Don’t know if you have made your decision yet or not, but…
R-22 will be available for several more years. In 2010 equipment manufacturers will no longer make R-22 machines, but the refrigerant itself will still be sold for another 5 years or more. In other words, if you’re system develops a leak R-22 will be available for the foreseeable future. However R-22 went up 79% this year alone and I expect more increases to follow. In 10 years, charging your system may be very expensive. I would strongly recommend a R410a unit.
Important: There should be a very small price difference between R-22 and R410a; certainly no where near $3000. I’d get other quotes if someone is telling you that. A lot of contractors are not familiar with R410a and the best way to nudge your customer towards R-22 is to make the R-410a cost prohibitive. I’ve seen it many times.
Goodman has a well earned reputation for making poor quality units. Part of that was simply how they went to market: as **the lost cost manufacturer. ** Goodman bought an old line maker called “Janitrol” and all over the country they are referred to as “Junkitrol” by HVAC people. To this very day there is a program for Goodman’s “Dependable 92” that involves Goodman giving the consumer a free furnace when the heat exchanger fails. (and they fail at an alarming rate)
Since those dark days, Goodman has worked to improve it’s quality and reputation. Buying Amana was said to be a step in that direction, and now Goodman has some of the longest warranties available. From what I can see, they are better, but reputations die hard. (More on Goodman in a minute…)
Like GM, some mfrs sell under badges. Trane & American Standard, York & Coleman, Carrier & Bryant to name a few are brands that are “cousins” at least, and in some cases “identical twins.” Some brands work hard to control who installs their product and establish dealer networks where only a “Carrier Dealer” can buy a Carrier furnace. (as one example)
Some brands----Goodman being the prime example-----will sell to anyone. Because of their willingness to sell to anyone, Goodman has been the favorite of every moonlighter, shade tree mechanic, fly by nighter, miscreant, and barely competent (and more than a few incompetent) contractors. Many were/are unlicensed.
Your wife lied to you. Size does matter. The good news is that too big is as bad as too small. In my experience, (which is in the midwest, SW Ohio) you should be around 750 sf per ton for most houses built in the last 30 years. A decently well insulated house, with decent windows should be in that range. A poorly insulated house may be at 500 sf/ton, and a well insulated house at 1000sf/ton. At 2100 sf I would expect that unit to be 3 tons, and maybe even 2.5 tons if well insulated.
Read the next 2 sentences twice: Those figures are ballpark only. Every house is different, and a “ACCA Manual J” load calculation is the only way to determine what is the right size for ***your ***house.
My advice: Get other quotes. I don’t trust Goodman for the reasons I’ve listed, but in many cases it’s because I’ve seen too many Goodman installers do exceptionally poor quality. (and I’m not saying your Goodman guy is one of them, but I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say “I put one of these in my house”, and I’m making that up)
If price is a motivator, you might look at York, Coleman, Payne (a cheaper cousin of Bryant) Comfortmaker, or Ducane.