My 35 year old Ruud furnace had been working ok, but it was getting pretty old and was really inefficient compared to newer models. So I decided to look into getting a new high efficiency furnace with the $1500 tax credit that is available. Here is my review:
I ended up getting a Coleman Echelon Furnace with a 97.5% efficiency rating. I was somewhat unsure about getting a Coleman at first since I was only aware of them making low end camping equipment and coolers. But after more research I found that Coleman is actually the same furnace as the York brand, just with the Coleman badge attached.
The Echelon is Coleman’s top model. It has a fully modulating burner and blower which in theory should output the exact amount of heat required. Instead of being either off or 100% on, the Coleman can output only say 40% of the maximum heat if that is all that is needed. The Echelon costs more than their other models, but I plan on keeping it for 30 years like the old one so I may as well have a good one.
In theory Coleman’s modulation sounds great. Instead of a non-modulating furnace cycling on and off all the time, the Coleman is supposed to run more often at a lower setting. This should keep the temperature in the house at a more constant temperature. Unfortunately the furnace doesn’t really seem to do this. It might do it a little because I hear it come on at a lower speed and then ramp up after a few minutes. But it doesn’t really perform like their description says.
From what I have read the best furnace is the Rheem modulating furnace. The Rheem has a special thermostat which can tell the furnace the exact temperature of the house. If the house is at 65 degrees but the thermostat is set for 70 then the Rheem furnace knows that it will need to output a lot of heat so it outputs 100%. The Coleman only knows that it needs to be warmer so it doesn’t know how much heat to output. I probably would have gotten the Rheem, but the Rheem barely missed the efficiency cut off for the tax credit so I didn’t get it.
The Coleman furnace was installed by PPS Heating and Air Conditioning. Their install seems to be pretty good. But they couldn’t get a new thermostat wire run. They were supposed to go do some research and then call me back to get it fixed. But of course they never bothered to call back. I guess once they have their money they don’t care about doing the things that they said they would do.