Not a dealer of either of those brands (used to sell Trane though) and all I can say is that no matter what the brand, if it isn't sized and installed correctly, it will be junk. Shop for your contractor, not the brand of equipment.
The funny thing with HCAC equipment is that it's all built with the same handfull of manufacturer's parts inside. There's only about 4 common compressor manufacturers, and 2 popular furnace control board manufacturers. I'm almost saying that every brand is nearly the same inside (almost). You'd be surprised at how many furnaces and condensing units are completely identical. I installed one the other month that had 4 different logos in the shipping carton that I could snap on the unit to make it whatever brand I wanted.
I agree with HVAC Doc's advice. Shop for a quality contractor and you'll have no worries.
I am not sure, as I am in the Amana line, but I have heard that the American lines are pretty good.
Keyspan had a program for replacements, and they were providing them. To be honest I though they were nice units.
Again apples to oranges, its up to you.
I think Heat controller makes the Century line and 2 others.
I have sold many different brands of Equipment over the years and have found all of them have their weak points. When I took over the business from my father, we sold Carrier, Trane, Lennox. Now, we still sell Carrier and some lennox, but I have since dropped Trane and am using much more Amana. I have even talked with the folks at York UPG ( York, Coleman, Luxaire, Guardian, Evcon brands) since they have a factory right here in town and distribution center. To me, it is important that my Brand/Distributor takes care of me so I can take care of my customer. That means letting me know when an issue arises with a product so I can get it corrected for my customer. That means providing me with parts/upgrades/new unit if need be and not having to go back and ask more from my customer. As Mdshunk stated, components inside are made by a couple manufactures like Honeywell or White-Rodgers with what ever variation made for specific manufactures. Many brands use a White-Rodgers ignition control although still a few proprietary ones out there. Copeland Scroll compressors or Bristol compressors are used except for Trane/American Standard recips which are their own. You won't find anything other than a GE ECM motor in any brand of residential variable speed furnaces. What makes them "different" is how the manufacture has the power head programmed for their brand of furnace. That's why I say "shop for a contractor" to find one that is looking to take care of you, not just feed you "Brand X is the best and Brand Y is a piece of junk" pitch.
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