Is it Trane or Carrier, York or Rheem? Before replacing your furnace, air conditioner or heat pump, learn the difference between HVAC manufacturers.
So you went online to start figuring out which brand, which model, which size, which contractor, how much, what financing options, etc. — a lot of things to consider!
Spoiler alert the differences between manufacturers, and there are some, are small compared to the differences between companies doing the installation
If you’re in the market for a new furnace, air conditioner or heat pump system, then chances are that you need to hire someone to install it properly.
Couple that with the fact that this expense is most likely unplanned, perhaps even an emergency situation, and it becomes quite a big decision that needs to be made quickly. Here’s how to do it:
Why do you want to replace your HVAC system?
If you’re shopping for a new HVAC system because you recently had service, and the service tech told you that you had to, or that it’s dangerous, then let’s take a step back for a second.
It’s very rare that a system must be replaced. Now, sometimes repairs can cost as much as a new system, but that doesn’t mean you must go that route. There are almost always options for repair.
So, if your answer is, “because I have to,” then get a second opinion. Sometime we find that only a minor repair was necessary. Many companies have mandatory numbers of customer that they must recommend for repairs, say 10 percent of their total repair visits. Boer Brothers has a service before sales approach that allows us to always share you interested when it comes time to decide whether to repair or replace.
Now, maybe that system is getting old and you just don’t want to deal with annual repairs, or you want higher efficiency to reduce those utility bills, or your system has never heated or cooled your home just right. OK, those are some good reasons to replace your HVAC unit.
Anyway, it’s time to pick a contractor. Wait a minute, what about brand?
Who is the best HVAC manufacturer?
The answer is….. Yes.
For most purchases we make, you pick the brand first, then go to a dealer or retailer. Here is how the story goes: I see an ad for a Honda Civic, see people driving them around and now I want one. I’ll go to my local Honda Dealer, whichever one will give me the best deal, or one that I have a good relationship with (hopefully both). A Honda Civic is a Honda Civic, right? Yes.
However, HVAC dealers are actually the manufacturers. A Trane XL19i isn’t a Trane XL19i, even though it has the same label. Weird. Let me explain.
There are about six HVAC equipment manufacturers in the U.S. today, but they operate under more than 150 brand names.
Here are some brands that come off the same manufacturing lines — just different paint, labels, and marketing:
• Lennox, Armstrong and Concord
• Trane and American Standard
• Carrier, Payne, Bryant and Tempstar
• York, Lux and Coleman
• Goodman and Amana
You get the idea.
Most of the components that make up these brands’ products are made by even fewer companies: Emerson, Johnson Controls and Honeywell.
Also, these companies are huge billion-dollar conglomerates. They all utilize very rigid quality processes incorporating multimillion dollar machines that produce nearly mistake-proof products. They’re all pretty good at building HVAC units.
So, what’s the difference? Typically, there are small differences on the very top-end products, such as who has the bigger touch-screen thermostat, or is it 98.4 percent or 98.3 percent efficient. But, these are insignificant at the end of the day.
So, what’s the big, clear-cut difference? The installing contractor.
Pick the best HVAC contractor
Unlike a Honda Civic, the products we buy come in pieces and are uncalibrated. It’s our job as heating and cooling contractors to put them together and set them up for that specific installation. The only place the manufacturer sets up HVAC units for is in their testing lab.
Furnaces and air conditioners don’t just snap together and plug in, unfortunately. It takes about $5,000 in tools and a few years of training to “finish what the manufacturer started.” So, we really are the guys at the end of the manufacturing line; it just so happens to be in your backyard, attic or basement.
So, why are Trane, Carrier and Lennox perceived as better? For one, large national advertising campaigns assure that you have “heard of them.” But the big reason is that they’re selective about who they let install their products. They don’t let the plumber or handyman doing heating and cooling on the side purchase or install their products.
So, how do you pick the right contractor?
1. Read reviews. We have lots Look here
2. Or Here
2. Check licensing. Most states have a contractor license portal.
3. Check certifications. If a contractor is a member of North American Technician Excellence or ACCA-The Indoor Environment & Energy Efficiency Association, chances are that they and their installers know what they are doing. These organizations have stringent test standards and require continuing education.
4. Ask around. Who did your neighbors or friends use? Did they meet their expectations? Was their pricing fair?
A good contractor will do testing of the (working)system before a sale and test again as the install is completed to make adjustments for best performance.
the “big” three that I always point to here are as follows:
1) size the equipment correctly to the house (this means “ACCA manual J” heat load calculation)
2) correct ducts for proper airflow for the new system. (DO NOT ASSUME that your old ducts are adequate, or that they ever were)
3) Commission the system for proper refrigerant charge and metering, proper air volume and proportional air flow to the various spaces in the home, acceptable static pressure in both heating and cooling. Furnaces need to be tested for combustion and proper airflow as well.
YOU ARE NOT BUYING A PIECE OF EQUIPMENT, YOU ARE BUYING A CONTRACTOR!
- About Us Learn about Boer Brothers and How we can Help
- To Repair or Replace that is the Question
- Choose the best Contractor
- Choose the Right Brand
- Comparing Bids
- How much does it cost to replace a Furnace
- How much does it cost to replace a Air Conditioner
- How much does it cost to replace a Heat Pump
- Customer Reviews