Contractor Feedback Drives General Filters Updates
Design improvements on both sides of humidity control
Four years ago, General Filters set a priority for all new product designs: make things easier for the contractor. According to Allan Feys, director of sales and business development, new models introduced at the Expo were designed around and evolved from that goal.
“The GeneralAire® 5500 steam humidifier bears the fruit of multiple focus groups and will reach the market in time for this fall’s heating season,” he said. “The new, compact single-cylinder unit works with water conductivity from 125 to 1250 µs/cm and can operate on 110 or 220 voltage via an internal switch. Its chassis keyholes are designed to fit the stud-to-stud mounting straps now included with the humidifier. The company expects the changes to save 20 minutes per install, while reducing SKU’s from six to two.”
The new, more simplified unit includes a one-screw cover release, “spark-plug-style” wire connections, two mounting straps, and more. The unit also includes the new GFX4 Digital Automatic Humidistat, which now controls the blower motor to provide humidity without furnace function.
“We’ve maintained the sophistication and quality of the previous models’ control screen, while offering a much greater value to our customers,” said Bob Abraham, General Filters president and CEO.
As for the GeneralAire 3200 and 4200 evaporative humidifiers, they now come with a space-saving low-profile cover and chassis that sit tighter around the vapor pad, so air is forced immediately through the pad at its warmest point. A newly designed water distribution trough distributes water evenly throughout the entire pad for better saturation, and the steel water distribution tube allows for either hot or cold water supply. The units offer a quick-switch right or left bypass orientation to suit the particular installation. Feys expects installations of these new units to take considerably less time than their predecessors.
Insights from the manufacturer’s focus groups included opinions on installation needs, desired product features, thoughts on new equipment and product sales support, and more. “Outside in, bottom up” is how Feys described the company’s desire to absorb worthwhile input and integrate that into its offerings.
MORE CONTROL, LESS CRAWL
On the dehumidification side, the company displayed its DH75 Wi-Fi and touch screen controlled dehumidifier. Removing up to 75 pints of water from the air each day, the unit is built for crawl spaces and smaller homes.
The Wi-Fi capability allows homeowners and/or technicians to remotely monitor and adjust unit performance without requiring access to the dehumidifier. After all, as Feys pointed out, “They call it a crawl space for a reason.”
The company has developed its sixth version of the GeneralAire app for the DH75 and the DH100 (100 pints per day). General Filters did not necessarily expect that many iterations, but as Feys explained, “the more you get into it, the more you see the power of the tool.”
While the manufacturer has tailored many of these humidifier and dehumidifier updates to improve the contractor experience, it couldn’t come at the expense of performance, said Feys.
“Homeowners are more concerned about IAQ and also more educated than ever.”
Customers also think in terms of sustainability more than ever, which is why the General Filters Water Savor Controller might be the under-the-radar attraction in the current lineup. It pulsates water to a bypass flow-through humidifier’s vapor pad. By delivering only the water necessary to operate, it significantly reduces water going through the unit and into the drain.
According to the company, the device and its customized settings can save anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent in water loss and can be installed with any brand of bypass, flow-through humidifier.
As its slogan for this year’s show, the company chose “The New Face of General Filters” for more than these updates and improvements. For just the second time in 83 years, the company has updated its GeneralAire logo. Intended to coincide with the year’s new product offerings and with recent updates across equipment and support materials, the new logo’s accent color shifts from red to blue, conveying the indoor air quality emphasis to North American homeowners. A new “Breathe Healthier” tagline completes the logo’s refreshed look.
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