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New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: kurtzie
Date: July 31, 2018 10:24AM
Hi,

We need to get a new HVAC system.
The compressor on our AC unit died last week. It was very old and lived a good long life.
The furnace / air handler is newer than the AC, but it is due to be replaced too...

We have about 2000 Sqr. ft. including the finished basement
We live in Minnesota

Does anybody have a recommendation for brands to go with or stay away for?

Any other advice?

thanks,

Steve
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Carm
Date: July 31, 2018 10:51AM
Just FYI - Most major brands have a “less popular” brand that’s just as good warranty wise. If you are a member at Costco or SamsClub, they usually have a rep instore trying to get you to buy from them. I figure if a major store is backing them, maybe consider them for work. Also look on BBB/Yelp for reviews and Nextdoor for recommendations locally. I did this recently for my vehicle repair. Not the same I know, but people listed whom they liked for work performed. You don’t even have to ask on next door, you can search their community.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Speedy
Date: July 31, 2018 11:02AM
Your installer can give you good advice.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: jh
Date: July 31, 2018 11:18AM
I only have experience with heat pumps as I live in the south so obviously your situation is different and as always YMMD.

Our local installer made the recommendation for a Ruud two stage for us which carries a 10 year warranty (either from the company and/or installer). That's what we went with and it has served us well so far. One tech said in his experience that Bryant was the most quiet operating one. Found this recently as to who makes what.

Trane, which also makes American Standard
United Technology, which owns Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Day & Night, Heil and Tempstar
Lennox, which owns Ducane, Armstrong, Concord, Allied and AirEase
Rheem, which owns Ruud
Goodman, which makes Amana and Janitrol
York, which makes Coleman and Luxaire
Nortek Global HVAC, which makes Maytag, Westinghouse, Frigidaire, Kelvinator and others
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Carm
Date: July 31, 2018 11:51AM
Thanks for the extensive list jh.
When we got our system, our installer recommended Payne. It has a good warranty and the installer backs the warranty work. My SIL recommended the installer and they had to come out to fix a small leak that they didn’t seal properly when they were sweating the pipes. They didn’t charge for the service call.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2018 11:55AM by Carm.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: July 31, 2018 12:31PM
Do NOT buy Lenox. Never again. They won't sell parts except through their stealierships. Ugh.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: PeterW
Date: July 31, 2018 01:31PM
Do buy Lennox. We just replaced our upstairs heat pump/air handler. Why is this a recommendation? Because it lasted for 24 years. And if the HVAC guys could have found the leak and if they could have still legally bought the Freon it ran on, it would still be working. Needless to say, the new unit is a Lennox.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: July 31, 2018 01:42PM
Quote
jh
Trane, which also makes American Standard
United Technology, which owns Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Day & Night, Heil and Tempstar
Lennox, which owns Ducane, Armstrong, Concord, Allied and AirEase
Rheem, which owns Ruud

Goodman, which makes Amana and Janitrol
York, which makes Coleman and Luxaire
Nortek Global HVAC, which makes Maytag, Westinghouse, Frigidaire, Kelvinator and others

Any of the brands in green would be fine in my book. The ones in red, not so much.

We put a Trane on my sons house, and we have a Ruud on ours. Both units have done well, but I'm not wedded to either (see list above)

Your installer will only carry certain brands, but it does pay to call around. We found a difference of more than $1000 - most of the difference was in the installation cost at my sons.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/31/2018 01:43PM by Ombligo.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Article Accelerator
Date: July 31, 2018 02:15PM
Quote
Ombligo
Quote
jh
Trane, which also makes American Standard
United Technology, which owns Carrier, Bryant, Payne, Day & Night, Heil and Tempstar
Lennox, which owns Ducane, Armstrong, Concord, Allied and AirEase
Rheem, which owns Ruud

Goodman, which makes Amana and Janitrol
York, which makes Coleman and Luxaire
Nortek Global HVAC, which makes Maytag, Westinghouse, Frigidaire, Kelvinator and others

Any of the brands in green would be fine in my book. The ones in red, not so much.

They all look the same to me. Could you re-colorize?
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Will Collier
Date: July 31, 2018 02:57PM
I'm having a new unit installed literally right now. My HVAC guy that I've used for nearly 20 years spec'd out a Goodman unit, and as he's done us right many, many times in the past I was happy to take his recommendation.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Grateful11
Date: July 31, 2018 03:38PM
My neighbor owns an HVAC company. I asked him the other day when he was working on ours, contacts got shorted out by an Earwig, if Goodman still makes a good unit and he said yes. He said it's about the only thing he puts in. i think he said ours was a 2006 model 13 SEER, it's had a new fan motor and a set contacts, knock on wood.



Grateful11
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: space-time
Date: July 31, 2018 04:31PM
Quote
Will Collier
I'm having a new unit installed literally right now. My HVAC guy that I've used for nearly 20 years spec'd out a Goodman unit, and as he's done us right many, many times in the past I was happy to take his recommendation.

If he’s done you right many many times, I have to ask: why do you need his services so often?

FWIW: previous owner installed a Trane AC and furnace in 2006. We bought this house in 2009. Besides changing filters we have not done any maintenance on this unit. A really set it and forget it appliance as far as I am concerned. OK, I had to unclog the drain once or twice. And I upgraded the thermostat to an ecobee because I wanted to. That being said, I have no idea if today’s Trane models are just as good or if we simply got lucky with our unit. It just works.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: sunfalcon
Date: July 31, 2018 05:12PM
Just had a new Concord furnace and condenser installed in Feb after our 1980s system bit the dust. So far it's working great. My HVAC guy told me that for the most part, all of them are the same. It's how well you keep them serviced that makes the difference. I have a 2100 sq foot two story. He put in a new furnace, AC unit, and while we were at it a new 50 gal water heater all for $5900. Oh, and I put in a new Nest thermostat too smiling smiley
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Microman
Date: July 31, 2018 05:50PM
Had a Maytag retrofit, to replace reflagged heater, and added AC.

Sorry to see I am on the RED font.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: jh
Date: July 31, 2018 06:25PM
I use a yearly membership for two service visits a year. Clean, check out the unit, etc. The warranty has been good for us with our Ruud Heat Pump as the installer replaces parts and labor at no charge. Have had two parts that needed replacing over the years one minor another that had a part that had a hole in it that allowed water to come through our ceiling as it is a split system with part of in the attic.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: The UnDoug
Date: July 31, 2018 07:17PM
Just had this Lennox model installed. Also got a Lennox "coil" installed (which it turns out is a big piece of equipment, and not just a literal flat coil--the coil goes in the basement, and connects to the furnace/HVAC setup.

This Lennox replaced the at least 22 year old compressor we had--I say "at least," because it was in the house when we moved in 22 years ago. We never had it serviced once.



[www.zeemaps.com]
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: qdog2
Date: July 31, 2018 07:52PM
My vote is for Trane. I have a Trane dual fuel system. No problem since 2012.



Portsmouth, Va
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Winston
Date: July 31, 2018 11:41PM
Quote
space-time
Quote
Will Collier
I'm having a new unit installed literally right now. My HVAC guy that I've used for nearly 20 years spec'd out a Goodman unit, and as he's done us right many, many times in the past I was happy to take his recommendation.

If he’s done you right many many times, I have to ask: why do you need his services so often?


HVAC systems need regular maintenance. We have had the same HVAC guy for 30 years. He was recommended by our architect "because he thinks". While people can replace their own filters, motors and capacitors go out, the freon can need recharging, and issues can arise about levels of humidity (Will Collier and I both live in humid Atlanta), or, for winter months, humidification. Having someone who will treat you well and give you good advice on these things, not just on a full-system replacement, is important.

As an example of a thoughtful HVAC installer: ours set the system up with 8% fresh air makeup. The system draws air from outside, thus slightly pressurizing the house, which helps both to flush out pollutants inside, and to prevent outside pollutants (mainly pollen) from entering. We do not have an air-to-air heat exchanger, but have discussed adding one. (If we lived in Minnesota, and didn't have an already leaky old house, an air-to-air heat exchanger would be essential if we wanted fresh air makeup in winter months. It's not clear it would be worth the expense for our house in Atlanta.)

The only other contractors we've kept for 30 years are our electrician, and our appliance repair company.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: Winston
Date: July 31, 2018 11:54PM
Quote
kurtzie
Hi,

We need to get a new HVAC system.
The compressor on our AC unit died last week. It was very old and lived a good long life.
The furnace / air handler is newer than the AC, but it is due to be replaced too...

We have about 2000 Sqr. ft. including the finished basement
We live in Minnesota

Does anybody have a recommendation for brands to go with or stay away for?

Any other advice?

thanks,

Steve


We replaced our forced air HVAC system a year and a half ago with a Carrier multi-zone system. There are dampers which can send most of the airflow to one zone, or split it among zones. The system has a variable speed compressor and variable speed furnace. It has 5 speeds, ranging from under 50% of capacity to 100%.

Whether you use a zoned system or not, ask about variable speed systems. The idea is that when the heating or cooling load on the house is lower, the system does not still run at full speed and either over-cool or over-heat. For years we had a too-large furnace, and I am sure spent a lot more money on gas in the winter than we should have.

The variable speed systems also integrate with "smart" thermostats from the manufacturer. Our installer liked the Carrier system. I can say that the thermostat (and it's iPhone remote app) are easy to use, but I don't know how "smart" it actually is. Lennox and Trane offer similar systems - if your HVAC contractor recommends one or another, see if you can get to use the thermostat in an actual installation, as I've heard there can be quirks.

In theory the "smart" thermostats which are directly tied into a variable speed HVAC system will be more efficient than a regular HVAC system controlled by a Nest or Ecobee. But I've not found a direct comparison which compares them. The Carrier thermostats we have do not, for example, have the motion detectors that Nest thermostats have built-in.

One huge problem with a movement to "smart" HVAC systems is that the HVAC manufacturers have never had to deal with end users. Now, I expect Carrier to directly support their app, and answer my questions about efficiency without referring me to my installer, who doesn't have answers to my questions anyway. Carrier doesn't really get this. I am sure the same is true for Lennox and Trane, given the efforts I made to learn about their systems before we got the Carrier system. This can make getting information for comparison really frustrating.

My conclusion is that if you work with an installer you trust, you will likely get a decent outcome, but that the industry is in something of a transition during which good answers will be hard to get.


Good luck.

- Winston



------------------------
Be seeing you.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: kurtzie
Date: August 01, 2018 08:17AM
Thanks for all of the responses.
We are getting 3 bids today, plus the one we got last year from the gas company. It will have to be updated, but at least it is a starting point.

Steve
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: August 01, 2018 10:54PM
My parents had twin Carrier units put in. Both had to be replaced after 1 year. Fortunately, they were under warranty. Doesn't speak to highly of quality though.

The quality of the installer has a lot to do with the longevity of the system.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: parsaplenty
Date: August 01, 2018 11:04PM
Recently replaced a 25yr old Lennox system (10 SEER/80%) with a new Lennox. AC unit wound up rated at 15.75 SEER and the furnace is their middle of the road 95% single stage energy star. I went for a balance of efficiency, simplicity and cost.

Insist on getting them to do a Manual J load review to determine the correct size system you actually need. Very important since most systems that get installed are oversized. We went from 3.5 ton unit to a 2.5 ton unit on the AC and from 80K to 66.5K on the furnace. The AC runs longer than the old unit and even so electric usage was down almost 30% from the same time a year ago and the avg temp was about the same and I'm running the house a bit cooler. Home is 1800 sq ft with significant south and west exposure.

Oversized units short cycle and the result is a cool house but a higher than optimal humidity level. If you don't mind doing some homework you can play with this: [www.loadcalc.net]

I run the system thru an Ecobee stat using multiple sensors.

Good luck!
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: August 02, 2018 09:59PM
Quote
parsaplenty
Recently replaced a 25yr old Lennox system (10 SEER/80%) with a new Lennox. AC unit wound up rated at 15.75 SEER and the furnace is their middle of the road 95% single stage energy star. I went for a balance of efficiency, simplicity and cost.

Insist on getting them to do a Manual J load review to determine the correct size system you actually need. Very important since most systems that get installed are oversized. We went from 3.5 ton unit to a 2.5 ton unit on the AC and from 80K to 66.5K on the furnace. The AC runs longer than the old unit and even so electric usage was down almost 30% from the same time a year ago and the avg temp was about the same and I'm running the house a bit cooler. Home is 1800 sq ft with significant south and west exposure.

Oversized units short cycle and the result is a cool house but a higher than optimal humidity level. If you don't mind doing some homework you can play with this: [www.loadcalc.net]

I run the system thru an Ecobee stat using multiple sensors.

Good luck!

Not sure that loadcalc works so well. It's telling me I need 2 tons of cooling with AC set at 72 (95 ambient) and 38,000 BTU of heating set at 70 (14 ambient) for 1650 sq ft. My 100,000 BTU furnace runs a fair amount when temps dip that low. My 3 ton unit runs almost nonstop when it's 95 out.
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Re: New HVAC needed Forced Air Furnace and AC
Posted by: parsaplenty
Date: August 03, 2018 09:07AM
Mac, every structure is obviously different. I was pretty diligent with my measurements and data inputs. Is your equipment new? My numbers were very close to what the program my contractor used. I could’ve used a smaller furnace actually but Lennox doesn’t make. And I didn’t want the expense of 2 stage.
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