I'm going trying to make a decision between two contractors, one of which quoted a 4 ton 15 SEER Goodman heat pump/air handler combo, and another who quoted a 3 ton, 15 SEER Trane combo. The Trane would be the 4TWR5036 (XR15) heat pump with a TAM7AOC36 (Hyperion™ XL Series 7) air handler. The Goodman would be the SSZ140481 with an AVPTC42D14 air handler.
Both contractors are rated very high in this area on yelp.com, but I don't know for sure how reliable that is. They both seem knowledgeable and professional, but I don't have any experience with either. The contractor that quoted the Trane quoted close to $ more for the Trane system and basically the same type of installation, which is a 15 SEER with variable speed motor and zoning (the house is 1,543 sq. ft. and two stories). The quote for the Trane doesn't include the electrical changes that have to be made, basically running another 240v cable down from the box, something the other company includes.
Obviously at first we were not going to go with the Trane proposal being so much more expensive, but I asked the Trane contractor to quote me something cheaper, and he can shave about $2,000 for the original quote if he doesn't include zoning. The rest would remain the same.
So basically as it stands, I have to decide between a Goodman system with zoning or a Trane system without zoning that would cost me about one thousand more once I factor in the electrical installation. I have been reading comments on both brands for hours, including many on this website, and some people seem to think Goodman is the Yugo of the HVAC industry, while others say it's fine and it largely depends on the contractor. But also most discussions on this seem to be rather old, so I wanted to get an idea on where these two brands stand nowadays in terms of quality and durability. Basically both have a ten year warranty, but labor is only one year, so I don't want to get a unit that 5 years from now is going to start breaking every summer and I'll have to be in hell for two or three days, besides paying hundreds in labor to get it fixed.
The other thing is, how important is zoning? On a two story house, would it really save me a lot of money on the power bill?