My 1994 Carrier 38BY 3 ton unit gave up the ghost suddenly - suspected rust causing a coolant leakout. Cost to find the leak and repair considered by vendor not cost effective.
So replace. Been through a number of Heat Pumps in Northern Va. over the last 20 years. Trane, Rheem, GE, Carrier etc. Latest deal was a new fan control board for a Trane - with a $700 dollar price quote for the board ALONE - which i ultimately got over the net for $98.00 bucks (it was a Trane stamped control board - which I replaced myself). Maybe the markup was the vendor - maybe the suggested mark-up by Trane. Anyway, brings up the question of support once one has a system.
My question: based on long term cost effectiveness what two or three branded units do you guys seem to favor - ie. what would you use in your own home after you retire from the HVAC field? Quality of materials, quality of engineering, cost effectiveness of the various levels of technical sophistication (what SEER level, mult-speed fans, and all that sort of stuff). I prefer not being the leader of the technical whizzo pack - usually get burned and I don't have money to burn. Is it a good idea to stick to the same branded equipment inside and outside the house (air handler and coils) or to get the advantage of what is deemed the "best" inside unit and the "best" outside unit irrespective of brand? (Best being defined as units in the top 5 quality brands and in the more cost effective range of technical sophistication.)
I noticed some pretty hard core rusting (pits and deep crusting) on the dryer and the "stamafram", another large can like device (one was on the outside of the exterior case and one was inside the exterior case - I presume one of them was the dryer). Even with this rusting the technician said that the leak (there was almost no refrigerant left in the unit) would have been in the interior unit (he said this even before he looked at the inside unit inferring that leaks almost always come from the interior unit). If that statement is true (leaks generally occur on the interior unit) that would negate this question: given the "apparant" rust issues on these "cans" would it be advisable to provide some weather protection for these outside units - provided of course that one does not interfere with good air circulation around the outside unit.
Lots of questions, I know. Hope not too many that you guys are afraid of tackling them. Your answers will be answering many others who undoubtedly have the same sort of questions. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts and wisdom.