CHICAGO — Rheem Mfg. Co. had an energizing experience under the bright lights of the AHR Expo as its entire portfolio of brands exhibited in one space for the first time.

“We brought together teams from Rheem, Ruud, Raypak, Eemax, and the Heat Transfer Products Group (HTPG),” said Lindsey Ford, manager, communications and events, Rheem. “With our Rheem High Efficiency Air + Water Road Show trailer serving as a backdrop, we were thrilled to show off new, energy-efficient products from our comprehensive line up of heating, cooling, and water heating products.”

During the expo, Rheem introduced its new Ultra Low NOx Gas Furnace, the first residential gas-fired furnace certified by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for Rule 1111. SCAQMD created the California mandate to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) in natural gas-fired, fan-type central furnaces from 40 nanograms per joule to 14 nanograms per joule. The furnace meets the expected reduction and will decrease NOx emissions by 65 percent from the current standard.

“There’s a premix burner that is the key to reducing NOx emissions,” said Erich Bauman, business development manager, Rheem Air Conditioning Division. “It brings in the right amount of combustion and the right amount of gas and premixes it before the ignition process. That reaction of everything is what gives us the low NOx rating. It’s similar technology to what we use on our water heaters, and it helps with meeting that 1111 rule in California.”

In addition to the low NOx emissions, the unit also features PlusOne™ Diagnostics: 7-Segment LED for fast, accurate diagnostics; PlusOne™ Ignition System: DSI for durability and years of worry-free operation; a removable heat exchanger; a Constant Torque electrically commutated motor (ECM); three-Phase induced draft blower motor; and more.

The Ultra Low NOx Gas Furnace will be released before the proposed Rule 1111 compliance date.

“We see this as more of a regional product currently,” added Bauman. “But California is usually the precursor for things to happen. So we anticipate the market for this product expanding in the future.”

Eemax Inc., the tankless water division of Rheem, showcased several products, including the LavAdvantage™, a modern line of thermostatic electric tankless units that heat water at its point-of-use with a 0.2 gpm turn on flow; the Eemax AutoBooster™, a water heater tank booster that is easy to install and increases deliverable hot water up to 45 percent; and the SafeAdvantage™, high performance electric tankless water heaters that employ Parabolic Heat Design (PhD) technology to deliver tepid water for safety applications.

“LavAdvantage is brand new, it was just released in December with a rating 0.2 gpm turnout across the entire product family,” said Tracy Smith, senior technical support specialist and technical trainer, Eemax. “That’s significant because we’re seeing .35 aerators hitting the marketplace, and we’ve found that the extra cushion in there of turn on is reducing callback and making the unit much easier to install. We’ve put the water connections on the side, bottom, and top. This is great for our distributors because now they have fewer SKUs they have to inventory to meet all the installation applications you might run into. It features silent operation, onboard diagnostics, and user adjusted temperature all in one small, compact box with a 1.8 kW all the way up to 11.5 kW — that’s a lot of power.”

Heading into 2018, Rheem has made an investment in its commercial platforms across the entire enterprise, according to Ford.

“We focused on response to market demand for high-efficiency products that are easy to install and service, feature smart technology, and offer flexible configurations for various applications,” she said. “The launch of the new Rheem Renaissance™ Line demonstrates our commitment to deliver new Commercial HVAC products equipped with innovative technologies that exceed the new DOE [U.S. Department of Energy] requirements. Our Rheem Renaissance rooftop units deliver a footprint and connection configuration that simplifies the replacement process.”

Rheem has retooled its plant in Fort Smith, Arkansas, to manufacture the units, according to Steve Hawkins, business development manager, Rheem Air Conditioning Division.

“It’s made really in automated fashion — much different than our old manufacturing process,” Hawkins said. “We’re able to speed up our takt time through the line, and we’re kicking them out a little quicker. As far as efficiency goes, these units meet the ASHRAE 12.2 standard that’s required now. And they’re designed to meet the DOE standard coming in three years, so we’re ahead of the bar. Also, they feature a common footprint to many of the other manufacturers, so you don’t need a curb adapter, which simplifies things from an installation standpoint.”

The Renaissance line also features easy access to all major compartments from the front of the unit; variable frequency drive (VFD) for optimizing energy usage year-round by providing lower speed for first stage cooling operation and improving IEER’s over the conventional constant fan system; Rheem PlusOne® ServiceSmart package, which includes the Qwik-Change Flex-Fit Rack, Qwik-Slide Blower Assembly, and Qwik-Clean Drain Pan; the Rheem PlusOne® Diagnostics with Dual 7-Segment LED Display; and more.

Lastly, HTPG featured its QV-Series Condensing Units. These models incorporate features from the award-winning Quantum Air™ Condensers, such as a floating coil design, swept-wing fan blades, LED lighted control panel, and hinged venturi panels. Models are optimized for high-glide refrigerants and available in single-, parallel-, or dual- compressor configurations with or without flooded head pressure control. The rugged QV-Series units are designed for refrigerated warehouses, industrial, and pharmaceutical cooling applications.

After an exciting start to the year, Rheem plans to continue making investments in contractor training in 2018, Ford noted.

“The company opened four Innovation Learning Centers across the U.S. and Canada this year, with a fifth slated to open in Oxnard, California, in Q1 2018,” she said. “Each center has interactive classrooms, virtual reality labs, live demonstration spaces, and product showrooms. The Rheem online learning tools have also been revamped, making it easier for business partners to access classes and material. In this competitive environment, our partners need first-class support. We are dedicated to giving them the tools they need to sell and service customers, and ... to grow and innovate their businesses.”  

Publication date: 2/26/2018