Keith Pyatt, technical supervisor for Nordyne, trains distributor representatives at an iQ Drive Elite class.
O'FALLON, Mo. - The fact remains that 23 is a higher number than 13. And, the fact remains that distributors are very excited getting to know more about Nordyne's 23 SEER air conditioner with iQ Driveâ„¢.

"Twenty-three SEER is now the most efficient equipment available on the market," praised J.V. "Mike" Michel Jr., vice president of marketing for R.E. Michel Co., a Maytag distributor. "It truly lends credibility to Nordyne and the manufacturer's premium brand names. I know, for a fact, that this has caused other manufacturers to sit up and take notice."

At Nordyne's headquarters recently, 14 distributors came to receive inverter-rotary technology training on the company's 23 SEER systems. Since the company unveiled the new product offering to the industry at the Indoor Air Expo, held late March in conjunction with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) convention in San Jose, Calif., Nordyne has been holding iQ Drive Elite training at their headquarters in suburban St. Louis.

"The 23 SEER air conditioner with iQ Drive utilizes inverter-rotary technology to achieve the highest efficiency level available today," said Keith Pyatt, technical supervisor for Nordyne, who has been teaching the "ins" and "outs" to technical services advisors (TSAs) sent by distributors. "Inverter technology is nothing new, but we applied it to the unitary market. We are here to give distributors the technical background they need to be proficient with installing, servicing, and troubleshooting the system."


TSAs are learning so each can go back to his/her respective distributor and spread the technical training with dealers. Each attending TSA receives a CD and a workbook that mirrors the content of the CD, along with a field service guide. They will also have access to a password-protected online assessment tool that Nordyne is making available to its customers to ensure that distributors and contractors achieve a level of proficiency on this new technology.

"We go through the CD and ask them to follow along in the workbook," explained Pyatt, noting that the training is condensed into a one-day session. "That format works well. They take an online assessment, and at the end of the day they have a pretty good understanding of the iQ Drive system."

The final online assessment test consists of a bank of 125 questions "that cover the product operation, installation, and troubleshooting" said Pyatt. A TSA has to pass the online assessment in order to become a certified trainer. "If they do not pass, we allow them to take it again," said Pyatt. "Since assessment questions are pulled at random from a bank of 125, no two tests are alike."

Whatever a tech has learned about troubleshooting a conventional cooling system may not necessarily apply to the iQ Drive system. "It's new technology," Pyatt said, adding that Nordyne's 23 SEER equipment with iQ Drive removes the intimidation factor for the tech and the consumer with a user-friendly controller. "The controller does everything. Even when the system is off, the controller is monitoring the system."

The controller features "total comfort capabilities," he explained. It monitors and controls compressor, indoor and outdoor motor speed to match the load, and monitors indoor/outdoor temperatures and humidity levels, plus it provides service notification alerts, on-board diagnostics, and dealer information.

"iQ Drive's onboard diagnostics provide technician's information on component performance, including the refrigerant level, the inverter rotary's output and temperature, and an error code for detected faults," said Pyatt. "The controller does the troubleshooting, so a large portion of the complexity has been removed."

In addition to the display-screen controller, the manufacturer's 23 SEER systems feature a smaller footprint and quiet operation. It has a sound-absorbing base, swept fan blade, fixed upper and lower bearings, and internal discharge muffler. The inverter-driven air conditioning units are designed to deliver decreased energy bills, better dehumidification, and "have the lowest sound levels in the industry," said Pyatt.

When compared to 10 SEER systems, the manufacturer said this new technology could deliver annual operating savings of up to 47 percent, while providing "superior humidity control." The 23 SEER systems are available in 2-, 3-, and 4-ton capacities, with a 5-ton unit scheduled to be available early next year. The 23 SEER air conditioner is available in the Tappan, Westinghouse, Maytag, and Frigidaire brand lines and Nordyne is exploring using the technology in heat pumps and packaged units as well.

"I was excited to hear the ultra SEER will be in the 2, 3, and 4-ton models," said Ken Connell, vice president of marketing for Germaire Group, a Maytag distributor. "It's unique in the industry to have a manufacturer incorporate a new technology and achieve the trophy SEER rating in the majority of its capacities. This is the latest and greatest plug and play technology - another benefit that will differentiate our dealers from the competition."

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Publication date: 06/26/2006