I've spend numerous hours researching various HVAC Mfg's and installers and one of the key takeaways I've read so far is that the installer workmanship is a larger factor than today's differences in manufacturer quality. That being said, and perhaps it's just my previous understandings and biases getting in the way, I'm concerned about Amana/Goodman quality over American Standard. My preconceived assumption is that Goodman is what new home builders put in to keep the home prices inexpensive but you replaced with someone else down the road. This may be completely wrong on my part but I want to be honest with where I'm coming from and I'm willing to be corrected.
I'm trying to decide on a replacement gas furnace and air conditioner in the Chicagoland area for a two-story 1900 sq ft home built in 1991 with furnace in the basement. Both installers (Amana/Goodman, American Standard) pointed out that my existing furnace is oversized for the ductwork which currently is at 125K BTU and they both plan to reduce that to around 90-100K BTU. I'm fine with that. I'm not sold on whether to go with either an 80%/13 SEER combo or a 95%/13 SEER combo yet. I'm not sure the cost savings over the long run will bear it out as I'm been playing with the energy savings calculators. I like the idea more energy efficiency only if I can recoup it before the parts warranty expire.
So my options at this point (Trane guy coming out in few days) are as follows:
Option 1a: Amana furnace ASX130361 (or is it SSX? They wrote ASX) / AMH80904BN (13 SEER a/c)
Option 1b: Amana furnace ASX140361 (or is it SSX? They wrote ASX) / GMH950904CX (14 SEER a/c)
Option 2a: American Standard Gold SM Furnace/Allegiance 13 A/C
Option 2b: American Standard model unknown with 14 SEER A/C. Not quoted yet but talked about.
The 80% bids are competitive with each other but the 95% ones are wildly different. It makes me curious as to why it's so different. Manufacturing quality or installer oddities thus I'm bringing in a third bidder. BTW, both installers seem to have good consumer reviews. So it makes me wonder whether the Goodman is prone to problems if it's not that much more for the high-efficiency model. It's hard to find good reviews on manufacturer quality.