Every contractor has a different preference or perspective on heating and air conditioning equipment. Some don’t like a certain furnace, condensing unit, or evaporator manufacturer due to a lemon they got at one time, or a certain HVAC model was notorious for failures, or even because an HVAC system was not shipped in mint condition, etc.
To determine which HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING system is the best is like determining which vehicle manufacturer is the best. When looking at which heating and air conditioning manufacturer is the best for YOU, take these things into consideration:
- Consumer Reviews. However, don’t be deceived by consumers that had a bad installation experience with a particular contractor and due to the improperly working system blame the manufacturer.
- Serviceability. Consider the ability to access parts for replacement in the heater and air conditioner, easily purchasable parts, and cost for parts to be replaced; an air conditioner is not going to last forever so when parts go, having accessible and affordable parts is a plus.
- Esthetics. You want the equipment to look as good as an air conditioner can, not the prettiest things you can have, you still want it to have some curb appeal.
- Warranty services. Some manufacturers are difficult to claim warranties, so finding a manufacturer that is easier to handle claims is a huge plus.
- Efficiency. You want an air conditioner that has an efficiency that is right for you.
Different manufacturers offer different options per SEER.
Efficiency is not the only factor in air conditioner performance; I always like to teach customers about comfortability. Comfortability is just as important as efficiency, in my opinion. Having an oversized or undersized unit can be uncomfortable, as an oversized system will be blowing too much air and achieving set point too soon then restarting shortly thereafter, causing you and the thermostat to cool off too much — when the unit shuts off, the room seems to warm up quickly. Having a properly sized system allows the system to have proper run times resulting in proper air temperature and moisture. Improper ventilation will also result in poor performance.
When determining efficiency, system operation will alter according to efficiency. Look at these different factors:
- What are you trying to achieve with a heating and air conditioning system? A 14 and 15 SEER system typically is single stage, meaning it only puts out one certain capacity (1 ton, 2 ton, 3 ton, etc.) Some manufacturers offer 16 SEER air conditioners that are single stage while others are 2 stage. 20 SEERS have invertors, meaning the outdoor condenser and indoor blower modulate according to demand, resulting in better comfortability and greater efficiency. Multiple stage units are best for efficiency and comfortability as they can increase or decrease their amount of cooling, resulting in less energy consumed, and can be more comfortable removing more sensible and latent heat (feeling, and moisture) resulting in a more refreshing feeling.
- Take into consideration blower type: PSC motor (least efficient, but cheapest), constant torque (inexpensive and efficient), variable speed (expensive yet performs the best).
- Condenser fan motor; PSC cheapest and least quality. Constant speed, affordable, fewer parts to replace, and better quality along with efficiency.
- Why do you want a certain efficiency; are you trying to make your money back by operation? If so, buying an expensive high efficiency system will take a very long time to pay back the difference between the cost of a basic efficiency system and the high efficiency. A high efficiency system will cost less to run, but is much more expensive at the initial cost.
- Are you looking at the comfortability of the system? As explained above, efficiency and comfortability go hand in hand. A multi stage system or inverter system is not only efficient but has a more comfortable performance as not only air temperature is maintained, but it also removes moisture resulting in a refreshing feeling.
In short, the least expensive system has a lower initial cost, yet will be less comfortable. A medium efficiency system is not as affordable yet is more comfortable. A high efficiency system is the most expensive but saves the most while supplying the most comfort.
HERE IS MY TOP 10 SYSTEM MANUFACTURER LIST. Note: this list is for traditional central HVAC systems.
- best warranty in the industry
- supplier is the best with warranty claims
- equipment was designed with technicians in mind
- really sleek look
- microchannel coils, using less refrigerant
- quiet operation
2. AC PRO (Lennox product)
- very affordable
- parts are high quality and easily retrievable in the southern California area
- warranty claims are very easy to complete; they give replacement parts under warranty over the counter. Others require the manufacturer to test and approve before warranty is completed.
- new models are easy to service
- modulating systems increase efficiency, comfort, and performance
- great aesthetics
- local distributors
- great company
- furnaces slightly louder then Maytag
- high efficiency
- quiet operation
- affordable equipment
- parts are accessible and easier to replace if necessary
- parts are more available
- I personally like their curb appeal
- system design is bar none
- parts are affordable
- ease of installation
- customer support is easy to access
- warranties are fairly easy to complete
- the condenser base is a type of hardened plastic, won’t rust, and acts as an isolator for vibration and noise
- equipment is on the borderline of affordability
- extremely quiet units
- design is high quality
- great curb appeal
- warranty is easy to complete
- customer service is ok for a large manufacturer
- parts are fairly accessible, but are more expensive
- more expensive but higher quality parts
- Lennox requires their dealers to be educated
- parts are not very accessible
- harder to access components
- more difficult to replace parts
- curb appeal is good although they have an odd shape to the condenser
- equipment is becoming more well known throughout the industry and more people are becoming interested
- Lennox offers top of the line equipment
- parts are all OEM and therefore are much more expensive
- servicing is more difficult
- same list and manufacturer of RHEEM
- wholesaler is further from our service area making it more difficult to receive warranty parts and complete claims
7. ARCOAIRE (ICP product, basically Carrier)
- less expensive
- lower quality parts
- not the best curb appeal
- my wholesaler is great with my warranty claims
- parts are fairly easy to access
- replacement parts are easy to get
- have had problems with there coils in the past
- lower quality components
- same list as Arcoaire, however customer service is below the bar
- Carrier product with lower quality parts, and less curb appeal
10. AMANA (Goodman product)
- better quality then Goodman
- not the best curb appeal
- parts are very common and easy to get replacements
- very affordable (cheap)
- Daiken recently purchased and Daiken is a good minisplit manufacturer
- parts are easy to access
- coils are horrible for leaks
- horrible design
- not the best curb appeal
- gas valves don’t have proper size port for manometer
- loud condensers