HVAC replacement - Is brand or installer more important

kaylJuly 10, 2012

We live in southern Wisconsin. We are having a brutal summer and our central A/C died. It was a Luxaire, 15 years old and never worked to our satisfaction. The furnace has performed well, also Luxaire, is 20 years old and we realize at the end of its life. We want to replace both at the same time. This is due mainly to the fact that the room farthest from the unit is cold in the winter & hot in the summer, so we want to upgrade the blower.

We have a local guy that's worked on our A/C for years. He is honest and reliable. However, he only installs Luxaire furnaces and Goodman A/C. We had really hoped to go with a name brand this time around - Carrier, Trane, Lennox etc.

So were it up to you would you choose installation & service over brand or vice versa?

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

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energy_rater_la

I vote for install being more important.
brands less so.
most big companies have a 'sister' company
Trane/ American Standard
Lennox/Bryant
always ask for bid with both big name
brand and lesser known brand. usually
made by same company.

if ductwork leaks you will waste money
every month. comfort is lessened.
mastic sealing all ducts, returns
and plenum to equipment will minimize
the leakage areas. using mastic tape
to seal supply boxes to sheetrock ceiling
also reduces leakage.

shop and get several bids.
in addition to asking about sister co
brands,
ask for good, better and best bids.
13 SEER, 14 SEER & 15-17 SEER bids.

if all electric, consiter heat pumps.
if gas 90% and higher efficiencies.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 6:09PM
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tigerdunes

Kayl

There are three basic ingredients to a successful new installation.

1. Yes brand and model including correct sizing do make a difference. There is alot of junk in then HVAC marketplace.

2.dealer reputation and quality of install do make a difference.

3. And probably the most overlooked and disregarded is a decent ductwork system.

IMO

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 7:39PM
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neohioheatpump

Luxaire is good equipment. If it wasn't doing a good job its possible you have bad ductwork and/or maybe poor insulation and windows. How old is your house? What is the size of the house and the size of the A/C?

Luxaire is much better than goodman in my opinion. Not even comparable. Their A/C units are very quiet and have alot of features.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 9:22PM
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mike_home

You don't have to pick one or the other, it is possible to have both. Look for contractors in your area which install the major brands.

This contractor may be reliable and honest, but for some reason he doesn't want to go through the required training to install brands other than Goodman and Luxaire.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:04PM
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clocert

80% install, 20% equipment. I have had Goodman for 12 years, not even one problem. I live in TX, we use AC at least 9 months per year.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 10:49PM
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kayl

Thank you for your kind replies. I had two Carrier contractors out this morning. Can't seem to find a Trane contractor in our area.

Our duct work could be potential problem as we had other issues with our builder, but Heat has not been an issue other than in that one bedroom. We built 20 years ago. WE have appx. 2800 finished square feet. The current A/C unit is 3 ton.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2012 at 1:12PM
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carlclay

I just had a 4 ton Goodman heat pump 16 seer 2-stage and a variabble speed air handler installed. I purchased on line with a communicating thermostat. I found a contractor that knows how to install A/C systems and does them for a living. My house is 12 years old and has about 2200 sq ft. with lots of windows. The original was a straight 4 ton A/C and 100,000 btu furnace. I went with a heat pump because our winters in Arkansas are not that cold. The original Trane Furnace heated the house great but the summers were different in that the unit just did not cool that great above 90 to 95 degrees. The Trane furnace was very noisy from the day we moved in 12 years ago. I believe the contractor or install is more important.

I could not be more happier with the Goodman heatpump and the wisperquiet airhandler. The install took most of the day on Saturday, about 7 hours. When it was started up both the heat pump and the air handler were so quiet and the unit cooled the house down very well.

Brands mean a lot to some people but a professional install will mean years of great service.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 5:50PM
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carlclay

kayl, you say you have 2800 finished square feet and using a 3 ton A/C. I'm not an expert but 3 tons is low for that many square feet unless your house is super energy efficient. I come from the industrial side and a rule of thumb for A/C is 1 ton of A/C for each 500 square feet. Of course I live in the south and A/C is needed more so than the north, but 3 tons is a little light. Just my two cents worth.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 6:00PM
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energy_rater_la

rule of thumb sizing is a crapshoot.
load calcs..with specific, accurate inputs
correctly size the unit.
to combine load calc with air & duct sealing
is a win win.
around here a lot of contractors
stick to 500 sq ft per ton for homes
on slab, 400 sq ft for houses on piers.

fix the house by minimizing air and duct
leakage, then size with load calc.

if contractor doesn't inspect ductwork
keep shopping. install of ducts is also
an issue, which is why there are sizing
& design calcs.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 10:48AM
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tigerdunes

1/3 dealer install, 1/3 equipment itself,1/3 decent ductwork system usually overlooked and disregarded...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2012 at 11:51AM
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