Part of the formula for indoor comfort is to monitor and adjust IAQ. Using filters, UV lights, germicides, and a host of other products, HVACR contractors wage war on indoor pollution. This year’s winners ofThe NEWS’ ninth annual Dealer Design Awards’ Indoor Air Quality category provide more tools for contractors to defeat poor air quality and indoor discomfort.

Taking the gold, Aprilaire introduced the Model 4897 replacement filter kit that locks the big-box store out of the filter replacement equation. General Tools & Instrument’s HT50 is the silver winner. The product not only gathers information on humidity and other IAQ factors, but it also has an integral IR thermometer for spot-checking surface temperatures. The bronze winner is Field Controls LLC’s Flex Filter®. According to the company, it’s an ultra compact, easy-to-assemble media air cleaner that borders on a universal replacement.

Gold Winner

The Aprilaire Model 4897 consists of a set of base rails and support frames that, when assembled, can be fit into most existing (16 x 25 and 20 x 25) media filters. The assembled frame will then accept only patented Aprilaire replacement media. This media is only available through the HVAC channel and is not sold through retail outlets. According to the company, it helps solve the problem of customers purchasing their own replacement filters from hardware stores or home improvement centers. The product is generally applied in existing residential media air cleaners. It is adjustable and will fit in most 6- and 4-inch media air cleaners that have the standard 16 x 25 or 20 x 25 configuration. Aprilaire replacement filter media that fit on the Model 4897 are available in either MERV 11 or MERV 13 efficiencies.

One kit will upgrade the majority of the existing media air cleaners that contractors are likely to encounter. The metal frame simply snaps together, is adjusted to size with wing nuts, and is easily secured with a few sheet metal screws. The process takes only a few minutes and once in place, the contractor only needs to slide the patented Aprilaire media on the rails and the upgrade is complete. Contractors benefit by recapturing the replacement media revenue.

“This is a definite inventory saver for the contractor,” said one of the contractor panelist judges. “Depending on the price, it could be a useful option on the service vehicles.”

Silver Winner

The HT50 USB Humidity/Temperature Data Logger from General Tools & Instruments is a pocket-sized instrument with an integral IR thermometer for spot-
checking surface temperatures. It can be deployed on a job site or in key areas of a facility and left unattended for days, weeks, or months. The temperature and humidity readings it makes and collects can be uploaded to a PC and viewed in Excel or Word, making it easy to spot trends and unexpected excursions. The HT50 comes with a user’s manual, battery, Windows-compatible CurveViewer software and drivers, and a one-year warranty. The product can be used in a variety of applications relevant to HVACR, including food storage facilities, office buildings, greenhouses, coolers, freezers, museums, laboratories, shipping containers, warehouses, environmental monitoring, and in other sensitive environments.

Users can select immediate, delayed, or push-to-start logging, depending on their needs. The internal storage holds up to 8,000 pairs of readings.

“This product seems that it would be quite advantageous,” summed up a contractor judge. “It has features that really do differentiate it.”

Bronze Winner

The patent-pending FlexFilter™ from Field Controls LLC is an ultra compact, easy-to-assemble media air cleaner that replaces at least 25 of the most popular models, according to the company. Its primary function is to filter the air in the home properly and efficiently.

Made of heavy-duty kraft board construction with radial pleat design, the filter material is electrostatically enhanced, 100 percent synthetic media that is moisture and bacteria resistant. It features a MERV 11 media and heavy-duty button that snap into place quickly and easily.

“This is a unique and useful product,” said a contractor judge. “Pricing will be a determining factor.”

To help contractors select the correct model, Field Controls supplies a color-coded quick selection guide to make it easier to find the replacement.

Sidebar: 2012 Honorees — Indoor Air Quality

Gold Winner
Manufacturer: Aprilaire — Research Products Corp.
Product: Aprilaire Upgrade Kit for Media Air Cleaners Model 4897

Silver Winner
Manufacturer: General Tools & Instruments
Product: USB Humidity/Temperature Data Logger with LCD Display HT50

Bronze Winner
Manufacturer: Field Controls LLC
Product: FlexFilter™

Honorable Mention
Manufacturer: Broan-NuTone LLC
Product: Broan® Universal Make-Up Air Dampers

Publication date: 7/9/2012