Heil is a well known among air conditioner manufacturers and in HVAC generally. Currently, it is a merged brand, along with Carrier, Bryant and ICP (Indoor Comfort Products). The line is owned by the multinational, United Technologies Corporation under their HVAC division.1 UTC is a conglomerate that has purchased many companies in the electronics niche and they purchased the line in 1999.
The Heil Brand
The most common place to find the Heil brand is on a full central air system, although they also make heat pumps. Partly this is because of the popularity of these systems; partly it’s because of a history of selling well in this market. The result is a lot of units already installed.
Currently, they sell three main lines of split AC systems (split means a compressor outside that pumps refrigerant inside a building or home).2 A traditional set-up is to run the refrigerant to the furnace area in a house and use existing duct work to blow cool air when needed.3
Systems are ranked based on their cooling capacity and energy ratings. The SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio)4 is the standard ranking, and Heil has products ranging from a SEER of 13 up to 18 (other systems and brands can go as high as 23). The overall system rating is partly dependent on indoor equipment and existing fans or coils. Only when an entire central ac system is matched up will the best rating be achieved.
Information about rebates for energy conservation, for both the federal level and in your own state, can be found here: http://www.dsireusa.org/ This site tracks available rebates and tax credits. For a full central air conditioning system, these can be substantial – especially if the furnace or ductwork is being upgraded at the same time.
Their entry level model is the 13 SEER, DX1300 AC. This features a scroll compressor with aerodynamic discharge and a sound blanket (all to reduce noise of operation) and a “Comfort Alert” system that helps with diagnostics.5
Then next few in the line are named based on increasing energy efficiency (and presumably price) – the DX1400 and DX1600 (at 14 and 16 SEER).
Next up the ladder is the DXT+ which ranges from 16 to 18 SEER, based on type of installation.6 This is a two stage system that monitors humidity and achieves efficiency with a modes of operation matched to outside temperature. Lower fan speeds and compression ratios give efficiencies when less cooling is needed.
All models are sold through a dealership network and prices will vary, depending on installation differences.7
Heil is respected in the industry for a strong service and support network. The extended warranty, called the “No Hassle Replacement Limited Warranty” covers units for up to 10 years with dealer support backing it up.8
Although Heil is an excellent brand, the central air conditioning industry has a criticism that applies to them as well as others. The fact is that “under the hood,” too many units are using the same parts. This means there is little difference in many cases between brands.9
The result is that consumers are better off shopping for the best installer and service company, rather than the best product. Since the cost of installation and the expertise of the service company govern how well (and for how long) a central air conditioning unit works, that’s where the most attention should be focused.
Consumer reviews on the surface are not good.10 However, drilling down into what they say, it’s soon obvious that the problem isn’t with the equipment so much as the installations. Location of the unit to screen noise, improper air flow, mismatch between indoor and outdoor units… all these are mistakes in installation or service. With the number of units sold nationwide, actual recalls tell a different tale: only four recalls since 1996 and only one of those for anything manufactured under the Heil name directly.11
Heil air conditioners are a stable brand, but it’s traded hands over the years and now joins the ranks of “different cases, same guts inside” seen throughout the central ac marketplace. Warantees and service are excellent and they offer units in a good variety of efficiency ranges. However, proper sizing and installation is key to a long service life and a satisfied customer.