ON TOUR: Bob Brown, vice president of engineering, WaterFurnace Intl. Inc., speaks during the WaterFurnace Home Comfort Tour in Columbus, Ohio.
ON TOUR: Bob Brown, vice president of engineering, WaterFurnace Intl. Inc., speaks during the WaterFurnace Home Comfort Tour in Columbus, Ohio.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — WaterFurnace Intl. Inc. recently brought its Home Comfort Tour to Columbus, Ohio, to unveil two new products: a 5 Series hydronic geothermal heat pump that features vapor injection technology and the Symphony Home Comfort System.

The company’s patent pending OptiHeat vapor injection technology is at the heart of the new 504W11 geothermal heat pump. The system uses a Copeland scroll compressor with a third port for EVI (economized vapor injection) that incorporates a small third heat exchanger and electronic expansion valve to exchange heat with the liquid line and reinject it back into the scroll set of the compressor. This allows leaving load water temperatures of up to 150?F and more efficient operation in a wider operating range.

Bob Brown, vice president of engineering, explained to the audience that vapor injection improves compressor performance, primarily at higher compression levels.

“We can make hotter water at lower evaporating temperatures,” Brown said. “We can achieve hot water temperatures once reserved to R-134a units but now with the performance and economy of R-410A.”

The 504W11 is a single-phase unit available in 3-, 4-, and 5-ton capacities. According to WaterFurnace, the 504W11 offers efficiencies up to 16.1 EER and a 3.3 COP, making it well-suited for high-temperature applications such as baseboard radiator systems, underfloor radiant applications, overfloor radiant applications, and fan coils. The units can operate in heating-only or heating-cooling modes.

The benefits of OptiHeat vapor injection apply primarily to the water-to-water product because they occur at compression ratios (head pressure divided by suction pressure) of greater than two, added Brown. “A 300-psi head pressure and 150-psi suction pressure gives to a compression ratio of approximately two,” he said. “Whenever that ratio is greater than two, vapor injection is going to provide a benefit. For instance, at 32? entering source water temperature and a load water temperature of 120?, the compression ratio is nearly four, and vapor injection will really have a positive effect on system performance.”

WaterFurnace also introduced Symphony, a Web-enabled home comfort platform designed for the company’s 3, 5, and 7 Series geothermal heat pump systems. It provides detailed system feedback in real time and the tools to control a system from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Symphony combines the Aurora controls of a WaterFurnace geothermal system with a proprietary Aurora WebLink (AWL) router, giving users access to unit sensors, energy use, and system information from practically anywhere. The cloud-based system requires no software and its dashboard provides access to system settings, operational status and history, alert history, energy usage, zone temperatures, and local weather.

A communicating thermostat allows homeowners to change temperature, set a schedule, monitor vacation mode, and more on their smartphones or tablets through an app. Homeowners who have WaterFurnace’s IntelliZone2 zoning system can remotely control temperatures and programs in up to six zones. The platform also allows homeowners to track their system’s actual energy use over the prior 13 months, including detail on equipment staging, heating time, cooling time, and fan use.

“Unlike many smart thermostats or whole-home energy usage portals, Symphony integrates the AWL router directly into the heat pump’s control board, providing access to components, sensors, and a greater level of information and control,” Brown said. “It was developed in-house and specifically engineered to control our geothermal systems, and it is not reliant on a third party for additional development or changes.”

Brown added that the company placed a high priority on the technician portal. Symphony can provide equipment alerts and service reminders via email, text message, and in-app notifications to not only the homeowner but also dealers/contractors. A service technician can log into a homeowner’s system to view faults, operating conditions, and sensor readings without having to visit the home.

Technicians can also access detailed data over the Web on any unit equipped with an Aurora WebLink device. The technician portal features several “technician-only” features not available to homeowners, including an AID Tool, troubleshooting form, and historical data. The historical data tool completes a system snapshot of 100-plus parameters of data every 10 seconds, and a technician can search for fault events and review detailed performance graphs to more easily diagnose issues. WaterFurnace’s virtual AID Tool provides dealers online access to the same capabilities, interfaces, and menus they’re used to in the company’s physical AID Tool. System notes can also be stored including unlimited project and equipment details along with any service notes and history.

For more information about WaterFurnace Intl. Inc., visit www.waterfurnace.com.

Publication date: 6/22/2015

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