Which AC brand is right for me?

Which Heating & Air Conditioning Brand is Right for Me?

Common Questions about HVAC Brands

  • What is the difference between brands and why does the price vary so much?
  • How do I decide which is the best HVAC system for my home?
  • How can I compare systems, brands, and prices to make a smart purchase?

A lot of people ask these questions because there are several brands on the market, Trane, Amana, Lennox, Carrier, Heil, Ameristar… it can be overwhelming.

So what's the difference? They all have roughly the same 10-year parts and 10-year compressor warranty, right? Why are some brands so much more expensive than the others?

Does The Brand of my HVAC System Matter?

The HVAC industry is similar to the car industry. With cars, there are many manufacturers, makes, and models but the products are similar: they all have wheels, they all have an engine, they have a forward and reverse and they all have a driver's seat with a steering wheel. The obvious differences are in the type of engine, seat capacity, basic to high-end components, type of features and the overall styling. You know what you want in a car, which makes vehicles easier to compare. But, how do you compare automotive BRANDS?  Do they make quality products, that last? Are they a hassle to deal with? Are their vehicles easier to repair? Are their vehicles safer to drive? Are parts for that brand available? Are the products well designed?… you get the point.

Your home comfort system is going to be one of the largest purchases you make for your home. We all love having a quality roof and comfy furniture, but if you are hot in the summer or freezing in the winter, you’re just miserable. Your heating and cooling system is one of the biggest contributors to your family’s comfort and enjoyment at home. Replacing your system when necessary is a big decision  The saying “you get what you pay for” applies to almost all purchases. And it certainly applies when buying a new A/C and heating system. Not all brands are interchangeable – the process and prices are different, the rebates and financing are different, and – most importantly – the experience is different.

How do I choose the right heating & air conditioning brand for me?

Having been in the industry for many years, working in the field fixing equipment of all kinds, we have some strong opinions on which brands stand up to our summers and winters, which don’t and which brands will be there to support you and your repair company when your system breaks down.

Important factors in choosing which brand’s heating and cooling system are right for you.

  1. Quality of the brand behind the equipment. Do they honor their warranty or find loopholes? Do they respond quickly? Did they design the system in a way that it can be easily repaired? Or do you have to take everything apart in order to diagnose and make a repair?
  2. Manufacturing location & shipping logistics.  Are their systems and parts made in the US? If they are made in another country, can we easily have parts shipped to the US? Can we get parts quickly or do we have to wait weeks? This is a hidden “gotcha” when choosing lesser-known brands. Do they have an infrastructure for supporting their product or are they mainly a sales organization? If you find yourself in this situation, if you have a smart technician, they will often have a temporary work-around to keep your system running while we wait weeks on parts. In some cases, temp fixes are just not possible due to the design of the system.
  3. Company size and reputation. When you stick to bigger name brands that are assembled in the US such as Trane or Amana (both made in Texas), with stellar reputations for design and quality, you can be sure they understand the importance of expedited parts delivery. The customer service from these large brands does not stop at the sale: they support you and your service technician in getting your system back up and running as fast as possible.
  4. Warranty support. No one wants to be stuck in a Northern Virginia winter with a broken heating system waiting three weeks to get a part because the company has poor internal processes to handle a recall. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggerated situation. Some companies do more to honor your warranty in a timely manner.

When you buy a cooling or heating system, factored into the cost is how well the brand will support the product in the future. This is why some systems cost $2,000+ more than another unit. We can tell you from our experience that it will be the best $2,000 you have ever spent and your future self will be happy you did. Lower-cost systems come with brands who take ages to deliver parts, who dodge warranty obligations and who don’t mind that their systems are more difficult to maintain.

We are here to help you navigate the sea of choices to choose a brand that we know will be there to support you. Within the brands’ product offerings, we can help you choose the system that will fit your home’s unique needs. Our goal is to fit you with the system components your home needs, sized appropriately, and to find the system within that range that fits your budget.

You owe it to yourself to get a quote and see what we can do to help your energy bills, manage the humidity in your home and keep your family warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Contact Nichols & Phipps today to get a no-obligation quote on a new system!


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