Which Is The Best HVAC System Right Now
Tips on picking the best air conditioner for your home
This is probably the most frequently asked question by Triangle homeowners when they are shopping for a new air conditioner or a complete new HVAC system. Every manufacturer will give you reasons for why their brand is the best, but after hours of research, ignoring the sales pitch and kickbacks from manufactures, and just looking at the facts, I am proud to represent these two brands of HVAC systems based on their quality, efficiency and longevity. To be sure, we install all HVAC brands and we are not linked to these two exclusively but right now, if you have come to the conclusion that you want to replace and not repair your air conditioning system, these two are just the best air conditioner manufacturer on the market today.
Trane HVAC Systems
Trane products are very well constructed and American made/manufactured. Trane also has some proprietary parts I am fond of, such as their compressors (Trane’s compressors are made just for Trane, and they are known for being long lasting and well built). The compressor is the work horse of the air conditioner, so a strong compressor is a must! Additionally, Trane uses spike fin coils for its air conditioners and heat pumps, of which I am a fan as they offer more surface area (and more surface area equals efficiency). Since it’s beginnings in 2007, Trane’s slogan “it’s hard to stop a Trane” still rings true to this day.
Coleman HVAC systems
Owned and manufactured by Johnstone Controls, Coleman is a brand I have found to be in excellent standing with Cool Change’s quality, efficiency, and longevity requirements. Johnstone Controls has been innovating for a long time, and in fact was the first company to ever install a temperature control device (thermostat) in a building – way back in 1885. Coleman HVAC systems are manufactured in the United States and go through rigorous quality control procedures.
One of the highlights with Coleman HVAC systems is that Johnstone Controls offers a full 10 year parts AND 10 year labor warranty on their HVAC systems, meaning that for 10 years you will never have a repair bill! Any manufacturer willing to be responsible for 100% parts AND labor for 10 years is a winner in our book and a product worth our representation.
What size unit should I get? And Should I get a Bigger Air Conditioner?
Once you’ve decided which manufacturer is right for your needs, you may think about getting an “upgrade” to a bigger unit. In my experience, many Raleigh homeowners believe they should do so and will say something to the effect of, “Even when my air conditioner was working it just didn’t do a good job keeping the house cool on those hot days; I think we should get a bigger unit.”
The short answer is: probably not.
The most likely reason your old unit was not effectively cooling the house is that it was out of balance and/or poorly maintained; it’s rather unlikely your HVAC system was undersized. Sometimes – such as at a two-story home with large vaulted ceilings – the unit can be upsized a half size larger after some math has been done to prove its need, but be weary of a contractor who just walks in and says, “Sure – we can give you a bigger unit than what you have now!” without doing the proper calculations.
When your home in Raleigh, Cary, or Wake Forest was built, the engineer had to do a complicated bit of math referred to as ‘heat load calculation’, which is based on all the particulars of your specific home (how thick walls and floor are; how much insulation is in the walls, attic, and floor; what kind of windows you have and which direction they face, etc.). This calculation dictates exactly how big your HVAC system needs to be, and is literally a science with no guesswork involved.
The substantial need for that scientific calculation boils down to humidity. The ideal humidity level for health and comfort is 40-50% relative humidity. Believe it or not, the basis for air conditioner design is determined by how big the air conditioner needs to be in order to bring the humidity to those levels. Cooling your home is almost a by-product of removing those gallons and gallons of moisture from the air in your home. A correctly-sized air conditioner will keep your home at about 45% humidity on most days with your temperature on your thermostat set to 72 degrees.
With that information in mind: what’s the problem with getting a bigger unit? An oversized system will simply cool the air too quickly in your home and will not allow the air conditioner to run long enough to sufficiently remove moisture from the air. Sure, it‘ll cool the house down, but your home will have that muggy feeling that leaves you uncomfortable. The next thing you know, you’ll be turning the temperature much lower than you used to in order to feel the same level of comfort.
What SEER do I need? What is a SEER anyway?
SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This is given to a particular air conditioner unit match-up (meaning the outdoor condenser matched with the crawlspace or attic, air handler, furnace and coil.) The higher the SEER rating on the unit, the more efficient the air conditioner is. So the higher the SEER the better right? Well, yes, kind of. Because there is a cost vs saving balance that should be examined before buying the highest SEER air conditioning unit available. Right now SEER ratings for air conditioners range from 14 (the lowest) to 23, with the most common Purchased units in the 14 -16 SEER range. Before you let someone tell you what the best SEER is for you it might be best to read this article so there is no confusion on how much you will actually save from a higher SEER air conditioner.