High-Efficiency Residential Equipment: Game Changers Introduced to Market
Fujitsu General America Inc.’s Halcyon Mini-Split Heat Pump System Wins Gold
The floor-mounted mini-split heat pump system is highly efficient and operates at ambient temperatures as low as minus 15°F. Systems in the RLFFH line are available in 9,000-, 12,000-, or 15,000-Btu single-zone models or in multi-zone configurations. Heating capacity at low outdoor temperatures is achieved through the use of a large heat exchanger and a high-capacity compressor.
“Great system design with the floor-mount evaporators,” said one contracting judge. “This is a game changer in radiator replacements. It gives the customer a low-wall option, not to mention inverter technology.”
RLFFH systems are equipped with a base heater that prevents condensate from freezing and features a cultivated base design that discharges water through many holes. All systems provide 2-fan-wide airflow. Systems have upper and lower airflow to quickly condition an entire room. Other standard features include a designer wireless remote control, built-in condensation pump, and a host of different operating modes. All systems are Energy Star®-qualified and meet Energy Star’s 2014 Most Efficient standards with SEER ratings up to 26.0.
According to Roy Kuczera, senior vice president, Fujitsu General America Inc., the small — less than 24 inches tall and 30 inches wide — indoor units were developed specifically for residential and light commercial retrofit applications.
“Ideally, they are designed to replace standing radiators or any space with limited upper wall space, like a kitchen or sunroom,” he said. “Floor mounts fit easily under a standard window and can be mounted on the wall or may be half-recessed.”
Eight years of research went into the design of these systems. One source of information came from observing Japanese competitors already in the foreign market.
“We found several points to be improved upon, such as service and installation aspects, when we looked at these other sources,” said Kuczera. “We incorporated them in the actual development of the system.”
The company also conducted a survey in the form of a questionnaire to its distributors and end users and obtained many opinions on the floor-type unit. At the end of development, the results showed that size and appearance were very important to those surveyed. They seemed to want it to be mounted on the floor and aesthetically simple, attractive, and stylish, according to the company.
The floor-mount models feature a wide piping cavity and front refrigerant connections to help simplify contractor installation. The units are lightweight, and indoor models can be moved with relative ease. Fujitsu said it will continue to improve the mix-and-match flexibility of systems and consolidation of SKUs as product development continues.
The silver award in this category went to Nordyne for its R8HE Packaged Gas/Electric System. According to the company, it is the first condensing gas/electric packaged system for residential application. The R8HE delivers 95 percent AFUE two-stage heating and 14 SEER single-stage cooling with an ECM blower. The system utilizes a condensate removal system to eliminate concerns of condensate freezing and causing a system malfunction. Microchannel indoor and outdoor coils in the R8HE offer increased corrosion resistance, lighter weight, reduced refrigerant charge, and optimized heat transfer.
Currently available for horizontal residential use, downflow and three-phase versions are due to market this year. The concept was field tested on Nordyne’s own building and then in contractors’ homes to ensure that installation, performance, and ongoing maintenance met expectations, said the company.
Another silver award went to Aeroseal LLC for its HomeSeal duct-sealing equipment. Designed specifically for aerosol-based residential duct sealing, the new HomeSeal system was redesigned from the ground up to make it faster, easier, and more affordable for HVAC professionals to add effective duct sealing to their service portfolios, said the company.
The previous Aeroseal system included several large components that needed to be carried by hand separately into the home. There were also various wires, plugs, and cables that required proper attachment during setup.
The new HomeSeal system integrates all these separate parts into a single, preassembled 4-foot-by-3-foot portable unit. The various computer components are also integrated into the unit, and next-generation software all but automates the duct-sealing process. New indicator lights provide instant system feedback. The entire HomeSeal unit com.
Publication date: 7/21/2014