I get this question a lot. Customers correctly do their research after we quote them a York unit and see the old Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey. In this survey, York is not ranked among the top brands. It frustrates me that people still use this old and unreliable information to judge the equipment.
Let me explain how I came to decide to offer York over the other brands before I detail why the Consumer Reports is the wrong measure of HVAC equipment. I started my company and ran it three years performing service work only. During this time, I serviced every brand make and model you can think of. So my evaluation my not be scientific but it was a first hand experience repairing and servicing hundreds of units. The numbers may be skewed because of the volume of each brand in my area. So let me begin by saying Carrier was the one that had the most problems. The volume of calls may be skewed due to the local Carrier installer but the one thing that stood out to me that is not affected by volume was the cost and availability of OEM parts for these Carrier units. They were more expensive and custom made so you could not use less expensive universal parts like most of the other brands. Trane was a close second for volume and price. Then came Lennox, but I’ll get back to Lennox in a moment because there are extenuating circumstances with Lennox. Goodman was in the mix too for high volume but the repair parts were very low cost and more universal than the others. Finally, the ones that I would least like to work on or get parts for were the small players, ICP (which is a parent for dozens of brands), Heil, and Rheem/Ruud. Those distributors and dealers were not very close and therefore I did not run into many of these brands, but working on them was a pain. The York equipment I ran across was typically very old if it needed service or repairs and not a lot of them either.
So When it came time to start installing equipment, I flirted with almost every brand distributor to see what they had to offer on the installation side. Lennox and York courted me from the start. Rheem tried but just didn’t push it very hard. Carrier never called me back. Trane flat out snubbed me as if I wasn’t big enough for them. I never met a Goodman Area Representative but the distributors were extremely easy to work with and provided exceptional pricing. So I started to narrow my options on two measures, eagerness to work with me, and quality. It quickly narrowed down to Lennox and York. Goodman quality just wasn’t there as I found more out-of-the-box issues with the units I installed.
The final measure was Quality. I learned Lennox and York both had the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. This is an important point. The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval is the ONLY independent 3rd party laboratory test of HVAC equipment. It’s like the UL seal for electrical equipment except for HVAC equipment. That impressed me. Because what I found as a service technician is that most of the problems I saw in units under 5 years old (relatively new), was that 70% the problems were caused by the installer and not the equipment. Here is where I want to refer back to the CR survey. The survey is within the first year of installation and is only the customer’s understanding of their issues. If an issue is caused by the installer, the customer immediately incorrectly attributes the problem to the equipment. So the CR survey has to be taken with a grain of salt.
But do you really want to know why I chose York over Lennox? Because their warranty program is in-house at York and is a 3rd party at Lennox. This told me that York has more faith in their equipment being reliable than Lennox does. The second interesting point about their warranty is that York’s warranty is 1/3 the cost. This told me that there are far fewer warranty claims than Lennox had which keeps the cost lower.
So I decided if I were going to offer the homeowner equipment that would last, cost them less in the long run, I would want York over any other brand. That is the only reason I choose to be a York dealer.