With the arrival of a new year and freon phase-out, many homeowners nationwide will be searching for new HVAC systems because it will ultimately become cost-prohibitive to fix an older model HVAC unit that uses freon.
WHAT MAKES A TOP-RATED SYSTEM?
You don’t need to be an expert to shop for an HVAC system. However, you should know your needs and the individual components that can help meet them. See below for six key factors to consider when shopping for a system:
Energy Efficiency: The more energy-efficient the HVAC system, the more money you can save. Since an energy-efficient model works less to cool and heat your home, you reduce your utility bills. To evaluate energy efficiency, note the system’s SEER rating. The bare minimum is a 13 rating, but more efficient systems are rated 20-28.
Sound Rating: To understand the amount of sound an HVAC system makes, look for the decibel rating on its label. Most systems range from 25-55 decibels, which isn’t much louder than a refrigerator. If you live in a smaller home where the system is more audible from the outside, look for a quieter sound rating.
Cost: It’s important to consider the initial system cost and ensure you stick to your immediate budget. You should also consider long-term costs associated with the system’s energy efficiency and durability.
Warranty: A good HVAC warranty usually lasts 5-10 years. As a standard, the manufacturer covers the cost to replace faulty parts during this time period, but the warranty doesn’t always cover labor costs. When shopping, always ask for full warranty details. If needed, you can potentially purchase an extended warranty.
Advanced Features: The Internet of Things and other smart technologies have entered some HVAC systems, providing advanced features to make your home as comfortable as possible. Some of the best central air conditioner brands of 2019 offer models that include smart thermostats, sound reduction, and automated system monitoring. You may not need all the bells and whistles, but some advanced features are well worth the price.
Customer Reviews: By reading other buyers’ opinions, you can gain valuable insight into an HVAC system. Manufacturers often list reviews on their website, and you can also read reviews on retailer sites such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. Look for detailed reviews that list the customer’s home type, budget, and location. The most helpful reviews come from people with similar needs to yours.
THE TOP-RATED HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS OF 2019
York Affinity™ Series XV
Energy rating: Up to 20 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) energy-efficiency performance
Sound rating: 9/10, thanks to its QuietDrive™ Comfort System
Charge Assurance™ system pressure monitoring
Climate Set™ operating profiles
QuietDrive™ sound reduction
ClimaTrak™ blower fine-tuning
Warranties: Lifetime Compressor Limited Warranty, 10-year Parts Limited Warranty, and 1-year Labor Limited Warranty
Customer satisfaction: The Better Business Bureau has given York an A+ rating and this system has also received the Good Housekeeping seal.
Pros: This is one of York’s best systems, with top technology features that allow for the ultimate efficiency. The system also includes impressive warranties.
Cons: This unit comes with a hefty price tag. York offers more affordable, yet still quiet and efficient systems.
Amana brand ASXC16 Air Conditioner
Energy rating: Up to 17 SEER energy-efficiency performance
Sound rating: 9/10, as this system includes a foam-based compressor sound-reduction cover and a sound-control top
High-efficiency, two-stage compressor
High-efficiency two-speed condenser fan motor
Factory-installed inline filter drier
ComfortBridge technology compatible, which continuously monitors system performance
Warranties: The compressor is covered by a Lifetime Unit Replacement Limited Warranty
Customer satisfaction: The Better Business Bureau has given Amana a B- rating and its customers have given this system 4.7/5 stars
Pros: Thanks to its advanced features, this HVAC system is incredibly energy-efficient, making Amana one of the best central air conditioner brands in 2019
Cons: Because of its features and quality, this system is a bit pricier than the average HVAC system
Energy rating: Up to 19 SEER energy-efficiency performance
Sound rating: 8/10
Copeland® Two-Stage Ultratech scroll compressor
ComfortBridge™ Technology delivers customized indoor comfort as it continuously monitors the system
High-efficiency two-speed ECM condenser fan motor
Warranties: Lifetime Limited Warranty, which replaces the compressor if it fails
Customer satisfaction: The Better Business Bureau has given Goodman an A+ rating and its customers have given this system 4.8/5 stars.
Pros: Thanks to its Smart Speed™ Technology and ComfortBridge™ Technology, this system delivers the most consistent comfort to your home
Cons: While there is a quiet operation option, this is not Goodman’s quietest unit. Plus, the unit comes at a high price.
Bryant Evolution® Variable-Speed Air Conditioner
Energy rating: Up to 19 SEER energy-efficiency performance
Sound rating: 9/10, as it can operate down to 25% capacity
Incredible dehumidification capability with the Evolution Connex™ control
Five stages of variable-speed operation, resulting in energy savings and steady temperatures
Uses non-ozone-depleting Puron® refrigerant
Soft start and smooth ramp-up to operating speeds
Warranties: 10-year parts limited warranty upon registration
Customer satisfaction: The Better Business Bureau has given Bryant an A+ rating and its customers have given this system 4.8/5 stars
Pros: This system is truly budget-friendly, especially considering its low speeds are incredibly quiet, down to 56 decibels. This is one of Bryant’s smallest ducted systems, which blends into any landscape.
Cons: While this system comes with an impressive warranty, no lifetime warranty is available. Additionally, the system is not incredibly quiet when it’s not in its “AeroQuiet” condition.
Trane XV18 TruComfort™ Variable Speed
Energy rating: Up to 18 SEER energy-efficiency performance
Sound rating: 10/10, as it is Trane’s quietest system
Comes with 750 stages of comfort for the best climate control with its incredible efficiency
Has TruComfort™ technology that keeps temperatures fairly consistent
Option to add CleanEffects™ to filter out irritants, allowing for a cleaner and healthier home
Option for ComfortLink™ II communicating technology, which connects system components and configures and calibrates for the ultimate efficient system
Warranties: Comes with Trane Base Limited Warranty, which covers products breaking due to manufacturer defect but not labor costs.
Customer satisfaction: The Better Business Bureau has given Trane a B and its customers have raved about how truly quiet this system is.
Pros: This HVAC system is whisper-quiet, which is its biggest plus.
Cons: While the system is energy efficient, Trane and other brands offer more efficient HVAC systems.