Energy efficiency is important now more than ever, especially when it’s viewed by many as a way to save money. These poor economic times in tandem with tax credits and incentives that are available to homeowners who have equipment installed that meet certain standards are helping to encourage people to buy highly efficient HVAC units.

Many products may be a high-efficiency unit, but only a few have been chosen asThe NEWS’award winners in the HVAC High Efficiency Residential Equipment category of the sixth annual Dealer Design Awards. Johnson Controls dug up gold with its York® Affinity™ 33-inch Modulating Gas Furnace. Silver went to both Quaternity by Daikin AC and the Dave Lennox Signature Collection CBX40UHV Variable Speed Air Handler by Lennox Industries.

Gold Winner: The York® Affinity™ 33-inch Modulating Gas Furnace by Johnson Controls has a control board that features tricolor LEDs for ease in diagnosing a problem.


Johnson Controls’ York® Affinity™ 33-inch modulating gas furnaces with electronically commutated motor (ECM) can achieve up to 98 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). The redesigned line includes a fully modulating 80 percent AFUE offering that features integrated controls that provide comfort to within 1°F of the thermostat set point and “ensure precise modulation of the gas valve from 50 to 100 percent in 1 percent increments,” said the company. The 97 percent and higher AFUE models modulate from 35 to 100 percent in 1 percent increments.

The furnaces’ height have been reduced by 7 inches, which allows them to be installed in places where space is limited, such as closets, attics, and basements with low ceilings.

The units’ doors with toolless one-quarter-turn latches are now interchangeable between the top and bottom, based on the desired venting option. Multiple venting options and the multiposition design provide flexibility in applications including upflow, downflow, horizontal left, and horizontal right.

Also, the furnace’s “unique condensate management system eliminates the need for external traps, which means the furnaces do not need to be elevated in horizontal applications,” stated the company.

The cabinets, composed of folded sheet metal, are free of sharp edges, contributing to worry-free service. The control board features tricolor LEDs for ease in diagnosing a problem.

One judge remarked, “It appears that this product has virtually all of the features and advantages that a contractor would desire to see in a furnace. I am especially impressed that the variable-speed fan is being used in conjunction with an 80 percent furnace. Sometimes customers desire the variable-speed capability, but for various reasons are not able to have a 90 percent furnace installed.”

Silver Winner: Lennox Industries’ Dave Lennox Signature Collection CBX40UHV Variable Speed Air Handler has a “knock out” hole in the delta plate of the evaporator coil, which aids a contractor in installing a germicidal light.


The Quaternity system by Daikin AC is “North America’s first inverter split system heat pump system capable of dehumidifying room air to a user-defined relative humidity set point and air-cleaning functions,” said the manufacturer. The system, comprised of an indoor unit (FTXG) and outdoor unit (RXG), is available in three sizes with nominal cooling capacities of 9,000, 12,000 and 15,000 Btuh, with SEER levels respectively of 22, 22, and 21, and EER levels respectively of 15.8, 14, and 12.9.

The Quaternity indoor units weigh 31 pounds and can be installed practically anywhere, said the company. The lightweight outdoor unit weighs under 100 pounds and measures approximately 21 (height) by 31 (width) by 11 (depth) inches.

During the summer, the Quaternity dehumidifies, reducing indoor humidity without affecting the room temperature by mixing dry, cool air with warm air to produce comfortable dry air. This feature prevents overcooling. If the indoor temperature becomes too high, the system reduces the humidity level by also reducing the temperature. This feature allows the user to set higher set point temperatures but with a 50 percent humidity set point. According to the company, this allows the homeowner to realize significant energy savings, while providing a very comfortable environment.

In addition to dehumidifying, the unit also has a multilayered air purifying function, which decomposes and removes molecules of allergens and odors by colliding them with high-speed electrons discharged from the Flash Streamer Unit.

The unit has built-in self-diagnostics, a suitcase-style condensing unit cabinet, horizontal discharge air, and comes with a serviceable, washable filter.

One judge commented, “The operation and efficiency of the units seems good.”

Silver Winner: The Daikin AC Quaternity split system heat pump has built-in self-diagnostics.


The other High-Efficiency Residential Equipment Silver Winner is Lennox Industries for its Dave Lennox Signature Collection CBX40UHV variable-speed air handler. This model offers variable-speed operation and exclusive SilentComfort™ technology. Rated at MERV 16, the system is 55 ¼ inches in height in the 2- to 3-ton models, and 62 ¾ inches in height in the 3.5- to 5-ton models.

This compact configuration, along with a two-piece design on every model size, allows for installation in tight spaces. The CBX40UHV also includes a “knock out” hole in the delta plate of the evaporator coil that is specifically designed to make it easier for a contractor to install a germicidal light.

The design of the variable-speed motor provides contractors the ability to install the air handler in a variety of configurations, including high-static applications that maintain airflow and minimize static pressure buildup. The control board allows the installing technician to set a discharge air temperature set point.

The CBX40UHV cycles the supplemental heating elements off and on to reach the selected set point, providing comfortable and even heating without the requirement of special heat elements or additional controls.

This feature, combined with the ramping profile of the motor in the heating cycle, “ensures that the homeowner doesn’t feel the ‘cold blow’ that is often associated with heating mode ramp-up of heat pumps,” stated the manufacturer.

The unit makes filter maintenance simple with an easy-access filter door. The thumb screws on the filter door provide faster and easier access to the filter for the service technician.

A judge observed, “This is a very good product. It is quiet and provides good filtration.”

2009 Honorees: High-Efficiency Residential

Johnson Controls
York® Affinity™ 33-inch Modulating Gas Furnace

Daikin AC

Lennox Industries
Dave Lennox Signature Collection CBX40UHV Variable Speed Air Handler

Rheem Manufacturing
Rheem Prestige Series 18-SEER, R-410A

WaterFurnace International
Synergy3D Series

Publication date:07/13/2009