For most, the term “residential HVAC” will conjure up the image of a normal family, living in a standard home with a few bedrooms, with a usual heat pump, air conditioner, furnace, or the like. However, such a picture leaves out a large portion of residences that are multifamily — locations like apartments, hotels, condominiums, and similar spots. Heating and cooling is still needed in these spots, but the individual rooms will require products with a smaller footprint and, ideally, greater efficiency. MARS/Heat Controller used its booth at the AHR Expo to demonstrate its solutions for this unique market.

MARS/ Heat Controller featured its Comfort-Aire BcW1-Series wall-mounted internal air handler, which is commonly found in multifamily applications like townhouses, apartments, and hotels.

“It’s electric only, anything from 1 ton to 3 tons, can be recessed into the wall with a wall panel in front of it, and can be put into a closet,” said Brad Willnow, MARS/ Heat Controller room air product manager. The product is only 30 inches in height, which allows it to work well in applications where space is limited. He said that MARS/ Heat Controller has a large stock of the Comfort-Aire product, coming with either permanent split capacitor (PSC) motors or an electronically commutated motor (ECM).

Both types feature a swing-out evaporator coil with flexible copper tubing, and an easy-to-access refrigerant and electrical connections. The ease of access allows technicians to conveniently install and maintain equipment.

The Comfort-Aire BCW1-Series air handler also includes an air filter, a dual condensate drain connection, and is approved for installation in manufactured housing and mobile homes. He also explained that the air handlers are 1-3 tons, and up to 10 kw heat. No tools are required to change out the air filter, further easing equipment maintenance.

Secondly, MARS/Heat Controller displayed a new Comfort Aire CMA14-Series horizontal discharge condensing unit. This product achieves 14.5 SEER, meeting the minimum efficiency requirements in all 50 states. The horizontal discharge design enables the product to have a narrow footprint and to be installed in applications where a typical top-discharge would not work — such as under a deck or overhang. The system can work as quietly as 54 decibels, features a powder-coated galvanized steel finish for durability, and has a low voltage 24V control system.

“So this can be put in patios, balconies, and that type of thing without impeding on space,” Willnow said. He explained that the two products, while separate, pair well together. The multifamily residential market is a very niche market he said, which helps the 14 SEER product stand out for its efficiency.

“It is more about offering a unique solution,” he said. “Instead of a standard HVAC unit, you have something with a smaller footprint. This makes it easier for our customers to facilitate installation.”

He also said that that MARS/ Heat Controller is currently developing a heat pump version, likely available in the final quarter of 2020.