High efficiency is a high priority on everyone’s list, especially homeowners, who can save a lot of energy with high-efficiency HVAC equipment. The winners ofThe NEWS’ninth annual Dealer Design Awards in the HVAC High-Efficiency Residential Equipment category placed high on the judges’ list for ease of installation and service and maintenance, too. The Trilogy™ 40 Q-Mode by ClimateMaster won the gold, the Fujitsu General America Inc. Halcyon System 9RLS2 wall-mounted ductless mini-split heat pump took the silver, and the Carrier Infinity® 98 Fully Modulating Gas Furnace 59MN7 Infinity® 98 Furnace with Greenspeed™ Intelligence earned the bronze.

Gold Winner

The ClimateMaster Trilogy™ 40 Q-Mode water-to-air packaged geothermal heat pump is the first geothermal heat pump certified by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) to exceed 40 EER. It is driven by a variable-speed compressor, fan, and pump (the Trilogy). The system provides advanced monitoring and diagnostics. The communicating control reads 15 sensors across the unit to display operation, faults, and possible causes in plain English on the thermostat. Trilogy is available in two models, with the capacity range of the first model between 9,000-30,000 and the second model between 18,000-60,000 Btuh. The Trilogy 40 utilizes variable-speed technology matched with communicating controls and a microchannel air coil to deliver efficiency.

If a fault occurs, the homeowner will first see a “service needed” alert on the thermostat, along with dealer name/phone number, fault condition, and possible causes. The homeowners can relay this information to their dealer by phone, thus avoiding a costly service call in some cases. If the issue requires the dealer’s attention, the dealer can put the thermostat in Installer Mode in order to obtain the fault description and possible causes. Next, read the conditions at the time of the fault across all aspects of the unit (water circuit, refrigerant circuit, and air circuit) to determine the cause. Then manually operate the unit, from the thermostat, to isolate the issue. The system electronically measures, calculates, and displays a variety of data, including superheat, subcool compressor speed, electronic expansion valve operation, entering/leaving water temperature, internal pump speed, airflow cfm and blower rpm, internal pump speed, and entering/leaving hot water.

The Trilogy 40 Q-Mode has two-way communicating controls, which allow for communication between smart components/sensors with the board. For installing and servicing contractors, this means unprecedented ease of setup and troubleshooting in plain English on the thermostat and four-wire connection with the thermostat, said the manufacturer. According to the company, it hardly needs any configuration at start-up, and it easily tells the homeowner or contractor if something is wrong. It offers comprehensive setup and diagnostics via system thermostat and service. Installers can now directly connect the source loop to the unit, which decreases the labor involved with installing a bulky external pumping module.

A swing-out control box and internal layout allow nearly all servicing from the front access panel. For items requiring access from other sides, three more panels give a dealer full access to any component in the unit. The low voltage panel can even be quickly pulled off the hinges and removed. The majority of the unit troubleshooting can be done right at the thermostat, keeping the technician out of tight spaces.

One judge remarked that the heat pump is “very impressive,” while another judge commented, “This piece of equipment does seem to be a revolutionary product.”

Silver Winner

The Halcyon System 9RLS2 wall-mounted ductless mini-split heat pump by Fujitsu General America Inc. offers 27.2 SEER. The System 9RLS2 includes a new Energy Saving Program (ESP) and provides heating when outdoor temperatures are as low as -5˚F. It operates at as low as 21 dB. Heating capacity at low outdoor temperatures was improved by adopting a large heat exchanger and a high-capacity compressor. Rated heating capacity is maintained up to 20˚F. If someone leaves the room without turning the unit off, the ESP knows that person left and 20 minutes later, the set temperature is increased by 4˚F when cooling and reduced by 8˚F when heating. When someone comes back to the room, it returns to the previous operating mode. This prevents wasteful operation and saves energy without anyone having to think about it. The weekly timer can be easily set by wireless remote controller. On and off can be set up to four times in one day and up to 28 times in one week. For other modes, the program timer and sleep timer can also be selected by pushing a single button.

Halcyon mini-split systems do not require the ductwork necessary with central air systems, greatly reducing installation labor time, said the company. Designed with a line set that reaches up to 49 feet, Fujitsu’s 9RLS2 system allows flexibility in equipment placement and system design. The sleek profile makes it possible for the evaporator to be mounted over windows or doors. In addition, the unit has a reversible drain line, giving the contractor a range of piping options. The unit’s wiring, piping, and drain line can be fitted into the same 3-inch hole or can exit from different holes.

The washable filters are easily removed for servicing. An LED display automatically indicates when to clean the filters, making full system maintenance simpler for the contractor. The unit’s drain pan is removable by unfastening just five screws and can be washed using a mild detergent and water. The indoor evaporator is located in a climate-controlled space, so servicing it is easy. Through the removal of two screws, the unit’s internal components are accessed easily. The electrical box is removed with just three screws and efficiently serviced on the ground. Each Fujitsu unit comes with the added service of the tech support hotline, so contractors always have someone to provide any additional assistance required.

The judges for this category also noted that the Halcyon system is a “nice-looking product.”

Bronze Winner

The Carrier® Infinity® 98 modulating gas furnace with Greenspeed™ Intelligence offers a superior heating solution for consumers, said the company. The Infinity 98 line includes furnaces in a range of sizes including 60- to 120-MBtuh capacities, and 17.5-, 21-, and 24.5-inch widths. In the 60-MBtuh, 5-ton size, the Infinity 98 (Model 59MN7A060V21-20) has an AFUE of 98.5 percent. When paired with the Infinity control, Greenspeed Intelligence adjusts the Infinity 98 furnace’s modulating gas valve output from 40 percent to 100 percent of capacity in 1 percentage point increments for precise comfort.

The furnace operates efficiently at quieter, lower speeds due in part to the variable-speed ECM blower and inducer motors.

The Carrier Infinity 98 gas furnace includes a number of features created specifically to make the contractor’s job easier: The gas furnace includes a 360-degree rotating vent elbow to allow for every venting need, so every single model works in any application — upflow, horizontal (left and right), and downflow. This means fewer SKUs to keep track of and faster installations.

In addition, the furnace maintains its listed efficiency in every position. The condensate trap on the Infinity 98 furnace only needs a 1.5-inch clearance, making it easy for contractors to adjust for any application. The blower assembly of the Infinity 98 furnace glides out of the furnace cabinet much like a file drawer. A lengthened wire harness allows technicians to examine the furnace without dismantling it. The furnace can be installed as a two-pipe (direct vent) furnace or as an optional ventilated combustion air application. This provides added flexibility to meet diverse installation needs.

“This product seems to have all the features that a consumer would want or need in a top-of-the-line piece of equipment. I would call it evolutionary rather than revolutionary,” said one judge. Another judge summed up this bronze winner by saying it “looks like a winner.”

Sidebar: 2012 Honorees — HVAC High-Efficiency Residential Equipment

Gold Winner
Manufacturer: ClimateMaster Inc.
Product: Trilogy™ 40 Q-Mode — QE*0930, QE*1860

Silver Winner
Manufacturer: Fujitsu General America Inc., HVAC Div.
Product: Halcyon System 9RLS2

Bronze Winner
Manufacturer: Carrier Corp.
Product: Infinity® 98 Fully Modulating Gas Furnace, 59MN7 Infinity® 98 Furnace with Greenspeed™ Intelligence

Honorable Mention
Manufacturer: Enertech Global LLC
Product: Hydron Module Revolution Outdoor Split Series HRT

Publication date: 7/9/2012