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What is the Best Brand of Air Conditioning & Heating System?
Let me get right to the answer; none!
That's right, in my opinion and the opinion of thousands of other industry experts, there is no best brand out there. What you will hear is that the most important day in the life of an air conditioning system is the day it is installed. What that means is the quality and longevity of an HVAC system is wholly dependent on the installation techniques used and the company that stands behind it.
In 1992, the EPA started getting involved in regulating the HVAC industry and began to implement minimum efficiency standards. And many times over the years they have kept increasing the efficiencies. Think about the MPG in your car or truck - same thing. And, it wasn't just the efficiencies they started regulating, it was the refrigerant inside the units. Believing that the refrigerants were damaging the ozone, regulators began to phase out and phase back the production of different refrigerants.
The reason I bring the regulators into the picture is that with the new requirements it made it necessary for each manufacturer to adopt many similar manufacturing and design techniques, which allows these units to meet the high standards of efficiency and being green to make, essentially, the units nearly identical. We often joke that you could paint all the units red, remove any manufacturers identifying marks, put them in a row and most people would not be able to tell them apart. They are that similar.
Even if you ask Consumer Reports, they cannot give you a straight answer as to which brand is best and really that makes sense as there are just too many variables when it comes to installing a residential HVAC system. Too many things that can go wrong, that can be installed while taking a short cut. In their article, dated May 2018, they even give a link to a satisfaction survey from more than 14,000 readers. But these surveys are only "how do you feel" surveys and not scientific surveys that measure things like electrical consumption, heat removed and so on.
In closing don't even get me started on the incentives manufacturers give to contractors. Think about it, do you think a contractor is going to tell you that the brand that is sending them to an all inclusive resort in Mexico, or to Paris or to the Great Wall of China is the best brand for your home or do you think they will work to get the best thing for you (and not themselves)
When it comes to choosing a new system for your home, it really boils down to the contractor who is installing the system. Are they going to follow all the manufacturer's recommendations? Are they going to make sure that the duct work is properly sized, that the refrigerant charge is just right, that the unit is running at peak efficiency when the install is done?
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