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  1. #1

    Curious about opinions...

    Our central AC unit is on it's last leg...it appears to be original to the house or pretty darn close (33 years). It makes a horrible shuttering noise when it shuts off and actually stopped working on Wednesday (a wire had become disconnected).

    Anyway, long story short, it is going to have to be replaced, along with the coils (the furnace was replaced when we purchased the home last November). The first technician we had out to give us a price said he would get back to us with 3 options, two would be American Standard and one would be a Rheem. Those sound fine to me as I know the brands and their reputations. The second technician said he would quote me on a Ducane....which I have never heard of. I'm doing some research on-line to compare the brands but thought I would ask here as well.

    Question #1: Is the Ducane brand as good as/better than the American Standard or Rheem?

    Question #2: Is there a good website that you know of for comparing the units? We will be purchasing a 4-ton 13 seer unit.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts/opinions!

    Shannon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    At the risk of being repetetive, don't give the job to anyone who hasn't done a room-by-room, window-by-window, ACCA Manual 'J' load analysis on the home. This is the first and foremost step in the process. Any company that doesn't do this basic step is not a company to do business with. In point of fact, you'll likely need to call 7/8 of the companies in any yellow pages just to find ONE that will do the calculations. Once the calcs are done, the contractor can then discuss any system you want installed.

    You say you know the brands and their reputations. Frankly, the brands mean absolutely nothing. Wild example; if the installing company does a lousy brazing job and all the refrigerant leaks out, what good was brand? It's all about finding the proper company. Ducane made equipment for many other companies over the years and finally decided to go to market under their own name, instead of under everyone elses names. I'm sure they're using the same compressor as everyone else, same contactors, same capacitors and maybe even the same coils. What's most important is will the installing contractor be there if things go wrong? If they start off correctly with a Manual 'J', if they're willing to discuss several options with you, several manufacturer's if that's your comfort level, then they're probably a good bet.

    Purchasing HVAC equipment is NOT like buying an auto. An auto is built and delivered to the dealer. HVAC equipment is more like buying an auto ENGINE and finding the right mechanic to install it in your car. If you're getting a complete system with ducts, then it's more like having the complete car built from the ground up, on your property. How important would the brand of the engine be in that situation? Be careful, interview them on the phone before you invite them to your home. Are they licensed, insured for liability and worker's comp, do they background and drug test their employees, do they do a Manual 'J' load analysis, will they give you a written agreement once the system equipment is selected?

    There are many, many, many threads in this forum, all asking the same question. Read as many as you like and you'll always arrive at the same answer. The pros who are on this website, know what they're talking about, know what makes a good company and they're all saying the same thing. People still get burned with name brand and off brand equipment. Hack work is an equal opportunity employer.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  3. #3
    Good point SkippedOver...thank you.

    Regarding the 'J' load, we are having new windows installed next week as well as new exterior doors (front and back) a few weeks after that, would it be better to wait until everything is in before doing this test?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    They could use the specs of the new doors and windows to do the calculation,get the specs from your supplier for them.

    Load calc is really needed when making those type of changes,they'll likely reduce the size system needed and save you some money in operating costs.

  5. #5
    Ok, perfect. Thank you Dash. I'll get a couple more estimates and see if they do this test.

    Thanks for the help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,047
    Ducane is a low end line from the Lennox family. That doesn't mean it is bad or should be avoided but it is a no frills line very comparable to the Lennox Merit series. My feeling has always been, avoid the lower end stuff if you can afford to go a bit higher up the line. If not, find the best contractor and let him put in what he recommends.

    Regardless, proper sizing & install is the key!

    This compares outdoor units but no evaluation or ratings, just features & warranty and it needs to be updated a bit.

    http://www.johnmills.net/outdoorunits/

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