A/C opinions?

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Hi all,
been collecting quotes on A/C installs for the house; all appear to be coming in at about the same price but three installers quoted on either Carrier or Trane, and one quoted on Goodman which I've never heard of. Warranty is actually better on the Goodman but am curious about comments on reliability, durability, parts availability of all brands (and Ruud/Rheem as well, if anyone cares to share.) The installer that I'm leaning towards just because of initial impression is spec'ing a Trane unit, 14 SEER which he says provides more efficiency (duh) as well as a better warranty than the 13 SEER at slight additional cost. comments?
These are all for 2.5 ton residential units to retrofit to an existing forced-air heating system. Likely will be adding some kind of filtration (there is currently none other than the foam dirt catcher in the existing furnace, which is a rather old Ruud high efficiency gas unit.) Not sure if just cutting in a regular replaceable filter is the way to go, or if the extra cost for electronic is worth it. Comments here would be appreciated as well.
thanks,
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

These days they probably all come off the same line in China.
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"These days they probably all come off the same line in China."
not true, Carrier , made by unitary products group in indianapolis indiana Trane, American Standard made in Tyler Texas Goodman Mfg , made in Houston texas
all three have pros and cons , the best furnace improperly installed will last half as long as the poorest furnace properly installed ,
read kjpros post

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wrote:

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thanks kj , you can tell i havent installed any recently ;-)
still , not a one of em comes from china .
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You'll have to excuse CJT, he coughed.
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The Freon Cowboy wrote:

Hi Cowboy, Rewrote the above - your response? Could it be that the components are merely assembled at those locations? The question ought to be where are the components mfg'ered? http://www.udarrell.com/proper_cfm_btuh_duct_sizing_air_conditioning_systems.html
The installation is the key. - udarrell
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wrote:

UT coils... Mexico :-(
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Nate Nagel wrote:

    I am not an authority on AC's, but I replaced my two Rheem units last year after 30 years with two more Rheem units. I have gotten very good service from them and most who have them think highly of them. Also, I believe they are made in Fort Smith, Ark. for what it is worth.
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Equipment is only as good as the installer. Warranty is only as good as the company backing it.
In other words, find the best company with the best installer. Find one that will do a manual J (load calc) to properly size the equipment. One that will also do a manual D to insure your ducting is adequate for proper operation.

I would install a media type filter over the electronic. The only way I would want an electronic is if someone had allergies.
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Only the one installer did any calcs at all. The others just looked at the house and immediately quoted on a 2.5 ton unit, except for one who quoted on a 2 ton. This is part of the reason that I'm leaning towards this one installer.

Well, SWMBO does have some allergies and also the installer that actually did calcs mentioned that the ductwork was "marginal" and claimed that it would be better to go with either no filter at all or else electronic because he didn't want to restrict the airflow with a media filter. does this make sense? It kind of did to me, but I'm a car guy not a HVAC guy.
nate
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Goodman had the lowest ratings on a consumer reports long term pole.
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ransley wrote:

I subscribe to CR, however, Consumers Report is crap when it comes to Central AC equipment. The later model Goodman equipment is as good as any of the other brands & usually better equipment for the initial cost along with a warranty at the top of the industry.
I would buy the 14-SEER with the better components - Copeland Scroll compressor & Thermostatic Expansion Valve (TXV).
http://www.udarrell.com/airconditioning_eer_ratings_over_seer_ratings_central_systems.html
- udarrell
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N8N wrote:

A proper electrostatic precipitator air cleaner will work very well. They are a bit pricey, but make up for that long term since you just wash their collector grids and can use about the cheapest pre-filter that you can get. $15 a pop for the good Filtrete filters adds up quickly.
As for the part about marginal ductwork, we can't tell from here whether it truly is marginal, but he is absolutely correct that an electrostatic precipitator type air cleaner presents very little flow restriction, essentially none compared to a media type filter.
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Thanks for all the comments. I do believe him when he says the ductwork is marginal because I do have to fiddle with the dampers to get adequate heat upstairs in the wintertime (new grilles/dampers are on the "to do" list as many of them are bent and/or sticky, and all are painted over several times) I think where we are at now is SWMBO is going to call the guy I had a good impression of to requote with a 13 SEER and without the electrostatic, just to get apples-to-apples comparison with the other installers and if he's in the ballpark go with him, likely following his initial recommendations as he seemed to know what he's talking about.
Anyone see a downside to this plan?
nate
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N8N wrote:

Sounds reasonable to me. Finding an HVAC company you can have some trust in isn't very easy. I'll be looking for one in the not that distant future myself and am not looking forward to it, particularly since I'm rather picky. Also, an EP filter is on my list for when I replace my system.
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Pete C. wrote:

Well I got a call from the girlie; comparing apples to apples the guy I liked is actually *cheaper* than all but one of the other quotes. So I guess now the decision is which options to get. The 14 SEER unit was an extra $400, and the air cleaner was $1200.
I don't know for 100% sure (I'll ask,) but I believe the units he is quoting are the Trane XR13 and XL14i. He wants to use a Honeywell electrostatic unit as he claims that the Trane equivalent is a new product with an unproven track record, and he says that the Honeywell has a good record and has been on the market for many years.
nate
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Nate Nagel wrote:

EPs in general have been around a long time and are really simple units, basically a high voltage power supply and a collector grid. The Trane EP may be new and unproven, but I'd have little concern due to the simplicity and well known technology. We had a couple Honeywell EP units for some office space where I used to work and the worked well. The last time I looked, I think I saw decent EP units in the $600-700 range, so perhaps nudge him down a bit on that item. At around $600 the unit will pay for itself in about 10 years vs. the decent Filtrete filters.
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I'm not a big fan of electronic air cleaners...
See what modifications he can do to the ducting to allow for the media filter. The electronic is a pain to clean and most people end up not doing it as often as they should.
Also remember, this is something you'll be living with and is the system that will maintain your comfort. So a few extra dollars now can save a lot of headaches and compromised comfort.
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"kjpro "@ usenet.com wrote:

It's a pain to throw the grids in the dishwasher??? The only pain I can see is it the EP unit is located in an inaccessible location, and the same issue applies with media type as well. Saving the $15 a pop for good media filters by using the washable EP grids will rapidly make up for the cost of the EP.
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