American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning’s AccuComfort™ Platinum 20 Variable Speed Heat Pump delivers precise and efficient comfort by running at the exact speed needed to maintain a home’s ideal temperature within a half degree of the selected comfort setting. Instead of cycling on and off at full capacity, the AccuComfort system runs at the lowest speed needed for the current weather conditions, helping homeowners save energy and money. These factors led the product to win the gold award in the 2015 Dealer Design Awards’ HVAC Residential Equipment category.
The heat pump’s all-aluminum Spine Fin™ coil make the unit extremely efficient at transferring heat and highly resistant to corrosion. The powder-painted louvers eliminate sharp edges and provide years of lasting protection. Additionally, the Durabase™ rustproof base pan is tried and tested in resistance against cracking, corrosion, rusting, and warping. Additionally, the heat pump has a specifically designed air vent that efficiently reduces operation noise to, as low as 54db.
“I am very familiar with this product line. It’s incredibly quiet. It’s a true customer favorite once it’s installed,” said a 2015 Dealer Design Awards contractor judge.
Six years of research went into the design of the AccuComfort Platinum 20 Heat Pump, according to Tim Storm, heat pump product manager, American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning, an Ingersoll Rand brand. “Prototypes were placed in the field in the earliest days of development, which served as a springboard for future field trial test sites that lasted the entire duration of the development cycle. This development program was the most extensive product testing in the history of American Standard with field trial systems installed throughout the U.S and Canada.”
Storm said AccuComfort Variable Speed systems were developed to deliver better indoor comfort for consumers who were currently purchasing two-stage systems. “With the ability to run at faster speeds during extreme winter temperatures, the heating output capacity is increased an additional 20-25 percent over the typical heat pump and is designed to maintain a 30°F temperature rise at all outdoor temperatures. This means warm 100° supply air is delivered with single-digit outdoor temperatures. Single- and two-stage heat pumps just cannot match the performance and comfort of an AccuComfort variable-speed heat pump, not even our own.”
Chris Hale, system designer, Michael Bonsby Heating & Air Conditioning, Gaithersburg, Maryland, said he recommends the product 100 percent of the time to heat pump customers.
“In this area, we have 50/50s — a lot of people have gas furnaces and a lot of people have heat pump systems where they’re always complaining about not enough heat and the high electricity bills during the winter months. So, not only are they getting minimal heat, they’re paying a lot for it. We’re so happy this technology is in the conventional market now because it has the ability to operate in very low outdoor temperatures and still provide great heat in performance and efficiency. They’re quiet and efficient.”
According to Storm, the real benefit of the heat pump is the comfort it provides year-round. “You wouldn’t want all of the lights in your home to come on just because you need light in the kitchen would you? That’s how single-stage heat pumps work. You get 100 percent capacity every single time the system comes on. With an AccuComfort variable-speed system, it only runs as fast as required to keep the home comfortable. The need for 100 percent speed or capacity is only required on the hottest and coldest days of the year, so it really makes no sense to run full speed and generate more noise and use more electricity when it’s not required.
“Consumers can now set their thermostats and let their HVAC systems vary speed in the same way they set the cruise control in their cars,” Storm continued. “The car’s engine will automatically speed up or slow down to maintain their desired speed in the same way an AccuComfort system will speed up or slow down to maintain their selected indoor temperatures and humidity set points. The addition of AccuLink zoning to an AccuComfort system allows the control of both airflow and system capacity to provide the ultimate in indoor temperature control, room to room and floor to floor.”
Designed to easily replace a conventional 40-gallon tank-type water heater for two-bath residences in warm-weather climates, the EZTR40 by Noritz America Corp. took home the silver award. The EZTR40 was built to incorporate the existing gas line, water lines, and B-vent from the original tank-type unit to significantly reduce installation time. It’s packaged with all the accessories needed for a successful installation as well as a QR code linked to a five-minute instructional video that can be easily accessed with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop on the job site. The unit weighs only 50 pounds, so a single tradesperson can handle the installation.
Other important features include temperature settings of 115°-140°F and 15,000-120,000 Btuh, with a maximum flow rate of 6.6 gallons per minute (gpm) at a 35° rise in water temperature.
The product launched in October 2014 after being in development for a year. “We did a ton of research within our seed group of contractors throughout the country,” said Jason Fleming, senior marketing and customer care manager, Noritz America. “There are grumblings about tankless being frustrating and difficult. A large portion of the traditional tank business exists because they are easy and efficient, so it was really important for us to figure out what was easy for them [contractors].” The EZTR40 vents with 2-inch, flexible polypropylene tubing that is threaded
directly through the existing B-Vent formerly used by the tank water heater it is replacing. In addition, water connections are located on the top of the EZTR40, not the bottom. This allows the flexible hot and cold water lines used by the tank-type water heater to be quickly and easily reconnected to the new EZTR40. This dramatically reduces installation time and avoids the material cost for new gas piping, resulting in a reduced installation cost to the homeowner.
The Green Vacuum won the bronze award for its new UL-listed, patented device for the periodic preventive maintenance of condensate drain lines on both refrigeration and central air conditioning systems. The Green Vacuum prevents the accumulation of sludge and biological matter in the drainage system by periodically evacuating it via a powerful integral vacuum, which is controlled by a programmable electronic timer. It’s powered by an internal battery, which is automatically recharged by an attached solar cell that is supplied as part of the kit. The Green Vacuum is completely self-contained and, therefore, requires no electrical outlet and no wiring. The device also incorporates a thermostatic switch that prevents it from actuating when the temperature is below 40ºF, as well as an optional P trap, which, if installed, is automatically re-primed after each evacuation cycle.
Alex Gonzalez, president and CEO, The Green Vacuum LLC, came up with the idea for the product because the drain line at his home was repeatedly clogging, requiring him to frequently call a contractor. “I asked him, ‘If he knew of anything in the market that could solve the problem, but he didn’t. I started looking online and really couldn’t find anything there either. So, I called my corporate attorney and asked if they could do a search to see if anything like this existed. There wasn’t anything like it available. And we got our patent in three months and 19 days.”
Research on The Green Vacuum began in 2011 with the first prototype created in 2012. The product launched in October 2014.
The Green Vacuum is designed to be installed at the end of the condensate drain line outside the building. The integral timer, which is preprogrammed to operate weekly, will automatically flush out any sludge or contaminants in the drainage system, substantially reducing the likelihood of clogged drain lines and reducing the risk of property damage. Intended primarily for use in residential and light commercial central air conditioning systems, it can easily be used for light commercial refrigeration systems, as well.
“The most important feature is, it gives homeowners a piece of mind,” Gonzalez said. “Every time a drain clogs, you have to call a contractor. This is like having one of those contractors come into your home every week.”
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WINNERS
American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning
AccuComfort Platinum 20 Heat Pump
Noritz America Corp.
EZTR40 Condensing Tankless Water Heater
The Green Vacuum LLC
The Green Vacuum
Publication date: 7/20/2015