Throughout history, man has sought to come up with better ways of heating and cooling his environment. From the use of fire to heat and ice to cool, the world of HVAC has come a very long way indeed to today’s high-efficiency residential equipment. These units have a variety of desirable traits that allow lots of features to improve comfort, provide a high degree of regulation, are highly efficient, and make troubleshooting and repairing a problem much easier than heating and cooling methods of the past.

To recognize those units that advance home heating and air conditioning and attain new levels of installation, maintenance, and service ease,The NEWSpresents three awards in the HVAC High Efficiency Residential Equipment category of the fourth annual Dealer Design Awards.

The iQ Drive™ 23 SEER Air Conditioning System with 95.1 Gas Furnace/Coil or Air Handler Systems from Nordyne, Maytag HVAC Div., reached the gold rank, while the Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems’ Evolution Hybrid Heat™ System, with the Evolution Plus 95i Gas Furnace, Evolution System 288ANA Heat Pump, and Evolution Control; and the Mantis™ Fireplace, by Empire Comfort Systems Inc., reached the height of silver.

GOLD: The Nordyne, Maytag HVAC Div., iQ Drive is an ultra-efficient air conditioning system available with an iQ Drive-compatible air handler, or iQ Drive furnace and coil.


The iQ Drive 23 SEER Air Conditioning System with 95.1 Gas Furnace/Coil or Air Handler Systems, by Nordyne, Maytag HVAC Div., consists of an ultra-efficient air conditioning system, an iQ Drive-compatible air handler, or iQ Drive furnace and coil, and iQ Drive controller.

The brain inside the split-system air conditioner is the inverter technology, with its ability to constantly adjust to the outdoor temperature to provide efficient and quiet operation. The heart of the system is a fully modulating, inverter-driven compressor, an inverter driver system, and fully modulating blower and fan motors.

The inverter technology really struck a chord with one judge, who remarked, “The advanced technology of the inverter and variable-speed really is leading edge.”

The system modulates capacity of a 5°F temperature range. At rated cooling load conditions, the system will operate at the nominal rated capacity and at the thermostat set point. If the room temperature rises above the set point, the compressor and motors will speed up and increase capacity to match the load. Maximum cooling capacity will be reached when the room temperature reaches 3° above the set point. It will also provide rapid cool down in the event the temperature set point is lowered.

If the room temperature drops, the compressor and motors slow down and decrease the cooling capacity to match the load. The further the room temperature drops below the set point, the slower the system runs. Minimum cooling capacity will be reached when the room temperature drops 2° below the set point. If the room temperature drops further, the system will turn off.

Another judge was not only taken with the inverter technology, but with other facets of the iQ drive, stating, “The 23 SEER range is really pushing the SEER envelope for conventional split systems. It’s nice to see the inverter technology help to modulate the system based on the load requirements. Humidity is also addressed with this system. Maytag has a unit that will give the competition grief until they catch up.”

The iQ Drive rotary compressor can ramp down to 900 rpm for low power operation and low noise level. This feature impressed one judge who said, “The design of the iQ Drive is an extremely quiet, economical compressor. I wish they were already available in heat pumps as well as straight cools.”

SILVER: Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems’ Evolution Hybrid Heat system matches the Evolution Plus 95i gas furnace with the Evolution system 288ANA heat pump.


Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems’ Evolution Hybrid Heat system matches the Evolution Plus 95i Gas Furnace with the Evolution System 288ANA Heat Pump. This lets dealers offer homeowners an ultra-efficient system that uses gas or electricity, whichever is more economical for the weather and fuel costs in that area. The system is powered by the Evolution control.

With back seating service valves, the heat pump’s plug-and-play factory wiring aids with installation, service, and maintenance. The four-wire, color-coded Evolution control allows dealers to offer temperature and humidity control in a retrofit application without having to pull new wire.

Making installation and maintenance easier, the heat pump is a self-configuring system with fault message and operational history shown on the wall control. It has LED diagnostics and is self-test capable.

It stores fault codes during power outages for easier servicing. Information on the last 10 system events helps with diagnosing a potential system problem, either directly at the control or the contracting company, with its remote access. The furnace also offers laptop and PDA software for simplified diagnosis.

Using the utility interface connection, the control offers up to 23-point diagnostics. Advanced system-wide diagnostics displayed on the control panel is written out rather than in numerical codes that require a manual to interpret.

The wiring and diagnostic abilities prompted one judge to comment, “Four wires makes retrofit a lot easier. Plus, the diagnostics built in make service a breeze.”

The automatic startup feature identifies equipment and stores the model and serial numbers at the control, allowing dealers to spend less time at the jobsite.

Some of these features im-pressed another judge, who said, “The electronics are great; it makes it easy for installation and service with fault codes. It is very easy to set up controls for the exact conditions.”

SILVER: The Mantis fireplace, by Empire Comfort Systems Inc., offers flexibility by being able to be installed in a variety of ways.


The Mantis Fireplace, by Empire Comfort Systems Inc., offers flexibility by being able to be installed in a variety of ways - as a freestanding hearth stove on a pedestal, a fireplace insert (recessed into an existing fireplace), or a zero-clearance fireplace built into a wall or installed in its accessory straight or corner cabinet mantel.

According to the manufacturer, this is the only hearth product to vent with PVC pipe, which is cheaper, easier to work with than metal, and allows for venting to go down and out. The unit vents 40 feet with a single pipe or a direct-vent configuration. Also, it exceeds 93 percent AFUE efficiency.

These features prompted a judge to say, “Zero clearance installations, PVC vent piping, and high efficiency - looks like they have a good product on their hands.”

Service is made easier by use of the front access panel. Installing the unit as an insert is simple with the flex adapter kit.

Another benefit is the addition of moisture to the air by the fireplace. Moisture, a byproduct of the Mantis’ super-efficient heat exchanger, is captured in a holding tank. Once the unit reaches the operating temperature, a pump cycles on to send the collected water onto a tray above the combustion chamber, where heat and airflow circulate the water vapor. The added humidity aids to alleviate static shocks and damage to wooden furniture.

“The built-in humidifier is a plus,” remarked one judge.

The unit also offers different ways of operation. Two on-off buttons control the two burners, allowing the homeowner to set the heat output to low (front only), medium (rear only), or high (both burners). It can also be controlled via external controls, such as the programmable thermostat or thermostat remote.

A variety of features and benefits excited a contractor-judge enough for him to say, “I’m very impressed with the sealed heat exchanger, ease of venting, and remote control for the unit. The staging of heat output looks great; it’s a good sales item.”


iQ Drive 23 SEER Air Conditioning System

Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems
Evolution Hybrid Heat™ System

Empire Comfort Systems

Publication Date:07/16/2007