I have received invaluable assistance from this site in researching the options for a new house I am building (trenching this month). But I wanted to share my experience on searching out options.
After spending many hours on this site I determined that I wanted to get bids on Trane, Rheem/Ruud, Lennox and Carrier systems. This is not to say there are not other good brands out there, but I only have so much time to solicit and review bids. I also wanted to explore the option of a zoned system and using R-410A.
My Trane dealer came highly recommended. He has spent the most time and has been willing to find out information for me. He is also very interested in zoned systems. He prefers the XL19 which is R-22. I'm still waiting for some word on the XL16 for a zoned system. He is also the only dealer I have contacted who is willing to perform a Manual J calc.
Rheem/Ruud - First Ruud dealer (only 2 in town of 500,000) told me last month he doesn't do new residential construction. I called today and the receptionist said "Yes, they do" and she will have the owner call me back.
I spoke with the 2nd Ruud dealer for about 10 minutes. During the conversation I shared with him some of the information I had picked up from this site. He then tells me he's too busy and couldn't do the job. I'm left to wonder if my "knowledge" (very little) didn't scare him off.
Lennox - Only one in town and they don't do new residential.
Carrier - Only one in town besides Sears. I called today and they do new residential. Gave her the house size and my interest in zoning and that the architect has sized the system at 6 tons (perhaps with Rezcheck according to a forum participant). Receptionist to have the owner call me back. Receptionist called me back to tell that the owner wants me to call him after I have trenched and he will give me a bid. The owner also says he doesn't do zoning and he thinks the system is undersized at 6 tons. Says at least 6.5-7.0 tons. I'm curious how he will react to my asking him about a Manual J calc.
What I have found has been informative to me. I'm self employed so I know that money usually makes the majority of decisions that businessmen make. Ot at least money is a very important factor. So I'm sure most of the dealers I have contacted are making their decisions not to do residential or zoning on good economic factors for their business. Our area is having a real construction boom so I know that everyone is busy (and hopefully making money and doing good work) so I'm sure that also has an impact on the dealer's decisions about what kind of work they want to do.
Just thought you might find this interesting as well.
Thanks very much for your continued participation in this very helpful forum.