“There’s an HVACR trend that’s pressuring contractors to make air conditioning installations look as good as it functions,” said Matt Wall, system air conditioning engineering and VRF technical trainer, Quietside-Texas. “Architects and engineers are realizing that the visual impact a completed project makes on building owners and prospective clients can greatly affect their future business. Air conditioning systems can’t just work well anymore, they have to look great, too.”
This aesthetics trend was the Quietside technical support staff’s impetus for showcasing not only Samsung’s DVM Plus III Series VRF equipment, but also accessories that create a professional appearance. With this in mind, Wall specified Aspen Pumps for condensate management, the PD-Series of lineset ducting, and Big Foot Systems equipment mounts for supporting the VRF — all of which are available from the new Engineered Products division of RectorSeal Corp., Houston.
Contractors attending any of Quietside’s 16 two-day VRF training seminars every year now get hands-on demonstrations of the training center’s working VRF equipment and the installation accessories. The two-day seminars cover everything from VRF basics and installation to wiring, commissioning, and accessories.
To provide trainees with an example and hands-on interaction with aesthetic installations, Quietside had Bell Mechanical of Baton Rouge, La., install one 10-ton heat recovery unit supplying nine evaporator coils; as well as two 8-ton heat recovery units and one 8-ton heat pump, which supply one evaporator coil each. The work was completed by the contractor’s Carrollton, Texas branch. The outdoor, ground-level equipment listed above supplies the 1,200-square-foot training center, warehouse, assembly area, and offices that were included in the expansion of the five-year-old, 52,000-square-foot building, one of four Quietside distribution facilities in the United States.
“VRF systems are really driving the trend of using all these accessories to make a project look professional,” said Mike Bell, president, Bell Mechanical.
Aesthetics from the Ground Up
According to Wall, quick and easily-assembled mounting supports are the aesthetic foundation for an aesthetic installation. The three DVM units are mounted on Big Foot Systems’ prefabricated 1.6-square-inch corrosion-resistant, hot-dipped galvanized tube modules supported by one-square-foot UV-protected, glass-filled nylon footings with anti-vibration mat bases. The VRF units are 18-inches off the ground for easier serviceability and protection against landscaping tools. The modular supports were assembled within minutes. Leveling the equipment requires only wrenching one or more of the four adjustable support legs.
“Lineset protection duct makes the most noticeable difference in installation aesthetics,” Wall said.
Each unit’s linesets are enclosed in their own gray 4.7-inch-diameter round PVC plastic ducts from RectorSeal’s PD-Series. The lineset ducts themselves are also supported every 10 feet by a series of piping support footings. Bell Mechanical used three elbows and two flanges on each of the three runs that total more than 60 linear feet.
“Protective ducts also help contractors maintain level piping throughout the run and avoid sagging or low spots that can lead to oil migration issues,” he said.
Bell noted that this type of duct protection can be useful in retrofit applications.
“Lineset protection ducts are invaluable for retrofit work, because generally there’s no opportunity to hide linesets under roofs and inside walls as exists with new construction projects,” he said Bell. “I use lineset protection ducts and condensate pumps regularly on ductless air conditioning.”
Inside the complex, Wall specified condensate pumps for nine evaporator coils and one mode change unit. The mini pumps are from Aspen Pumps’ Orange Series, Lime Series, and White Series to ensure proper condensate drainage and prevent property damage. “We occasionally see contractors just mount a mismatched or noisy condensate pump on the wall next to the evaporator coil,” said Wall, “Instead, the HVAC industry now offers a variety of small pumps aesthetically designed for concealing inside lineset ducting or elbow, or inside the evaporator drain pan.”
According to him, Quietside will soon have available an additional system for troubleshooting and training. The DVM S Series system, which features a dual inverter and vapor-injected scroll compressors, will be installed with Big Foot Systems mounts and Aspen pumps.
“VRF is one of the fastest growing segments of HVAC, as illustrated with Quietside’s double-digit sales increases annually,” said Wall. “If someone’s first VRF contact is an eyesore, they’re not likely to jump on the trend.”