Hi, all. First, thanks for the helpful site.
I'm replacing a ~26 year old mismatched heat pump unit in central FL. The condenser is 2.5 ton; the air handler is 3 ton. I've had three sales reps from HVAC companies out to give estimates.
First, I've read on this forum that I should pass on any company that does not do a room-by-room load analysis before recommending a size. None of them so far have -- they've all been salesmen, not technicians. They've asked me the size of my house (1686 sq ft under air), assumed I was right, and two recommended a 3 ton unit for that square footage; one recommended a Trane 2.5 ton unit. He said the 16 SEER variable speed Trane produced more BTUs than the competition and would be sufficient to cool the house. .
Two have strongly recommended Trane and Lennox and specifically recommended against buying anything else. The third (and the guy I'm inclined to trust most because he's owner & sole operator of his business, and has a 5 star rating on Service Magic even with 65 reviews) said Rheem's 14 SEER variable speed was just as good as Trane's or Lennox's and cost much less. He explained the the Rheem was actually a "step-variable" system (my term, not his) instead of a true variable system, but that it mattered little because most often even the true variable speeds ramp up to 50% and stay there.
I subscribed to Consumer Reports, but I can't find where they review heat pumps on their website. On furnacecompare.com, Rheem actually has higher user ratings than Lennox or Trane.
Ok. There's the basic info. My questions are these:
1. Does Rheem have a good reputation (for longevity, reliability) among HVAC pros? What is it people are paying for when they spend an extra $400-$600 on a comparable Trane or Lennox?
2. Is it likely that 2.5 tons is sufficient for a 1686 sq ft house, or is that sales guy just blowing smoke to put a lower quote in front of me?