First, I need a referral from an HVAC contractor in the L.A. area or a place to look for one.
Second, I'm trying to get info about heat pumps, as I need a system replacement (I believe). It seems they work very hard to keep it all a secret. Yeah, I know how they work, but visit a manufacturer's website and they have a little check list of features. But they'll say something like 'variable speed system'. What does that actually mean? One speed for cooling and another for heating? Two speeds? More speeds? Not explained anywhere. Also SEER ratings. How much difference does it make to go from SEER 13 to SEER 14? I can't seem to find out.
I *hate* that they work so hard to keep all this stuff secret so the consumer has to labor just to understand what they are paying for.
Here is a good article on understanding SEER ratings and how much you can expect to save. Just be sure to understand that they are assuming the units they tested are properly installed using all the same SEER components, but it is a decent guideline. The higher the SEER however, the higher the cost of the equipment. Hope it helps. http://www.smarterwayinc.com/seer.asp
Almost all manufacturers have consumer information regarding variable speed , etc. If not, contact them and ask for the information. Variable speed is just that..the blower will regulate itself in the heating cycle to blow more or less air as needed. It is a DC voltage motor and will save you money if you tend to run your fan alot. AC requires a constant airflow so variable does not really play into this except it runs at a constant speed. Consider carefully replacement costs of parts and what kind of warranties you get with this equipment...a replacement variable speed controller can sometimes cost as much as the original unit did.
Sorry no idea on anyone in LA. Wish I did...I need a place to stay on vacation..lol. Take care