We need to install a new central heating and air unit and would like to know what brands are suggested as your favorites

Susan S
by Susan S
or better which brands to stay away from!
  14 answers
  • Pam Pam on May 20, 2012
    I just bought another Carrier heating and air system. The first one just died last summer and it was installed in 1986. Great service from it. Can't assk for more.

  • Jan S Jan S on May 20, 2012
    Rheem has a 10 year transferable warrantee and is the highest rated with Consumer Reports. Whole new Rheem system going in my house - furnace, compressor and water heater.

  • Deborah K Deborah K on May 20, 2012
    How are the prices for the Carrier and the Rheem systems? And can they do a forced hot air system?

  • Jan S Jan S on May 20, 2012
    We are gas/forced air. While it was more expensive than the other quotes, the Rheem system is far superior, and eligible for state (no more federal) rebates, and a big plus is that the warrantee could be transferred to new owners if we sell in the next 10 years. It offered more bang for our buck in the end. Also included in our package price is new insulation throughout the home. There is an energy loan available through the government at 0% interest over 10 years as well for the high efficiency systems...check it out at http://www.energyfinancesolutions.com/ (No, I am not an HVAC sales rep, I am a homeowner/consumer)

  • Susan S Susan S on May 20, 2012
    Thanks so much for the help! You do your home work, Jan!

  • Hamtil Construction LLC Hamtil Construction LLC on May 20, 2012
    Rheem is a good brand, but also don't rule out American Standard. We switched to them 7-8 years ago and have been very happy with the product and price point for our projects. Just like washing machines, some brands are manufacturing others. American Standard makes Trane, Rheem makes Ruud, Carrier makes Bryant, Goodman makes Amana, and so on... Sometimes you'll open a box and it will literally have 2 brand labels loose in the box and the installer attaches the appropriate one. So, when you look at AmStandard, you can expect Trane quality. As for who to avoid in my opinion, I would say York and Goodman are my top 2. Sometimes "bad" equipment comes back to poor installation, though. Many will tell you the installation is the most important component. Make sure the installer is highly reputable and specs the best equipment for your individual situation.

  • First off sorry if this is a bit long, but I have strong feelings about this topic and have been involved in the HVAC and Home Energy Audit business for many years. So bear with me on this. Hamtil Construction hit in on the head with his last paragraph. Equipment these days are made pretty much the same using the same controls, compressors and methods. What really separates these manufactures from one another is the quality of the install. Much like a car, you can purchase a big SUV or a little tiny car. They both get you there. But regardless of what you purchase, if your mechanic does not understand how to properly maintain it, It will begin to break down in no time flat. With the install of a AC system, the quality of the installer is more important then the brand. While I install Coleman equipment I have also installed and serviced Trane, Carrier, Goodman and York. Many of my systems that I installed over 20 years ago are still working fine with no complaints from past customers. But I took my time, properly sized, installed, and evacuated the system before I even put any gas into the unit. Now as a BPI home energy auditor, I have seen dozens of installs that were way over sized and poorly installed. Both in quality of workmanship and the duct system design side of things. One of the most critical things any installer should do, before they even attempt to sell you equipment is to do a Load Calculation Manual J and a duct calculation Manual D. This information is vital in choosing the correct size system as well as telling the installer exactly what will happen as far as air flow to the current system before they even attempt to install a new system in your home. Did you know if your home is properly air sealed you can lower the size of your system by close to 30% A home energy audit professional can help you with this. I recently visited a home in which the client had a quality Carrier multi speed furnace and AC system installed. All Carrier top of the line stuff. He had all the bells installed as well. I was brought in to determine how he could save more energy by improving his insulation. While I was there he told me that he noticed that his cellar door pulls shut when the furnace or cooling system runs on high speed. This raised all sorts of red flags to me such as back drafting of the orphaned hot water heater. He wanted his return duct system sealed so it would pull the air from the rooms through the return duct system, as it should be. However after sizing the return ducts coming from the rest of the house It was determined that the return ducts were undersized for the amount of air required for proper operation of the system. He now needs to get the AC system people back to correct this. While we could do this, if we touched his ducts, we would be responsible for the correct operation of his new system. So I suggested that the AC company do the the repair. Now this company is very large, they do very nice, neat installs, but that one thing which would have been noticed and fixed as part of the install process would have saved him and them a lot of headaches. Proper duct sizing. So do not worry so much about product then about the quality of the install. Be sure to do research on all the rebates that are available in order to save money. If you live in a state that offers special financing or rebates if the house has an energy audit performed. Take advantage of this. But be sure to get the audit performed, Not just a walk though by someone who wants to sell you something discussed as a home energy audit. I always suggest that you get the audit done by someone who does not do the work. Good luck, keep us posted on what you decide to do. And if you have more questions, let us know!

  • Roxy D Roxy D on May 21, 2012
    Stay away from Centurion. A piece of crap. We bought a new one in 2007 with a warranty. Last year had to sink $2000 in it and this year $430. Even with a warranty.

  • Roxy D, you prove my point exactly. The equipment is not always as fault. While there may be equipment that may be sub par, its the install quality that makes or breaks ones opinion of one brand or another. Its not that I am supporting one brand or another here also. Many years ago I installed Goodman as a lower cost option for those who really wanted cooling system installed in their home and could not afford the Carrier brand. I put dozens of these systems in. I had one unit that failed to no point of my own. It was a manufacturing defect from a screw that rubbed from the cabinet into the coil of the outdoor unit. Because the Goodman company was new at the time, they had no real warranty system in place and I ended up pulling the entire unit out and replacing with another. All they wanted me to do was to braze the coil closed where it was leaking. And because this leak developed within hours of the new install, I could not do this to my client. So I replaced the unit with a new one. All sorts of things can cause systems to fail. Both on manufacturing side of things, and mostly on the install side. Much like autos, you can find the same amount of people that would only buy a Ford because they think GM is junk, and the other way around. Installers in many cases do not fully understand what is going on with the system. They do not understand how to properly evacuate air and moisture out of the pipes, Or to clean the pipes if a system burn out happens. They do not understand how critical the air flow is to the performance and longevity of a system, etc. It sounds as though you had a compressor burn out. This burn out happens because of failure to properly install the system, or from a contractor who is using gas that was collected from a system that had issues. In any regards it is very rare that a compressor fails on its own. Something else is at play here and who ever did the initial install or serviced your system had no idea what he or she was doing.

  • Clay B Clay B on May 22, 2012
    If I had to do it now. I would at least also check into Geo Themal systems. They have come down in price, may be an option. The cost savings down the road can be very significant. May be worth at least getting a quote to compare.

  • Roxy D Roxy D on May 23, 2012
    I certainly would not buy another Centuron, and, if I knew where the contractor was, he would get an earful. We also knew him personally for years.

  • Ruud and Rheem were better years ago, these days there builder grade units have many problems. How do I know? We installed them for 8 years and we stopped using them roughly 2 years ago....we are still handling warranty claims on them to this day. Do not even consider wasting your money on anything under the brand name Goodman. My personal favorites are American Standard and Trane which is essentially the same equipment made by the same corporation and as far as consumer reports goes I dont know which year Jan was looking at but the most recent listed these 2 as the top two on the market. I handle mostly service and have done so for 12 years, one thing I can honestly say is these are the best most reliable units out there in my opinion.

  • Clay B Clay B on May 23, 2012
    Note: GeoThermal, can qualify for a 30% tax credit. check EnergyStar website: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index Make sure you check with your contractor to see if the system you choose qualifies. See FAQ on website for TAX Form.

  • Steve D Steve D on Aug 17, 2012
    Thanks for the information guys. Living in Vegas, with a 23 year old AC unit, I am sure I will be in the market sooner rather than later.