Aftermarket Zoning Technology Comes of Age

May 18, 2009
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Reese’s candy company has built a tasty empire on the pairing of two favorite consumer flavors, chocolate and peanut butter. Even the product’s slogan captured the complementary flavor partnership: “two great tastes that taste great together.” The slogan comes to mind as two leading technologies have come together, joining electronically commutated motor (ECM) motor technology and zone control.

There are great benefits to this combination, according to manufacturer Arzel Zoning Technologies. The company said that until now, to receive the full benefit of these two technologies, equipment manufacturers would pair a special zoning product with their proprietary controls and offer them as a package for new applications or full equipment changeouts. It’s fine when you need new equipment, but not so practical when a furnace, heat pump, or air conditioner are only a few years old and working fine.

The concept of an aftermarket version of this technology was so intriguing that Arzel Zoning and Genteq, manufacturer of GE ECM motors, have partnered to develop Evergreen Zoning™, an aftermarket zoning system that offers the benefit of efficiently controlling indoor air quantity.

Improved IAQ comes from the ability of the system to actually control the blower’s capacity and any staging functions, based upon the size of individual zones and the service being provided. This is said to virtually eliminate the need for a bypass damper for all but the smallest zones (less than 15 percent of system airflow).

OPTIMIZATION

The system combines Arzel’s latest zone control panel technology with the Genteq Evergreen motor. This multispeed ECM replacement motor was developed to address consumer desires for better system efficiency and IAQ, and a better solution for the roughly 2.2 million blower motors replaced each year.

“When we started testing on the Evergreen motor, we realized that through all of its attributes the one complementary technology that really allowed for enhanced performance was zoning,” said Preston Davis-Robinson, director of distribution marketing for Genteq.

“While evaluating the capabilities of the motor, we found that when paired with an intelligent zoning package, it simply optimized total system performance for the homeowner.”

“As we see it, no other complementary technology has made as much sense for the types of applications that we encounter as multispeed ECM technology,” said Dennis Laughlin, president of Arzel Zoning. “That is why we partnered with the leader in ECM technology and developed Evergreen zoning.”

A GOOD FIT

To get an idea of why these technologies fit so well together, look at how the system functions.

First, the system’s motor is replaced with the supplied motor, customized with the speed settings to correspond with the application’s needs and desired operational parameters. This is a simple process of selecting four of 12 available speeds to complement the ultra-efficient, low-speed, continuous-airflow setting and wiring to the appropriate locations on the equipment controls. The motors are compatible with either 115- or 230-V power and automatically determine the correct rotation (clockwise, counter-clockwise) through patented rotation-detection technology.

Next, the zone panel orchestrates the system’s operational needs to be set up, based upon the type of equipment, number, and size of zones and needs of the application. It is in the set-up process that outdoor temperature is considered for staging needs; all settings are done on a large, interactive LCD. The built-in intelligence then allows outputs to be energized based upon the actual demand for conditioned air in any given zone (or combination of zones).

Finally, with these elements in place, the zone system can deliver only the amount of air required by the individual zone or group of zones calling.

“The most effective way to make every room in a home comfortable is to control airflow,” said Laughlin. “By controlling the indoor air quantity, the system can simultaneously provide increased comfort as well as IAQ benefits through circulating a low volume of fresher, cleaner air more economically. This provides contractors with the opportunity to offer their customers exactly what they are looking for - an economical solution to comfort, indoor air quality, and energy efficiency.”

The zoning system can be universally applied to any heat-cool or heat pump system, including both single and multistage equipment, and geothermal and dual-fuel heat pumps.

For more information, visit www.arzelzoning.com.

Publication date: 05/18/2009

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