What is the Most Reliable HVAC System?

Over the past months, homeowners began appreciating their central air conditioning systems more as many people started working and studying at home.

Fourteen percent of the members we studied concerning their AC systems said they used their ACs much more than they had the previous year, and over 80 percent said they used their ACs just as much or slightly more. Of these, 15 percent had bought a central AC system for the first time.

Installing a central air conditioning system is one of a homeowner's most significant expenses, so you'll want to get it right. There are many things to consider, including but not limited to a home's size and design, how the system is installed, and the construction of the ductwork. To know the right HVAC system for your home, consult Anderson Air.

We estimate the reliability of major HVAC Systems on the market by asking our members (Samples) about their experiences with the AC systems they have bought and installed.

In our latest survey about what is the most reliable HVAC system or what is the most reliable hvac brand, our members told us about the 23,997 major air conditioning systems they had installed from 2005 to 2020. They let us know which parts break the most and what it costs to fix their central AC if repairs were needed.

We also wanted to know how likely they were to recommend their HVAC System to friends and family and use their answers to calculate owner satisfaction ratings.

Simon Slater, the associate director of survey research for Consumer Reports, says, “Choosing an HVAC System predicted to be reliable and better owner satisfaction will improve your chances of getting an AC system that you can depend on.”

These findings are based on central air conditioning systems used for five months a year. Members expect their HVAC System to last for at least 15 years. Here are the findings.

Reliability and Satisfaction

Reliability and Satisfaction

What is the most reliable HVAC system? Trane.

Using the findings provided by our members about what is the most reliable hvac system, we calculated ratings for reliability and owner satisfaction, and out of the 21 brands captured in our survey, only one, Trane, earned an excellent mark on both measures.

These findings were used to estimate how likely a system will break or cease to adequately cool a home in the eighth year to calculate predicted reliability. Excluding Trane, Armstrong and Ducane earned some excellent reliability ratings.

Seven other brands also earned a favorable rating of Very Good, and seven brands earned a rating of Good, which is just average.

No brand earned a Poor reliability rating in this survey, but Coleman, Goodman, Luxaire, and York received a Fair rating. People should consider this if they're considering buying a central HVAC System from one of these brands.

We base these owner satisfaction ratings on the percentage of members who say they're highly likely to recommend their central air brand. Five brands rated Excellent for satisfaction, like Trane, American Standard, Bryant, Lennox, and Carrier.

Others like Armstrong and Ducane earned Very Good satisfaction ratings, as did Rheem and Ruud. The other 12 brands earned a Good rating (average) for owner satisfaction.

Problems and Repairs

What is the most reliable hvac system? Answer: One that has durable evaporator coils.

Our survey indicated that the evaporator coil that is found in the indoor unit is the most likely part that breaks. The three brands associated with Johnson Controls (Coleman, Luxaire, and York) have the most evaporator coils that are relatively more problematic, with a problem rate of 10 percent.

Next are condenser coils (outdoors) problems, followed by blowers, compressors, and controls. Fans and valves issues were reported in fewer numbers.

Most AC systems in our survey are projected that 36 percent will break or experience problems at the eighth year of ownership, and the median cost of a repair was $250 when paid entirely out of pocket, vs. a median of $5,700 to get a new system installed.

However, according to our survey, less than half of the repair work was paid out of pocket, and a warranty or a service contract usually covers repairs.

Manufacturers of HVAC Systems recommend that owners should service them by a professional at least once a year, and 56% of our members do. Numbers drop gradually after that, with 21 percent having their HVAC System serviced every two or three years, then 8 percent shows less than every three years, and 15 percent report that they never had routine maintenance.

What Members Like About Their Central ACs

We investigated what factors our members take into account when they indicate they are extremely inclined to suggest their HVAC systems to friends and family. The first question is how quietly it runs, followed by how quickly the AC cools and its dependability.

Other aspects are comfort level, ease of use, and cooling evenly also contribute to satisfaction but not as heavily.

What is the most dependable HVAC brand? According to our assessment, Trane stands out at the brand level for quietness, quick and even cooling, and comfort. Members also praised American Standard for providing even cooling.

But, ones who own Payne systems weren't particularly impressed with a complaint that they were too noisy and failed to give the level of comfort they expected.

The next HVAC: When we asked our members to rate the significance of certain features when considering the next HVAC system they'll buy, well over half, 56 percent, said a 10-year manufacturer's warranty was crucial.

Almost 40 percent would like a new, more energy-efficient system than their own. In our research about what is the most reliable hvac system, the price was at the bottom of the list of essential features, with only 9% looking for a system that costs less than their own.

Brand loyalty: Only 15 percent said that buying an HVAC system of the same brand is crucial to them, but 25 percent of Trane owners indicated that it was vital. Owners of American Standard systems are more likely to be loyal to their brand than most others. In this aspect, owners of Heil systems appear to be the least.

How to utilize your HVAC system

How to utilize your HVAC system

What is the most reliable hvac system? Answer: One that you utilize and maintain efficiently.

Even the most reliable HVAC system can let you down if you don't intend to do some regular maintenance. Some tasks need a professional, but others can be done by yourself.

Keep it clean: You need to ensure that plants are at least 2 feet away from the outside unit. Clear all debris and dirt from condenser coils, and check for blockages in the drain pipe. Clean grills and filters monthly.

Sealing and insulating ducts: Up to 40 percent of energy can escape through air leaks or when ducts aren't insulated. Sealing them will keep you more relaxed in summer and warmer in winter.

Routine checks: It's paramount to have once a year a licensed professional change all filters, clean the coils, drain the drainage system, and empty the blower compartments. The contractor must also check that the system is correctly charged with refrigerant, making it leak-free and that all mechanical components are working perfectly.


These results are based on Consumer Reports' 2018 and 2020 summer surveys of 23,997 conventional central air conditioning systems owners. The median number of months in which these systems are used in our survey is five per year.

Our statistical model estimates breakage rates by the end of the eighth year of ownership for systems not covered by an extended warranty or service contract. We also adjust the number of months the system is used over 12 months.

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