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Objective info on HVAC brands?
February 12, 2010 1:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for objective, research-based rankings on household heat pumps/AC and gas furnace brands. I'm not looking for individual testimonials. But I can't seem to Google up anything but company-based advertising and the ranting 'XYZ Heat Pumps Suck!' sites. Consumer Reports is quite silent on what is a major consumer investment, unfortunately. Any leads on objective information?
posted by eaglehound to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Are you a subscriber to the online Consumer Reports? We were forced to buy a new furnace a couple of weeks ago (insert sobs here), and I found a Buying Guide at their website. But you have to be a subscriber to access it.

My understanding from the forums there was that there is no discernible difference in quality among the major brands. (You should go with a brand that's major in your area so that HVAC contractors have the parts, if your equipment malfunctions at 11 pm. Friday night. I think Consumer Reports had market share information for the major brands.)

That said, the quality of the installation matters a great deal -- hiring a well-respected outfit, making sure if it's a big company they're sending you their most experienced installer, talking to other customers of theirs. I think your time is better spent that way.
posted by palliser at 5:04 PM on February 12, 2010


Consumersearch.com (which incidentally is a great source for metareviews of all sorts of products and services) has covered furnaces and window-type air conditioners, but not heat pumps as far as I can tell.
posted by DrGail at 5:19 PM on February 12, 2010


Try hvac-talk.com
posted by jmsta at 7:47 PM on February 12, 2010


Carrier is a major brand for heat pumps. I've used Consumer Reports for a number of questions like this, with the library being a good source of back issues if you don't want to pay to use the online site.

What palliser said is right on the money, including:

That said, the quality of the installation matters a great deal -- hiring a well-respected outfit, making sure if it's a big company they're sending you their most experienced installer, talking to other customers of theirs.

I've used Angie's list to find well rated service companies, but you have to pay for that service.
posted by gudrun at 10:07 PM on February 12, 2010


I've used Consumer Reports for a number of questions like this

As the OP notes, Consumer Reports is silent on this topic. I am a subscriber and there is no info on heat pumps or central AC, which is somewhat irritating for such big ticket purchases.

A couple of sites for you:

Furnace Compare on Heatpumps
ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America) notably "provides most of the information consumers need to know about buying central air conditioning, except for help in choosing specific brands and models"

I am in the same position as you. I have two offers for AC installation from two highly recommended installers: one offering Goodman and the other Comfortmaker, but I can find no objective reviews.
posted by NailsTheCat at 2:03 PM on February 15, 2010


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