The ESP-400 is a solid-state, static pressure module used in forced-air zone control applications to maintain the system static pressure without the need for a conventional bypass damper. This Jackson Systems LLC product has earned gold in the Residential Controls category of The NEWS’ 2017 Dealer Design Awards.

The module can be used with most conventional zone control panels that use 3-wire floating point damper actuators.

The ESP-400 can control up to four individual zones. As zone dampers open and close, the ESP-400 monitors the static pressure. If the static pressure goes above the set point, the module will send a signal to all non-calling zone dampers to start to open to a point where the static pressure set point is not exceeded. The small amount of air allowed to bleed into non-calling zones eliminates air noise and assures proper airflow through the HVAC system. This also prevents coil freeze-up and high temperature issues normally associated with conventional bypass methods.

“Space is a great feature of the ESP-400,” said Travis Lucas, owner of LCS Heating and Cooling LLC in Indianapolis. “There are no bypass damper requirements, which is really nice. It tells you if you have ductwork issues on existing ductwork and makes the equipment quieter.”

Six months of development went into the research and design of the product, as Ron Jackson, president, Jackson Systems, said, it was the next innovation for the company after the barometric zone damper (BZD), which took a year to develop.

“The product came to fruition through the company’s in-depth knowledge of forced-air zoning systems,” said Ron Jackson. “Jackson Systems saw the need to develop a product that would replace the traditional bypass dampers, which, in many applications, are difficult, if not impossible, to install due to duct layout and space limitations.”

Tom Jackson, the company’s CEO, said both contractor demand and company innovation were key factors in the development of the product.

“As a zone control manufacturer, our customer service engineers receive the most calls about setting up and troubleshooting barometric bypass dampers,” Tom Jackson said. “Because of the frustration contractors have with bypass dampers, we were focused on how we could eliminate them. During development, we received a significant amount of feedback from contractors, and we wanted to make sure it met their needs.”

The ESP-400 printed circuit board is mounted in a low-profile aluminum enclosure having a snap-on cover that requires no fasteners. It also works with most manufacturers’ zoning panels, so it has universal compatibility.

“This is a product that offers a great solution for bypass ducts,” said one of the judges in this category.

Jackson Systems is getting ready to launch a line of zone panels that have the ESP function built-in, and Tom Jackson believes this will bring down costs and make installation even simpler.


Taking home silver honors in the Residential Controls category is the FAST-STAT Common Maker from Nordic Technology Ltd.

This two-part kit allows a Wi-Fi thermostat to operate on a minimum of two-wire thermostat cable and also allows for easy connection to any type of heating and/or cooling system.

“At the thermostat, there is a sender that provides R, W, and C connections so that the thermostat has a 24-V power source,” said Ken Wiklund, president, Nordic Technology Ltd. “The other functions (if any), such as G and Y, are connected in the usual way using the other wires in the cable.”

Wiklund highlighted how the widespread use of Wi-Fi thermostats drove the development of the FAST-STAT Common Maker.

“Since Wi-Fi thermostats use more power than standard thermostats, most manufacturers require a C or common wire at the thermostat,” he said. “When there is common wire, the thermostat is provided with a 24-V power supply and can function. There are some Wi-Fi thermostat designs that use ‘power stealing’ technology to avoid the need for a common wire, but this approach often creates new problems, such as false triggering of the heating and/or cooling equipment. Providing a common wire for power-stealing-type thermostats fixes any compatibility problems. Contractors needed a way to add the common wire without installing a new thermostat cable, and that’s the solution that the FAST-STAT Common Maker provides.”

One DDA judge said, “This is a great product for those applications where there are not many other cost-effective alternatives.”


The Climate Control Zoning System II from Uponor Inc., which was introduced in January, earned the bronze distinction. This zoning system features autobalancing technology that calculates the actual energy need of single rooms and adapts the heat output of each loop by controlling the actuator’s on and off cycle.

Jeff Wiedemann, product manager, controls, residential radiant heating and cooling, Uponor, provided the following example: “A short loop might get 20 percent ‘on’ time while a long loop receives 60 percent ‘on’ time. This technology allows the system to react to temperature changes faster and offers greater energy savings in the process.”

The complete CCZS II offering consists of a base unit, an expansion module, and digital or dial thermostats. A single base unit in the system can support up to six thermostats and eight actuators. Adding an expansion module will increase the number of thermostats and actuators the system can handle to 12 and 14, respectively.

Wiedemann said one of the biggest benefits of this product is that it gives industry professionals the ability to speed up and simplify the installation.

“It offers greater flexibility because when a contractor installs the CCZS II in an existing radiant heating system that was not zoned correctly (too few zones or they were installed in the wrong location), the wireless system can still operate efficiently.”

Uponor plans to continue to expand the product line in the future, with Wiedemann saying contractors (and homeowners) can look forward to a cooling function, wireless relays, and remote access.   

Publication date: 7/24/2016

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