No matter the season, homes require HVAC equipment. In the summer, it’s air conditioning. In the winter, it’s heat. Not to mention the varying needs throughout all seasons for hot water, ventilation, humidity control, and more. Overall, it’s a combination of heating and cooling equipment that makes each dwelling comfortable and livable. And it is the contractors of this industry who do what they can to make homes comfortable and livable. Their jobs are made simpler with innovations in equipment from manufacturers looking to ease installation, service, and maintenance.

In honor of these inventions, The NEWS is honoring three manufacturers in the ninth annual Dealer Design Awards’ HVAC Residential Equipment category. Rheem brought home the gold with its XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater. The silver went to Nordyne for its B6EMMX air handler with the Anteater MC™. Bronze was awarded to Enertech Global LLC for its TETCO ES4 Series, a vertical packaged, multi-positional geothermal heat pump.

Gold Winner

The 29-gallon capacity Rheem XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater can deliver hot water quickly and efficiently. This product provides domestic hot water primarily for residential locations and has a first hour rating of 90 gallons. According to the company, the product facilitates a nearly seamless installation process for the contractor. Prior to installing the Rheem XR90, contractors just need to know how tall the existing water heater is before replacing it with the XR90; all the other connections remain standard. Although the XR90 has a higher input rate of 60,000 Btuh versus a standard 50-gallon gas model with 40,000 Btuh, there are no gas line upgrades required. Rheem includes both hot and cold connections on the top of the unit. The unit vents with double-wall B vent, which is often the venting that is already in place in the home. The light unit with the 17.75-inch footprint makes one-man installation feasible for a contractor.

From a servicing perspective, the Rheem XR90 features an integrated, self-diagnostic Honeywell® gas valve, which monitors the water heater’s operations. The valve uses an LED readout to identify problems and facilitate troubleshooting and servicing. Eight flash codes are programmed into the valve — some are functional and others are for service work.

The 29-gallon XR90 has a proprietary baffle and flue design, which retains the burner’s heat longer, making it able to transfer more heat to the stored water. The byproducts of the combustion process are then drawn through the flue with a 110-vac fan-assisted draft inducer, powered by standard household current. The inducer is designed to work with a standard 3- or 4-inch double-wall B vent. The proprietary baffle and flue design, coupled with the draft inducing design, helps the unit achieve an Energy Factor (EF) of .70.

Silver Winner

The B6EMMX air handler by Nordyne combats formicary corrosion with an all-aluminum microchannel coil, according to the company. Microchannel coils are constructed of aluminum extruded tubes that are brazed to enhanced aluminum fins. The company calls this coil the Anteater MC™ because formicary corrosion resembles an ant’s tunnel. The coil was extensively tested for proper water management prior to release. Benefits of the aluminum coil include the following: elimination of formicary corrosion as well as galvanic corrosion; lighter weight; same size as traditional tube-in-fin coils; and easier handling and servicing. In addition to the Anteater MC coil, the B6EMMX air handler includes an ECM fixed-speed motor with 16 field-selectable cooling airflows and 16 heating airflows, a factory-installed TXV, and a full 1 inch of cabinet insulation.

The B6EMMX air handler can be used in residential applications with 13- and 14-SEER split system air conditioners and heat pumps. The multi-poised design means it can be used in horizontal, upflow, downflow, and vertical applications.

When it comes to installation and service, there are no fasteners on the sides or back. Plug-in wire connections and built-in filter rack make the air handler easier to service. Additionally, the breaker is accessible from the front of the unit when the heater is applied. The factory-installed TXV provides precise refrigerant control under varying load conditions. The microchannel coil is also lighter and requires less refrigerant, making handling and servicing easier. Because of its resistance to formicary corrosion, the need to repair leaks is often greatly reduced.

Bronze Winner

The TETCO ES4 Series from Enertech Global LLC is a vertical packaged, multi-positional geothermal heat pump. The ES4 Series can be field convertible to either left hand or right hand return air, as well as upflow or downflow supply air. The unit features high-efficiency forced-air heating and cooling with hot water assist. It is primarily designed for residential applications and some light commercial applications and is able to be used in both new construction and retrofit installations.

The vertical multi-positional cabinet can be converted to any application without having to order a specific airflow pattern. The control box is top-mounted so that all high and low voltage connections are made at eye-level. The all-digital controls feature individual LED fault light for reference in case of service. The standard variable-speed ECM blower motor matches itself to any ductwork without having to reprogram the motor. All components are located in easy-to-reach areas should service and replacement become necessary.

According to the company, the ES4 Series was the first geothermal heating and cooling system to ship standard with an all-aluminum microchannel air coil. According to the company, the microchannel coil is not susceptible to formicary corrosion, which is often considered a primary cause of air coil failure.

Sidebar: 2012 Honorees — HVAC Residential Equipment

Gold Winner
Manufacturer: Rheem
Product: XR90 Extreme Recovery Gas Water Heater

Silver Winner
Manufacturer: Nordyne
Product: B6EMMX Air Handler with Anteater MC™

Bronze Winner
Manufacturer: Enertech Global LLC
Product: TETCO ES4 Series

Publication date: 7/9/2012