Is there a "consumer reports" type rating for HVAC out there? Where do I go to get good info and feedback?
Consumer Reports does rate HVAC but Im not sure how valuable/accurate it is. A good installation including a properly sized system and ductwork makes or breaks the system. The best Trane XL19i poorly installed is a poor system while an inexpensive Goodman properly installed is a good system.
Additionally, many manufacturers make different quality levels within their own brand. Carrier's best for example is their Infinity followed by Performance and then another level (forget the name).
Also, manufacturers have other manufacturers under their umbrella. Lennox has Ducane, Amana has Goodman, Trane/American Standard are the same, same with Carrier/Bryant.
Your best bet is to get as many quotes as you can. The more quotes you get, the more educated you become. A 10 year parts and labor warranty on any system provides piece of mind. Make sure that all contractors are quoting the same work. Know the model numbers of the condenser (outside unit), air handler/furnace, and indoor coil.
American Standard was at the top of the list of both furnaces and AC on Consumer Reports.
That being said you need to digest that with a grain of salt. Both were based on a poll of 800 consumers called and surveyed about repairs if any were needed. No telling where these 800 households came from geographically or what type of people or class they were.
In addition AC ratings was done almost 3 years ago and furnaces near 9. You can see a lot could of changed and all name brand products have seen great improvements and advancements.
Consumer Reports had a study report out in 2005,and they just released a new report in November issue of 2007. It is a good study. I agree with garyg on the quotes and get educated by going on the websites of any brand. I like the American Standard Line. The best note I can tell you is that your HVAC system will only be as good as the contractor installing and maintaining it for you. lol
Garyg's comment about Trane/American Standard being the same piqued my interest. How does one know this? How does one determine if the product is made in America? Does anyone have any more current opinions on these topics?
Thanks for any answers that I receive,
American Standard and Trane are made on the same assembly line and are identical down to the model and serial numbers. American Standard bought Trane in about 1984. In 2007 Ingersoll Rand bought American Standard. The Trane brand covers both residential and commercial HVAC equipment, including chillers and hydronic HVAC equipment. The American Standard brand covers residential and commercial equipment up to 25 tons. Hope that helps.
This web site has information on who owns who in ac
It's hard to get all 3.