Affordable replacement central air
I need to replace a 19 year old Lennox air conditioning system, HS18-311-7P, with electric heat, that will no longer hold a charge. I have a budget of $3,000-$3,500 and have quotes from several contractors. It seems that brands that are advertised extensively cost more but I'm not sure I'm getting more. A Lennox, for example, from their low end Merit Series still costs $800 or 25% more than a Kelvinator made by Nordyne. I understand that there are advantages to installing a 16+ SEER high efficiency system but I can't afford that and no matter what I buy, it will be an improvement over what I have. All of these systems are 2.5 tons with electric heating coils. Here's what I'm considering:
Kelvinator JS4BD-030KB with GB5BMX-030KB. 13 SEER, 10 year warranty
Lennox 14ACX-030 with CB32-030. 14 SEER, 10 year warranty
I think the indoor unit of the Kelvinator can be matched with a B4VM-X30KB to make it a 14 SEER system but I don't know at what extra cost.
What about the Nordyne/Kelvinator brand should I be wary of? What makes the Lennox worth an extra $800?