Finding an honest furnace or air conditioner review is hard because everyone is biased in one way or another. I decided to write this furnace review to give my opinion with facts that I have accumulated over the years.
I have been repairing and installing furnaces and air conditioners for 21 years so I have a good amount of experience in the subject.
I have found that furnaces have evolved over the years to a point now where the manufacturers are offering a high quality product that will last many years. When high efficiency furnaces first came out, each manufacturer had its own idea on how to build a furnace and by trial and error they slowly worked out the problems to where now they are all are building a good furnace.
The furnace manufacturers actually just build the heat exchanger, cabinet, housings etc. They buy the circuit boards, motors, burners, controls, limit switches, draft inducers, pressure controls, gas valves, ignition controls, and hot surface igniters from the companies that build them like GE, Honeywell, White Rodgers, Robertshaw, etc.
You generally read comments about furnace brands that have a negative slant. This is because people who have had a bad experience tend to have the drive to tell the world about it while the people who are satisfied are content to leave it at that. The truth is every brand has to be repaired now and then and since the manufacturers who build the main working parts of the furnaces build them for every furnace manufacturer, I do not see a big difference in number of repairs from one brand to the next.
Then how should you choose which furnace brand to buy? It is important to purchase your furnace from someone you can trust to install it properly and who will back up the warranty if something should go wrong later on. I recommend that you try to buy locally so you are important to the business that you are buying from and not just another anonymous customer who does not matter. The manufacturers warranty is a big factor to look at. If the furnace does break in the future, you don't want to be stuck with a large repair bill. Today you can find lifetime warranties on heat exchangers and 10 years on all other parts. If they don't offer this warranty, keep looking because some do and it is better to let the manufacturer pay for the repair instead of you. After all if they spend all of that money on advertising trying to convince you to buy their furnace let them back it up with a good warranty!
Don't pay for your furnace over and over again with high gas bills. There are two somewhat standard efficiency ratings on furnaces that are sold today, 80% and 95%. You can think of the difference as being this: for every dollar that you pay your utility company for natural gas for your furnace, with the 80% model, 80 cents out of every dollar heats the house and 20 cents is wasted up the chimney. While the 95% efficiency model only loses 5 cents out of every dollar out the vent. So can see over time the amount of money you can save by installing a 95% furnace will easily pay for the difference in price over the 80% model and save you money every year after that.
I have installed many brands of furnaces over the years and have narrowed my offerings down to one brand. I now only install Goodman furnaces and air conditioners because I have found no better unit on the market that offers the price and warranty that I believe my customers want. Some of my customers have not heard of Goodman furnaces and air conditioners because of their lack of consumer advertising. This a plus, because who wants to pay for all of the expensive advertising that gets passed down to the consumer in the form of higher prices? Goodman had sales of 1.9 billion dollars last year and with out all of those expensive ads. You must be doing something right to become one of the largest manufacturers of furnaces in the United States with out all kinds of advertising. I also like the way Goodman backs me up if I need a warranty part without undue paperwork or making it difficult to return the part.
All furnace manufacturers have websites that you can review their products. The thing to watch out for while you look for a new furnace is not to be sucked in by a celebrity who is trying to convince you that one brand is better than the next without telling you the things that matter like warranty and price.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion in trying to pick one brand over another.