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Old 10-25-2003, 11:46 AM
Don Sleeth Don Sleeth is offline
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Location: Ottawa, Ont. Canada
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Over the several years and many thousands of posts on this site, one question has been asked time and time again; "What brand of furnace or air conditioner should I buy?". There is of course no right answer to this question, but fortunately, the question is not a truly relevant one.

Many purchases by home owners are for appliances such as stoves and refrigerators. These are items you can see and touch. For these purchases, the shopping home owner can go from store to store comparing brands and prices, installation and delivery is only a small part of the actual purchase. These types of items we will call "The Appliances"

Other purchases such as a new patio, a new roof, a room remodel or a new paint job are much more labor intensive, there is almost nothing to see or touch ahead of time and the sales person often comes to the home to do a survey and give an estimate. These types of estimates vary from one house to the next because they are house dependent, they are part of the house. Call them "House Systems".

Herein lies the problem. Many home owners think of the furnace or the air conditioner as being in "The Appliances" category. In fact, they are not, they are the heating or cooling system, definitely part of the "House Systems" category.

Purchasing a heating or cooling system is much closer to purchasing a new paint job then it is to buying a new refrigerator.

This is the answer to the "Which Brand" question: "It is the people choosing, sizing, designing, installing and servicing the system that matters, not the brand, because it is a system, not an appliance."

Consider having the interior of your house re-painted!

Yes, there are different brands of paint and different types (latex vs oil, R22 vs R-410a/Puron) but the greatest influence on whether you are happy with your purchase or not will undoubtedly be was the paint professionally installed by a craftsman.

The paint can be perfectly applied by an insured, professional painter or it can be applied by a novice, a hack, or it can be a do-it-yourself project. The professional guarantees his workmanship, he takes precautions, such as drop sheets, and he has the right tools, knowledge and experience to do a job that you will be happy with for a long time. It is worth every penny you spend and the cost is soon forgotten, but you live with the results everyday, just like a furnace or air conditioner.

So, you decided to go with a professional painter, but what brand of paint should you use? Well, let the professional who is doing the job decide which brand to use, he is the person that must apply the paint and he is the one that will honor the warranty. Perhaps he likes a certain brand because he knows that if you want that same color for touch-ups several years from now, that color will still be available (aka replacement parts). Perhaps he likes a certain brand because he gets excellent support and service from that particular supplier in your location. It should not be surprising or confusing if a different professional painter likes a different brand. If everyone liked the same brand, there would be just one brand.

What about price? All paint and HVAC manufacturers make different "models", just like Ford does. Let the professional know whether you want to pay a little more for the top of the line, save a little by going middle of the road, or go cheap with the "builders" line. He will be happy to show you the difference in the models and help you decide. The top of the line may be quieter, it may have more protective devices and it will cost more, discuss it with your contractor, as it is much more important than the question "Which is better, Trane, Carrier, Lennox etc."

I hope this post will help those consumers who are in the market for a new heating or cooling system for their home. That system has to be chosen carefully, sized carefully, designed to work in your house and installed professionally.

For more information on sizing please take a look at this thread; Heat Loss & Gain, Equipment Sizing.

Please also look at our Contractor Ads Section or post your request with name, city, state and phone number here: Residential HVAC . Choose wisely and you will enjoy your comfort system for many, many years.

Don Sleeth
HVAC Computer Systems Ltd.
A/C and Furnace Sizing Software for Pros and Home Owners


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