HVACR isn’t all about compressors and condensers, heat pumps, and higher-efficiency furnaces. Manufacturers of products, such as insulation, tools, small parts, and work clothing, that are ancillary to those bigger heating and cooling components had a presence at this year’s AHR Expo as well.
Here’s a sampling of what the staff of the ACHR NEWS found at the exhibits of several companies whose products support and supply the men and women who design, build, and install heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems.
Manufacturers commonly use the AHR Expo as a platform to launch new products. But at the Johns Manville display this year, visitors saw an older product in a way that meets newer HVACR industry demands.
Johns Manville’s insulated duct board can reduce the energy losses that typically occur when heated or cooled air travels through ducts, and the ease with which it can be cut and shaped means time savings for busy technicians when compared to building sheet-metal duct systems.
Drake Nelson, a market development manager for Johns Manville’s performance materials division, demonstrated how to work with the product for a small crowd of Expo-goers, putting together a run of duct with a 90° angle in minutes.
“A guy with a set of hand tools can do everything a metal shop can do — out in the field,” said Nelson. “So I can take sheets out to a garage and make my ductwork on site, versus metal (that) has to be done in a shop, then taken to the job site and installed.”
The duct board is available with an antimicrobial coating that resists contaminants and mold.
LESS MESS: A roll of the new LinacouSTIC RC-IG duct liner, whose waterreactivated adhesive doesn’t require glue for installation, on a production line at a Johns Manville manufacturing facility. (Courtesy of Johns Manville)
Johns Manville was also touting new products, including its LinacouSTIC RC-IG duct liner, at the Expo.
The new LinaciouSTIC is made with the nontoxic, water-reactivated InsulGrip adhesive, meaning installers don’t need to use a separate adhesive. That makes for cleaner installations and less mess on insulated coil lines, said Kelsey Buchanan, a Johns Manville associate marketing manager.
“Glue is like glitter: It’s a mess. It gets everywhere,” Buchanan said. “It’s gross and it doesn’t work.”
LinacouSTIC RC-IG is available in thicknesses of 1-inch, 1½-inch, and 2-inch and in a variety of widths, and comes with a coating that protects the airstream and also resists dirt. The liner adheres quickly to sheet metal simply with the application of tap water.
Uniforms probably aren’t at the top of the list when an HVACR contractor is considering ways to improve their business. But supplying good company uniforms is a way of looking out for employees who often have to work in extreme environments, as well as a way of promoting a brand, according to the folks at Carhartt.
OUTDOOR GEAR: Carhartt offers lightweight, high-visibility, water-repellent work clothing for those who work in the elements. (Staff photo)
“It’s something that they need to do. It showcases their company and their brand, right?” said Kendra Lewinski, a Carhartt senior marketing manager. There is a business benefit to having branded gear when inside customers’ homes, Lewinski said, as well as to the wearers when they have durable products that are built for performance.
“It’s hot. It’s cold. You’re either under the house or in the attic,” said Lewinski at the Carhartt booth at this year’s Expo. “So you need the gear that you’re wearing to actually work for you.”
Work wear trends, Lewinski said, are leaning toward lightweight clothing that helps workers keep cooler while in hot conditions. Carhartt recently introduced a line of rip-stop pants that are both durable and lightweight, she said.
Women’s work wear is a big trend too, Lewinski said. Though women don’t make up a large proportion of the HVAC work force, women’s work wear is a big conversation at Carhartt, Lewinski said.
“They don’t want to wear the same stuff the guys wear,” she said. “So making sure that we have the compatible styles for men’s and women’s is a big part of what we’re doing today as well.”
Inaba Denko America, a maker of accessories and installation products for HVACR systems, was showing off its Slimduct RD lineset cover components for multiple outdoor lines on commercial variable refrigerant flow (VRF) systems. The steel covers are made with a hot-dipped coating of zinc, aluminum, and magnesium that makes them corrosion-resistant and guards against scratches.
CLEAN LOOK: Inaba Denko’s Slimduct RD products, corrosion- and scratch-resistant metal lineset covers, protect the refrigerant lines on variable-refrigerant flow systems. (Courtesy of Inaba Denko America)
“A lot of VRF installations are on the rooftop. And then if you walk up there, you see all that mess, a lot of linesets, a lot of things going on” with unprotected components, said Karina Aharonian, a marketing and product manager for Inaba Denko. “This solves that problem.”
Slimduct RD can withstand harsh weather conditions, Aharonian said. “I had a few guys from Canada saying, ‘We are always getting damaged linesets because of snow,’” she said. “We have a number of installations in Canada now.”
Inaba Denko also unveiled a new color — black — in its lineup of Slimduct SD covers for mini-split HVAC linesets. The Slimduct SD lineset cover is made from a high-grade PVC to protect outdoor lines from weather, animals, and debris.
“It’s weather-resistant, so it’s not going to fade, it’s not going to get damaged,” Aharonian said. “No matter if you’re living in California or Arizona heat, or you’re all the way in Canada with the snow, this product is going to withstand all these temperature changes.”
Slimduct SD, designed for commercial buildings and the high-end residential market, is available in black, ivory, or brown and comes in several sizes and lengths. The brand’s array of elbows, couplers, reducers, and flexible components can accommodate a wide variety of line configurations, Aharonian said.
Nibco Inc. recently extended its PressACR line to include SAE-sized copper flare adapters for refrigeration lines. The adaptors, available in outside diameters ranging from ¼-inch to 1⅜-inch, were on display at this year’s Expo.
EASE OF USE: Nibco Inc. recently introduced a line of SAE-sized copper flare adapters for refrigerant lines. The PressACR adapters are joined to pipes with a compression tool and can withstand pressures of up to 700 psi. (Courtesy of Nibco Inc.)
PressACR is Nibco’s trademarked copper tube joining technology — no flame or soldering needed — that employs a press tool to attach the adapters, which include nitrile rubber gaskets for tight seals in high-pressure HVAC applications like refrigeration and air-conditioning lines.
Properly installed, the adapters can withstand pressures of up to 700 psi, said Danny Yarbrough, director of specialty sales at Nibco. The press-to-connect fittings save time and trouble for contractors coping with a shortage of skilled labor, he said.
Nibco also recently introduced press-tool jaws that are compatible with its PC-280 tool, which is used on the PressACR line of adapters. The new jaws can be used to attach the full size range of PressACR fittings; up to 1⅛-inch, the jaws are also compatible with other brands of press tools with a force of 32 kilonewtons, including those made by Ridgid and Milwaukee.
“The PressACR provides a safer installation as there is no flame or fire hazard with the press technology,” said Marilyn Morgan a senior product manager for fittings at Nibco, in a press release.
RectorSeal LLC., a manufacturer of HVACR and plumbing accessories, introduced a trio of patented and UL-recognized SSP Series Safe-T-Switch units rated for plenum installations.
A gray color unit body quickly identifies the SS1P, SS2P, and SS3P as plenum-rated products. Installed using a 6-foot-long, plenum-rated, 18 gauge wire, all units quickly connect to the thermostat wiring on the indoor HVAC unit.
RectorSeal's Safe-T-Switch product series features the patented, code-compliant condensate overflow switches with a built-in, easy-access, external, hand-ratcheting float that adjusts without uninstalling or cap removal. The corrosion-resistant ratchet's adjustability also helps prevent the lightweight, rigid foam polypropylene float's contact with the base bottom or drain pan, where bio-growth buildups can affect buoyancy and reliability.
Designed for primary drain lines, the SS1P has a float assembly sensitivity that can be adjusted without removing the top cover and allows installation on a slope up to 45°. The top cover removes easily using the tapered cam locks, enabling inspection of the float switch and access to use the included cleanout tool to clear drain lines. It's compatible with RectorSeal's Mighty Pump, LineShot, and the A/C Drain Foot Pump.
The plenum-rated SS2P float switch is installed as a primary drain pan auxiliary outlet. It can detect clogged condensate drains and safely shut off the HVAC system to avoid potential water damage. As an additional feature, the top cover does not need to be removed to adjust the float sensitivity.
Maria Taylor and Kyle Gargaro contributed to this story.
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