Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Air Conditioning
I am looking a replacing the AC for my Townhouse. It is split system AC unit - 3 ton unit.
I have gotten a couple of quotes and I'm trying to determine how I can tell which is better. One quote was for Lennox (Costco) and another for a Tempstar system.
1) Is there a website where you can compare the quality of specific units?
2) Do you have experience with Lennox vs Tempstar? Which would you recommend and why - or would you highly recommend another brand altogether?
3) I have one company telling me that a front return is better because it will get better airflow and another that tells me I definitely shouldn't use a front return because it is much noisier - can you please lend a tie-breaker opinion on that?
4) Do you have any recommendations on questions I can use to determine if the installer will do a good job? I have read several articles that problems could be more a result of the installer than the equipment.
Tempstar is owned by United Technologies Co. Which own Carrier , Bryant , Heil , amount others. You should be comparing same SEER and tier level of the two quotes. One model may offer better warranty than the other, or one may be quieter, or has a smaller footprint on the outdoor unit than the other. One may give you more functioning parts than the other, an example would be one unit may give you both a high and low refrigerant pressure safety controls ,whereas the other may have only the low pressure switch. Most all of the functioning parts are bought from vendors including the compressor. So to me there is not much difference between the brands of the same tier level and SEER rating.
To me having a ducted return would be quieter than placing the return in the front of the return plenum if the Air Handler sits on top of the plenum.
The following is my observation of being in the profession almost 40 years, hire a small company that's specializes in residential installs only. The tendency is you may actually get the owner of the company or one of their experienced techs.to do the install. Good luck getting the owner of a large Company that does larger tonnage equipment doing any install work on residential. Chances are the install will result in a better install using a small residential company than hiring a large company that does Residential, Commercial, Industrial work . It will cost more ,as their overhead ( which will be higher )is passed onto customers, also the tendency is that the more experienced techs. gravitate to Commercial and Industrial accounts as there is more money to be made for both owner and tech. The tendency for these larger companies who do Residential, Commercial or including Industrial is to tend to send their lesser experienced techs to install your system. That is certainly not always the case ,but odds are. Many techs hone their skills on residetial work.
Another area that's out of your control is the unit itself, the brand you choose could be manufactured hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They are transported via trucks to a local distribution center near you. They are forklifted into these trucks ,stacked on top of each other, then once they arrive to a distribution center they are again forklifted into a area and stacked several high. So chances of a stress fracture is real. I do not know how many times I've seen on web sites that people complain about losing the refrigerant charge after the system has been in place a year. Certainly a sloppy install would be one reason, but most people do not think about stress on the equipment during shipment as another cause. I have been in many distribution centers over the years and have seen scratch and dent, brand new units on sale at very low prices. Contractors buy them ,replace a few cosmetic panels and sell at full price to unsuspecting customers.
Lastly, I would have them replace the existing outdoor unit circuit breaker, the newer energy-efficient units use less amperage to run that the old same size unit unit and your existing breaker may be to large a rating for the new one. On the outdoor unit data plate it will clearly state the maximum over current breaker to use. Get all your warranties in writing including the labor and even the thermostat.