Help! My 12 yr old Carrier unit had a compressor burnout a couple of weeks ago and I'm trying to decide what to do. The cost to repair the existing unit is not cheap so I'm leaning towards replacing both the outdoor unit and the airhandler (which isn't cheap either but it's all relative I guess). I had 4 companies give me qoutes on varies brands and price levels within each band (13-17 SEER, variable speed versus single, 2 stage compressor versus single, etc). Quoted sizes ranged from 3-4 tons. Some of the companies pointed out issues with my existing duct work, some didn't mention it at all. After digesting the various quotes, I think I've settled on one of the companies to do the work based on what I perceive to be the most thorough job of evaluation. There are still 2 areas I'd like help with. 1) The company I've selected is insisting a 4 ton unit is needed based on their calculations but it seems on the high side to me and 2) they've offered 3 options, 2 based on Carrier equipment and 1 based on Lennox (they also carry Trane) and I'm not sure which one to pick.
Info on current system: 1996 date code
Carrier 3.5 ton (38YCB042300)
Carrier 4.0 ton airhandler (p/n FC4BNF048000AEAA)
Total sq ft = 3200
Location: Orlando Fl, east west orientation with lots of single pane glass
This A/C unit services approx 1260 sq ft of the total house and includes kitchen, dining room and large great room with high cathedral ceiling. Current return is too small for the existing 3.5 Ton unit and located in the kitchen. The estimator recommend almost doubling the size and moving it 2/3 up the great room to pull the hot air out of the cathedral ceiling area.
1) 4 ton Carrier Infinity 16 (25HNA648A) with variable speed airhandler (FE4ANB005)
2) 4 ton Carrier Comfort B (25HCA348A) with variable speed airhandler (FV4BNF005)
3) 4 ton Lennox (XD-19-048) with variable speed airhandler (CBX32MV-048)
Both the Infinity and Lennox have a large rebate which makes them very close in cost to the Carrier Comfort B. The Lennox 17 SEER and Carrier Infinity 15.8SEER quoted costs are virtually the same so which is the better value when considering the differences in efficiency and quality / reliability of each brand?
Any advice is greatly appreciated since the wife is over my analysis paralysis!!