Smart Products for Smart Contractors
There is a definite trend in the HVACR industry toward smarter, more sophisticated products. Just examine some of the smart products manufacturers have been - and keep - producing.
It’s true that equipment using electronic controls has been around for many years, and many residential and commercial buildings have much more integrated systems as a result. However, manufacturers are taking those controls even further, introducing a spate of new products that includes everything from systems that diagnose themselves to variable-speed air handlers with electronic controls to equipment that adjusts itself based on space conditions.
The NEWS went in search of smart products, equipment, and systems, designed to not only make the building owner and homeowner comfortable, but a contractor’s work a little less complicated.
In truth, there are far too many new smart products to include here. What is noted here is far from being exhaustive. Rather, this is a showcase of a few of the smart pieces of equipment that are now available in the industry.
“Ordinary, old-style programmable thermostats, if used correctly, save homeowners about 15-20 percent of their heating or cooling bills on average,” said ecobee President & CEO Stuart Lombard. “But it takes a rocket scientist to figure out how to program them, so people don’t use them and don’t get the energy savings they could.”
Lombard explained that he founded the company because he wanted to reduce his home energy consumption and had trouble programming his own home thermostat. He thought there must be a better way.
The Smart Thermostat can be pre-ordered online at ecobee’s Website for delivery in early 2009.
The homeowner can select a local dealer to receive maintenance or service reminders for timely service. Infinity Remote Access makes programming a customer’s comfort system as easy as choosing options online.
There are two types of notifications: urgent and routine. With Infinity Remote Access, a homeowner will be able to access your Infinity System from anywhere in the world with Internet or telephone access.
The Rheem Prestige Series 16 SEER, R-410A Heat Pump with Serial Communications (RPRL-024JEC) and Ruud Ultra Series 16 SEER, R-410A Heat Pump with Serial Communications will be the first products manufactured with the new CC²S control board. Over the next three months, the launch will include other ultra-high efficiency heat pumps, air handlers, and condensers, leading up to the incorporation of CC²S into other Rheem and Ruud offerings.
A new feature of the CC²S technology is its auto-configure capability. When a Rheem Series 500 thermostat is used in tandem with the controller, the contractor can set up the system, simultaneously monitor the air handler and heat pump, and customize the home comfort settings from one location. Simplifying these procedures streamlines the installation and maintenance process.
NeoTherm is a direct vent, sealed combustion boiler that modulates with a 5 to 1 turndown, said the manufacturer. Zero clearance to combustibles and convenient top connections (horizontal or vertical direct vent) make it a good choice for tight installations. The natural gas or LP-fired boiler features an ASME stainless steel heat exchanger, integral three-speed boiler pump, and low NOx emissions. Features include top-mounted water and gas lines and air intake, permitting close, multiple boiler installation.
The NeoTherm line also includes Laars’ Integrated Control System with PID logic that governs ignition, temperature, and indirect water heater functions, outdoor reset, frost protection and high limit. It can be integrated with other controls for multiple boiler sequencing and building automation systems.
The circulator’s patented AutoAdapt control function is designed to automatically adjust performance to meet demand and save energy. According to the manufacturer, it learns what works best for the system, continually changing its settings to provide the temperature and comfort required. This translates to savings on running costs.
Magna pumps exceed the performance of simpler, proportional-pressure circulators, the company said. Though proportional pressure pumps operate with a higher minimum head (pressure), the Magna retains a low “foot point” at 5 feet. As flow demand increases, the pump pressure follows the AutoAdapt performance setting until the pump operates on the maximum curve. At that point, it continues downwards until it reaches the required flow.
Good news for contractors is that the pumps are virtually maintenance-free. The pump is oilless and seal-less and does not require a fan because it’s cooled and lubricated by the water it pumps. Flange connections are designed for easy replacements.
The TR6 allows homeowners to increase the efficiency of their air conditioning unit or heat pump by up to 15 percent, said Hennessy, adding that it can reduce energy costs by as much as 40 percent.
The manufacturer said the system was designed from the ground-up for retrofit purposes. MyTemp’s patented installation method minimizes the need to break into ductwork or cut into walls. There is also no need to redesign ductwork or install a bypass. One of the MyTemp development goals was to eliminate the need to run new wiring. To this end, each damper is installed from the register and connected to the master control unit by a single tube, avoiding the hassle of multiple wires. The MyTemp main display, which re- places a conventional thermostat, uses the existing thermostat wiring. In addition, wireless technology allows a temperature sensor to be placed in each room without running a wire back to the master control unit.
Installation setup is achieved through a checklist-based touch-screen interface. If a step is missed, MyTemp alerts the contractor. MyTemp also includes a built-in Help feature, so if a contractor needs additional information, it’s literally right at his/her fingertips.
The Bryant system includes a gas furnace paired with a heat pump, which lets dealers offer homeowners an ultra-efficient system that uses gas or electricity, whichever is more economical for the weather and fuel cost conditions in their area, according to the company. This technology allows homeowners to save money on utility bills in a time of unpredictable fuel costs.
These units are available with these capabilities right off the shelf with no modifications needed for low ambient operation. There is no need to add a crank case heater, fan cycle control or larger suction accumulator to protect the compressor; these are already built-in. Fujitsu’s 2009 Halcyon lineup includes 21 single zone systems with capacity ranges of 9,000 to 42,000 Btu. Mix-and-match evaporators of the multizone systems add another possible 110 combinations and allow contractors to create the needed climate control for any size space.
“For example, Daikin’s space-saving floor-standing units can be freestanding or wall-mounted, concealed or exposed,” she said. “The air distribution from these models will allow you to find the right balance for hotels, classrooms, hospital rooms, and office residential spaces.”
Daikin’s FXLQ (pictured) and the FXNQ models are ideal for installation beneath a window, require minimal installation space, and fitted with a washable long-life filter, explained Trondsen. At the same time, the company’s 4-way ceiling-mounted cassette 2-foot by 2-foot fan coil unit’s sleek design is designed to save contractors both time and money.
“It fits flush into a standard ceiling grid, so there is no need to cut ceiling tiles,” explained Trondsen. “It also features a built-in condensate pump, eliminating the need for subcontractors at installation.”
The FXZQ has powerful cooling and heating capacities, up to 18,000 Btuh (cooling) and 20,000 Btuh (heating). Contractors can also shut one or two flaps for easy installation in a corner. The 2-foot by 2-foot fan coil can be combined with Daikin’s VRV-S, VRV III, and VRV-WII.
Publication date: 12/08/2008