All furnaces manufactured today have electronics in them. If you buy the low end builder model it has an electronic board in it. If you buy a high end unit, it also has electronics in it. Buying a less expensive unit does not make it more reliable.
Originally posted by jeffw_00
the interesting thing I'm hearing is that stepping down to a mid-range system does -not- get me much better KISS - sounds like I'd have to go to a minimal builder grade system, and if I don't want to - maybe I might as well go for the evolution and get all the preventative logic as well?
The difference in units today is the features that each unit has. You can get a variable speed motor to improve airflow, reduce humidity, and run with a little less motor noise than a regular blower motor does. This is only one example of many. The bottom line is buy a unit that meets your expectations for comfort and cost.
BTW, most higher end systems come with better warranties, up to 10 years parts and labor. That means you pay nothing for repairs to the system for ten years (unless the problem is lack of standard naintenance) That's better than any car warranty. (Wow, I need to go back to school. What the hell is naintenance)
For the bryant evolution or carrier infinity systems, the most common problems are the blower motor hub (module) and the start pack (both parts built by GE, go figure) on the condensors/heatpumps. This will cause the whole system to stop.
On all other bryant/carrier systems, ignitors fail most often over any other part.
All in all, excellent electronics & sensors.
Take a look at what these boards do, then consider the mess of relays, switches, timers, spark or HSI control, flame sensing and whatnots it would take to perform the same tasks and then try to figure out the reliability of having all those things wired seperately into your system.
The mindset comes from replacing one part more often than any one of the individual parts mentioned above but a hell of a lot less then a combination of all the parts mentioned above.