HVAC Residential Market / Furnaces / Air Conditioners / Air-Source Heat Pumps

Residential Equipment Brings Glam to HVAC

July 11, 2011
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When you think of Queen, you think of Freddy Mercury. If someone says U2 to you, you naturally think of Bono. And when songs by The Police are played on the radio, you think of Sting. While it takes all the members of the band to be complete, the singer, the front man of the band, generally is the one who everyone thinks of when they think of the group. And so it is with HVAC. While there are many parts that make up an entire HVAC system, it is the big units that tend to get all the attention and fame.

In the case of the winners of the 2011 Dealer Design Awards in the category of Residential Equipment, the fame and recognition is rightly earned, especially from contractors and technicians for the ease of installation and service the products provide. This year’s winners of this category are American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s Platinum XV Air Handler/AAM7, the Halcyon HFI 8-Zone system, Model AOU48RLXFZ, by Fujitsu General America Inc., and the Dave Lennox Signature Collection, SLP98V, from Lennox Industries.

GOLD WINNER

The winner of the Residential Equipment Category in this year’s contest is the American Standard Platinum XV Air Handler (AAM7). According to the manufacturer, it is constructed more like a refrigerator than a typical air handler, with insulation between double walls of the Air-Tite™ II cabinet, which prevents condensation that may cause damage to the air handler itself or a consumer’s home. The cabinet also eliminates the loose fibers from fiberglass insulation that may otherwise enter the airstream. The air handler can be installed by one person; the modular cabinet disassembles for single-person installation.

Gold

The cabinet-front sight glass allows circuit board diagnostic lights to be viewed without door panel removal, making it easy to identify key issues to reduce service time. The coil and blower pull out because of an exclusive new integrated rail system, said the company. Panel identifiers and quarter-turn fasteners facilitate easier installation and service. The smaller cabinet of the air handler allows for easier installation in tight spots - including a 17.5-inch-wide model for use with 1.5- through 3-ton systems. It can be installed in upflow, downflow, horizontal right, and left configurations right out of the box as shipped from the factory without the need to flip coils, move drain pans, or remove baffles.

The circuit board is easily visible at all times, and clearly labeled panels connect with quick one-quarter-turn latches to eliminate wasted time and lost screws. The entire Vortica™ blower housing can be removed simply by disconnecting the high- and low-voltage connections. A smooth composite interior wall without exposed insulation makes the interior easy to clean as well.

“The all-aluminum coil is substantially more durable than conventional copper coils. Since it doesn’t suffer from the formicary corrosion found in coils that combine copper and aluminum, it delivers unmatched corrosion resistance and will last longer with fewer chances of leaking. The design of the coil also makes it easy to service and clean for consistent performance over time,” said the company.

Silver

SILVER WINNER

The silver winner - Halcyon HFI 8-Zone System, AOU48RLXFZ by Fujitsu General America Inc. - is an outdoor condensing unit that allows contractors to install from two to eight indoor units and provides heating or cooling. Indoor units come in a variety of sizes and styles. The HFI system is rated at 48,000 Btu, but up to 130 percent of rated indoor unit capacity can be connected to the AOU48RLXFZ, which allows the contractor to connect indoor units that can exceed outdoor unit capacity, with limitations, the company said.

Contractors can choose the best direction for piping from the outdoor unit - back, front, bottom, or right. The Halcyon Hybrid Flex Inverter system is an all flare connection; no sweating of joints like a VRF system, saving time on installation. Fujitsu offers online contractor certification and onboard diagnostics that check for installation errors.

The system will determine if the minimum Btu capacity connected is not met, if the connected indoor units exceed the maximum Btu connectable capacity, if an indoor unit is not compatible with the AOU48RLXFZ, whether there are crossed wires within a single circuit (reverse polarity) and whether there are crossed wires between an indoor unit and a branch box. Also, the system figures out if a refrigeration circuit is wired to its corresponding electrical terminal on the branch box, if there is crossed refrigerant piping between circuits, whether there is a restriction in the system, if proper 230-V appears at each branch box and indoor unit, and if there’s proper operation of all internal electronic components including compressor fan motor, indoor fan motor, expansion valves, thermistors, high pressure/low pressure switches, etc.

One judge was pretty complimentary about the product, saying, “It’s nice to see a product that has the benefits of a VRF but is SEER rated and more flexible for smaller applications. Well done.”

Another said that it “looks like a plug and play type of system. … It looks like a real nice product.”

Bronze

BRONZE WINNER

The Lennox Industries Dave Lennox Signature Collection, SLP98V, received the Bronze position in the award contest. It is a variable-capacity high-efficiency residential gas furnace.

According to the manufacturer, at up to 98.2 percent AFUE, it provides low energy bills for the consumer as well as being a tax credit qualifying product.

A sealed blower compartment providing less than 1 percent leakage at 1.0-inch esp means dealers can concentrate their time sealing the ductwork and not have to worry about sealing the furnace for blower door testing. Industry-leading vent lengths with a self-calibrating inducer allows dealers to install the furnace where they want to and not where they have to, stated the company.

“An entire new line of accessories including a horizontal hanging kit and a new flush-mount vent termination kit provide Lennox the tools and products for a superior installation,” said the company.

A judge said, “The hands down difference of this unit … is its low noise level … outstandingly quiet. Performance and serviceability along with the ease of adding Lennox-branded IAQ to this with ease make it my company’s furnace of choice.”

“This furnace displays all of the features they tell us,” said another judge.

2011 Honorees: HVAC Residential Equipment

Gold Winner
American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning
www.americanstandardair.com
American Standard Platinum XV Air Handler/AAM7

Silver Winner
Fujitsu General America Inc.
www.fujitsugeneral.com
Halcyon HFI 8-Zone System AOU48RLXFZ

Bronze Winner
Lennox Industries
www.lennox.com
Dave Lennox Signature Collection, SLP98V

Honorable Mentions
Mitsubishi Electric Cooling and Heating Solutions
www.mehvac.com
M-Series MXZ-8B48NA

Johnson Controls
www.yorkhvacdealer.com
Affinity™ 16 SEER Split system Single-Stage Heat Pump YZF024-YZF060

Rheem Manufacturing Co.
www.rheem.com
Rheem Prestige™ Series Condensing Tankless Water Heaters

Find more information on these and other products at www.achrnews.com/dealerdesign.

Publication date: 07/11/2011

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