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Brands of central air conditioners Options
grammargeek
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 4:09:32 AM

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Location: Arizona, U.S.
I am in the market for a new central air conditioner (an absolute must when you live in the desert), and I just thought I'd ask if anybody in the U.S. has a particular brand that they either love or hate and why?
Christine
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 8:30:32 AM

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I like my Trane. It is silent.

I am carrying my heart~I am carrying my rhythm~I am carrying my prayers~But you can't kill my spirit~It's soaring and strong (Paula Cole's Me Lyrics)***We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We ARE spirtual beings having a human experience.(T.deChardin)***There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. (Albert Einstein)



kauserali
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:23:36 AM

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Joined: 6/18/2009
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I have a carrier for about ten years now. It's still in good condition. No noise.

GG, you might want to check this link out:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061022093213AAfa4E3

"A wise old bird sat in an oak. The more he heard, the less he spoke. The less he spoke, the more he heard. Why don't you be like that wise old bird?" -Author unknown
Susie
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 12:28:05 PM

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I have a Bryant and I live in Chicago. (Meaning I use it year-round with the furnace also) It is over 18 years old and still blows air like a hair dryer. We change the filters and get it cleaned every year and it's paid for it's self plenty by now. Try looking at consumer reports too- They do great research and are unbias. Good luck!!
poeticlicense
Posted: Saturday, May 8, 2010 1:54:18 PM
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You may also want to look into a swamp cooler, they tend to work well in desert climates.
worldsclyde
Posted: Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:16:22 PM

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Location: Spokane, WA USA
Most brands make high-end models and basic models. You basically get what you pay for and brands don't matter all that much. Evaporative "swamp" coolers are great there. A plus for them is cost, (initial and operating), reliability and simplicity (easy to repair). A larger house with many zones is usually built to use conventional AC though.

You stand between me and all my enemies. -Son Lux
RuthP
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2010 3:50:22 PM

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Location: Drain, Oregon, United States
Hi GG,

It's things like this that make me glad I live in a maritime climate. Most of the time, I can cool the house off at night without air conditioning.

So, I found a few sites that might help:

E-how: How to compare air conditioners

U.S. government Energy Star: Central air conditioners High efficiency information. There have been several recent regulatory upgrades, but I'm not sure all the models advertised will be the most recent, so this is a good place to find out what the standards are. I think efficiency will be important for you, because you'll use the unit so much.

Consumer Reports, my usual go-to for starting, doesn't seem to have much on central air units. what they have is here: Consumer Reports: central air

This place has some information on the site, some which requires registration (doesn't look like they charge, but I didn't register), and some available in booklets for purchase. Furnace compare dot com: Central air.

grammargeek
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2010 7:59:05 PM

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Joined: 3/21/2009
Posts: 11,145
Neurons: 33,836
Location: Arizona, U.S.
RuthP wrote:
Hi GG,

It's things like this that make me glad I live in a maritime climate. Most of the time, I can cool the house off at night without air conditioning.

So, I found a few sites that might help:

E-how: How to compare air conditioners

U.S. government Energy Star: Central air conditioners High efficiency information. There have been several recent regulatory upgrades, but I'm not sure all the models advertised will be the most recent, so this is a good place to find out what the standards are. I think efficiency will be important for you, because you'll use the unit so much.

Consumer Reports, my usual go-to for starting, doesn't seem to have much on central air units. what they have is here: Consumer Reports: central air

This place has some information on the site, some which requires registration (doesn't look like they charge, but I didn't register), and some available in booklets for purchase. Furnace compare dot com: Central air.



Oh Ruth, you're such a sweetie! Which makes what I'm going to say next pinch, I think, for you and me both. I just bookmarked each of those sites (plus a few more) last night. But I do so much appreciate that you took the time to do that.

I'm still figuring and studying on all of this...as I sit in the heat. The fan still works, but this A/C I have now has been a lemon almost from word go. I'll never buy Lennox again. I'm just thankful we haven't broken a 100 degrees here yet.
TL Hobs
Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:58:58 AM

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Joined: 4/16/2009
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Location: Kenai, Alaska, United States
I put myself through college working on air conditioning/heating systems. I became partial to the GE heat pump systems for reliability and ease to repair. They sold out to Trane, who now makes the same systems. Look for the energy efficiency ratings between systems and buy what you can afford.

Compressors, electrical components, motors and controls are all made by only a few companies. The main differences between systems are the way in which they are put together and in the controls they provide. The more expensive units have protective controls for high freon pressure, low freon pressure, delay restart timers. They protect the expensive components in the event of a freon leak, fan motor failure, clogged condensing coil or evaporator, or partial loss of electrical power. Choose the best you can afford.

Get several estimates and ask for references. Some public health departments have staffing who can help you decide. Swamp coolers are evaporative cooling systems and are popular in desert environments. It may be all you need and if water resources are not an issue, it may be the most economical. They remove the latent heat of evaporation from the air inside your house to reduce the temperature.

Or, you can do as I did and move to Alaska. We don't need no stinking air conditioning! Angel

"When you don't know where you are going, you have to stick together just in case someone gets there." - Ken Kesey
grammargeek
Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:22:57 PM

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Joined: 3/21/2009
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
TL Hobs wrote:
I put myself through college working on air conditioning/heating systems. I became partial to the GE heat pump systems for reliability and ease to repair. They sold out to Trane, who now makes the same systems. Look for the energy efficiency ratings between systems and buy what you can afford.

Compressors, electrical components, motors and controls are all made by only a few companies. The main differences between systems are the way in which they are put together and in the controls they provide. The more expensive units have protective controls for high freon pressure, low freon pressure, delay restart timers. They protect the expensive components in the event of a freon leak, fan motor failure, clogged condensing coil or evaporator, or partial loss of electrical power. Choose the best you can afford.

Get several estimates and ask for references. Some public health departments have staffing who can help you decide. Swamp coolers are evaporative cooling systems and are popular in desert environments. It may be all you need and if water resources are not an issue, it may be the most economical. They remove the latent heat of evaporation from the air inside your house to reduce the temperature.

Or, you can do as I did and move to Alaska. We don't need no stinking air conditioning! Angel


TL, I've just been going back through these responses again. Over the past few days, I've checked out 30 different air conditioning service and installation companies, as far as their BBB standing and also the information on file with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Now I'm trying to focus more on the various types and brands of A/C systems themselves.

Despite living in the desert, I don't think I'm ready to make the jump to an evaporative cooler. I haven't heard that much about them, but what I have heard has been mostly negative.

On the other hand, I am becoming more interested in the idea of a heat pump after watching a little demo video (animated) of their inner workings. To my knowledge, nobody I know has a heat pump, so I can't ask them if they like it. Currently, I have electric-powered A/C, but my heat runs on natural gas. So right there, switching to a heat pump might be too different from the way my house is constructed. I am under the impression that heat pumps use electricity only. Is that correct? And would it be problematic to switch from what I have now or not?

I haven't gotten bids yet, but that's what I want to arrange very soon here. I'm wondering how much of an idea I will need to have beforehand regarding what kind of a system I want. Any further tips would be helpful. Thanks!

p.s. I don't see a move to Alaska in my future.
TL Hobs
Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 6:52:23 PM

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Joined: 4/16/2009
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Location: Kenai, Alaska, United States
Yes, a heat pump runs solely on electricity. Most gas utilities require you keep at least one appliance on gas in order to have service. Many electric utilities will offer a lesser rate per KW-Hour for electricity if your home is totally electric. You can take your bills to both utility offices and ask them for an estimate for heating/cooling if you switch to all electric, or not. Also, the federal government gave money to each state for rebates to those who upgrade appliances to a more energy efficient model. Each state is distributing the money differently, but you may be eligible for a rebate by buying a new system now.

To convert to a heat pump, you will be required to change everything except the ductwork. That means a new condensing unit, evaporator, thermostat and control wiring. They also contain electrical strip heaters for backup and to provide heat during the condensing unit's defrost cycle. Without calculating the heat load of your house, I don't know what size you will need, but a standard 4-ton heat pump system today, installed, should cost around $8,000. Prices may vary in your area. It cost about as much as it does to move to Alaksa. Angel

For reference, one ton of cooling is equal to the amount of heat necessary to melt one ton of ice in 24 hours, measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) is equal to 288,000 BTUs per day, or 24,000 BTUs per hour.

A good installation for a heat pump is important to make it operate efficiently. Otherwise, you are wasting money. Ideally, the ductwork would be designed for the system you buy. Fan noise occurs if the air speed is too high and uncomfortable thermal layers occur if it is too low (warm air up high and cold air down low in a room). Heat pumps deliver hot air at around 95F, which feels cool, but is still warming the room. Compare that to your gas furnace which delivers hot air at around 110F. The most efficient way to operate a heat pump is to set the thermostat for the desired room temperature and do not touch it afterwards. An imbalance between actual temperature and the temperature demand brings on the electrical strip heaters and your economy goes out the window.

Another option is a geothermal heat pump that uses ground water for heat transfer at the condensing unit. Water transfers heat about 20% better than air. The difference is reflected in your operating cost. It cost more to install because you have to drill a 6" hole to the water table.

Swamp coolers work very well in the Tucson area, where the relative humidity is very low. Higher humidity places aren't as good, or places where water is scarce and expensive.

"When you don't know where you are going, you have to stick together just in case someone gets there." - Ken Kesey
worldsclyde
Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:35:41 PM

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Location: Spokane, WA USA
I'm sure people in your area don't use many heat pump systems because heating is not a priority and a purely cooling AC system is a lot cheaper.

You stand between me and all my enemies. -Son Lux
grammargeek
Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:38:47 PM

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Joined: 3/21/2009
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Location: Arizona, U.S.
worldsclyde wrote:
I'm sure people in your area don't use many heat pump systems because heating is not a priority and a purely cooling AC system is a lot cheaper.


Thanks for the input, Clyde!
edbishop
Posted: Saturday, June 30, 2012 7:40:42 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 6/30/2012
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Location: Troy, NY
The installing contractor can be more important than the brand.

This free buyer's guide about central air conditioning;

www.needtoknowit.org/HVAC
dusty
Posted: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 2:16:56 AM

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Grammargeek,

I wouldn't be hesitant to purchase another Lennox, in fact many in the HVAC industry say the highest quality units produced today today are Lennox and Trane. I would be suspect of whoever installed your unit as it's more likely a problem with installation or repairs/maintenance than it is with the brandname. Not everybody is good at what they do for a living. If you get the right size and type of unit best suited for your application, you will be more than happy with any of the brand names.

It might be more wise to research the person or company you choose to install your HVAC system, as the right company/person to do the work can translate to a difference of night and day in regards to your level of satisfaction as well as performance of the unit.

To be concerned of the fate of the world is not bad, but bearing false witness is to not be
chayydtayloor
Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2015 4:32:22 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 8/12/2015
Posts: 1
Neurons: 3
kauserali wrote:
I have a carrier for about ten years now. It's still in good condition. No noise.

GG, you might want to check this link out:
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061022093213AAfa4E3


Same here, will recommend carrier. Facing no problem at all

Regards
AC Repair Phoenix Company
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