Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/HVAC Products

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Question
Joe, having to get a new unit for my home.  Currently have a 13 year old, 10 SEER American Standard.  Currently pricing out 13 SEER to 15 SEER units of various brands.  Question is related to brands, in general.  Using one brand, Bryant, as an example, they seem to be a known brand with a wide range of "ratings" from Excellent to Poor.  Are most brands similar in manufacture and quality and the reliability is mostly based on how well it's installed, or is there a major difference in brands.  If there is a major difference in brands, what would you judge to be the three most reliable brands and where would you rank Bryant products.

Answer
John,



Be more concerned about the installer, parts and labor warranty offered and price, than the brand name. Any HVAC product produced in the US today will give good service if properly installed and sized correctly,including the ductwork and serviced occasionally over the years,basically a PM check. Any equipment wrongly sized and poorly installed will not give good service regardless of the brand. Every HVAC equipment made in the US uses secondary parts from the same group of suppliers, such as Copeland Compressors,Honeywell, RobertShaw, GE or Marathon or Westinghouse motors , White Rodgers to name a but a few .Many of the named parts supplier have their parts manufactured in 2nd world countries. These companies don't produce a line of inferior parts, but supply the same ( hopefully ) quality parts to all manufacture model line. However in each batch of parts produced by these companies a certain number are going to fail. This is a provable fact, whether you get a unit with one of these parts depends on luck and nothing else, brand names advertising hype and glowing recommendations won't change this.Each manufacture makes very little of it's own parts,with the possible exception of the heat exchanger on a furnace and the outer metal cabinets and possible the coils on the A/C side.Guessing only 10-15% of a home central HVAC system is actually produced by any manufacture. Take the duct work alone ,who manufacture and installs that? All your electrical hook ups ? the copper line set and refrigerant. The manufacture has nothing to do with any of that.  Be concerned about the installing company, will they be around in 2 years to deliver on their warranty, does the warranty include labor as well as parts ?.Typically you get one year labor warranty, anything more you usually have to pay extra.   Be very sure you fully understand the warranty terms and hopefully the installing Contractor will be around  to carry them out. Lastly remember  the big name brands are higher in price due advertising hype and sales promo prizes and such. These don't make the unit last any longer or preform any better. Bryant is not owned by Carrier, but by United Technologies Corporation which owns Carrier and upwards of 5 other HVAC brands, not to mention Otis Elevator, Pratt and Whitney jet engine, Sikorsky Helicopter among others.  

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Joe

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40+ years diversified experience.An HVAC/Refrigeration Self Employed Contractor since 1986. NATE Certifield. Answer questions pertaining to Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning , Warm Air Heating, Heat Pump systems.Mechanical and Electrical troubleshooting of these systems.Be as detailed as possible when describing problem.Packaged unit or split systems.No appliance questions.

Experience

Installation and Troubleshooting, Mechanical and Electrical, in following areas, Refrigeration ( Walk In and Reach In Coolers and Freezers ) Commercial Roof Top and Packaged Heating/Cooling ( Natural Gas,Propane, Electric, and Heat Pumps ) Computer Room Air Conditoning Systems,Commercial Residential Packaged and Split Systems Air Conditoning and Heat Pumps.Warm Air Oil , Natural and Propane Gas Heating systems.

Education/Credentials
Graduated from Private Technical School in 1975. An HVAC/Refrigeration Contractor . Have Unlimited Heating/Piping and Cooling Contractor License.Limited Sheetmetal Contractors License.NATE Certifield. York Certifield Master Heat Pump Technician 1986. Served 33 years combination Active Duty Air Force , Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard in the HVAC/Refrigeration Shop/Mechanical Shop. Troubleshooting/Installing HVAC/Refrigeration Equiptment Worldwide. Retiring in 2003 as a Senior NCO ,and a Mechanical Superintendent.

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