Product5 Series 504W11 Hydronic Geothermal Heat Pump
with OptiHeat Technology
WaterFurnace struck Gold with its 5 Series 504W11 Single-Stage Hydronic Geothermal Heat Pump with OptiHeat Technology, which is designed for use in high-temperature water-to-water applications. This heat pump features OptiHeat vapor injection technology, which allows it to deliver up to 150°F leaving hot water, making it an ideal solution for baseboard or cast-iron radiation heating.
“Contractors have continually asked for heat pumps that generate hotter water temperatures in order to compete with fossil fuel designs,” said Bob Brown, vice president of engineering at WaterFurnace. “The higher water temperatures allow this heat pump to be used as a replacement in some applications for fossil fuel boilers, or a direct replacement of electric or fossil fuel water heaters.”
Kevin Moravec, president of VanHee Heating in Ontario, New York, appreciates the flexibility the 504W11 heat pump offers for hydronic applications.
“We can target some baseboard replacement systems now and pair the system with mini split hydronic fan coils, and the higher water temperature is crucial in those cases,” he said. “The other thing that is nice is that it hits those higher water temperatures without putting a massive strain on the refrigeration side of the heat pump. We also like the OptiHeat technology, as we can provide domestic hot water for larger buildings, which has been a big selling point in the multifamily segment.”
OptiHeat vapor injection technology incorporates an additional heat exchanger that diverts excess heat and reinjects it into the system. This creates higher exiting water temperatures and optimum compressor operating conditions. Smaller loads are required and result in higher efficiencies. Indeed, the unit can produce a 15 to 20 percent increase in water temperature over traditional R-410A heat pumps with a 10 to 15 percent increase in efficiency, noted Brown.
Also new to the 504W11 heat pump are the Aurora Advanced Controls, which provide compatibility with WaterFurnace’s Symphony platform and allow for energy, performance, and refrigeration monitoring. The control box was also recently moved to the water line side of the unit for contractor ease of service and installation.
With all the new enhancements, the 504W11 geothermal heat pump makes it easier for customers to choose a hydronic geothermal system, said Moravec.
“The end user sees the benefits of a lower-cost installation and less impact in the home from a construction standpoint,” he said. “In the past, we stayed away from hydronic systems unless we were looking at new construction — the water temperature was such a concern that we did not have full confidence in the ability to heat a home. With OptiHeat technology, now we do.”
ProductPrestige® Series EcoNet-Enabled Variable-Speed Heat Pump
Winning Silver is Rheem’s Prestige® Series EcoNet® Enabled Variable-Speed Heat Pump, which is a product redesign that includes many added features and benefits. This redesign took 14 months and came about through a combination of contractor demand and company innovation.
“Rheem takes a holistic 360-degree approach to product design, paying attention to the smallest details to deliver the ultimate consumer product experience and contractor installation and serviceability experience,” said Anubhav Ranjan, residential product leader for Rheem. “Throughout this process, we used a Product Excellence Panel, which included consumer focus groups, contractor surveys and interviews, competitive benchmarking, and more.”
The new heat pump includes contractor-friendly features, such as Charge Mode, which simplifies charging during installation; the EcoNet Smart thermostat, which continuously monitors key variables to deliver real-time alerts and system notifications; and expanded valve space and triple service access, which make installation and repairs faster and easier.
With the EcoNet Smart thermostat, sensors, and controls in place, big data is the future, said Ranjan.
“Once enough data is collected through installed units, Rheem intends to predict — not
just diagnose — failures,” he said. “This will mean less downtime for homeowners, quicker service calls for contractors, and end-of-life sales opportunities.”
ProductGuide Series GeoComfort Variable-Speed Water-to-Water
Claiming Bronze is Enertech Global for its Guide Series GeoComfort Variable-Speed Water-to-Water Geothermal Heat Pump, which was two and a half years in the making.
“Here at Enertech, we rely on an advisory group on all products in design and development,” said Steve Smith, president and CEO of Enertech Global LLC. “We want and feed on that input from the contractors and distributors. Knowing the complexity associated with water-to-water equipment, we set out — through the use of variable-speed technology — to make installation easier and remove barriers to its usage.
Installation is made easier thanks to the auxiliary equipment, which allows contractors to make adjustments on the onboard computer (HMI) and set custom parameters based on the needs of the home and the location.
“This type of flexibility is unmatched in the industry,” said Smith. “On top of that, this heat pump provides 100 percent of the consumer’s domestic hot water and radiant heating with incredible accuracy throughout different parts of the house. In addition, the system can modulate from 100 to 25 percent flow in 1 percent increments, in order to precisely match the load of the home.”
Over the next 12 to 18 months, Enertech plans to further enhance the controls on the unit to improve remote diagnostics.