Control Provides Replacement Alternative

October 12, 2009
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Millions of households continue to rely on older central air conditioning systems to provide relief from uncomfortable summertime heat and humidity. Besides their generally inferior performance as compared to today’s high-SEER-rated, variable-speed units, these older systems have one primary drawback: They are not as effective and/or efficient at keeping air moisture levels low.

This can be a problem, since drier air is far more comfortable than humid air. What’s more, excess humidity in the air decreases overall IAQ, and it provides a fertile breeding ground for mold, mildew, and dust mites, which can lead to serious health issues.

Naturally, folks in these households would appreciate the efficiencies and performance of a new system, but due to fiscal constraints, many are unable to afford the high costs of a new system or significant upgrade. Consequently, they not only feel the heat in their wallet, they have to endure the physical discomfort in their residences as well.



UPGRADE OPTIONS

There are multiple options when it comes to upgrading equipment for improved comfort and economic savings. Some examples include high-SEER-rated systems, ductless mini-splits, dehumidification systems, and fan coils.

Another solution is in the controls - such as the CC750 Comfort Control Center from ICM Controls. This type of device enhances comfort and IAQ of the building by intelligently controlling the blower speed in the structure’s existing single-phase central air conditioner or heat pump. By safely reducing the blower speed, the control helps the existing system more effectively draw moisture from the air, thereby quickly reducing humidity levels to improve and maintain overall IAQ and end user comfort.

According to the manufacturer, when used in conjunction with a system equipped with advanced IAQ devices, this particular control also allows these devices to operate more effectively and efficiently. By allowing the air to stay in contact longer with the IAQ devices, the control can play a role in keeping occupants healthier, creating another option for elderly residents, allergy sufferers, or people with asthma.

It also helps protect against mold propagation by keeping humidity levels low. It has been shown that relative humidity levels below 60 percent help prevent the growth of most mold, mildew, and dust mites.

A degree of noise reduction also can be achieved. The slower fan speeds, coupled with a programmable “Skip Frequency” menu option, results in generally quieter fan operation. During colder months, the control also provides warmer air discharge temperatures for heat pumps.

A stand-alone product, it can be mounted inside or outside of the air handler.



ENERGY CONSUMPTION

As a variable-frequency, variable-voltage fan motor speed control, the control varies the blower speed of the existing central air conditioner or heat pump based on the evaporator and return air temperature. A field-adjustable temperature differential between the evaporator and the return air duct is maintained by controlling the blower speed.

The menu-driven programming lets the installer fine-tune key parameters to establish a latent and sensible cooling ratio best suited to the environmental conditions unique to each installation. These types of features increase the potential for reduced energy costs.

Besides improving overall system efficiency, the device allows for higher setpoint temperatures in the home (due to the resulting drier air), while improving the overall perception of comfort. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every two degrees an end user raises their thermostat in the summer, they can save 5-7 percent on their cooling bills.

“Furthermore, with controlled fan speeds from the CC750, a system will consume less overall power for the potential of even greater energy savings,” said the manufacturer. “In these challenging economic times, that is a notable advantage.”



APPLICATION PROOF

Larry Stewart, an outside sales associate with Florida Cooling Supply, performed a test installation of the control at a home in Melbourne, Fla., a very humid region. He said his experience with the product was extremely positive.

“The residents of the home where I installed the product were completely satisfied,” he said.

“They can’t hear it, and the air in their home feels much more comfortable. This provides a very economical replacement for an old unit where the variable drive has gone bad. It is the perfect option, where you can buy an inexpensive, standard motor to go along with it. We’re saving the customer a lot of money.”

Bill Price, a purchasing agent with Duncan Supply in Indianapolis, had a similar tale to tell.

“I’ve seen a number of benefits since the system was put in: increased efficiency of the UV light and electronic air cleaner, lower humidity in the summer, more comfortable heat from the heat pump during the winter, and lower noise levels,” he said. “The installation took just an hour and it was fairly easy.”



AMERICAN MADE

The manufacturer also has a philosophy of keeping all of its operations in the United States. “We made a commitment years ago to invest in America and in ourselves, and resist the temptation to outsource,” said Ron Kadah, president of ICM Controls, whose company is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary.

“The decision to become a vertically integrated manufacturer has served us, and our customers, extremely well over the years by providing greater control over both sides of the supply chain.”

It has also allowed the company to maintain its high standards for reliability while continuing to push the bounds of innovations in technology.

“Our OEM customers appreciate our greater design flexibility and faster times to market, while end users continue to benefit from our ability to more closely monitor quality and performance on our full line of OEM and aftermarket products,” said Kadah. “The CC750 is not going to solve the current financial crisis, but it’s a good start.”

For more information, visit www.icmcontrols.com.

Publication date: 10/12/2009

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