HVAC stands for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning.” An HVAC system is an integrated system in a home or business that brings together the elements of the boiler or furnace, the cooling apparatus, and the ventilation system. Some may also include an air filtration option. With an HVAC system, all elements can be controlled by a single interface. HVAC systems provide the benefit that none of elements will be working in conflict with one another. An integrated system also has the advantage of running more cost-effectively and energy efficiently than separate systems. Also delivering improved reliability and fewer maintenance requirements.
Before you hire an HVAC contractor, it’s important to learn a bit about the optimal brand and model for your needs and your budget. Here are our top five brand picks among the many available options. We’ve made our recommendations after evaluating these brands in terms of energy efficiency or SEER rating, noise levels, cost, and warranty coverage.
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER)
When you’re considering purchasing a new HVAC system, you will want to take the SEER rating into account. An air conditioner’s SEER rating is the ratio of the unit’s cooling output over an average season divided by the energy it consumes in watt hours. The higher the SEER rating, the better the unit’s efficiency.
According to the US Department of Energy’s current standards, air conditioners must be produced with a minimum SEER rating of 13, and in the southern states the minimum rating is 14. As technology improves, the maximum number increases and minimum standards may be raised. Remember that the SEER rating expresses the maximum efficiency of the unit. However, actual efficiency depends on the temperature inside and outside of your home, the quality of your ductwork, and other factors.
The Best HVAC Brands
Amana is an all-around exceptional pick for its excellent energy efficiency and warranty coverage. While it’s certainly not the cheapest option, it’s not the most expensive, either.
Homeowners who are keen to avoid expensive repairs in the future would do well to seriously consider an Amana HVAC system. If you purchase a unit with a SEER rating of 16 or higher, any repairs to the compressor or heat exchanger (the most expensive parts) will be covered by the manufacturer. This is exclusive to home owners. Units with a SEER rating below 16, come with a 10-year warranty on all parts. Amana is widely known to have the best warranty in the industry.
Lennox sits close to the top of our list due to its continuous spirit of innovation and its standout SEER ratings. Some reach into the mid-20s, although it does produce several models that have a lower rating. The biggest tradeoff being that they are more budget friendly. Lennox’s higher-end products have multiple speed settings, allowing the units to run at a desired temperature, using the least amount of energy necessary. Control via an app on your smartphone allows you to turn your HVAC off from a remote location, in case you forget.
As you might expect from such a well-engineered product, replacement parts come at a premium. And since the brand does not offer a lifetime warranty, you will be paying out of pocket for repairs after ten years. Most Lennox products carry the Energy Star seal.
Trane is one of the most reliable names in heating and cooling systems. Optional air filtration systems remove pollen, dust, and other contaminants for the safest, cleanest indoor air possible. Many models are Energy Star rated.
All units are evaluated for noise pollution levels, so sensitive customers may choose wisely. Ratings are also provided for the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency for gas furnaces. This gives you a precise idea of how much of the fuel you pay for is utilized by your system. Trane produces some models that successfully utilize a minimum of 90% of your fuel expenditure, exceeding the current government minimum standard.
Environmentally conscious folks will find Goodman HVACs a standout. They are manufactured to run on a chlorine-free refrigerant, which is easier on the ozone layer. Their specially designed compressor has fewer moving parts than an average compressor, leading to reduced energy consumption.
Goodman’s average SEER rating is above 15—not the highest reviewed here. However it is still above the national minimum of 13. Goodman is the only brand on our list not to offer a model of at least 22 SEER. This may be less of an issue if you live in an area where summers are not excessively hot.Goodman’s offering of five HVAC units all run fairly quietly. For those who are particularly sensitive to noise or whose units are placed close to decks or patios, there is an optional foam blanket that deadens the sound output even further.
American Standard’s strengths are in their variety of options, as well as in their reliability. We tend to receive very few service calls from our American Standard customers. Depending on the model you choose, parts will come with a warranty of 10 to 20 years. This is something to factor in when making your choice. American Standard’s products are manufactured to be energy, noise, and environmentally conscious. Some models boast a dual-stage compressor that runs at 70 percent most of the time. Increasing power only when needed. According to independent testing, American Standard’s products are the quietest on the market.
Drew Green Knows HVAC
Drew Green Heating & Cooling is Illinois’ premier heating and cooling expert. Providing service, installation, repairs, and maintenance work to Lake County, the North Shore, and the northern parts of Chicago. With almost a decade’s worth of experience in the area. Our certified, expert technicians provide around-the-clock service so that we’re there when you need us most.
We are happy to provide our customers with personalized recommendations regarding their best choice in HVAC systems. Whether you are building a new home or need to replace an outdated system. We also provide advice regarding insulation and improving the quality of the air in your home or office. Contact us today to discuss the best heating and cooling options for you!