Everyone wants a more efficient HVAC system, and finding the most efficient system for what you can afford to pay is certainly one way to shop around. But as you’re comparing HVAC brands, you might wonder what makes some of the top brands worth the cost, in relation to their competitors.
The fact is there’s more to efficiency than a rating on a label. A lot of brands may test out as efficient under controlled laboratory settings, but how do they perform in the home? The answer lies somewhere between the quality of the equipment and the quality of the installation. Here’s some information to bear in mind as you research your next HVAC system.
Top HVAC brands earn their reputation by manufacturing innovative, high quality products. They also stand out among their dealer partners by the quality of training they provide to install and repair their equipment.
Dealers who partner with one of these brands are assured that the technicians they send for certification to the manufacturer will be able to perform a skilled installation that maximizes performance of the equipment.
The top brand you’ve heard of, such as Trane are picky about who installs their products. HVAC systems are just that — systems requiring extensive training and expensive tools to put them together properly. The top brands don’t want the uncertified technician who does HVAC installations on the side purchasing or attempting to install their fine-tuned, technologically advanced products.
Here’s an example: HVAC manufacturers produce outdoor A/C units to work with indoor units of similar size and capacity. Installing the outdoor component of an air conditioner or heat pump without replacing the indoor evaporator coil will result in a mismatch and failure to achieve the product’s SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio), the Department of Energy’s efficiency rating for air conditioners. Not replacing a coil when the outdoor unit is installed could represent a 20 percent decline in SEER. Could an untrained, uncertified installer be relied upon to know about or explain this diminished efficiency to a homeowner?
For furnaces, the AFUE, or annual fuel utilization efficiency, signifies how much fuel is utilized to achieve a certain level of heating. AFUEs of 78 percent are the current minimum, but the DOE has decreed minimum AFUE will be going up to 80 percent in November. Top-of-the-line furnaces, when installed properly, achieve an AFUE up to 97 percent. With our cold winters, a higher AFUE can result in significant savings. Achieving that high AFUE depends on the training of the installer and the quality of the installation. With Trane the leading brand, you’ll be assured of getting the quality installation, and the optimum performance, you’re paying for.
Leading HVAC manufacturers are also known for their product innovation. Some of the most notable achievements in efficiency in recent years from these manufacturers are variable-speed air handlers and compressors, and modulating furnaces. The variable-speed and modulating technology allow the equipment to function in gradual stages of cooling and heating, rather than just emitting one big blast of hot or cold air and cycling on and off too little or too frequently. Heating or cooling is gently raised and lowered as needed so less energy is wasted and comfort is enhanced.
The best HVAC manufacturers are constantly pushing the technology to attain ever- greater efficiency so they can pass it on to consumers in energy savings.
The top HVAC brands maintain their leading edge in a competitive market because of durable materials, tight specs and high standards. Products are rigorously tested and quality is monitored from inception to installation. HVAC equipment from these manufacturers is known to be the most reliable, long-lasting in the industry.
Consumer purchases of HVAC equipment, while sometimes driven by cost, are also motivated by brand trust. After all, no one wants to invest what an HVAC system costs in a lemon. Consumers rely on market research to boost their awareness of the most trusted brands, such as the 2015 listing from the market research firm, Lifestory Research, of America’s “Most Trusted HVAC Brands.” These brands were selected based on the results of a survey of 10,000 residential HVAC consumers. Measures were taken on the following: familiarity with the brand, quality, and type of brand in the home and trust factors. Of 16 leading brands, Trane was the top scorer when it came to trust, with an index of 122.5 percent, with nos. 2 and 3 respectively, Carrier and Whirlpool, nearly 10 points behind.
For more about Trane and why other top brands are leading the industry, contact Air Authority. We’ve served Greater Cincinnati with pride since 2000.