By Rob Rice
Published October 17, 2014
If you are in the market for a new gas or propane furnace, there are several manufacturers to choose from. For example:
Bryant = Carrier = Payne
Trane = American Standard
Rheem = Ruud
Goodman = Amana
Coleman = York
As with any appliance, the reliability of these different furnace manufacturers matters. No one wants to invest their hard earned money into a future headache; people want a furnace they can count on during the cold Winter months. Unfortunately though, if you do not perform your due diligence and instead make the incorrect assumption all gas furnace manufacturers are created equal, you could end up purchasing a unit from a brand you wish you hadn’t.
So, let’s look at which gas furnace manufacturers are most and least reliable. Over the years, we’ve kept close tabs on how frequently we are repairing the furnaces we install, and the data shows there are some clear reliability winners and losers. Before we share this data with you, it’s important to mention a couple things: first, as alluded to above, several of the manufacturers sell the same units under multiple brand names. The brand name on the furnace itself may be different, the model number may be different, and the color the unit is painted may differ, but they are otherwise exactly the same. This is because our industry has experienced a significant amount of consolidation over the decades with one manufacturer purchasing another. Rather than discontinue the purchased brand, the purchasing manufacturer often deems it beneficial to continue using the purchased brand’s name and simply sell their existing equipment under it.
Second, the most common manufacturers here in the Greater Seattle area are Bryant/Carrier/Payne, Trane/American Standard, and Lennox, although each of those listed above can be found in homes throughout Washington.
Our on-the-job repair data indicates that Bryant/Carrier, Trane/American Standard, and Rheem/Ruud are the most reliable furnace manufacturers currently available. These manufacturers have had their own share of problems (for example, Bryant/Carrier furnaces used to have issues with failed heat exchangers; Trane/American Standard have had problems with circuit boards), but in general these manufacturers, while not perfect, are the brands with the lowest likelihood of giving you ongoing problems. Our data is further confirmed by an article Consumer Reports publishes every couple of years (or thereabout) which looks at gas furnace reliability. If you were to evaluate these articles over the last decade, we believe you would find that the aforementioned brands are most often most reliable. Take a look at the pdfs linked below to see the most recent Consumer Reports furnace reliability articles:
Given this data, Bryant/Carrier and Trane/American Standard tend to be the most popular brands homeowners choose when purchasing a furnace from us (Rheem and Ruud aren’t as common here in the Northwest). We believe if you choose one of these two and hire a contractor who will size and install the furnace correctly, you’ll be satisfied with your choice.
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