Help deciding between systems and installers
Hi everyone, feedback would be much appreciated on our current HVAC situation. We live in Maryland - DC suburbs in a split level. House is about 2000 ft. total, but 1000 feet of that on the lower level is half underground. The evap coil on a 25 year old Ruud 2 ton blew up and so we are going to replace the AC and the 20 year old Carrier furnace while we're at it. Both units were more than adequate as far as heating and cooling the house so we're not looking to change size - we're comfortable with 80 for the AC while home and 60 for the heat while home. So far we have the following estimates:
1)Amana 13 SEER
Coil/air handler: CAPF3030B6
2) Amana 14 Seer
Coil/air handler: CAPF3636B6
This company has sterling reviews and seemed very professional and easy to work with. These estimates include lineset and some minor issues with the junction box and water heater venting and repositioning the filter access. The write up was really clear and detailed.
Company 2: Bryant 13 Seer
Also includes lineset and water heater venting. No mention of the electrical issues noted by 3 other companies as needing to be brought up to code, also no relocation of filter access. The rep for this company also showed up at 7:30 pm for a 1 pm appointment with no call, which worries me, in spite of pretty good reviews on the company. Recent reviews are spottier though, which is concerning
Company 3: Trane
Furnace: TUDIA080R924 (sorry if a letter is wrong -writing is tough to read)
This quote had a flush and leak check of the lines. A new lineset would be a little extra which I'm guessing would be a good thing to get done. This company also had excellent reviews (only 2 B's out of 200 A's on Angie's list) and a good word of mouth reputation.
We definitely preferred dealing with companies 1 and 3. Our concern is that we were warned off of Goodman and Amana seems to be the same thing as Goodman. Company 1 also priced the same Bryant option for us but it was much higher than Co. 2's quote which makes me skeptical again of Co. 2. The workmanship from Company 1 is supposed to be great (they've landed on multiple Best of lists) and the Amana warranty seems more comprehensive than the others, but again, we were warned against Goodman. Any thoughts on comparing apples to oranges here would be appreciated. The prices all seem to be about in line with each other. Co. 3 also said they could do a roughly equivalent Carrier system for about the same price as the Trane, Prices were all in the same ballpark w/ Co. 2 being the highest but (from what I can tell) for a nicer system. Not sure we need anything other than bare bones though.
Any advice on these systems? Is it worth it to ask for a detailed write up on a Carrier unit as well? Does it seem wise to ask for a new lineset since everything else will be new? Thanks in advance for any advice
The only recommendation that I would make is to consider a variable-speed blower and a hi-eff. 4" filter.
If no one suggested these items, I'm not surprised. Everyone is so afraid of pricing themselves out of a job. This is very unfortunate because it's the cutomer that loses.
I don't like the AMH furnace since it won't allow for a 2 stage thermostat. Only can stage by the timer on the board which I feel really compromises the comfort a 2 stage furnace can deliver.
The AMVC isn't hampered by that plus it is variable speed. The ASX14 is much nicer unit than the GSX13 and with that furnace gets 15 SEER.
I'd write off the Bryant dealer based on his sales call lack of professionalism.
Trane has a nice basic single stage furnace and he's quoting a mid line A/C that doesn't compete with the ASX.
Sounds like the Amana dealer has the best credentials and you fell comfortable with him.
Is the primary advantage of variable speed efficiency? I didn't feel like the guys who came out were too worried about pricing themselves out of the job - both of the ones we liked (Amana guy and Trane guy) talked to me a lot about how we were using our current furnace and AC. The Trane contractor said he felt like given our affinity for a rather chilly house 58 at night, 60 during the day while we're home, he thought we wouldn't gain back the cost difference in bills by going with a nicer furnace. His bid was lower than the Amana contractor, maybe due to the variable speed issue?
Both of the companies still in the mix (we scratched off the Bryant bid - it seemed very vague on paper compared to how explicitly the Trane and Amana guys spelled out everything that would be done for the price) have excellent Angie's List ratings and we really liked both people who came out to do the estimate. They listened, they were meticulous, didn't talk down to me (the last guy I didn't list here spoke to me like I was a 7 year old who couldn't understand what he was saying and he tried to upsell to a 17 SEER Ruud AC and got annoyed that I "couldn't understand the savings" over the 13 SEER at a much lower price).
I think right now we are torn because Amana/Goodman does not seem to have a very great reputation for quality. So while we really liked the company and the warranty, it's feeling a bit like a car salesman offering a Kia sedan with some bells and whistles with a more comprehensive warranty for a higher price than the base level Toyota Camry with a normal warranty. (does that seem accurate at all) The Trane brand seems to get more love online. Ideally we don't want to have to make use of a warranty. I know this is apples to oranges at this point, but would variable speed have a clear enough advantage to go with Amana's less good reputation?
If the warranty is an issue you can add up to a 10 year parts and labor warranty on the Trane that will blow the Amana/Goodman warranty out of the water. This can add up to 10% to the price but it would give you the Trane system and a guarantee that you will pay no breakdown costs for 10 years. Also for the Trane proposal I would personally insist on a new lineset but many here are ok with flushing them. I do not do that because there could be a small leak and it would never be known until after install with the higher pressure R410a equipment and would not be covered under any of the warranties
I think it's fair to say that one can not tell one brand from another if they were in a brown wrapper. It's like buying a refrigerator.
There is nothing wrong with the Amana equipment. I would get the communicating thermostat with the variable-speed system and also get a 4" filter.
Everyone offers a 10 yr parts and labor warranty if you think you're the unlucky type.
I just replaced my Bryant after 19 yrs (only 1 service call) only to take advantage of the manufactures "recall" credit which I applied to another Bryant furnace.
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