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When it comes to the comforts of home, a functioning heating and/or cooling system, especially in weather extremes, is right up there with indoor plumbing. You just gotta have it.

But for homeowners who can afford more, or for whom little extras make a big difference, the HVAC industry offers an array of higher-end products that can improve comfort, maximize energy efficiency, increase ease of servicing and use, and maybe add designer flair to a showcase home.

The ACHR NEWS recently surveyed several major manufacturers about their high-end catalogs, asking each to put forth a product or two that meets that definition. Here are the details of some of the equipment they told us about.


Bosch IDS Premium

Bosch’s IDS Premium Connected, a heat-pump system for ducted applications, offers high efficiency, connectivity, and monitoring features that benefit both contractor and homeowner, said Shiyu Liu, senior product manager at Bosch Home Comfort.

Liu said the IDS Premium Connected is a versatile system suited for home retrofits as well as new construction.

“It is a particularly excellent fit for those homeowners who are aiming for maximum energy efficiency and associated rebates and tax credits for their green home upgrades,” he said.

The IDS (the initials stand for Inverter Ducted Split) Premium Connected boasts a SEER2 rating of up to 20, an HSPF2 of up to 9.5, and an inverter drive that adjusts compressor speed to optimize comfort, minimize noise, and use only the amount of energy needed, Liu said. The outdoor unit is connected to a BVA20 air handler with a two-stage, electronically commutated motor. The IDS Premium Connected is available in four capacities ranging from 2 tons to 5 tons.

The system connects wirelessly to the Bosch EasyAir app, an interactive platform for contractors and homeowners. EasyAir simplifies installation and troubleshooting, Liu said.

“With just a few swipes on their phones, contractors can easily access information about installation, warranty registration, and how to monitor the unit remotely,” he said. Homeowners must authorize a contractor’s remote access to the system.

The connectivity allows technicians, for example, to remotely check the heat pump’s operation, get notifications in case of system faults, and view fault codes. Contractors can even manage which of their technicians can monitor which homeowner units.

Daikin VRV Life

Daikin VRV Life Heat Pump System.

FLEXIBILITY: The Daikin VRV Life heat pump system adapts high-end variable refrigerant flow technology to residential use and can be paired with a gas furnace for dual-fuel heating. (Courtesy of Daikin Comfort Technologies)

Daikin’s VRV Life is a variable refrigerant volume heat pump system, with efficiencies of up to 18.6 SEER2 and 9 HSPF2, engineered for residential use.

“One outdoor unit can connect to up to nine indoor units, and the VRV Life can be used with either ductless or ducted systems or a combination of both,” said David Palazzolo, director of residential product marketing at Daikin Comfort Technologies North America, Inc.

“VRV Life provides flexibility for all applications, from simplistic to the most complex, from large to small homes or apartments, from new to older construction. The more complex the application, the more VRV Life, as a single system, will provide the contractor and end user with a high-end system,” Palazzolo said.

The unit has an inverter compressor and a variable-speed fan, enabling it to “ramp up and down and provide only the necessary refrigerant to cool or heat to meet the demand, and therefore expend only the energy necessary,” Palazzolo said. “The system can operate in outdoor temperatures as low as -4°F and as high as 122°F,” he said.

“Contractors as well as homeowners will appreciate the VRV Life’s flexibility,” Palazzolo said.

“VRV Life offers gas furnace, heat pump, or a combination of dual-fuel heating capability by using a traditional residential ducted gas furnace and evaporator coil that can operate using either gas heating or heat pump heating,” he said. “That versatility helps contractors overcome a variety of heating and cooling challenges and meet homeowners’ needs,” he said.

Remote monitoring of the VRV Life, by both homeowners and contractors, is available with the use of either the Daikin One+ or the Daikin One touch smart thermostats. The VRV Life is available in capacities of 2, 3, 4, and 5 tons.


York TM9V Furnace.

EFFICIENCY STANDOUT: The York TM9V furnace has a two-stage burner, an electronically commutated fan motor, and annual fuel utilization efficiency rated at 96%. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

The York TM9V two-stage variable-speed furnace, from Johnson Controls, offers an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of up to 96% and can be fine-tuned to specific heating needs.

“This is an ideal gas furnace for homes, with hassle-free installation in tight spaces,” said Tom Tasker, senior product manager for ducted system at Johnson Controls.

The TM9V has a two-stage burner and an electronically commutated fan motor, and its compact size (33 inches high) and features like reinforced doors, quarter-turn knobs and positioning flexibility make installations and servicing hassle-free, Tasker said. A self-monitoring system allows for quick diagnostics, he said, and technicians can access the units remotely, with permissions, to evaluate system operation.

The unit’s high efficiency and ease of operation, plus the indoor comfort it provides, are some of the features that make it high end, Tasker said.

“High-end heating solutions are first and foremost about homeowner comfort. They provide premium control over the temperature and humidity of the conditioned space,” Tasker said. “Homeowners should expect their system to stay close to setpoint without wide temperature swings.”

The TM9V’s ClimaTrak feature allows for fine-tuning of the blower for specific functions, such as operation in arid climates or to maximize the use of IAQ accessories like UV-C lights and MERV 16 filters, Tasker said.

Tasker said the TM9V is an ideal partner for the York YZT two-stage heat pump for those homeowners in cold climates who are looking for a hybrid system to cut utility bills and their carbon footprint. Hybrid systems can reduce energy use by as much as two-thirds when the heat pump is operating, Tasker said, and eliminate the need for electric resistance backup heating.

The TM9V is available in capacities ranging from 2 tons to 5 tons and can be engineered to burn either natural gas or propane.

LG Hydro Kit

LG High Temperature Hydro Kit.

WASTE NOT: The LG High Temperature Hydro Kit is captures heat rejected during the air-conditioning process and heats water with it for other uses, such as domestic hot water. (Courtesy of LG Air Conditioning Technologies)

LG’s new High Temperature Hydro Kit is a heat exchanger that captures heat rejected during the air-conditioning process and uses it to heat water for other applications, such as domestic hot water or radiant floor heating. The Hydro Kit can provide water with a leaving temperature of between 86°F and 176°F and is compatible with LG’s Multi V outdoor units, variable-refrigerant flow (VRF) equipment that can provide heating and cooling to different spaces simultaneously.

High efficiency, flexibility, and performance are the Hydro Kit’s hallmarks, said Parth Patel, a senior product support engineer at LG Air Conditioning Technologies. The Hyrdo Kit meets the current market trends toward sustainability and decarbonization, Patel said.

“The Hydro Kit utilizes waste energy generated during the conditioning process and enhances the energy efficiency of LG VRF systems,” Patel said. “This allows the hot water generated to be distributed out to several different applications with integrated controls that set the temperature of the leaving water, hot water tank temperature, or the temperature of the conditioned space.” The system can also be integrated with various thermostats and sensors, he said.

“In situations where robust heat recovery may not be necessary, users can still benefit from repurposing the heat, using the LG Hydro Kit, and maximizing the value of the system,” Patel added. The Hydro Kit can provide domestic hot water without the need for a separate water heater, for example.

Features that appeal to contractors and technicians, Patel said, include a compact footprint, accessible piping connections, easy integration into a system control network, and the minimal space required for the exhaust system.



SLEEK DESIGN: The METUS EZ Fit is a ceiling-mounted indoor unit, serviceable from below without the need for above-ceiling access, that offers a SEER2 of up to 22.9. (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US)

The EZ Fit from Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US, or METUS, is a ceiling-mounted indoor unit for a ductless heat-pump system that offers a SEER2 rating of up to 22.9. The EZ Fit, for use with either a single- or multizone configuration, comes in four capacities, ranging from a half-ton (for multi-zone use only) to 1.5 tons.

Ken Johnson, senior manager of performance construction at METUS, said architects, builders and homeowners in the U.S. like ceiling-mounted indoor units for their aesthetics. “EZ Fit has a clean, flush-mount appearance and a single outlet vane resembling a linear diffuser found in high-end homes,” Johnson said. “The unit recesses between ceiling joists and requires no access panel.”

EZ Fit offers stable room temperatures and quiet operation of both the indoor and outdoor units, Johnson said. Ductless systems, he pointed out, don’t introduce dust into the conditioned space, don’t require duct cleaning, and don’t suffer from the energy loss that comes with duct leakage.

Technicians, Johnson said, can service the unit from below and don’t need ceiling access. “The filter, accessed through the grille, can be rinsed, cleaned, dried, and put back into the system, and the filter will last many years, providing the homeowner with significant savings,” he said.

The units fit between ceiling joists, Johnson said, and need only 8 inches of clearance. Each unit comes with a condensate lift, eliminating the need for a condensate pump, he said.

“There are many applications for EZ Fit, including custom homes, townhomes, condos, single-family detached, higher-end apartments, and accessory dwelling units,” Johnson said. “They are also ideal for retrofits and additions where it doesn’t make sense to extend the ductwork for an existing forced-air system.”

Midea Advantage

Midea Advantage High Wall Unit.

HIGH PERFORMANCE: The Midea Advantage High Wall is an indoor unit compatible with Midea Advantage heat-pump systems, which can operate continuously at outdoor temperatures of between 5°F and 122°F. (Courtesy of Midea)

Midea’s Advantage High Wall is an indoor unit that’s compatible with Midea’s Advantage single- and multizone systems. The unit, which has four fully modulating fan speeds, can achieve up to 28.1 SEER2 and up to 13 HSPF2, said David Rames, senior product manager at Midea.

“The Advantage High Wall indoor unit is an efficient, variable-speed heat-pump solution with individual control, making it a perfect supplement of heating and cooling to save more energy bills while enhancing the comfort level of a specific space,” Rames said.

Rames said the Advantage High Wall system can achieve an energy savings of up to 30% compared to a 14.2 SEER2 system, and that using Midea’s Eco mode can cut energy costs by up to 60%. Midea Advantage systems can operate continuously at outdoor temperatures of between 5°F and 122°F, Rames said.

Features include a relative humidity sensor that allows users to adjust humidity in 5% increments, an anti-corrosion fin coating, and humidity removal, with the largest model, of up to 12.1 pints per hour. The units come in several capacities, ranging from three-quarters of a ton to 3 tons.

Technicians, Rames said, will appreciate the installation flexibility the Advantage High Wall provides; the maximum refrigerant pipe length is 213 and the maximum height differential is 98 feet. An exterior wall hole of just three inches in diameter is required for the refrigerant piping and electrical cable. “You can flexibly install the unit in any needed area,” Rames said.

The unit disassembles quickly and has a removable filter on top, making for simplified maintenance, Rames said. The motor and blower can be serviced without removing the cabinet, he said.

Trane XV20i

Trane XV20i Heat Pump.

SMART SYSTEM: Trane’s XV20i heat pump comes equipped with advance communications technology and a variable-speed fan that helps it adapt in real time to the needs of the conditioned space. (Courtesy of Trane Residential)

The Trane XV20i heat pump, with a SEER2 of up to 20.5 and an HSPF2 of up to 8.7, is one of the most efficient heat pumps on the market, according to Katie Davis, vice president of engineering and technology at Trane Residential.

The unit has a variable-speed fan that adapts to the needs of the conditioned space in real time and is equipped with communications technologies that simplify installation and servicing and, in zoned applications, optimize comfort and efficiency, Davis said.

“Trane’s XV20i variable-speed heat pump with Link is perfect for the homeowner looking to maximize energy efficiency … whether this is a luxury apartment, a remodeled home, or new construction,” Davis said.

Link technology, Davis said, assists with the installation of the XV20i by automating configuration, charging, and system testing. With homeowner opt-in, Link lets technicians remotely monitor the system, get fault alerts, adjust thermostat settings if needed, and receive descriptions of potential issues and their causes should a fault be identified, she said.

“If a home visit is necessary, the technician can arrive onsite with the parts needed to repair the system,” Davis said.

New to Link technology, as of October, is Link Zoning, the brains of an advanced, quiet, and intelligent duct system that learns where airflow is needed most, Davis said. “The new Link Zoning system uses a network of controls, sensors, and motorized dampers for up to six zones to optimize temperature and humidity throughout a home, delivering warm or cool air to only the rooms and zones that need it,” she said.

The XV20i comes in four capacities: 2, 3, 4, and 5 tons.