In the HVAC industry, products are becoming more intelligent as manufacturers seek to maximize performance and provide instant diagnostics for technicians. With the proliferation of Internet-connected laptops, tablets, and smartphones, new products are tapping into these technologies to enable contractors, homeowners, and facility managers to remotely monitor and adjust their indoor environments.

This roundup of products, components, and software covers both residential and commercial offerings that use new technology to add intelligence, improve performance, and achieve high levels of energy efficiency.

Aprilaire recently introduced Home Comfort Control™, a comprehensive, two-part control system with an intuitive touch-screen user interface that connects to an equipment control module with standard 3-wire connection, eliminating the need for separate controls for humidifiers, dehumidifiers, ventilation, and temperature control systems. The system gives homeowners confirmation and complete control of humidity, air cleaning, ventilation, and temperature. The Home Comfort Control system is designed for easy installation and flexibility.

Comfort-Aire’s HEV Series geothermal heat pumps are built with a digital electronic controller that links the thermostat, fan motor, and compressor staging to provide diagnostic and operational data. The connection between a communicating thermostat and the controller streamlines setup and also provides the consumer with operating status, even alerting the consumer to a potential problem. If a communicating thermostat is not used, a separate diagnostic tool can access the data through a built-in port. The HEV is exceptionally quiet and efficient, and is available in 2- through 5-ton capacities.

Copeland Scroll
Copeland Scroll compressors with CoreSense™ Communications onboard stream real-time diagnostics information on the compressor’s operation to the system controller. By using the compressor as a sensor, valuable data from inside the system can be accessed and monitored by the controller, improving performance and reliability — even proactively shutting down the compressor to prevent a catastrophic failure. With the ability to stream data real-time to the system controller, end users have a higher level of control. Both motor and scroll temperature protection inside the compressor ensure its reliability.

Daikin McQuay
Daikin McQuay’s new MicroTech Integrated System for water-source heat pump applications provides smart controls for small to mid-sized buildings. According to the company, it offers high performance and plug-and-play installation. MicroTech is a complete system that integrates pumps, towers, boilers, and ventilation air with a water-source heat pump system. The key to the system is the MicroTech System Manager, a touch panel with an easy-to-use, web browser-based interface that can be accessed from any PC, tablet, or smartphone.

ecobee’s Home IQ provides ecobee customers with unique and personalized insights into their home’s heating and cooling performance, energy efficiency, and savings. With Home IQ, ecobee customers can see their monthly estimated energy savings, their monthly heating and cooling summaries, details on performance influencing factors such as the weather and average set point, HVAC runtime reports and more — right from their ecobee Web Portal.

The Frigidaire iQ Drive 24.5 SEER FS4BI air conditioner, 22 SEER FT4BI heat pump, and 19 SEER FT4BG heat pump deliver advanced cooling efficiency levels. This efficiency is achieved through the use of an inverter that varies the input frequency to the compressor and fan motors to control speed, and varies the voltage to control torque. The units rarely shut off — they are always fine-tuning speed to exactly offset demands on the home — and can modulate from 40-118 percent of capacity. Frigidaire iQ Drive split systems are available in 2, 3, and 4 tons, and the FT4BG is also available in 5 tons.

Fujitsu General America
Fujitsu General America Inc. introduced a new Halcyon split-system heat pump line with equipment that achieves up to 27.2 SEER, which is more than twice the DOE’s minimum efficiency standard. The Halcyon system saves money even when users forget. If occupants leave the room without turning it off, the Energy Saving Program (ESP) knows that they left and, 20 minutes later, temperature is increased by 4˚F when cooling and reduced by 8˚F when heating. When they return, the system returns to previous operating mode.

The ModSync Sequencing System from Fulton has been designed to maximize the performance of multiple boilers to meet heating or process load demands. ModSync monitors the system demand requirements and determines the most efficient boiler stage operating mode to meet those demands. A user-friendly touch-screen interface provides quick access to current system status information. Multiple configuration screens allow key system parameters to be easily located and updated. With an expandable platform, ModSync can be configured to control up to 75 boiler stages from one sequencing system.

The ComfortNet™ Communicating Control lets homeowners and light commercial managers set indoor temperatures and humidity, monitor energy use, and receive maintenance/service reminders for their HVAC systems through an Internet connection. The advanced ComfortNet control also greatly simplifies high-performance HVAC system setup. The ComfortNet control automatically configures the entire system, and perfects the installation for the most efficient setup.

Honeywell’s Prestige® IAQ 2.0 programmable thermostat allows consumers to integrate temperature, humidity, and ventilation to create a home ecosystem wirelessly through web and mobile apps with RedLINK™ technology. Delta T diagnostics alert a homeowner when the system is not operating as expected or when there is an issue prior to loss of heating or cooling. Prestige offers two assignable inputs for wired sensors, remote setback or dry contacts as well as creates pre-set or customized alerts such as “full drain pan” or “water leak” to notify customers of a potential problem.

Jackson Systems
The WEB Comfort™ Communicating Thermostat System by Jackson Systems enables multiple thermostats to be wirelessly networked throughout a building or home. The WEB Comfort system provides an easy-to-use, web-based dashboard for programming, monitoring, and control. Each WEB Comfort is enabled for Internet connectivity and can be accessed via a standard web browser. The system is compatible with most residential and commercial HVAC systems and is highly scalable to accomodate any size building. The WEB Comfort supports an unlimited number of schedules.

The new NeoTherm® LC condensing boiler from Laars Heating Systems is a fully packaged, 1 million Btu, space-saving hydronic solution that offers 94 percent thermal efficiency. NeoTherm LC is a direct vent, sealed combustion boiler that modulates with a 10 to 1 turndown. The NeoTherm LC includes Laars’ Integrated Control System with PID logic that governs ignition, outlet water temperature, indirect water heater functions, outdoor reset, stages up to four boilers with the standard control, and easily integrates with other controls for multiple boiler sequencing and building automation systems.

The Prodigy unit controller that is standard on every Lennox Energence® rooftop unit provides intelligent operation to ensure maximum reliability, efficiency, and comfort. The Prodigy Control System tracks the runtime of every major component, allowing for a detailed system performance evaluation as well as operational optimization. Service reports generated by the unit can be downloaded at any time to a USB flash drive, helping to provide service verification with an encrypted time and date stamp, unit serial number, alarm code log and critical runtime information. A self-test function helps technicians quickly identify maintenance requirements.

LG’s Multi F multizone split heat pump systems offer intelligent dual-, tri-, quad-zone VRF systems designed to deliver optimum performance and flexibility, with a variety of indoor unit options that can be customized based on structural design and application needs. The newest addition, Multi F Max, enables up to eight individual temperature zones and increases overall capacity by 50 percent, while simultaneously delivering increased efficiency ratings, decreased noise levels and improved piping capabilities.

The Nest Learning Thermostat remembers what temperatures homeowners like, creates a custom schedule for the home, and turns itself down when the residents are away. Once it’s learned the family schedule, Nest can save 20 percent on heating and cooling bills. If the homeowner wants remote control, he or she uses a smartphone, tablet, or computer. Nest System Match optimizes controls for the heating and cooling system, while the Nest Leaf acts as a guide to energy-efficient temperatures. The Energy History and Energy Report show how much energy is saved and provide tips to help the homeowner save even more.

Rinnai’s condensing water heating technology offers the lifestyle benefits of traditional tankless water heaters — continuous hot water and the ability to simultaneously run multiple hot water appliances — coupled with energy savings. For built-in reliability and longevity, Rinnai Ultra Series condensing tankless water heaters feature a down-fired ceramic burner that allows condensation to drain from the bottom of the heat exchanger. This process protects the primary heat exchanger and burner, as well as maintains top product performance over time. The unique condensing design maximizes heating value and earns an Energy Factor rating of up to .96.

The Taco Viridian wet-rotor pump with an ECM motor offers an 80 percent decrease in energy consumption compared to a standard commercial pump of the same size. With fully automated variable-speed operation, simple web-style controls, and capacities up to 375 gpm, the Viridian line meets a wide range of closed-loop heating and cooling applications. An Ethernet connection on the pump allows for remote control, monitoring and adjustment without requiring the involvement of advanced IT or commissioning personnel. Any Viridian pump can be instantly accessed via a laptop or standard Internet browser.

Titus HVAC
Titus HVAC’s new Alpha controller family integrates universally with all BACnet building management systems (BMS) regardless of manufacturer. The Alpha controller reduces the likelihood of failures due to the absence of multiple connected components. It was designed and manufactured in collaboration with KMC Controls and can be used in standalone and network applications. The Alpha controller saves time and money during installation by being pre-configured at the factory, and has the ability to be commissioned through the thermostat if necessary, eliminating software at the jobsite.

Trane’s Nexia Home Intelligence is a smart home automation system that leverages the advanced technologies of Trane and Schlage to make everything in the home speak one simple language. Nexia empowers homeowners to easily and remotely control the comfort and safety of their families and the efficiency of their homes. Nexia enables consumers to manage several household functions including door locks, heating and cooling, video surveillance, lights, shades, and energy usage via any web-enabled computer and most smartphones.

Unico’s ECM blower with the Smart Control Board (SCB) allows contractors to program custom airflow settings with a laptop that covers the fan circulation, two fan speeds for cooling and heating, and emergency heat. The SCB also comes with dip switches so the installer can manually choose from two factory airflow settings. The circuit board and the software program also allow the installer to measure airflow and there are accessory outputs for humidification and EAC. The SCB will operate electric heat, heat pump, hydro air chilled water/hot water, and DX cooling.

The Venstar ColorTouch Wi-Fi residential thermostat is a multifunctional, simple-to-use, programmable touch-screen thermostat. Its customizable backgrounds include users’ own photos and over a dozen pre-set themes. ColorTouch can be accessed, monitored and controlled remotely via Wi-Fi with Skyport Wi-Fi Key, which connects to the Skyport Cloud Services website. Using Venstar’s free mobile application (compatible with iPhone, iTouch, iPad, Android, Mac, and PC devices), users remotely monitor and control their home thermostats. Compatible with virtually every type of heating and air system, ColorTouch displays in three languages: English, French, or Spanish.

The WaterFurnace 7 Series variable-capacity geothermal heat pump represents advances in energy efficiency, communication technologies, and comfort. The 7 Series is rated at 41 EER and 5.3 COP. It utilizes InfiniSpeed technology, a variable-capacity compressor in concert with a variable-speed ECM blower, and variable-speed loop pump. The unit’s Aurora communicating control board continuously monitors and optimizes operation and integrates with IntelliZone2 — a zoning package capable of controlling a variable-capacity compressor. Symphony Home Energy Management provides temperature control and detailed real-time energy monitoring from any Internet-enabled device.

Right-Mobile Consultant™ (RMC) from Wrightsoft is a cloud-based HVAC business-building tool that enhances in-home selling with instant pricing and customized presentations. RMC greatly improves in-home presentations by involving homeowners in the proposal process. With RMC, company owners and managers can create and control pricing and automatically pass new pricing to their sales team. The software by Wrightsoft is accessed from a browser on most computing devices (desktop, laptop, iPad, and other tablets) with Internet access. With an iPad, RMC provides advanced capabilities, easily managed with a large touch screen.

Publication date: 12/10/2012