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Question DetailsAsked on 12/1/2016

Do York furnaces deserve their terrible reputation?

My local HVAC dealer, who has a terrific reputation in the area, favors York furnaces. They say that York's bad reputation on service is undeserved and a remnant of their history prior to Johnson Controls. It seems to me that's a lot of smoke. Any opinions on York furnaces? Or, even better, recommendations on alternative for a modulating gas furnace.

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3 Answers


Once a reputation on a brand goes bad, one cannot really identify how much of that is carryover from a previous owner and how much is from current issues - though other than Coke correcting its reputation after the "New Coke" formula fiasco, I can't think of a single brand name that has successfully rehabilitated itself under the same brandname - because a change of ownership but keeping the same brandname (and almost always most of the same people and engineering) just perpetuates the same flaws the product had in the first place.

I would spend the probably extra $500-1000 for a better reputation brand and get some peace of mind - I know on the building trades grapevine and blogs I hear nothing good but still hear a lot of complaints about newer York units - comments about them being "disposable" and "powered cheeseboxes" and the like do not come from satisfied users.

You can find some thoughts on brands in previous questions in the Home > HVAC link in Browse Projects at lower left. Personally, for furnaces and boilers I recommend Carrier at the top of the list followed by American Standard for forced air furnaces - Peerless, Weil-McLain, Bryant, Rheem, Amana are all popular names in furnaces and boilers without too many complaints that I hear about - Goodman, Lennox, Coleman, Frigidaire tend to be really low-end units so you hear a fair number of gripes about them. Take a look at the most common brands in the big box stores - those are the brands that are generally marketing on volume and low cost, not on quality.

Be sure to run the numbers on a modulating unit - because unless you have very expensive fuel costs or very high energy rebates in your area or maybe a Seller is partly paying the replacement cost because the exisating unit is shot, by the time you factor in much higher upfront installed cost and the lost time value of the extra money spent, commonly the payback period works out to 25-30 years or more - for a unit that today commonly last maybe 20 years, as opposed to the 30-40 you used to be able to count on. Also, I have seen several articles stating that very high-efficiency and variable (more than 2-stage) output furnaces generally have about twice or more as frequent service calls as ordinary furnaces, AND the average cost per repair is also about double or more that of normal units because commonly you end up replacing an expensive control board or module.

Also, there is a chronic issue with modern electronic-controlled appliances (and equipment and vehicle electronic systems) that the repairs commonly replace the defective part with the exact same badly designed or defectively manufactured part time after time - I have seen and heard of a number of units in my area that have had 3 or more replacements of the same component in just the first year or two of use - just keeps failing the same way time and again, because the same flaw exists in the replacement part.

My recommendation - run the payback numbers, then go with the simplest control unit in a reputable brandname unit (preferably non-electronic) that you can buy that gives you something close to teh best break-even long-term cost over not more than a 15 year period. And remember - most people move every 6-8 years, so buying a 20-30 year payback unit makes little sense in many cases even if you are lucky enough for the unit to last that long, because a higher efficiency unit is rarely compensated for in increased sale value. Most buyers don't even look at the furnace other than to see that the inspector says it works (and many don't even know what brand or type of unit they have), and it is a rare one who will pay-up for a high-efficiency or fancy digitally web controlled system.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


One thing I did not address before - even though that dealer with the terrific reputation likes Yorks, I am sure he will install other brands on demand - so if you throw out Yorks because you just don't feel comfortable with them, that does not mean you have to throw him out too.

Though personally, I would not feel comfortable with a dealer who pushed York's as their favored brand - carrying them as an economy brand maybe, but the good installers I know of push a higher-end brand as their primary of "bid" recommendation, then may offer a cheap brand (York, Goodman, etc) to those to whom money is the deciding factor.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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