It’s all about the wires this year, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Wireless technology and communicating controls brought the top three competitors gold, silver, and bronze honors. This year’s winners in the Residential Controls (including zoning) category ofThe NEWS’sixth annual Dealer Design Awards, were Honeywell for its RedLINK wireless system; EWC Controls for its EWT-3900 Wireless Thermostat™; and Trane for its ComfortLink™ II communicating system.

Gold Winner: Honeywell’s RedLINK Wireless System is a wireless protocol developed exclusively for the HVAC industry.


According to Honeywell, its new RedLINK wireless system is the first wireless protocol developed exclusively for the HVAC industry. The technology includes a suite of products that work together in a system, which includes Prestige™ HD thermostat, a full-color, high definition, touchscreen thermostat. It features patented, interview-based scheduling, which walks the homeowner through the process using plain language.

There is also an on-screen help menu if there is ever any question, so installers do not need to have the installation guide or feel the need to consult it in front of the homeowner. Prestige has a tri-lingual display allowing the installer to complete the installation in Spanish, French, or English, and then return the thermostat to the consumer’s preferred language.

It is also USB-compatible, which means that an installer can upload as many custom system set-ups or installation profiles as desired to a USB flash drive and then transfer those settings into any Prestige. In addition, the installer can upload their full color logo and contact information.

The thermostat can also wirelessly control the RedLINK-enabled TrueSTEAM™ humidification systems as well. The system also enables a Portable Comfort Control (PCC). This wireless, handheld device senses temperature from wherever it goes in the home, allowing a homeowner to be comfortable in the areas they live without having to zone their home. In homes with zoning, the PCC can act as a master control for all zones, allowing the homeowner to adjust the temperature in any zone from anywhere in the home. Since it is RedLINK-enabled, it can display outdoor temperature and humidity levels on its screen through the Wireless Outdoor Sensor. Since the Wireless FocusPRO® thermostat is RedLINK-enabled, the installing contractor can install the thermostat anywhere in the home or upgrade to multi-stage equipment without having to run any thermostat wire.

Silver Winner: EWC Controls’ EWT-3900 Wireless Thermostat™ was designed for the retrofit zoning market.


EWC Controls’ EWT-3900 Wireless Thermostat™ is a wireless thermostat whose primary function is to eliminate the need for running thermostat wire in retrofit zoning applications. According to the company, its design team built the EWT-3900 for the retrofit zoning market, to help eliminate the costly and time consuming thermostat wiring in already finished homes. The product is compatible with single-stage and two-stage heating and cooling equipment, as well as heat pumps and three-stage heating and two-stage cooling systems. The unit can be either 7 day or 5 + 2 day programming, selectable in the field.

Contractors can market this wireless thermostat for easy movement of an existing thermostat and as a solution for hot and cold spots in existing homes without having to pull wire. The wireless receiver will wire at the equipment with industry standard wiring and can be located on the equipment, in a mechanical room, or anywhere in the structure of the home or building. The EWT-3900 is then placed in the zone to be controlled. It can be hung on the wall with the bracket provided or it can be left on a counter or tabletop. The receiver and thermostat will work up to 150 feet apart from each other, 200 feet in direct line of sight. It is shipped with the 24-V receiver that is pre-programmed from the factory to work with the thermostat.

Once wired and powered, the unit works like a standard thermostat. The set up and programming is all done at the thermostat and only needs to be done for the time schedules of the programmable feature.

Since the thermostat is portable, it can be brought to the mechanical room during a service check, eliminating the need to walk back and forth from the mechanical room and the thermostat location to check sequence of operation. The contractor can sit in the mechanical room with the unit and check operation sequences as they happen.

Bronze Winner: The Trane ComfortLink™ II Communicating System has a touchscreen interface that coordinates digital communication and feedback.


The Trane ComfortLink™ II communicating system provides totally integrated home comfort by allowing all the components in the heating and cooling system to communicate with each other to ensure the system is automatically and properly charged, perfectly configured, and properly calibrated throughout its lifetime. The 900 Series comfort control is the command center of the system. A touch screen interface coordinates digital communication and feedback between all of the different components in the system. According to the company, installation wiring is simplified - two wires for the outdoor unit and three for the indoor unit, as opposed to the old configuration of eight or 12 wires.

It is essentially like a piece of “plug and play” computer hardware. All default settings have been preprogrammed and will run automatically once the system is in place. In addition to Charge Assist and automatic set-up, the system runs its own self-diagnostics and becomes operational. It programs the correct airflow for heating and cooling modes, as well as the correct heat source configuration, blower timing and humidity control. Should maintenance issues arise, error codes are displayed on the Comfort Control, with fault information on the indoor user interface and LED’s on the outdoor unit control board. When the service technician arrives, the problem has already been identified, so there are minimal troubleshooting and diagnostics to perform.

2009 Honorees: Residential Controls

RedLINK Wireless System

EWC Controls
EWT-3900 Wireless Thermostat™

Trane ComfortLink II™ Communicating System

Rheem Manufacturing
Comfort Control²System™

Publication date:07/13/2009