13 SEER On The Minds Of Manufacturers

February 25, 2005
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Wayne Higgins, 12-string guitarist and whistler, provided easy listening at the York booth. (Photo by Nelson Moy.)
ORLANDO, Fla. - All the unitary A/C and heat pump manufacturers at the International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) may not have had new products to show this year, but they all had something to talk about with their customers: the mandated 13 SEER efficiency levels, now less than a year away from going into effect.

According to Matt Peterson, York UPG's (www.york.com) vice president of sales and marketing, "Most distributors are not stockpiling; they're planning ahead." Stockpiling lower SEER equipment might seem attractive for a while, but over time the price of 13-SEER equipment will go down, he pointed out.

The company's booth also featured 12-string guitarist and whistler Wayne Higgins, who is featured in Affinityâ„¢ ads.

Joe Brandt of Nordyne (www.nordyne.com) said, "Some distributors seem reluctant to start getting more 13 SEER into their inventories. However, they're backing off their 10-SEER inventory." The company's major unitary brands were represented, including Westinghouse, Frigidaire, and Tappan.

Fedders (www.fedders.com) introduced a line of what it calls ultra-quiet and compact 13-SEER central air conditioners with a high-end appliance finish. The line is available in sizes ranging from 1.5 to 4 tons that can be mounted on a slab or rooftop in residential or light commercial applications, the company said.

The company calls its new 13-SEER models "among the most compact in the industry" - an important consideration for the 13-SEER replacement market.

Haier (www.haieramerica.com) announced, "After intensive market research and product development, Haier is ready to enter the U.S. central air conditioner market." The company said a 13-SEER unitary product will be introduced this year.

The Rheem (www.rheemac.com) and Ruud (www.ruudac.com) Air Conditioning Divisions introduced high-efficiency 16- and 18-SEER air conditioners at the expo. The Prestige Series® RASL and Ultra Series® UASL air conditioners are equipped with two-stage Copeland Scroll UltraTech™ compressors for improved humidity control, quieter operation, and reliability.

The 18-SEER air conditioners use R-410A; 16-SEER units (rated at 16.8 SEER) are available in R-22 and R-410A designs. The systems also are equipped with Emerson Climate Technologies Comfort Alertâ„¢ onboard diagnostics.

Texas Furnace LLC (www.texasfurnace.com) showed its AllStyle Coil patented, Max Series high-output M coils. The M-shaped coils (imagine two inverted V coils) are said to help increase unitary system efficiency without increasing its height. The coils offer "maximum cooling capacity, maximum SEER rating, and maximum airflow with minimum height," the company said.

The M coil from AllStyle Coil was on display at the Texas Furnace booth.

Geothermal Products

Carrier Corp. (www.carrier.com) introduced its Carrier and Bryant Aquazone™ water-source heat pumps (WSHPs), which use Puron® R-410A. The two-stage system is said to have EERs greater than 30, according to Bruce Burdon, director of product management and marketing, Carrier North America Commercial.

The units come standard with a two-stage scroll compressor and variable-speed blower that adjusts speed to deliver the exact airflow needed, he continued.

"This ensures outstanding efficiency while providing unparalleled temperature and humidity control," said Burdon. The heat pump is available in four sizes ranging from 2 to 5 tons, in horizontal, vertical upflow, and vertical downflow configurations.

ClimateMaster Inc. (www.climatemaster.com) introduced the Tranquility 20â„¢ single-speed heat pump, which uses R-410A and scroll or rotary compressors. The company said PSC or ECM fan motors are optional. EERs can go as high as 20.2 Btuh per watt for ground-loop applications and up to 17.6 Btuh per watt for water-loop applications.

The company said the single-stage versions will be available in 1.5- through 6-ton sizes. The product features features stainless steel drain pans, foil-backed air-handler insulation, and a powder-coated paint or color scheme.

Time for high-efficiency schoolroom cooling, says Don Fyffe, president of Airedale.

School Systems

Airedale USA (www.airedaleusa.com) used the expo to launch its ClassMate High Efficiency (HE) vertical packaged air conditioning unit for classrooms. The product's 13-SEER rating isn't federally mandated, but the company hopes the higher efficiency will ease the minds of system specifiers who want to make sure they are in compliance, according to president Don Fyffe.

The product uses R-410A as its refrigerant. The design incorporates a two-stage scroll compressor to offer part-load operation, enhanced control, and dehumidification. Free-cooling capability is standard; heat pumps or hot water heating are optional.

The product also features cross-rifle tubed condenser coils and quick-draining hydrophilic fin evaporator coils. The indoor fan motor uses ECM technology. The rear exhaust air outlet is raised above sill height, reducing the cost of installation, the company said. All main components slide in and out, and are accessed via hinged front doors.

Tom Hoeffer of Armstrong A/C (www.aac-inc.com) showed the Magic-Pak® through-the-wall heat pump for apartments and dormitories. He said the product is new to the Florida market. It's available in gas heating-electric cooling, heat pump, and electric heating-cooling models.

Unitary Accessories

EDC International Ltd. (www.edcinternational.com) displayed its Model LAC-2/1 low ambient controller, which is applied to outdoor fans on heat pumps and cooling-only air conditioners. The company said it controls the speed of the fan in changing ambient temperatures, helping prevent coil freeze-ups, shortening compressor run times, and improving SEERS. The company said the control works with all refrigerants.

The company also introduced head pressure controllers for air conditioners and heat pumps, designed to optimize operation by adjusting fan speed of the condenser to achieve optimum refrigerant pressures. The company said the product senses the refrigerant temperature (and therefore its pressure) to modulate the condenser's fan speed to balance the high- to low-side circuit vapor pressure.

Publication date: 02/28/2005

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