What’s the Best Brand for a New Air Conditioner? An In-Depth Look at Ameristar
Sacramento Valley residents looking for a quality system to replace theirs with can turn to Ingersoll Rand who owns Trane and American Standard HVAC products. Little known to most people is the other product they manufacture, Ameristar Heating and Cooling.
Trane’s Unparalleled Reputation
Ameristar is one of the most affordable and reliable companies to buy from because of the products they are producing. When I go out to people’s homes to provide a quote a new HVAC system, I always mention our main product line, Trane. The reputation Trane has in this HVAC industry is unparalleled. From their products being made in America to the testing of their equipment in laboratories, Ingersoll Rand and Trane offer the Ameristar line as their budget option for residential HVAC systems.
Ameristar furnaces are manufactured in New Jersey while their air conditioners and heat pumps are made in China. Consider Trane’s XB80 furnace that was the staple of their furnace installation service for the last 15 years or so. A simple design allowed technicians to access the control board and dismantle and reinstall the burner assembly for easy cleaning. The design also allowed for easy access to the hot surface ignitor for testing and replacement as needed. The blower assembly had a straightforward design to allow for easy removal, cleaning and replacement.
Trane XB80 Vulnerabilities
As a technician who has serviced probably every brand and variation of furnace that a technician can navigate through, I can honestly say that the Trane XB80 furnace has had very few issues with it. I’d say I’ve worked on them the least of all the others simply because they don’t break down very often.
One of my main repairs on this system has been their control board in the blower compartment. They had a Molex connection of around nine pins that would interact with the back of the board to tell which components to do what in a certain sequence. For instance, to tell the inducer motor to come on, then to tell the hot surface ignitor to engage, and so on. The Molex connections would separate from the solder connections on the board and would begin to operate intermittently. Now it’s just one of those things that most experienced techs can just walk up on and easily diagnose because they’ve seen it enough.
A Great Choice
Every brand out there has its vulnerabilities and this control board issue typically arose at about the 15 to 20-year mark in the life of the system. I didn’t notice much else going wrong with this system. Sure, the occasional pressure switch or capacitor would go bad. But once again this Trane, and now the Ameristar model are both much more reliable and easier to service than the other models out there. Ameristar really makes for a great choice when deciding on an entry-level design HVAC system for your home or rental.
Now that Trane has moved away from that design and ventured towards an even better product line offering, Ingersoll Rand has allowed Ameristar to basically take that same Trane XB80 design and apply it to their product. This means you’re basically getting a Trane furnace when you buy an Ameristar furnace. It literally just has a different name tag on the front of the furnace!
Ameristar’s Star Feature
Let’s talk about the China-made Ameristar air conditioner. One thing I really like is their use of a scroll compressor. These are just like the ones being used in high-efficiency condensers. Its outstanding benefit is the reduced noise level compared to other systems that use cheaper products. I’ve also noticed the swept fan blade of the Ameristar air conditioner which also contributes to lower noise levels. Ameristar prides itself on its 74-decibel level operation. Both of these items really contribute to that low noise level. The fan and the compressor are really the only things that make noise on the outdoor condenser.
Ameristar Quality and Design
You’ll also notice the compact design of the Ameristar AC compared to other modern high-efficiency units. Some customers want a low-profile unit so it can stay out of sight. This AC really does that well. Also, the components inside the electrical panel of the Ameristar AC are quality. They aren’t flimsy brand names that go out within a few years. These are the same items I would choose when we come out to replace parts in your current AC system. I’m really picky about what parts I use on your system for repairs. If a part were to go out for as long as you own the system, and Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning is in business, we’ll replace that part, no questions asked.
The only negatives I hear from prospective buyers are the words “Made in China” on the side of the box. With that, I don’t have a lot to say other than I really wish it was made in America, but it is what it is, and I still stand behind this product and the quality parts they are using that make this system run so well and so quietly.
The Ameristar Warranty
As far as warranties go, Ameristar has a 5-year base limited warranty and 10-year registered parts warranty assuming you register it within 60 days of installation. In California, that means 10 years even without registering it. Fortunately for us, that’s a great perk of living in Cali! We don’t have to register our HVAC products to receive the extended warranties like this 10-year parts warranty. The furnace also offers a 20-year warranty on its heat exchanger. That means as long as you are the original owner of the AC or furnace, you won’t have to pay for parts for the first ten years of the system or 20 years on that heat exchanger.
What About Labor Costs?
You may still have to pay for labor on those warrantied items to your HVAC company. You’ll have to work that out with your contractor. I personally feel home warranty companies are not the way to go. They rarely stand up for what they say they will. Even if they do, the type of technician really varies when they send out the companies they use. It’s usually not the company you would have chosen. And it can take a long time to get some of those contracted HVAC companies to your home. Buyer beware.
I hope this has helped you with your research on Ameristar products. Ingersoll Rand is an established company that takes a lot of pride in their products. Fox Family Heating and Air Conditioning is also a company who takes a lot of pride in the products they install in your home. If I didn’t believe this was a good product that is going to last a long time in your home without giving you problems, I wouldn’t install it for you.
Find the Right Contractor
No matter who installs your Ameristar HVAC system, please make sure they know how to measure and install the correct size system for your particular home. That doesn’t mean changing it out with the same size your house currently has on it. Pick the licensed contractor for your California home that will pull a city or county permit and has a good reputation online. When you do, you’ll have better peace of mind. Cheap prices don’t usually translate to quality installs.
Thanks so much for stopping by, and we’ll see you on the next blog.