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Andiek 03-03-2010 06:31 PM

Opinions on New Furnace Bids
Okay, now have three proposals to replace current, 28 yo, 80,000BTU Amana (LP) furnace. Trying hard to compare apples to apples, but it is not easy. Here's the summary:

1) All contractors sized furnace based upon their, "years of experience," and sq ft of home (1150).
2) Home is 37 yo, 1.5 story "cabin," located on wooded lot (pine trees)
3) All contractors propose to increase return drop; two propose to increase size of return registers
4) One claims that for home in heavily wooded area like ours that it is vital to install Aprilaire air cleaner to prevent system from being gunked with pine pollen
5) Bryant contractor claims that name brand DOES make a difference in life expectancy of unit

Proposal A: 40,000 BTU, single stage Guardian, 95% efficiency rating

Proposal B: 70,000/35,000 BTU, two stage, Goodman (GMH), 95% efficiency

Proposal C: 80,000 BTU, three stage, Bryant Evolution (355), 95% efficiency

So here are my questions:

1) Is name brand really worth the extra $1,000 in cost?
2) Is a 3-stage really that much more necessary than a 2-stage?)
3) What type of air filter is the most efficient yet practical to have?
4) I'd really appreciate hearing opinions relative to the three brands being proposed.

Any and all opinions / thoughts will be appreciated. This is quite the steep learning curve for us! Thanks!!

ps... had to laugh when one contractor was trying to tell me how much better the life span of the Bryant would be, about 20 years in total, and I couldn't help but reply that perhaps then I should be looking at another Amana since the one I'm replacing is 28 years old and still working! :laughing:

yuri 03-03-2010 06:45 PM

I would do the heat loss calculation myself Load Calculator
as it is very important and these guys don't seem to care. Buying a 3 stage furnace is like buying the Lexus. It is more comfortable as it runs longer etc etc but can be VERY expensive to repair in the long run. Bryant is nothing special, it is a cheaper version of a Carrier (Carrier owns them). Goodman used to be poor quality but they joined with Amana and are using Amana technology/quality control etc and are quite good now. The Guardian sounds too small. Doubt if the original unit was that grossly oversized. Only a proper calculation will know for sure. Carrier had a lot of secondary heat exchanger failures, especially with LP.

moisheh 03-03-2010 07:32 PM


I was very pleased to see your answer. I live about 35 miles from the Peg. I had 3 furnace quotes and the Goodman was far less than any others. At firts I was suspicious. Maybe Goodman was low end? The dealer is also a distributor for these furnaces and claims the prices are lower as they do not advertise like say Lennox. Like anyone else it is nice to save few bucks but I dont mind spending more to get more.


yuri 03-03-2010 08:15 PM

I am not a huge fan of them but they are better than some other so called major brands IMO. There are some LOUSY Goodman dealers in Wpg so a good furnace can work badly if not installed properly. Lennox is pretty careful about the quality of their dealers here (don't sell to the cash and carry low end bums) so most of the units are installed properly. They have some better and additional features worth extra $$ besides the name but not everyone wants to buy the high end products or needs some of those features.

Marty S. 03-03-2010 08:21 PM

70-80K is too big for that sized house unless you're missing a window and have no insulation. Do a load calculation to be sure.
Mine's about the same size with a 40K 2 stage. It stayed on low fire even when the outside temp was -20. Matter of fact the only time it has gone to high fire was when I checked everything on initial start up.

Andiek 03-03-2010 08:30 PM

Marty, what make furnace do you have? Nebraska winters are probably worse then southern Wisconsin winters.

Andiek 03-03-2010 08:41 PM

Yuri - What brands do you recommend and why? I'm not limited to the proposals I have in hand. If need be and I have good reason, we'll go out for more bids. While the furnace needs to be replaced, it's not an emergency:thumbsup:

Marty S. 03-03-2010 08:55 PM

I have a Lennox G61mpv-40 as back up heat for when it get way too cold out. That one is only 94.4 AFUE so does not qualify for the tax credit.

hvac122 03-03-2010 09:20 PM

I would not look so much at brand but keep looking until you find a contractor that will size the unit properly. Ask when you call them and don't have one out that will not do one. If they are cutting out this important step then what other shortcuts are they not doing. Also make sure they check the ductwork for sizing.

beenthere 03-03-2010 10:28 PM

Get a price on a Goodman VS furnace.
That GMH can't use a 2 stage stat. So it times to second stage. So you end up with it going to second stage for just one minute some times. And if you use setback at night. When your stat goes into recovery, you end up with waiting for the furnace to time out to second stage.

As Yuri said. probably very worth while to do your own load calc.
Newer furnaces do need to move more air per BTU then older ones did.

Call that Bryant guy up. Ans ask him if he replaces more 20 year old Bryants, or more 40 year old Bryants.

PS: I believe the Guardian is made by Goodman.

yuri 03-04-2010 05:14 PM

I don't want to go into naming brands but the old adage you get what you pay for is definitely true. Get the size first and try find a reputable dealer with some good references. LP can be troublesome if not setup properly by a competent caring contractor. If not it can foul up the secondary heat exchanger etc. The Lennox G61V has been around for 7 years and is tried tested and true. Lennox tweaked the G61V to 95% for the tax credit.

Marty S. 03-05-2010 06:36 AM

The 40k too yuri? Last I saw the 71K was the smallest that made 95%.

Affordable7 03-05-2010 06:48 AM

Guardian is a low end York brand. BTW, is Kentucky and Ohio in the USA the only 2 regions in the world where you HAVE to submit a Manual J as proof of what the house needs, and they won't issue you a permit until you submit one? :thumbsup:

I personally believe Rheem should bring back their drum model furnace (RGUD for GOOD?) :laughing::laughing:

yuri 03-05-2010 04:12 PM

Marty the G61-071 is 95% efficient the rest under 95% from DaveNet. Not a big deal where I am so I don't check those specs.

beenthere 03-05-2010 07:23 PM


Originally Posted by Affordable7 (Post 409872)
Guardian is a low end York brand. BTW, is Kentucky and Ohio in the USA the only 2 regions in the world where you HAVE to submit a Manual J as proof of what the house needs, and they won't issue you a permit until you submit one? :thumbsup:

I personally believe Rheem should bring back their drum model furnace (RGUD for GOOD?) :laughing::laughing:

Florida also requires it.

But, since no one checks them(no official). It doesn't always help much.

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