ATLANTA — Exhibitors at the AHR Expo use a variety of enticements and tchotchkes to attract and keep attention, but the GE Appliances/Haier booth might have shown the most insight with what it decided to offer: a competition. The company brought its Haier ductless Easy Install Competition to the expo floor to support its belief that “installation is everything” for its contractor customers.

The competition highlighted the new easy install features that will roll out in the fourth quarter of 2019 on Next GEN Arctic models, including an extended support clip that adds much needed space when installing lines and a pre-measured mounting bracket to reduce the time needed to mount the unit on the wall. The unit also features a new degree of bottom access for easier repairs and maintenance.

Read more about
AHR Expo 2019
in the Feb. 18 issue

Contractors who decided to try their hand at it had to connect the condensate tube, both copper lines, and the electrical wires. Once that was completed, the contestant pressed a yellow test button to perform a vacuum check. If the install passed the vacuum check, the time was recorded. The fastest installer won a Haier mini split a/c system.

When all was said and done, David Quezada from ACCO Engineered Systems sat atop the booth’s scoreboard with a winning time of 2:28. The rest of what turned out to be a very tight top five included Dhanram Nohar from Engineering and Construction (2:32), Todd Effel from Cregger Company (2:40), Tamer Laker from American Comfort (2:41), and Scotty Campbell from Wallace-Dunn (2:43).

Haier sees 2019 as the year for a big push in the U.S. market, and it is working to strengthen its connection with contractors well past a fun contest at a convention.

One product of this commitment is the new Haier Ductless Help app for after-hours support. And in related news, the company reported it “has more than doubled” its support staff at all of its call centers.

In addition, contractors can now visit an increased total of four training centers in the U.S. They are located in Chicago/Peru, Illinois; Wayne, New Jersey; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Dallas.

“We know that a great ductless ownership experience begins with a successful installation,” said Brian Buente, executive director retail and ductless a/c for GE Appliances.

“Our training centers focus on installation and troubleshooting best practices, and help solve common errors found in the field, to ensure contractors feel confident installing and servicing our products.”

Contractors aren’t the only ones with a new app to use. GE Appliances has released an all-new Comfort app for Haier ductless units. One way the company describes the new app is that it acts more like what customers would expect from a smart thermostat.

Three areas where the app is designed to excel are geolocation, weather app integration, and reporting. With geolocation, the app can use the phone location to determine if owners are away from home, and it will automatically adjust the temperature and modes settings accordingly.

The idea is that the app can save money and energy even if the user has forgotten to adjust settings before leaving the house. Company representatives confirmed that this feature can be turned off as desired.

With weather app integration, the app can use push notifications to notify owners about significant weather shifts that might affect usage choices.

Reporting is upgraded to monitor and report on even daily energy consumption, along with translating that to spending and savings info for the homeowner.

Cold Expansion technology, coming on next-gen Arctic units later this year, removes dirt from the surface of the evaporator by rapidly freezing and heating, while the aluminum foil contains nano silver ion anti-bacterial agents that inhibit bacterial growth.GE Appliances/Haier also made a broader case for its PTAC units in Atlanta. In particular, the manufacturer is touting outside air capabilities for some models while also offering a unit designed to be capable but more affordable.

The upper-end line is called Zoneline.

“Hotel owners across America love a PTAC system with makeup air for new builds, but the incremental energy costs can be tremendous,” said Brigitte Mader-Urschel, commercial director for GE Zoneline.

“We worked closely with hospitality industry engineers and architects to find a better solution. The Makeup Air Module on GE Zoneline’s PTACs saves owners money on building costs up front and for the lifetime of the property.”

Mader-Urschel says this feature can save up to 50 percent on makeup air energy, and the equipment can be managed via the web or a phone.

The company has also introduced its Hotpoint brand models to serve the value segment of the market.

These units come with electric heat or heat pump with backup electric heat.

Customers (and their customers) can take advantage of three-speed fan and intuitive display, self-diagnostics, connectivity with central desk control systems, freeze and frost protection, removable filters, and auto power recovery after any power outage.

Publication date: 2/18/2019

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