System Hardware Connects Contractors, Customers, Equipment
icomfort Wi-Fi™ Earns Lennox International Gold Recognition
Over three years of research and development went into the creation of Lennox Intl.’s icomfort Wi-Fi™ thermostat. It was chosen by contractor judges as the 2013 Dealer Design winner of the Residential Controls category. The thermostat is approximately 1 inch thick and features a bright, high-definition touchscreen that measures 7 inches. Customizable skins allow the icomfort Wi-Fi to fit in with any décor and the one-touch away mode helps users reduce energy and save money when no one is home.
“We used multiple different research methods to help us specify and design the icomfort Wi-Fi. Before any development started, multiple qualitative focus groups were held to assure the product would meet contractor and homeowner needs,” said Bobby DiFulgentiz, director of product management, controls, Lennox Intl. “What really helped set this product apart was the constant market research throughout the development of the product. We checked and rechecked our assumptions with contractor and consumer focus groups throughout the development of the icomfort Wi-Fi.”
According to Steve Gortz, sales manager at Desert Air Conditioning in Palm Springs, Calif., the research investment wasn’t a waste. “This product is easy to set up and the diagnostic feature is great,” he said. “I would recommend this product to any contractor, because I feel it is the best out there.”
The diagnostics Gortz mentioned is just one of the multiple features the thermostat offers. Installation is a quick process that takes only four wires. Once installed, the icomfort Wi-Fi thermostat features an automatic system setup that gathers component serial numbers, automatically setting up a system in a matter of seconds. The automatic self-testing feature is capable of checking each part of the system to make sure everything is running properly after setup. To help dealers offer more attentive and proactive service to their customers, the icomfort Wi-Fi’s advanced service-alert feature can automatically send service and maintenance reminders directly to dealers via email. The thermostat can also provide a service technician with a detailed diagnostic report to help diagnose any service issue. No manual testing or readings are required.
“The level of detail that icomfort Wi-Fi provides contractors helps them do their job more efficiently and effectively,” said DiFulgentiz. “Rather than just providing an alert that a system is not working, the icomfort Wi-Fi gives contractors detailed diagnostic information that includes the issue and what steps are necessary to fix it.”
In designing this thermostat and its automatic alerts, Lennox also considered the need for dealer support. To help with this, the company created a dealer portal that allows a Lennox dealer to monitor all of their connected icomfort Wi-Fi thermostats at one single location. The portal is accessible on Lennox’s Davenet dealer site.
“Davenet has been one of the best parts for contractors. This diagnostic and service alert information is available remotely on the icomfort dealer portal and sent directly to the contractor’s email address,” noted DiFulgentiz. “This is truly a game-changing feature for the contractor and has helped many of them increase their bottom line.”
The icomfort Wi-Fi also allows homeowners to be connected to their systems. They can check and adjust their temperature from anywhere via smartphone, tablet, or other Web-enabled device, using a proprietary icomfort dashboard Web portal, an Android app, or an iOS app. Once connected to a homeowner’s wireless network, the icomfort Wi-Fi will display real-time weather alerts and a five-day forecast, while also sending system alerts and reminders via email to both homeowners and dealers when service or maintenance is needed.
Gold Winner Highlights
icomfort Wi-Fi™ Thermostat
Barometric Zone Damper
The Barometric Zone Damper™ (BZD) by Jackson Systems eliminates the need for a bypass damper installation. It works like any standard damper, but it has a built-in barometric relief mechanism and has been designed with both a fixed and hinged blade. The upper half of the blade is fixed to the shaft of the damper and the lower half is hinged to the upper half of the blade. The lower half of the blade then functions as a barometric pressure relief for the system. The BZD allows the barometric half of the closed-zone damper to open and bleed a small amount of air into the zones that are not calling, keeping the system’s static pressure at an
Silver Winner Highlights
Barometric Zone Damper
The QwikProducts™ QwikSEER+WattSaver® from Mainstream Engineering Corp. is an electronic control that operates in the cooling mode of an existing air conditioner or heat pump equipped with a PSC blower motor. The product’s control board enables the latent multispeed capability of a PSC motor. When the system starts in cooling mode, QwikSEER+ operates the PSC blower motor at different speeds, compares system operating conditions for the different fan speeds, and determines the optimal fan speed to maximize performance. This flexibility allows QwikSEER+ to optimize air-handler blower speed, thus improving energy efficiency and lowering humidity levels. It can be installed in about 15 minutes and does not require any programming.
Bronze Winner Highlights
QwikProducts™ by Mainstream Engineering Corp.
Publication date: 7/22/2013