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Does Brand Matter?

One of the questions that we frequently encounter in the heating and air conditioning business is “Which brand of equipment is the best?” Today I’d like to give you my thoughts on this matter.

When people decide to purchase a new heating and cooling system for their home, one of the first questions they ask us is “What brand of equipment do you sell?” Our response is, “We sell equipment by several different manufacturers, do you have a preference?” We find 80 to 90% will reply “No, I just want a good one.” Overall, only a very small percentage of people have a real loyalty to any one brand. More often they specify a brand they do not want. Between our informal research and other published studies I have come to the following conclusions.

The first conclusion is the dealer that you purchase from is by far the most important part of the equation. If you are going to have surgery, you are more concerned about the reputation of the doctor, than what brand of scalpel he uses. Your relationship with the doctor may be of even greater importance then his/her skill level. If you trust him/her, you know he/she will use the correct tools for the job. When it comes to their home’s comfort system, too often people ignore the importance of their relationship with the HVAC contractor.

The second conclusion is the efficiency level of equipment purchased is also very important. This includes whether it is a variable speed unit or Energy Star certified. Almost all manufacturers make different levels of equipment. One of our manufacturers, Trane, makes 8 different models of 90% gas furnaces and each model comes in a variety of sizes. Our Lennox line has 9 different series of air conditioners in every size. Customers who purchase the premium equipment from any mainline manufacturer, tend to be much happier with their systems than those who purchase the basic equipment from the same manufacturer.

The final conclusion is customers who are concerned about how a unit is installed are more satisfied with their end result. It doesn’t make sense to buy new tires and not have them properly balanced or aligned. It also doesn’t make sense to purchase a new heating and cooling system, and not evaluate the duct system or address air flow issues. New equipment matched with an inadequate duct system will perform poorly.

In closing, there are legitimate reasons to choose one brand of equipment over another. Each manufacturer has strengths and weaknesses. However, the dealer you buy from, the level of equipment you buy, and the way the equipment is installed, dictates how much you enjoy your new system far more than its brand.