A proper heating and air installation
The number one thing for selecting an air conditioning system is choosing a company that has something to lose if they don’t stand behind their work. A great reputation can take decades to build, and seconds to lose.
It’s almost like clockwork that our phone rings with someone who thought they were getting a bargain when in fact they were getting the shaft.
Heating and cooling systems is a multidisciplinary field that requires years of experience and dedication to do it well. It also requires sorting out all the hogwash the industry throws at us on a regular basis. In over 50 years in the business, we have seen new fangled things come and go.
We like simple systems
Some changes were great, but very few of the “Improvements” stood the test of time. Just like an hvac salesmen don’t always have your best interest at heart, industry salespeople don’t always have the industries best interest at heart.
Wading through the hype is something you become good at over time.
The simplest systems made are usually the least expensive systems to buy. They are also going to be the most reliable systems. For outdoor units, we love the simplicity and reliability of a single stage air conditioner. Matched with a single stage furnace, there is nothing more reliable on the market today.
Not all upgrades are bad
Having said that, you can get about 90% of that reliability, and 90% of the most complicated, but most comfortable systems when you pair a single stage outdoor unit with a “Two stage, Variable Speed” furnace. It costs about one to two thousand dollars more, but is the single best upgrade you can do for your home heating and cooling system here in the south.
Matts Story about two stage variable speed
My grandparents moved down here to farm country outside of Atlanta in the 50s. Lived in a tent for a while with 5 kids while they built a house.
I grew up in that house, and for 50 years, my grandma has been telling me to get up and close that door, there is a draft in here and I’m cold. Or, get up and open that door it’s hot in here.
Since we installed the two stage variable speed furnace, that door has not been closed once.
What about installing a bigger air conditioner
Installing a bigger air conditioner may sound like a good idea, but it almost always ends with an unhappy customer.
An air conditioner does two things, it removes heat, and moisture. If it is oversized, it will remove the heat so fast that it does not run long enough to remove the moisture. Now you feel cold and humid, or “clammy”… not a good feeling.
The perfect sized air conditioner here in the south in my mind would be one that ran all day long when it is 100 degrees outside and keeps it about 75 degrees inside, even if you have it set at 70. We only get a few of those days every few years and most of us suffer with oversized equipment 95% of the time.
Why some heating and air companies will oversize your equipment
A heating and air companies worst nightmare is that you will call us in the middle of the night in a winter storm and the temperature is zero degrees outside and you complain that it is only 55 or 60 in the house.
IT’S ZERO DEGREES OUTSIDE!!!
That only happens a few times per decade, and you, and your pipes are not going to freeze at those temperatures. Add a couple of small electric heaters to the rooms you are in, and you can me MUCH more comfortable for the rest of the decade.
You can install a two stage variable speed and get the best of both worlds.
Which brand of air conditioner should you buy
Almost all brands of heating and air equipment use the same major components. There are only a few compressor manufacturers, and a few motor manufacturers.
Trane, American Standard are owned by Ingersall Rand, and they make their own compressors. They have a compressor that has been running for something like 50 or 75 years straight that they like to brag about. Impressive, but it is not under a load from what I hear and that somewhat takes the impressiveness out of it for me.
I grew up working on very large Carrier compressors and I love them, especially the old stuff. Not a huge fan of the new residential stuff, but some people love them.
I am not a huge fan of York, others love them.
My favorites are Amana, which is our premium brand, and the Lennox family Lennox, Ducane, Concord, Armstrong and Air Ease).
In particular, the Amana ASX16 is one of the best units on the market. They have a guarantee that is second to none, and I know first hand how well they stand behind it. As long as YOU own your home (primary residence), if your compressor fails, they will not only give you a new compressor, but an entire new outdoor unit. You just pay the labor to put it in.
They do the same with all the furnaces we currently sell, if your heat exchanger goes bad, they give you and entire new furnace.
It’s not cheap, but if you absolutely know you want to live in your current home forever, it’s the way to go.
Lennox is awesome equipment, and we are a Lennox dealer. Excellent equipment. They also have “sister” brands that have tiny little changes that can give you the same level of quality and efficiency for less money.
If you are don’t know how long you are going to be in a home, you will not have any problem with resale value with the Lennox family.
What about “Builder Grade”
There are some off brands out there. Just like I am not a fan of getting an unqualified and uninsured company to install your system, I am not a fan of ultra cheap equipment. Even if I were selling a home tomorrow, I would not do that to my fellow human.