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Gold medal. Hitachi Cooling & Heating Mini-Split System.
Johnson Controls – Hitachi Air Conditioning
Hitachi Cooling & Heating Mini-Split System

The Gold award in the HVAC Residential Equipment category goes to the Hitachi Cooling & Heating Mini-Split System from Johnson Controls – Hitachi Air Conditioning.

The aspect of this residential and light commercial system that is designed to go over big with consumers and contractors alike is the FrostWash Self-Cleaning Technology.

Available on both indoor and outdoor units, FrostWash eliminates dust and bacteria built up on the heat exchanger’s surface by trapping and freezing these particles in ice. When the ice melts, the particles are flushed out safely via the condensate drain. FrostWash achieves a 91% reduction of bacteria and an 83% reduction of mold from the interior of the unit, according to the manufacturer.

The company turned to Kitasato Research Center of Environmental Science to measure and verify that antibacterial and anti-mold effects after operating FrostWash two times.

After every 200 hours of mini-split operation, an LED light conveys that it’s time to activate FrostWash. Sensors detect when the room is unoccupied and will activate the cycle when the air conditioning is switched off.

“New technologies like FrostWash will soon become the norm that all end-users will expect to be a standard in mini splits,” said Manuel de la Fuente, vice president and general manager, Johnson Controls Hitachi – North America.

Indeed, one of the contest judges commented that “Keeping mini-split systems clean and maintained is a real pain for technicians and owners alike. Great idea — all of them should adapt this technology.”

Another component that aims to please both contractors and owners is the airCloud Home app. Designed so that technicians can easily teach end users how to operate their systems, it allows users to do so via a smart device from anywhere. AirCloud Home is also compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa for voice-activated control.

The previously mentioned sensors are part of the Human Sensor System that monitors the room for human activity, adjusting airflow and the indoor climate accordingly. An Air Sleep function optimizes temperature and humidity and shifts to “super-silent” operation.

Staying on the front edge of monitoring space conditions does not translate to any compromise on the internal technology at work. Hitachi Mini-Splits feature energy-efficient vector DC inverters that use a special microchip pre-installed with compressor mechanical properties data. This allows the system to monitor and adjust its compressor rotation speed for efficient, powerful, and stable operation.

AmRad Manufacturing

The Silver award in the HVAC Residential Equipment category goes to the TES5EXT from AmRad Manufacturing. This is a two-wire universal hard-start kit, utilizing a “low-loss” metallized motor-start capacitor with external potential relay.

A hard-start kit can reduce current at startup and helps prolong compressor life, particularly in older units requiring additional capacitance to start. This capacitor has rust-free all-brass terminals, thick non-PCB dielectric fluid to reduce heat, and comes with a three-year warranty.

Regarding ease of us, the two-wire hard start kit does not require connection to a main contactor. Color-coded jumper wires make for easier setup for each air conditioning tonnage. Its smaller size makes for a universal ability to fit different air conditioning units, according to the manufacturer.

The TES5EXT can also simplify work on the truck and in the warehouse by replacing up to five individual hard-start kits.

Daikin Fit for Heat Pump and Dual Fuel Applications.
Daikin/Goodman / Amana
Daikin Fit for Heat Pump and Dual Fuel Applications

The Bronze award in the HVAC Residential Equipment category goes to the Daikin Fit for Heat Pump and Dual-Fuel Applications by Daikin/Goodman/Amana.

Daikin Fit is designed to meld the best features and high performance of ductless-style heat pump systems with the ability to connect to traditional ducted systems. Daikin Fit outdoor heat pumps are connected to an indoor air handler for traditional heat pump applications, or the outdoor heat pump can be connected to an indoor gas furnace with evaporator coil for either heat pump or dual fuel operation.

Contractors will appreciate the outdoor unit’s small footprint and low weight. It is designed to be easily handled by one person and to fit through typical gate and fence openings, while also leaving room for four or five units in a truck instead of one or two.

The system allows techs to use typical line sets and avoid pulling new lines, and only two wires are needed between the indoor and outdoor units even though the heat pump is fully communicating.

Along with the unit’s convenient info display, use with Daikin One+ thermostats make setup and commissioning that much simpler.