My apologies in advance for the long post but I wanted to give as much info upfront as I could. I know it helps all of you professionals who are so generous with spending your own time to read these and give such great opinions and advice.
I live in Charlotte, NC and have the original unit that was installed when the home was built 9 years ago. It's a 2 ton 10 SEER comfortmaker A/C that has a confirmed leaking coil. It’s paired to a 50k btu 80% comfortmaker furnace. This is my 2nd story unit (same set up for 1st floor but not having any problems with that system). We have no plans to move anytime soon and can easily see ourselves living here another 10 years. We decided it made sense to replace entire system and take full advantage of the tax credit as well as rebates available from Duke Energy (14 SEER + ECM fan) and Piedmont Gas (90% AFUE).
We have always had problems since we moved in 9 years ago with the upstairs A/C keeping it cool when temps shoot up in the summer. If sunny and 85 or higher the unit would run ALL DAY and barely maintain temps @ 78-80. The upstairs bonus room over the garage is always at least 5 degrees warmer. We also use our A/C a lot more during the year, maybe 7 months altogether. The furnace has never left us feeling cold. The only negative I can think of is on very cold days in mid 20’s to mid 30’s, very rare in Charlotte, it does cycle quite a bit but not a big deal.
While overall cost is important, we are MOST interested in getting a good value. Therefore it seems to us we would be better served by focusing more on the A/C system, but still look for a good match to upgrade the furnace to take advantage of tax credit and rebates.
So far I have received estimates from 3 contractors offering Trane, Bryant or Goodman and Amana equipment. All contractors are including recommended changes to supply and return duct work. All 3 contractors have good county inspection and customer referral records. 3 ton has been the main size a/c recommended, 2 ˝ ton if I wanted to save some $ but definitely NO 2 tons. Furnaces all variable speed, some with two stage heating, some @ 95% and some @ 80% AFUE 9 (need @ least 90% AFUE to get Piedmont Nat Gas rebate).
Company A - Trane Only:
Option 1 Trane (Warranty of 10 year parts and labor, 12 year compressor): Trane XL16i 3 ton 4TTX6036A; coil 4TXCB004CC3; XV-95 80k Btu Furnace TUH2B080A9V3; Thermostat TCONT803
Option 2 Trane (Warranty of 10 years parts 1 year labor): Trane XR15 A/C, 2.5 tons, XR95 furnace
Company B - Trane & Bryant:
Option 1 Trane (Warranty of 10 year parts and labor, 12 year compressor: 3 Ton XL20i 4TTZ0036A1000; XC80 Furnace TUD2C080ACV4; Evaporator Coil 4TXCC007CC3; TCONT900 Thermostat.
Option 2 Bryant (Warranty of 10 year parts and labor): 3 Ton Evolution 187ANA036; Furnace 315AAV036070 80% variable air flow Furnace; Evaporator Coil CNPV048017; “communicating and programmable thermostat.”
Option 3 Bryant (Warranty of 10 year parts and labor): 3 Ton Bryant Preferred 163ANA036; Bryant 315AAV036070 80% variable speed Furnace; Evaporator Coil CNPV036017; “programmable thermostat.”
Option 4 Trane (Warranty of 10 year parts and labor, 12 year compressor): 3 Ton XL15i 4TTX5036A1000; XV80 Furnace TUD080R9V4; Evaporator Coil 4TXCC044BC3; TCONT802 Thermostat.
Company C – Goodman & Amana – Still waiting on detailed proposals but the initial information that I think I would lean towards listed for both Goodman and Amana would be the 3 ton 16 SEER A/C & 95% variable speed 70k BTU furnace systems. The 2nd option for both is 2.5 ton 14 SEER & 95% BTU Furnace. If I’m not mistaken Goodman and Amana are nearly identical just different name plates.
Thanks for any and all opinions and advice!!!