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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    10

    Brand reliability ratings

    Does anyone know of a site that rates the reliability of various manufacturers heat pump products? My normal site for reliability ratings (consumerreports.org) has ratings on gas furnaces and window AC units, but I'm looking for long term reliability of Carrier, Trane, Amana, Rheem, etc.

    I have a 30 year old GE AC/gas furnace that I want to replace with a heat pump (air to air or ground source - depends on the price difference) but I absolutely HATE going into a major purchase with no background info.

    I've found lots of anecdotal stories (ie - I had a problem with xxx brand, or my xxx brand has worked well for 10 years) but no hard data. Can anyone point me to a site with this info?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,599
    There is no reliable data because the much of the reliability of a product has to do with the quality of the installation. Pretty much today's stuff is cheaply built because that's what homeowners want. So it won't be reliable as something say 10-15 years old. Each brand has their weak points but overall I wouldn't say any 1 brand is any more reliable than another. At some point, all have had a skeleton or 2 in their closets. Don't go for the cheapest brand and don't go for the cheapest installation. Cheaply built stuff can use cheaper components, less likely to use protection switches (outdoor units) etc. Low bid installers can take many shortcuts on the installation that will haunt you as long as you have the stuff.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    10
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    .....Cheaply built stuff can use cheaper components, less likely to use protection switches (outdoor units) etc. Low bid installers can take many shortcuts on the installation that will haunt you as long as you have the stuff.
    I agree - I'm not looking for the cheapest, I'm looking for reliability/customer satisfaction ratings. I can find this info for gas furnaces, computers, cars, paint, cell phones, etc, but nothing on heat pumps....

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to look?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Biloxi, Mississippi, USA
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by lookn4ac View Post
    I agree - I'm not looking for the cheapest, I'm looking for reliability/customer satisfaction ratings. I can find this info for gas furnaces, computers, cars, paint, cell phones, etc, but nothing on heat pumps....

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to look?
    I too am interested in such a place to search for similar information like ratings on certain brands of AC condensers, gas fired central heaters, etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    65
    Quote Originally Posted by lookn4ac View Post
    I agree - I'm not looking for the cheapest, I'm looking for reliability/customer satisfaction ratings. I can find this info for gas furnaces, computers, cars, paint, cell phones, etc, but nothing on heat pumps....

    Anyone have any suggestions on where to look?
    What BaldLoonie said plus: Get the ten year warranty with labor and refrigerant included. (It costs more up front.) Keep any filter clean so that equipment lasts longer and costs less to operate.

    Modern coils are thinner to improve thermodynamic efficiency, so they break more easily. Hence the warranty makes sense as inexpensive insurnace. Variable speed air handlers save on electricity, but are expensive to rerair.

    Installation makes the biggest difference and includes a review of both the size of the equipment AND the adequacy of the ducts to handle proper air flow for a modern system. A mistake here is a disaster and is much more important than the brand of the equipment.

    Bill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    As usual Been nailed it, I too like to peruse CR

    Quote Originally Posted by lookn4ac View Post
    Does anyone know of a site that rates the reliability of various manufacturers heat pump products? My normal site for reliability ratings (consumerreports.org) has ratings on gas furnaces and window AC units, but I'm looking for long term reliability of Carrier, Trane, Amana, Rheem, etc.

    I have a 30 year old GE AC/gas furnace that I want to replace with a heat pump (air to air or ground source - depends on the price difference) but I absolutely HATE going into a major purchase with no background info.

    I've found lots of anecdotal stories (ie - I had a problem with xxx brand, or my xxx brand has worked well for 10 years) but no hard data. Can anyone point me to a site with this info?

    Thanks!
    when looking for cars, vacs, DVD players. The problem w/trying to find a definitive source on HVAC products they never take into account the great X factor-quality of installation.

    The websites that ask owners about brand a vs brand b are skewed for owners *****ing about their hvac rather than praising it. It might not have occurred to these ppl that Harry HVAC Hacks installed that brand, and that Jose had thrown an all-weekend drunk before the Monday installation.

    In CR or Motor Trend to easy to find fairly objective results (Toyotas are more reliable that VW's and Porsche's handle better than Fords) In studying HVAC, that's a little harder to come by when your asking for product (alone) reliability.


    Alot of ppl, techs bash Goodmans. I'd put one in my house if I got a good enough deal. Right now in my journey towards getting a new heat pump, I'm asking questions (here and to potential contractors) and building relationships.

    My advice lurk, read, ask more Q's and read some more.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by MrMcGoo View Post
    Modern coils are thinner to improve thermodynamic efficiency, so they break more easily. Hence the warranty makes sense as inexpensive insurnace. Variable speed air handlers save on electricity, but are expensive to rerair.

    Installation makes the biggest difference and includes a review of both the size of the equipment AND the adequacy of the ducts to handle proper air flow for a modern system. A mistake here is a disaster and is much more important than the brand of the equipment.

    Bill
    I am looking for efficiency AND reliability. If it's true that coils are thinner and break easier (I would think that improvements in metals would compensate) then I'll buy a less efficient unit....

    My idea of reliabilty is the AC/gas furnace I had in my last house. Installed in 1966, replaced with another Carrier system in 1999. Zero repairs until it started leaking freon in 1997.

    I moved into this house last year and it has the original GE AC/gas furnace system installed in 1976. It's needed 1 pound of freon added for 4 years in a row, but zero repairs other than that.

    That's what I mean by reliability. I do not intend to spend thousands of dollars only to need coils/compressors/motors replaced in 5 years - which I've heard (anecdotally) is the norm for new systems.

    Are there any rock solid high efficiency systems being sold today? Who is the "Cadillac" (I have a 95 STS with 201K miles that still runs great!) of heat pumps? Are geo-thermal systems more reliable than air to air because they have fewer moving parts?

    Any info is appreciated. Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    TEXAS
    Posts
    1,701

    Frown

    the reason you can't find such a website is that the great unwashed majority don't care about the mechanical system in their home. that will change for sure. to most people its a switch on a wall. turn it on and you are comfortable. with ng and electric rates going up(not to mention heating oil for our yankee friends) mechanical systems will become very important. here in texas real estate agents have never seen fit to even mention the age, condition,brand or efficiency of the a/c and heating system when showing a home. they just give the buyer a home warranty and deposit the check. i truly believe that now and in the future the mechanical system will finally take itr rightful place front and center in home purchasing and home ownership. when's the last time they showed the mechanical install crew on one of those "flip this house" shows? never!they show the plumbers,but water is not going up every day. i guess i'm just bitter that the most expensive system in the home gets no notice until it doesn't work$$$$
    "When the people find they can vote themselves money,that will herald the end of the republic" - Benjamin Franklin

    "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force;like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action"- George Washington

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    10
    I understand that the installation is a major part - don't the manufacturers train and certify their authorized installers? If not, that would be like going to a Chevy dealer for a warranty repair and discovering that the mechanic is actually a high school student taking an auto shop course....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Jacksonville, FL.
    Posts
    4,313
    As a tech I would be stupid to just be trained on just one brand of A/C or furnace. Besides, an air conditioner is an air conditioner. They all MUST work off of the same principles, no exceptions.

    And, if that tech was trained by a certain mfg. all he would do is come out & tell you you need a new system because he can't seem to figure out the one you have.
    WHY?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    PA/DE area
    Posts
    1,535
    I can get the SAME EQUIPMENT as Tiger Woods,it is what he does with it that makes the diffrence.i saw somewhere equipment represents 35% of a Quality install.
    It's NOT the BRAND,it's the company that installs it!!!!!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,878
    Quote Originally Posted by smittyii View Post
    the reason you can't find such a website is that the great unwashed majority don't care about the mechanical system in their home. that will change for sure. to most people its a switch on a wall. turn it on and you are comfortable. with ng and electric rates going up(not to mention heating oil for our yankee friends) mechanical systems will become very important. here in texas real estate agents have never seen fit to even mention the age, condition,brand or efficiency of the a/c and heating system when showing a home. they just give the buyer a home warranty and deposit the check. i truly believe that now and in the future the mechanical system will finally take itr rightful place front and center in home purchasing and home ownership. when's the last time they showed the mechanical install crew on one of those "flip this house" shows? never!they show the plumbers,but water is not going up every day. i guess i'm just bitter that the most expensive system in the home gets no notice until it doesn't work$$$$
    i agree , also they willspend thousands on granite and love the counter top guy but cry and wine and want the cheapest ac possible then complain when it dont cool good

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,776
    The new units that new compressors changed out in 5 years. Are usually poorly installed, and have nothing to do with the brand.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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