Most air conditioning contractors offer a good, better, best scenario when proposing a new ac and heating system. On the lower end of the cost range (good), our company is referring to entry-level efficiency and features. The truth is, in this particular range, there really isn’t a great deal of difference between the brands.
In terms of the base models, the manufacturers are definitely more “assemblers” compared to what they are “engineers”. The design and style is pretty much the identical it has been for a long time, a lot of the components are similar or even exactly the same and are built by third-party manufacturers not the AC manufacturer themselves.
Around this level, the large separator is often the excellence of the design and the materials used to build the cabinet and coils. There are several exceptions in a few models, and something worth pointing out is trane xb1000. Trane is among the few brands that also manufactures their own compressor, the Climatuff.
While modern ac units include a large number of components, the compressor is still the “heart” from the unit. I don’t think you would probably find many HVAC service technicians that could argue that the Climatuff is a tank. Once you know Trane’s slogan, “It’s tough to stop a Trane”, you may know they built that slogan on the Climatuff compressor’s back – normally it takes lots of abuse.
That said, a lot of the other manufacturers nowadays are utilizing Copeland brand compressors, a fantastic component in its own right, nevertheless the Climatuff takes the prize as finest in class for me and I’d guess probably many other HVAC experts’ opinions as well. Apart from the compressor, in the three “premium” brands (Trane, Lennox, and Carrier), you simply will not find a whole lot of variations in the ingredients themselves.
I recommend politely shying away from a lot of the non-name brands because even though variations in materials and design might be subtle at first, combined they usually amount to a unit that doesn’t last so long and is vulnerable to frequent failures. For the end user, even a minor failure means “no cooling” or “no heat” regardless of how minor the failure may seem for an experienced HVAC service technician.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention the behemoth, Goodman – now owned by Daikin. I actually have mixed emotions in regards to this brand (and yes, we sell it off). Some Goodman models offer good bang for the buck, which can be beneficial to clients with a tighter budget, or maybe someone selling their home soon.
However, after years of recording failure rates (from minor to major), Goodman will come in last place of all the brands we install. Not quite high enough to avoid selling them while we have with some other brands, but it needs to be said because there’s a reason Trane costs greater than Goodman.
In fairness to Daikin, I ought to mention the commercial Daikin Package Rooftop Unit has proven as reliable, or even more reliable as some of the premium brands commercial products recently. Once I consider the “better” tier of comfort systems or some other consumer product, I think about products which offer lots of bang for your buck. I’m referring to equipment that’s not the most efficient, but fairly high efficiency, not by far the most feature rich, but with lots of worthwhile features, not the quietest uofddu on the market, but pretty darn quiet, etc. This is where we begin to see the cream rise to the peak, and by cream, I mean Trane for starters.
You’d be hard pressed to discover a major air conditioning brand that doesn’t create a 16 to 18 SEER ac unit or have one or more model with a 2-stage compressor, variable speed blower motor, etc. – but put the majority of them physically alongside having a Trane unit and you start to begin to see the differences pretty quickly.
Besides the Climatuff compressor, you start to identify the devil is in the details (or lack thereof in a few brands). Even physically shaking the machine itself, it is possible to experience the Trane unit will remain a much sturdier machine than most throughout time. In my view, Trane merely has several competitors when we start speaking about “better” HVAC systems.
Lots of small details like Teflon coated screws that help prevent rust (therefore they won’t loosen up and cause rattling noises), to fully accessible condenser coils so something technician can really get to all of the nooks and crannies to clean (meaning less lack of efficiency over time), and so on, are details that add to the quality and value of Trane many of their competitors are lacking.