House Air Conditioner

Hello,
My son and his wife will have to replace their house air conditioner. Live in Mass. Typical 3 bedroom Split style. I'm trying to help them out a bit, but certainly no expert with this.
Unit is very old now, and the type where the condenser is located outside, and the evaporator is mounted to the duct work by the furnace (hot air heating system).
Before we call in some contractors, thought I'd ask you experts here:
Is Trane still considered the "best" brand re reliability, etc. ?
I guess most important, are there any brands (or models) to stay away from ?
Any thoughts on what to ask contractor, things to look out for, gotchas, etc. would be most appreciated.
Thanks, Bob
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goodman very affordable with great warranty
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Consumer Reports did a long term pole, read it. The installer is the most important item and sizing the unit is #1. A pro will do a written load calculation if you request it [if hes a real pro] and check out ducks and any other issues, dont let them "guess" as you will find most will. [ Who said train is best, the TV adds?] You should do alot of research online as to what is a great install and setup. Pulling a permit gets you a free inspection [I dont view it as a tax], and dont pay until its passed. Hire someone with refrences thats well known, My installer threw in a Blower Door Test free, what it saved me in a year was more than it would have cost. If you will insulate anything soon it has to be figured in now, 99% of installers oversize you, which is wrong for real comfort, im oversized and its real bad.
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ransley wrote:

I would get a veterinarian to check my ducks rather than an HVAC dealer. ROTFLMAO I'm sorry, I couldn't help it.
TDD
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I'd stay away from Trane. Too many proprietary parts. Hard to get parts, except through other Trane dealers.
My boss used to install Heil. Which includes Tempstar, and Airquest. Three brands for the same machine.
Rheem and Rudd are also good, which are different brands for the same equipment.
Some people lampoon Goodman, but it's worked for me.
--
Christopher A. Young
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aka expen$ive

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The installer is the key!
Goodman worked for me too. Put Goodman gas pack and new ductwork in 35yr old house 14mos ago. Zero issues/no callbacks. Week before the 1 yr full parts & labor warranty was up I called for an annual. Everything fine. No charge. Been using this local family owned company for all HVAC work.
I CHANGE THE FILTER RELIGIOUSLY THE FIRST OF EVERY MONTH! Coil did not even need a blowoff or hose down at the annual. Think the filter changing had anything to do with it? :-) I just use the basic blue filters.
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p.s.
After sunset it pushes out 52-54 degrees. Hottest part of day (unit in afternoon sun) never less than 58. Mid-south. Upper 90's very common July & Aug.
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Our filter who art in furnace Renewed be thy name With dust unseen Thy air to Clean Remove dirt and dust all day
(The Filter's Prayer).
--
Christopher A. Young
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Not huge differences between the "best" and the runner ups. More important is a good install.
I've had quite a few units installed and service by Peak Heating & AC in Uxbridge, MA (508-234-3633) They do a lot of American Standard but can do others. Find a reliable contractor and you will get good performance.

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I think American Standard was best in the long term CR poll, I looked at them, their Stainless exchanger is better than the aluminum plastic coated units and I think the furnaces went to 96% efficency, it was years ago that I checked. A.S. is under rated, but all you hear on TV is, cant stop a trane, Dave Lennox is a good guy, and buy a Carrier- Bryant.
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wrote:

    Always step one is to find your installer. If you get a good one, and let them take a look at what you have and rely on them for what you need you will have a good result.
    If you pick the best brand on the market and get a second rate installer, you will have a second rate system The Installer is the most important part.
    Also consider that a house air conditioner is a system and includes the ducts and returns. It is not something that is simply added on.
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