Need help picking Direct Vent Lennox vs. Mendota
I'm looking at replacing a builder grade (Superior DS-36RN) direct vent fireplace to achieve a better looking flame, and to achieve maybe a little better heating in the room.
I need a rear vent and for the space I have I was looking at Mendota DXV-35, Napoleon GD36TR and the Lennox Merit Plus - MPD 3530.
I've ruled out the Napoleon as I didn't like the flame. I like the look of the flame on the Mendota and it has a higher BTU rating (16,500-33,000) with a "thermal" efficiency of up to 86.4% and AFUE of up to 73.4%. I haven't seen the flame on the Merit Plus, only on the Merit. The Merit wasn't bad (although not as nice as the Mendota), so I'm assuming the Merit Plus will be better. (The dealer had a Merit Plus, but didn't have it hooked up yet) The Merit Plus is only 20,000 BTU with a "steady state" efficiency of 64% and an AFUE of 62%. I'm not sure how comparable the effieciency ratings are.
My dilemma is that the Mendota is about double the price of the Lennox even after I add the blower to the Lennox (standard on the Mendota). I can also afford to add doors that I want and still spend less than the Mendota.
Can anyone shed light on why the efficiency ratings on the Lennox line in general seem to be lower than what I've seen for Mendota, Napoleon and some others? Is it a difference in how things are measured, or just different engineering?
Does anyone own either the Mendota or Lennox model? Are you happy with it?
Thanks in advance.