Best Furnace+ A/C Combination?

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I preface this with I realize that "best" can be subjective and there are many attributes that one may use to meet the best criteria and that there are a numbers of brands all made by the same company with different labels. My criteria is not overly complex, I want a low maintenance (read this as does not break often) and cost effective system (both in initial cost and operating costs).

We recently moved to COS and the furnace + A/C in the house is pushing 20 years old and is a mix of Lennox (gas furnace) and Bryant (A/C). Although it is working, I want to look into replacing the whole system (gaining efficiency in the process) in the near future.

I had a Trane XR system in Houston (installed in 2018), but I found it is really not that "hard to stop a Trane" so they are off the list. I see some good reviews on American Standard, but was wondering what you guys have been using and what your experiences are with them.
 
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I had a new American Standard 14 seer unit with a gas furnace in Austin.

Most of the parts inside the unit are Trane. My installer told me they are very similar, but they do things like put less sound deadening in the outdoor unit on the American Standard.

I think I paid like $2400 to swap out an existing AC and furnace, and they did it in half a day. This was a few years ago so obviously pre covid pricing.
 
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All furnaces and outdoor units share many commonalities but also use their own parts - Trane/American Standard HVAC being one example, Carrier/Bryant/Payne being another. I know Trane uses their own compressors rather than off-the-shelf Emerson(Copeland) or Samsung/LG/Panasonic units. Many furnaces/outdoor units when the covers are off use similar Emerson(White-Rodgers), Honeywell and Parker parts.

I’d go with Trane or American Standard. Do be advised while higher AFUE/SEER ratings are more efficient, they are also more to fix if things go wrong. That said, the quality of install and repair matters more. My parents had their installer come out three times to parts cannon their Trane XV95.
 

CarbonSteel

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Why not a heat pump? I have a Trane heat pump in Delaware. a 6 ton and a 4 ton. Works great.

As other have said half is the quality of the installation.
Heat pumps and cold weather are not a good combination. Once the outside air drops below freezing they typically cannot heat efficiently and burn through the electricity and typically require secondary heating. It was 29° this morning in COS...
 

Zee09

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Bryant has been bullet proof on a oil heat pump hybrid and rather inexpensive.
Your Trane fell into the bad years which they had all kinds of issues.
Mine were great but 2004 models and lasted 17 years. Trane seems to be on track again.

I went with Lennox signature line last month with propane and AC.
Solely because of propane efficiency at 99%. Got a great deal but could have went with Bryant too.

I looked into Bosch but to me its all fluff...
 

Zee09

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Heat pumps and cold weather are not a good combination. Once the outside air drops below freezing they typically cannot heat efficiently and burn through the electricity and typically require secondary heating. It was 29° this morning in COS...
Here we do hybrid systems because of what you stated. Mine dumps the heat pump mode at 40F. goes straight to oil or propane etc.
 

CarbonSteel

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Bryant has been bullet proof on a oil heat pump hybrid and rather inexpensive.
Your Trane fell into the bad years which they had all kinds of issues.
Mine were great but 2004 models and lasted 17 years. Trane seems to be on track again.

I went with Lennox signature line last month with propane and AC.
Solely because of propane efficiency at 99%. Got a great deal but could have went with Bryant too.

I looked into Bosch but to me its all fluff...
Good to know about Trane; they "seem" to be solid so perhaps my system was just as you say in the bad years. It had far too many issues for a new system and was glad the installer gave me a lifetime warranty on parts and labor. I used it a lot...
 
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I would start by looking at who has the best local installers / techs, and who has the most DIY replaceable parts (mostly switches, fan, sensors, etc). Warranty is useless if they mandate you pay for a tech visit ($400 min) when you can buy a replacement part online for $100. Some brands like Goodman are fine, but they sell to everyone and then idiots install them and caused problems.
 

Zee09

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I went with Lennox only because the installer was great and believe it or not they were cheaper than Bryant and the rest. Like you 10 years parts and labor and free exchange warranty.
Two Signature propane units and on the ac I settled on a 18 seer Elite models because where I live I only use AC for 3 months or so and the propane efficiency is the key.
Model 30 thermostats.
I will say these units are super quiet.
Bryant couldn't match the price and wanted 2-3 DAYS INSTALL and Lennox did all 4 in 6 hours.
Delaware dealer.

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Why not a heat pump? I have a Trane heat pump in Delaware. a 6 ton and a 4 ton. Works great.

As other have said half is the quality of the installation.
I would always advise to purchase a heat pump for the few extra dollars so you could have a dual fuel electric heat pump with a natural gas backup. Here is the temperature graph. Colorado is a natural gas state, so gas is still cheaper than an electric heat pump but you never know where things are heading. If your state government starts to impose carbon taxes you’ll wish you had a heat pump. Get one now and you’ll have it. Run your furnace on gas but be ready to start the heat pump if gas gets too expensive.

Your temp graph is a bit cold to run the heat pump in Dec, Jan, Feb. Models that run at freezing temp can be a PITA because the COP starts to to get low, and the thing starts to run 24 hours a day and requires defrost cycles. Having said that, they work fine in the shoulder season but are only economical if the price of natural gas goes up.

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FWIW I use goodman. Good parts, low cost. My newer outdoor package unit uses about 2/3 the electricity and Gas as the one it replaced.(carrier)

If I had it to do over, would have got the hybrid heat pump and gas furnace, it would only have been about $400 more Then depending on who was jacking up the cost the most and ambient temp., I could use the other form of heat.

No issues other than an odor when I first start the ac after a winter.
 

CarbonSteel

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Nice! I even googled COS and couldn’t figure it out. FWIW I have Lennox and Carrier units. The Carrier already needed a condensate pump or switch or something at 2 years old.
Weird, since COS is the airport code...

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