Why would a contractor direct you away from high end equipment??
This sounds wrong already, as someone said already they probably don't have 14 seer available to them. Most contractors quote you a price for a system and add in a little profit for themselves. So they could easily make more profit off a higher efficiency system.
I installed a 12 Seer system in my old home and it works fine, but if I could do it all over again I would get the best I could.
Why? because its true his failure rates are high...
Did I say that? Yes I did. But its not because of the equipment, its becuase he has "been doing this for 30 years" and hasn't changed a thing. He applies old fashioned service based on rules of thumb like "beer Can Cold" and "Sweating back to the compressor" to new technology and it causes problems.
To answer the question is 14 SEER less reliable than 10 SEER.... Depends on the guy doing the work.
Thanks so much everyone. great comments that put things in perspective for me. I decided to go with a 14 seer and 92 var. spd/ 2 stage gas furnace.
Suggestion - check your electric rates v/s gas rates, it may be well worth it to consider a dual fuel system using
a heat pump for moderate temperatures, then it automatically shifts to the gas furnace then needed.
check your utility rates a,d see which is most economical