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Central Air Conditioners: Ratings of Sources

Total of 12 Sources
1. ConsumerReports.org
May 2014
The most reliable central air conditioning systems
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org does not test central air conditioners, but it does evaluate the reliability of different brands, including American Standard, Bryant, Trane Lennox, Carrier and others. In the most recent survey, more than 34,000 readers who bought central air conditioning units -- including conventional systems and heat pumps -- between 2007 and mid-2013 reported on whether the units needed repairs. Of the nine brands of conventional central air systems listed, most have repair frequencies between 11 and 13 percent. However, three brands perform significantly worse, with repair frequencies of 17 percent or higher.
2. ENERGYSTAR.gov
As of June 2015
Energy Star Most Efficient 2015 -- Central Air Conditioners and Air Source Heat Pumps
by Editors of EnergyStar.gov
Our AssessmentThis report names the most efficient central air conditioners and air source heat pumps for 2015. The list includes conventional central air systems, heat pumps, and ductless mini-split system. This is a terrific resource if the lowest ongoing energy costs are your primary concern, but other aspects, such as reliability, maintenance and initial cost, are not considered.
3. WebHVAC.com
As of June 2015
Top Rated Central Air Conditioners 2015
by Editors of WebHVAC.com
Our AssessmentWebHVAC.com is a site run by a group of former HVAC contractors that "covers just about everything to do with HVAC equipment in your home, business, or environment." Here, the editors name the 10 best central air conditioners overall, which includes models from Lennox, Maytag, American Standard, Trane and more. Each short write up includes some brief information on the brand and model, including energy efficiency and warranty, but performance and reliability are not evaluated, and there's no mention of hands-on testing or user surveys. Links lead to other lists, including top low-cost central air conditioner systems and most energy efficient air conditioners.
4. TopTenReviews.com
Not Dated
2015 Best Central AC Unit Reviews and Comparisons
by Grant Morgan
Our AssessmentWhile these reviews at TopTenReviews.com do not appear to be testing or survey based, they nonetheless provide useful insight into the pros and cons of the central air systems that reviewer Grant Morgan deems to be best. While the individual write ups do vary in depth, all systems receive ratings for things such as comfort, design and customer support. Central air conditioners from Lennox, Frigidaire, and American Standard score well enough to win awards from the site.
5. FurnaceCompare.com
As of June 2015
Central Air Conditions
by Contributors to FurnaceCompare.com
Our AssessmentFurnaceCompare.com has the largest collection of owner reviews of central air conditioners that we spotted on the web. Though there isn't feedback on every brand, most of the top makers are profiled and receive at least some reviews -- and the most popular brands get 100 or more. A list of best-rated central air conditioners had not been updated yet for 2015, but can still be useful if you want to zero in on the makers and models most likely to please in the eyes of those that post here. Other information, such as how to properly size your central air conditioner for your home, can be helpful, too.
6. HVAC-For-Beginners.com
Not Dated
Air Conditioner Ratings, A Repairman Reviews The Brands...
by Richard Reed
Our AssessmentA former HVAC technician and contractor rates central air conditioner brands on this site. Richard Reed awards star ratings based on his expertise on each line's basic, premium and top-of the line ("ultimate") models as appropriate. Each brand has a capsule that covers information about the maker, the construction quality, warranty and more. Two models are specifically called out as the best "premium" central air conditioner and the best central air conditioner overall.
7. ConsumerReports.org
May 2014
Central Air Conditioner Buying Guide
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentThis buying guide provides some general background information on the process of shopping for a central air conditioner. It covers such topics as types of central air conditioners, size, efficiency, choosing a contractor and maintaining the system you have.
8. Angie's List
May 31, 2014
What's the real difference between the best HVAC brands?
by Bill Brown
Our AssessmentBill Brown, an Ohio-based HVAC contractor, explains that despite the number of brands of central air conditioners available, most are made by "about six" equipment manufacturers. He adds that at the top end, differences can be small and that the biggest factor in getting the best central air conditioner is choosing the best installer. He says that one reason that certain brands such as Lennox, Trane and Carrier rise to the top in perceived quality.
9. Smarter House
Not Dated
Cooling Systems
by Editors of ACEEE.org
Our AssessmentSmarter House is run by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing energy efficiency. Its website has a wealth of information relating to energy-efficient appliances and government tax incentive programs. This page provides advice on how to reduce your need for air conditioning, while page links lead to information on how to find a good contractor, choose a new air conditioning system and keep your air conditioner running efficiently. However, specific brands or models of central air conditioner are not evaluated or compared.
10. Energy.gov
May 30, 2012
Central Air Conditioning
by Editors of Energy.gov
Our AssessmentThis government guide explains how central air conditioning works, how to select a new air conditioning system for your home and how to ensure proper installation. Links at the bottom lead to separate articles about maintaining your air conditioner and troubleshooting common problems. It's a very reasonable starting point for learning about technology and buying considerations, but it has no information about brands and no comparative guidance.
11. GreenBuildingAdvisor.com
Feb. 26, 2010
Musings of an Energy Nerd: Air Conditioner Basics
by Martin Holladay
Our AssessmentThis article, by builder and self-described "energy nerd" Martin Holladay, is basically a FAQ about air conditioners. It answers such basic questions as “What's a SEER rating?" and “What's the difference between the condenser and the compressor?" Although it does not evaluate specific air conditioner models or brands, it's a great starting point for a beginner to learn more about how air conditioners work.
12. PGE.com
Not Dated
AC Quality Installation
by Editors of PGE.com
Our AssessmentThis guide from a California utility company advises consumers on how to choose the right central air conditioner and make sure it is properly installed. Topics include selecting a contractor, sizing your AC system to fit your home, energy efficiency ratings for air conditioners, and complying with state and local building codes. The guide does not discuss air conditioner brands or models.
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