Rheem vs. Trane vs. Lennox systems: what to do?
I really really need advice on replacing my 23 year old system. I am looking at a Rheem Classic 14 3 1/2 ton AC with a Rheem Criterion II Plus 2 two-stage 80% furnace. My current AC is 3 1/2 ton. The house is 2400 sq. ft. with 3 floors (including basement). The contractor thinks there is a ductwork issue, and he is probably right, but I am on a budget and can just replace the system. Is the Rheem a good choice, or would Trane or Lennox be preferable for some reason? My ductwork won't handle a variable speed properly, according to the Rheem contractor. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
rheem vs. trane vs lennox
i can relate to your situation. i am in process of replacing my 18-yr old HVAC system and coincidently just got bids from just those 3. my current system (a Trane) has never worked very well not properly cooling the 2nd floor. house is 2,500 sq ft. (1,500 1st floor, 1,000 2nd fl and 800 sq ft finished basement) so bad we have put a window unit in 2nd floor master BR. i got 3 bids to replace entire system (furnance & air).
Bid #1: Lennox 90,000 BTU 93% efficiency furnace; 4ton 13 SEER AC = $4,000
Bid #2: Rheem: 105,000BTU 94% efficiency furnace; 3 1/2 ton 13 SEER AC = $6,000
Bid #3: Trane 100,000BTU 92.5% efficiency furnance; 4ton 14 SEER AC = $7,500
The Lennox bid#1 also recommended a $1,500 Honeywell zoning system be added to direct air as needed and give up two thermostats. I kind of like this idea. More moving parts that could need maitenance but should provide more comfort and be more efficient. We also discovered some issues with poor return air from the upstairs intakes so that would explain why the 2nd story remains so hot. the fix they say is to choke down the 1st floor return air some to force it to pull more from the 2nd floor. Consumer Reports hasn't done anything recently on these. May 2001 on AC Trane was 3rd, Rheem 5th and Lennox 6th in "reliability" and in Feb 2005 on furnaces Rheem was 2nd, Trane 3rd and Lennox 10th on "repairs"
i was told by a reputable builder friend you don't want to get over 93% efficiency or over 13 SEER or you're just wasting your money as you don't save enough to justify the extra cost.
i'm leaning towards the Lennox or Rheem.