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  1. #1
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    Feb 2019
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    Is there really a difference in Brands?

    I am down to three (4) different companies that I feel can do me right with the installation process. Iíve found a few ďreputableĒ dealers that tried to literally scare my wife into having them replace our furnace right there in the spot, and a few that I feel like will do me right but donít necessarily make me feel confident in their knowledge/abilities.

    1. Is Armstrong
    2. Is Trane
    3. Is AirEase
    4. Is TempStar

    I see that AirEase and Armstrong are basically the same. TempStar is better k own that than Armstrong/AirEase. The is a price difference in names between Armstrong/AirEase and Trane is fairly significant. The Armstrong and AirEase price difference is negligible. TempStar is just in the middle of the two.

    I just canít decide if the extra money is worth it on comparable systems. I am sure this is a Ford vs Chevy vs Ram situation, I feel like that Trane system is A LOT of money compared to the other three. Trane is really proud of their products. The AirEase guy(s) have a STELLAR reputation for the knowledge, honesty and integrity the Trane guy has a great reputation - but that Darn Price Tag! I just want a system that is t going to require tons of repairs over the next 15 years. My current is builder grade Lennox system.

    I know opions in here vary and everyone says go with AirEase but I had never heard of them until I got directed to the installer with a STELLAR reputation (lots of people in my circle and extended circle use him. He is not a name in a phone book type guy and keeps prices low by not advertising outside of word of mouth, and is fully lit and pulls all permits etc.
    Last edited by MidOhioWest; 10-17-2019 at 10:41 AM. Reason: Typos

  2. #2
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    Mar 2018
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    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    Are the models offered all apples to apples? AHRI#'s have or will be provided? Who have proposed ducting upgrades to handle higher airflow? Install will leave a commissioning report and measure static pressure? Manual J and D performed? Most, in my experience, will tell you only the equipment needs to be replaced as they arent interested in doing all the little things that make a great install, just because it blows cold and hot doesnt mean its reaching its efficiency or running well, it can take a couple years for breakdowns to start occurring due to bad install practices. I would go with whoever the contractor is that will do the best job and address everything I listed, as every manufacturer makes the same tiers of equipment. Everyone has their builder grade made in Mexico stuff, their middle of the road equipment which is usually my preference, and then their top of the line equipment, the last two are usually assembled in the US.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2009
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    I am a Trane guy and will state up front I am biased. I have worked on all brands over 40+ years and to me it seems that while other brands have cheapened their product such as lighter metal in their cabinets Trane are still very solid. I don't see many issue with Trane but I pay close attention to a lot of details in my install practices. The very best equipment with a poor install will not work well or last long. Everyone has their own preference in equipment, part of it comes from if it makes sense from a ground up perspective on how it is built/designed. For me Trane seems to make more sense.

    Now from a price point of view you need to look deeper than just the bottom line. Every dealer has costs they have to cover, Overhead and equiment/material, and labor. Most if not all are in the 30-50% range. So if one dealer is using equipment that costs $4000 and the other is using equipment that costs $3000 and they both have a 50% overhead look what happens. The price for the higher one is $6000 (4000 + 2000) but for the lower priced one it is $4500 (3000 + 1500). Now if the one sells for $6000 and the other for $5000 which is the better deal? If you say $5000 because it is less money then what do you think about the $500 (5000 - 4500) you are paying for nothing {bluesky}. So what looks like a $1000 savings is actually costing you $500 more than it should, $500 extra profit for the dealer. This is the trap most fall into when buying on price they pay less up front, give the dealer more than they should have and get less product in return. An easy way to spot this is asking if they can come down. If they are easy to sway they have extra figured in, if they say only if they remove something then they probably have it priced close to cost but not always.

    As a homeowner you have no way of knowing what the dealer costs are for equipment or overhead and they probably will not tell you. Looking on line will not give you a good idea either as incentives will very from dealer to dealer. The Ford, Chevy, Dodge comparison is really not valid. They are all sold as a complete unit from the factory. Most HVAC products have to be selected by the dealer to work together and put together on site. The skill of the dealer and the installation people become huge. The selection and assembly of the different components make a big difference in how long a system will last and how many repairs and the severity of those repair are. Which is cheaper $8000 once or $5000 twice.

    The point is you have a budget you need to hold to, that is understood. You need to get the most bang for the buck, also understood. The lowest price is not always the best bang for the buck. You need to do your homework, look at the jobs done by the companies you want to use. Does it look like they have covered all bases or does it look like they let some details slide?

    Long post, hope it helps.

  4. #4
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    May 2000
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    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    Model numbers? Gotta make sure you are comparing like products. Often homeowners aren't.

    For the most part, units are similar between brands. And brands can have 2-3 different model lines from cheap to high end. The electrical components tend to be made by the same companies though cheaper models/brands may use cheaper components. We get to know where problems are and can avoid a model or brand with specific problems.

    But as always said on here, key is best possible dealer/installer sizing it right - which is uncommon.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2018
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    Chico, Ca #StateofJefferson
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    Quote Originally Posted by BNME8EZ View Post
    I am a Trane guy and will state up front I am biased. I have worked on all brands over 40+ years and to me it seems that while other brands have cheapened their product such as lighter metal in their cabinets Trane are still very solid. I don't see many issue with Trane but I pay close attention to a lot of details in my install practices. The very best equipment with a poor install will not work well or last long. Everyone has their own preference in equipment, part of it comes from if it makes sense from a ground up perspective on how it is built/designed. For me Trane seems to make more sense.

    Now from a price point of view you need to look deeper than just the bottom line. Every dealer has costs they have to cover, Overhead and equiment/material, and labor. Most if not all are in the 30-50% range. So if one dealer is using equipment that costs $4000 and the other is using equipment that costs $3000 and they both have a 50% overhead look what happens. The price for the higher one is $6000 (4000 + 2000) but for the lower priced one it is $4500 (3000 + 1500). Now if the one sells for $6000 and the other for $5000 which is the better deal? If you say $5000 because it is less money then what do you think about the $500 (5000 - 4500) you are paying for nothing {bluesky}. So what looks like a $1000 savings is actually costing you $500 more than it should, $500 extra profit for the dealer. This is the trap most fall into when buying on price they pay less up front, give the dealer more than they should have and get less product in return. An easy way to spot this is asking if they can come down. If they are easy to sway they have extra figured in, if they say only if they remove something then they probably have it priced close to cost but not always.

    As a homeowner you have no way of knowing what the dealer costs are for equipment or overhead and they probably will not tell you. Looking on line will not give you a good idea either as incentives will very from dealer to dealer. The Ford, Chevy, Dodge comparison is really not valid. They are all sold as a complete unit from the factory. Most HVAC products have to be selected by the dealer to work together and put together on site. The skill of the dealer and the installation people become huge. The selection and assembly of the different components make a big difference in how long a system will last and how many repairs and the severity of those repair are. Which is cheaper $8000 once or $5000 twice.

    The point is you have a budget you need to hold to, that is understood. You need to get the most bang for the buck, also understood. The lowest price is not always the best bang for the buck. You need to do your homework, look at the jobs done by the companies you want to use. Does it look like they have covered all bases or does it look like they let some details slide?

    Long post, hope it helps.
    This is so true and unfortunately so many people fall into this trap. People come on here every day that we try to impress the "buy the name on the van, not the name on the box" thinking on and still get "assuming the installs are equal" responses to it's silly. My policy has always been if I have to spend this kind of money, I may as well get what I really want even if it costs more. I certainly dont want to spend that level of money and have regrets down the road

  6. #6
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    Feb 2019
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    This is so true and unfortunately so many people fall into this trap. People come on here every day that we try to impress the "buy the name on the van, not the name on the box" thinking on and still get "assuming the installs are equal" responses to it's silly. My policy has always been if I have to spend this kind of money, I may as well get what I really want even if it costs more. I certainly dont want to spend that level of money and have regrets down the road
    Thatís why Iíve spent over a year reading and trying to educate myself as time allows. I really trust the AirEase guy, I have zero doubts that theyíll do it right - my concern is the AirEase Equipment vs the Trane. I also trust the Trane dealer the difference is the guy who sells the air ease installs it ... the Trane guy is a salesman and a different crew installs it. Iím concerned about that crew... the bigger the company the more quality control gets lost in my experience. They all did measurements and calculations.

    I just never heard of AirEase so the from the Equipment standpoint I was leaning towards Trane but from the dealer/installer I was leaning towards AirEase... and exactly right I donít want to spend $7500 twice... thatís why I am trying to make sure I get this right the first time.

  7. #7
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    Then go with the Airease, I rarely have to much faith in the installers in my area, they slap it in and never have to come back when it breaks. They get paid to be fast, I'd trust that the guy who's planning on coming back to service and repair your equipment isn't going to screw himself over by making it hard to work on, at least I dont.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    Then go with the Airease, I rarely have to much faith in the installers in my area, they slap it in and never have to come back when it breaks. They get paid to be fast, I'd trust that the guy who's planning on coming back to service and repair your equipment isn't going to screw himself over by making it hard to work on, at least I dont.
    The AirEase guy is even trying talk me out of two stage AC, telling me he doesnít think it will do what I am hoping for (thatís a long story) ... everyone else is pushing it ... if he isnít trying to sell me the expensive stuff ... I feel like their must be a reason.

  9. #9
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    Could be he wants to save you money, I enjoy the 2 stage cooling and just about every customer that had it said they wouldn't go back which is what convinced me to try it. I'm not sure what your looking for but the possibility exists to me that he doesnt know how to install and service 2 stage equipment. Just playing devil's advocate. Have you asked for referrals or to see examples of any of their work?

  10. #10
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    Jan 2014
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    History of AirEase, almost a century old manufacturer, reason you never heard from them is they do not advertise heavily. One reason the Trane is more expensive is they are heavily advertised, that cost is passed onto the customer. I suppose if you advertised the AirEase for the next 5-10 years as heavily as Carrier/Trane it would be a household name.

    http://www.airease.com/about/

    The Armstrong/AirEase probably even comes with more standard features from the factory than the Trane/Tempstar if your comparing same tier level.

    Ask them for something like this to prove matching systems are installed, especially if you go to the higher SEER systems, as your local utility company may offer rebates for installing energy star rated equipment meeting a minimum SEER and EER as you will need the AHRI number proving a matched system for any possible rebates. Don’t be fooled by the Contractors when they bid as an example a 16 SEER rated OD unit and you thinking your paying for and are under the assumption your getting that rated system. It’s the indoor selection along with the OD unit that determines your SEER and EER, not the OD unit solely.

    You can easily get a matched SEER of say 14.5 on that up to or higher 16 SEER. You can easily get a non matched system, system will still work, but who knows what the SEER and EER will be. You can also get a higher SEER and EER rating.

    https://www.ahridirectory.org/Home/D...sYdR0wA5sJGQcL

    What are the labor warranties these Contractors are bidding, as one may offer a longer labor warranty than others.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 10-18-2019 at 07:31 AM.

  11. #11
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    Oct 2002
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    Plano, TX
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    Consider obtaining replacement parts. I have seen Trane telling me a blower motor part will take two weeks, in the winter. Also, computer board would not be available anytime soon.
    Armstrong supplier, in my area, will allow me to rob parts to get a customer furnace working again.
    This has to do with distributor relationship with installer contractor.
    The installing contractor has alot to do with overall reliability. Will they promptly address warranty concerns?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Makeitcold View Post
    Could be he wants to save you money, I enjoy the 2 stage cooling and just about every customer that had it said they wouldn't go back which is what convinced me to try it. I'm not sure what your looking for but the possibility exists to me that he doesnt know how to install and service 2 stage equipment. Just playing devil's advocate. Have you asked for referrals or to see examples of any of their work?
    My situation is a two story westward facing brick front home ... in the summer the second floor room on the west side are very warm, we cut in and added ceiling fans, as well as re-worked duct work (got rid of a second floor central return added a return in each bedroom) first (the AirEase guy recommended this). He said he has a Similar situation and the two stage doesnít keep his necessarily anymore comfortable so heíd hate to see me spend the money and find out it doesnít help. He doesnít like doing duct work and referred me to a colleague if his who charge me time/materials for the duct work. It helped a little but still isnít the end all be all. To me the two stage is the final attempt to fix it all up.

    Iím going to replace my AC and heater as well as the line set (currently the line set isnít big enough) .... itís a finished basement so Iím going to have to tear out drywall, thatís why I figured I might as well go ahead and replace everything along with the small remodel I plan to do in the basement - since Iím already tearing out drywall

    The current AC/Heater is 15 years old Lennox builder grade.

  13. #13
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by timjimbob View Post
    Consider obtaining replacement parts. I have seen Trane telling me a blower motor part will take two weeks, in the winter. Also, computer board would not be available anytime soon.
    Armstrong supplier, in my area, will allow me to rob parts to get a customer furnace working again.
    This has to do with distributor relationship with installer contractor.
    The installing contractor has alot to do with overall reliability. Will they promptly address warranty concerns?
    I donít know about supply house and availability of parts... I know the guy that did my duct work knows my AirEase guy from getting parts at the same supply house - which tells you zero about the relationship.

    I also know my AirEase guyed his left his family and fixed a heater for a family on Xmas day with zero extra upcharge(s) just his standard diagnostic/call out fee plus parts/labor..... that tells me a lot about his character, work ethic, and ďgreedĒ level.

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