for any input. Kevin

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I worked a while for a guy who sold mostly Trane (American Standard) and they can be a real bitch to work on.  The coils of the outdoor sections cannot be thoroughly cleaned, only moderately so.  Carrier resid has always been the worse brand to work with though (Carrier commercial has some very fine products but that's commercial).

I replaced my AC system 10 years ago and bought the brand I had been selling for many years - Rheem (Ruud).  They're simple, economical to purchase and aren't unduly difficult to service.  Since then, I've cleaned the coils several times, had to diagnose an issue that turned out to be the fault of the dehumidification feature of my thermostat, but nothing else.

I'd avoid Goodman (Amana).  They're shabbily manufactured.

Keep in mind that the quality of the installation is much more important than the brand you choose.  JMHO

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Proper installation is probably more important than band. I do prefer the major brands because the installers typically have better training. When I replaced my system about 8 years ago I went with Rheem. At the time they has a modulating furnace that had been out for a number of years and had a good track record. The furnace and two-stage AC have been trouble free. At the same time a friend went with the same system based on my research. We really have not discussed his system, but he is still a friend, so I guess his system has also been fine. Contractors on an HVAC forum also had good things to say about Rheem. 

 

I got an estimate from the same contractor for Trane equipment. It was significantly more expensive. 

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I am not sure what part of the country you are in, but you might consider using a Rheem heat pump but keep the gas furnace as your emergency heat. I live in Maryland, and did that with mine when I had to replace the AC, works great, wife likes it, and my fall/spring bills are lower than in the past. Just saying. Charlie

Edited by Charlie R
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I've got two Rheem/Ruud heat pumps. One paired with a gas furnace and one with an electric furnace. They've both been very solid performers. I like their stuff because the outdoor cabinets are heavy and well painted and the louvered openings protect the coils. Their controls are good and they've been leaders in variable speed technology. In my area, the oldest equipment that's still running is usually Rheem or Lennox. 

I've seen more Carrier equipment than any other brand, mostly because it was the favorite brand of one of the better installers in one town near me. It seems like it's always been reliable - but it's generally been installed by a really good installer. The heat pump coils are generally exposed outdoors and tend to be easily damaged. 

The Trane coil bristles were always a pain in the butt to clean, but it seems that Trane has moved away from bristles and toward fins. . . 

Lennox used to make really fine equipment with mostly, if not all, proprietary parts. Their stuff was like tanks. In the last several years, though, it seems like it's turned into a builder-grade commodity product. 

York, Coleman, Luxaire, Nordyne, etc are all crap. 

Goodman/Amana seems to be a decent budget choice. Kind of like a Kia. They're much better than they used to be. That said, every time I see an older Goodman product, there's something wrong with it - usually, something easily fixed, but something wrong nonetheless. 

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Can't help with the equipment, mine ranges from vintage to antique. Still works and is economical to operate.

On the KIA, my wife's optima hybrid is 6 years old and has 100k miles on it. The most expensive service was brake calipers, the rear pistons gummed up because most of the stopping power is engine braking to charge the batteries. The only thing wrong with the car is the low residual value. My boy will be old enough to drive this October, and will be getting it. It would cost twice the trade value to get him in anything as safe and reliable. Three times for anything as nicely equipped.

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Goodman/Amana was purchased by original folks and was taken private. At that time they did a serious turn-a-round to focus on "quality". I've been through their manufacturing, testing, shipping facilities in the Houston area.

They used to be known as "builder's grade" or even less than that, but has changed once they took the company private.

I had an Amana system (heating and cooling) installed at my home about six years ago and it is working very well.

 

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