Air conditioner ratings part 4 continues our expert and unbiased reviews with a look at the Ameristar Arcoaire, Armstrong Air, Broan, and Bryant brands.
The M4AC units are basic "builder grade" 13 (pictured at right) and 14 seer air conditioners from INGERSOLL RAND. They have durable scroll compressors but the units are relatively loud and the warranty is not very good if the units are not promptly registered. The units have a durable metal jacket to protect the condenser coil from damage from lawnmowers etc and a small footprint but they are only available through authorized dealers. They offer R-22 replacement units that are shipped without refrigerant but we do not recommend them.
This is one of the brands from INTERNATIONAL COMFORT PRODUCTS which is a part of UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP. The PERFORMANCE 14 (NXA4) models are basic units with an average warranty. The DURACOMFORT DELUXE 19 models (pictured at left) are premium units with a 19 SEER efficiency rating. They have a variable speed condenser fan for quieter operation and are backed by a good guarantee. The units are available in the USA and Canada but only through their authorized dealers. All of their units use wire grille construction for the cabinet which does not actually provide very much protection for the condenser coil.
This is a brand from ALLIED AIR ENTERPRISES which is a part of LENNOX INTERNATIONAL. The 4SCU14LE model is a basic unit with a scroll compressor for reliability. It has a compressor blanket for quieter operation and onboard diagnostics to aid in troubleshooting. The 4SCU18LS units are premium models with swept wing fan blades for better sound control and have the ability to talk to the rest of the HVAC system. The warranty (especially on the compressor) is not as good as many brands. The 4SCU20LX model (pictured at right) has all of the premium features plus the ultimate variable capacity compressor technology. The air conditioners are available in the USA but only through factory authorized dealers.
This brand is made by NORTEK GLOBAL HVAC and is sold in the USA by dealers. The FS4BE units are basic air conditioners with a composite base pan for noise control. The iQ DRIVE units are ultimate models with advanced inverter driven compressors for ultimate efficiency, comfort, and noise control. The unit also communicates with the rest of the home's heating and cooling systems for enhanced comfort control. They are available with either 20 or 25.5 SEER ratings but the guarantee is not as good as some of the other brands.
This brand is a part of UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORP. but is only sold through their dealer network. The LEGACY LINE features basic models but their warranty is not as good as other brands. The EVOLUTION series units communicate with the rest of the home's heating and cooling systems to provide more comfort and efficiency. The variable speed models are premium units with variable speed fans and compressors but only a 19 SEER efficiency. Their entry in the ultimate category (model 180B) is only a two stage unit but it has an ECM condenser fan motor for quiet and durable operation. All of the units feature louvered metal panel construction to prevent physical damage to the condenser coil.
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