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  1. #1

    Trane VS Amana Decision

    Hey there everyone,

    My wife and I need your expert advice. Our 8-year-old Westinghouse HP has a broken Reversal Valve. We could have it repaired for $ but we have had problems with the Westinghouse every year since it was installed in 2004. Since it uses the old freon, we are leaning toward replacing the whole system.

    We understand the value of a good installer since many of the problems we've experienced stemmed from poor initial installation (at least, that's what several technicians have claimed). Over the last couple years we have used a local HVAC company to provide seasonal maintenance and to handle any necessary repairs. We have been very happy with them. Every technician has been super friendly and knowledgeable. Naturally, we asked them to give us an estimate to replace the system.

    Quote 1-After spending about an hour analyzing our home, the salesman suggested we purchase this:

    -Amana ASZ13036
    -Air Handler AEPF3636
    -With Surge Protector
    -Fix the By-Pass Damper properly (he claimed it was installed wrong originally)

    Quote 2-Obtained from a different HVAC company that was recommended by a trusted coworker that has much more HVAC and general handyman expertise than we do.

    For the same price as the Amana:

    -Trane XL16I 15 Seer

    For $ less than the Amana:

    -Trane XR15 3-Ton

    For $ less than the Amana:

    -Trane XR13 13 Seer


    Here's are some questions/observations.

    (1) Trane VS Amana. Is Trane that much better, or does proper installation mean more than the brand?
    (2) Although the first bid was given by a company we know and trust, we got that used car salesman feeling from the representative. For instance, when I said I wasn't ready to sign the install contract without first getting other bids, the representative suddenly dropped the price by almost $. He had a long presentation complete with brochures, I-Pad applications and binders full of efficiency statistics.
    (3) The second bid was very different. The technician spent about 10 minutes total at the house before giving us the Trane bids (along with some other brands that we've eliminated). He seemed like an honest gentleman, and our trusted coworker spoke highly of their work.

    We are in uncharted territory here. My wife has researched these systems and these companies extensively, but we still feel like fish out of water. Any guidance, input or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you so much in advance.

    House basics
    North carolina
    1900 sq ft, no basement but does have bonus room
    Home built 2004
    Both hvac agree duct work is good and was properly insulated
    avg electricity bill $150-$280
    Last edited by beenthere; 12-16-2012 at 05:09 AM. Reason: Prices

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,371
    It sounds like you still aren't comfortable with either company. 10 minutes is not really long enough to fully evaluate the duct system and examine all elements required to do the job properly. While Trane is good equipment and you got a good feeling about the contractor, this is something to keep in mind -- installation is the most important factor here. The Trane quote isn't all that detailed (as you list it). You might consider getting 1-2 more estimates. Is the ductwork big enough to handle the airflow (supply and return) for a 3 ton system (~1200 cfm)? It sounds like you have a zoning system (possibly from when the system was first installed -- many RNC jobs are done cheaply and quickly) -- is the ductwork to the zones large enough to operate efficiently? These are all factors that need to be considered, and may have contributed to the issues with the prior system. With zoning, I like a 2-stage system, such as the Trane XL16i you were quoted. Amana has the ASZC16.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Anderson, South Carolina, United States
    Posts
    7,094
    Either brand is fine, its all about the install. Better to pay a few hundred $ now than thousands on repairs down the road. Make sure its installed, sized, ducted and sealed properly and any modifications to duct are addressed.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Western Nebraska
    Posts
    246
    broncoboxer,

    I feel the equipment you are looking at is up to you as far as brand, eff, etc. The bottom line is the gentleman that comes to the house to service and maintain it. If you have a relationship with one company, or more importantly, one service tech. Stay with that company.

    You could always ask if your favorite service tech from your existing company can come out and inspect and start-up your new system too. Some large companies won't cross service and install departments, but the smaller ones will to make you comfortable with the new install.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    West Monroe, LA
    Posts
    1,535
    It sounds like you really liked the 1st estimate with your current hvac company? Then you decided to get some other bids from other companies or might have been planing to do so anyway.

    Please don't let him dropping the price scare you away. It is that time of year when installs drop off and he is properly paid on commission and made a bold mode to try to get you to sign the contract by dropping the price. It is not the approach that I would have taken. I would have asked If there anything that I could do today to get this install set up ASAP or do you have any other concerns that I can address to help you with you Chosse?

    The 1st sales rep spent the time reviewing over the home and hopefully did a load cal? Then laid everything out about the system. My question would be to him what changed to allow you drop the price? Either he changed some of the acc. Or has permission to drop the price by $ to the job. Either way I would want to no what caused him to drop the price and how will it effect the system?

    2nd company that came out although he might have been the nicest guy in the world but only spent 10 min looking over the system he could not have done a load cal. Reviewed the duct work and wrote up a estimate in that time. He properly just looked at your existing equipment and sized it from what you have.

    As far as brand goes it like ford, Chevy, dodge etc... There are a lot of good systems made by many manfactors and each company chosses 1-3 brands of equipment to sale. I would ask any company comes out to your home recommends their brand for your home?

    Install is everything. You can take the best piece of equipment and have it installed wrong and all you have is system that want do what you paid for it to. On the other hand if you have any equipment sized and installed propely and you would be happy. You might want to get some more estimates if you don't feel comfortable about the 2 you have recived. I wouldn't get too many estimates as it can make for harder to choose by having too many options. Please don't let price be your deciding factor while it is important you have to think of the long term. A little more $ spent today compairing to a lot $$$ In the future is worth it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,296
    Quote Originally Posted by broncoboxer View Post
    Hey there everyone,

    My wife and I need your expert advice.

    We understand the value of a good installer since many of the problems we've experienced stemmed from poor initial installation (at least, that's what several technicians have claimed).

    Over the last couple years we have used a local HVAC company to provide seasonal maintenance and to handle any necessary repairs. We have been very happy with them. Every technician has been super friendly and knowledgeable. Naturally, we asked them to give us an estimate to replace the system.

    Quote 1-After spending about an hour analyzing our home, the salesman suggested we purchase this:

    -Amana ASZ13036
    -Air Handler AEPF3636
    -With Surge Protector
    -Fix the By-Pass Damper properly (he claimed it was installed wrong originally)

    Here's are some questions/observations.

    (1) Trane VS Amana.
    Is Trane that much better, or does proper installation mean more than the brand?

    (2) Although the first bid was given by a company we know and trust, we got that used car salesman feeling from the representative.
    For instance, when I said I wasn't ready to sign the install contract without first getting other bids, the representative suddenly dropped the price by almost $.

    He had a long presentation complete with brochures, I-Pad applications and binders full of efficiency statistics.

    (3) The second bid was very different. The technician spent about 10 minutes total at the house before giving us the Trane bids
    (along with some other brands that we've eliminated).
    He seemed like an honest gentleman, and our trusted coworker spoke highly of their work.

    We are in uncharted territory here.
    My wife has researched these systems and these companies extensively, but we still feel like fish out of water.
    Any guidance, input or suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    House basics: North Carolina, built 2004, 1900 sq ft, no basement but does have bonus room

    Both hvac agree duct work is good and was properly insulated. avg electricity bill $150-$280
    Simply due to HURRIED bid by 2nd contractor, AMANA. [unless you're on the coast]
    If your relationship ain't broke, don't ffix it.

    Electric bill seems a bit curious, at $0.10 /kw, 1,500 to 2800 kW
    ________ ... family of 5 or you keep t-stat set < 73'F in the summer?

    __ Is this a zoned system? __ __
    I would have to see a Very large difference in calculated hourly heat gain
    to conclude that zoning was actually necessary.
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

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