Members of the Certification Programs and Policy Committee at its first meeting. Clockwise, from far left, are Geo. J. Jones Jr.; John Pratt; R. McLaughlin; U. Muscio; Russell Gray; John W. Norris; Fred Reed; Joe Elliot; W. McCullough; and W. Balthrop.
In the late 1940s and early 50s, the air conditioning industry was starting to find its legs. New products and applications seemed to develop monthly — and not always with the best results. Legitimate manufacturers found their products pitted against products that came out of garages, and began to fear that they would soon find themselves pitted against consumer skepticism.

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) was officially organized in 1953, primarily to give this new industry a united voice. Secondarily, but perhaps more importantly, the Institute collected its technical forces to create standards against which A/C and refrigeration equipment could be tested, and to create industry-wide certification programs to verify the products’ performance.

Herb Phillips, a former ARI vice president of Engineering living in Rayslake, IL, noted, “Every time a poll is taken among its members, the development of standards and certification has been the number-one function of ARI.” It has other important functions, but the area of prime importance to the industry, said Phillips, is the development and maintenance of product standards and certification.

For example, when air conditioning came into the mainstream, Phillips explained, there had to be a way to rate it. “Consumers needed a basis for comparison, and manufacturers were using a variety of measurements, from square feet to tonnage.” ARI developed the Btu per hour (Btu/hr) measurement and developed a standard for determining how many Btu/hr an air conditioner could cool.

Mark Menzer, current ARI vice president of Engineering, called the certification and verification of system performance “an industry-wide effort.” ARI’s Certification Programs & Policy Committee and staff “make sure the rules are stringent and not a sham.”

These programs were initially organized because air conditioning was a new product — and the public needed assurance. “Some people were building air conditioners out in their garages,” Menzer said. The Institute also wanted to keep the government from intruding by developing self-policing guidelines.

Standards And Certification: What’s The Difference?

According to the Institute, “ARI standards establish rating criteria and procedures for measuring and certifying product performance. In this way, products are rated on a uniform basis, so that buyers and users can properly make selections for specific applications.” In short, ARI sets the parameters and methods by which product performance should be measured.

“Standards are developed by individual ARI product sections and other interested parties who wish to participate, then approved by ARI’s General Standards Committee,” according to the Institute. More than 80 standards and guidelines are now published and offered free via the Internet at They are mainly performance-rating standards, although some are application or terminology standards. Many are accepted as American National Standards.

“A standard determines how to test and rate a piece of equipment,” explained Menzer. In order to achieve certification, the manufacturer runs its equipment according to the standard; then the manufacturer states that its equipment does such and such. “Then we test it,” said Menzer, and the equipment’s performance is either certified or not.

The performance is tested by a third party, ITS ETL (Intertek Testing Services Ltd. Electrical Testing Laboratories) Semko. When the certification program was first founded for unitary air conditioning in 1956, ARI mandated that a randomly selected “significant portion” (about one-third) of a manufacturer’s product line be tested by the third party in order to be certified. That mandate has not changed.

If a product line doesn’t meet the testing requirements, certification is not granted. “A test failure requires rerating or ceasing production of the failed product,” states the Institute.

Sometimes a product line that was already certified is later found not to meet the standards claimed by its manufacturer and the ratings are corrected. This is called derating. “If you are found to have over-rated your equipment, there’s a financial penalty for each unit produced,” said Menzer. The risk of derating helps keep the manufacturers conservative in their claims, he noted.

Manufacturers also help keep each other honest by challenging each other’s claims. “Many manufacturers will buy each other’s equipment, tear it down, and test it themselves,” Menzer said. If their findings do not meet the product’s certified claims, that’s they can choose to challenge certification claims. “It’s done occasionally,” Menzer said.

This is fundamentally the same program that has been in place for close to 50 years — nearly as old as the Institute itself. “It works,” Menzer said. “There have been some changes where loopholes have been closed up, but it has worked well for a long time.”

Besides working in its own right, ARI’s standard and certification programs have been studied and copied by other associations around the world. “They model in some degree after us.”

Standards And Certification Milestones

Snippets from decades’ worth of the ARI newsletterKoldfaxoffer a unique view of standards and certification development from the mid-1950s. Standards contributed not only to the substantiation of air conditioning and refrigeration systems and equipment, but also to the development of certification programs.

“In the simplest terms,” wrote former Engineering vice president Herb Phillips, “the industry developed a common yardstick, a standard by which air conditioner product performance can be measured by anyone capable of using this yardstick.

“The industry developed certification to be certain that, in making these measurements and expressing the results, the yardstick was not bent, stretched, or otherwise distorted.”

Together, standards and certification helped the public trust the claims manufacturers made about their air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. The advancement of this new technology helped the growth of the U.S. economy. It even helped us land men on the moon.


  • In the Sept. 1956 Koldfax, ARI Standard 530 was described. Its methods would constitute a huge contribution to the industry’s knowledge of load estimating.

    “A new application engineering standard for air conditioning multi-zone buildings, such as factories, office buildings, and similar structures in which varying degrees of cooling and humidity must be maintained, has been issued by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute. It is limited to the setting of minimum conditions and factors that form the basis of design load estimating and specifications of performance for such installations.”

    The standard required, among other things, “design load factors for inside and outside conditions; sensible heat gain through glass; transmission; heat gain from occupants; heat gain from appliances; ventilation and infiltration; air motion in conditioned spaces; capacity specifications; cooling load calculations; multi-zone building refrigeration loads; heating load calculations; and safety provisions.”

  • In Feb. 1957, a “compliance program,” which would become the certification program, was introduced by ARI technical secretary Joe H. Bergheim. He described the relationship of standards to certification. “ARI standards activity has been stepped up during the past year as a result of interest expressed both from within the Institute and from outside organizations and individuals.

    “The proposed ARI compliance program, now under consideration by several Product Sections and already put into effect by the Room Air Conditioner Section, is a large contributing factor to the increased interest since standards are necessary to any compliance program,” stated Bergheim, “and implementation of such a program certainly depends, to a large extent, on the quality and availability of adequate standards.”

    Eleven standards were published in 1956, from room air conditioners and sealed hermetic-type compressors, to application engineering for air conditioners and liquid chilling package units, Bergheim wrote. Standards in the works included remote-type air-handling units, solenoid valves, aluminum refrigeration tubing, and remote-type air-cooled condensers.

    The certification program for unitary air conditioners was officially launched in 1958.

  • In Jan. 1958, the Institute acknowledged the increased use of heat pumps — and perhaps their need for standardization: “Recognizing the growing trend in the development and use of heat pumps, ARI has just issued its first standard covering ‘Unitary Heat Pump Equipment.’

    “The new standard, numbered 240-57, was issued to ‘establish minimum industry standards of performance of unitary heat pumps and to provide means for establishing reliable ratings.’

    “It provides that standard ratings relating to cooling capacity shall be stated as total cooling capacity and expressed only in terms of Btu per hour in multiples of 1,000 Btu per hour,” the Institute stated. If auxiliary heating capacity is included in the rating, “it must also be separately designated in Btu per hour.”

  • Also in Jan. 1958: “A new ARI standard for ‘Automatic Self-Contained Ice Makers’ has been issued, recommending ‘minimum standard specifications and recommended methods of rating and testing automatic self-contained ice makers for the guidance of the industry, including manufacturers, distributors, installers, contractors, and users.”

    The new publication also “… specifies minimum sanitation requirements and acceptable cleaning methods for the guidance of federal, state, county, district, and municipal health authorities and other food regulatory agencies.”

  • In Feb./March 1958: “ARI’s Self-Contained and Residential and Residential Air Conditioner Section has voted to change its name to ‘Unitary Air Conditioner Section’ in order to more properly describe its scope. Proponents of the change pointed out that whereas ‘Self-Contained’ describes a product classification, the term ‘residential’ in the old title referred to an application or a market rather than a product, hence was confusing.

    “Since the new standard for products of the section (ARI 210-57) is called ‘Unitary Air Conditioners,’ it was determined to rename the section by this title.”

  • In May 1958, the Btu took a big step forward in manufacturer acceptance. “Lining up solidly behind the program initiated in 1957 by ARI to make British Thermal Units the sole measurement for statement of capacity of room air conditioners, Carrier Corporation, one of the large manufacturers and a member of the Institute, has announced that it will discontinue ‘as quickly as practicable’ all reference to horsepower in describing its room air conditioners, and will state capacity in terms of Btu’s of heat removed from air.”

  • Meanwhile, standards activity kept grinding on. In Jan./Feb. 1960, Koldfax reported: “ARI Standards activity, under supervision of the General Standards Committee and the technical committees of the various product sections, resulted in publication of two new ARI standards in the past year and a great deal of ‘spadework’ preparatory to the approval and publication of a number of new, revised, and consolidated standards in 1960,” reported Koldfax.

    Standards now existing and in process of development included the 100 Series for Room Air Conditioners; the 200 Series for Unitary Air Conditioners; the 300 Series for Small Compressors; the 400 Series for Heat Transfer Equipment; the 700 Series for Valves, Driers, Fittings, and Accessories; and the 800 Series for Self-contained Ice Makers.

  • In Oct./Nov. 1960: “Two new ARI standards for air conditioning and refrigeration compressors and condensing units were published in October, replacing six old standards,” stated the Institute. “The new publications are ARI Standard 516-60, titled ‘Refrigerant 12 and Refrigerant 22 Compressors and Condensing Units, 25 Horsepower and Larger,’ and Standard 511, ‘Ammonia Compressors and Compressor Units.’

    “Standard 516 was designed to replace Standard 5-21 (‘Freon Compressor Units, 25 Horsepower and Larger’).

    “Its purpose, as stated in the first section of the publication, ‘is to establish, for Refrigerant 12 and Refrigerant 22 compressors and condensing units … recommended specifications of what constitutes standard equipment, recommended methods of testing and rating, including standard rating conditions, and provisions for safety.’”

  • June 1962 brought a revision to load calculations: “A revision of ARI Standard 230, ‘Standard for Application of Year-Round Residential Air Conditioning,’ was published in May, superseding the previously existing application standard published in 1957.

    “The revised standard, ‘ARI Standard 230-62,’ includes the heat gain calculation procedure jointly developed by an industry joint study group representing ARI, the Institute of Boiler and Radiator Manufacturers, and the National Warm Air Heating and Air Conditioning Association.

    “Published as part of the standard is a new Residential Air Conditioning Load Calculation Form, which supersedes the previously published form for this purpose, and which is based on the new heat-gain calculation procedure.

    “This new form, available in pads of 25 each, provides for room-by-room heat gain and heat loss calculation, plus determination of required air quantities for each space.”

  • In the 1960s, it became clear that contractors needed to have access to ARI’s knowledge base. In Oct. 1963, Koldfax reported: “Manufacturers of unitary air conditioning equipment are being urged by ARI’s Engineering Department to make use of ARI Standard 230-62 (‘Standard for Application of Year-Round Residential Air Conditioning’) and to make it available to dealers and contractors installing their equipment, as a guide to proper sizing and selection of units.

    “Recently revised in accordance with an industry-wide agreement, the documents provide for both cooling and heating load determination on a room-by-room basis, and have been approved by the FHA.”

    The Institute responded with ARI Standard 260 for the “Application, Installation, and Servicing of Unitary Systems.” Initially published in 1964, in 1967 it was revised and republished as ARI Standard 260-67.

    “The revised standard is a general updating of the earlier publication, the major change being included under a new section on ‘Airborne Sound.’“ At the same time, outdoor sound levels were being recognized as an area of concern for HVAC equipment installed outdoors, such as condensing units. They would be a matter of concern to the public and politicians.

  • May 1968: “Although Published Only About Two Months Ago, the new ARI Standard 280-68 for ‘Central Forced-Air Electric Heating Equipment’ is in wide demand, particularly among electric utilities….

    “Because of the fact that no national standard had previously existed for this type of equipment, some electric utilities in various parts of the country had developed local or regional specifications. The new standard was developed in a move to provide one uniform standard for the manufacture of equipment rather than a number of widely differing requirements in different parts of the country.”

  • Other older standards were starting to be revised. In Oct. 1969, “ARI’s Engineering Department … has recently developed and published four standards, two of which are new, one revised and updated, and one which consolidates and expands two previously published standards.

    “The two new standards are ARI Standard 275-69, Application Standard for Sound-Rated Outdoor Unitary Equipment, and ARI Standard 760-69, for Solenoid Valves for Liquid Flow.

    “The revised standard, ARI Standard 420-69 covering Forced-Circulation Free-Delivery Air Coolers for Refrigeration, originally published in 1957, follows the recent issuance of ASHRAE Standard 25-68, Method of Rating Forced-Convection and Natural Convection Air Coolers for Refrigeration.

    “According Fred Reed, ARI’s Director of Engineering, publication of the four standards involved is in accord with ARI’s continuing program of establishing and maintaining substantial standards for equipment performance and safety for the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration industry.”

  • In the Sept./Oct. 1970 Koldfax: “A new ARI Standard (No. 750-70) for ‘Thermostatic Refrigerant Expansion Valves’ has just been published.

    “The new publication covers thermostatic expansion valves for use with Refrigerants 12, 22, and 502, for use with evaporator temperatures between 50 and -40 degrees F, and in sizes up to a capacity of 135,000 Btuh with 40 degrees evaporator temperature.

    “As stated in the standard, its purpose is ‘to provide for thermostatic refrigerant expansion valves: Definitions, testing and rating requirements, a specification for minimum published data, recommended standard operating pressures for pressure-limiting-type valves …, recommended refrigerant designation and color coding, recommended standard permanent bleed rates, and recommended standard permanent bleed rates, and recommended standard connection sizes.”

  • In Dec. 1974, ARI president Carl Moeller re-emphasized the importance of the Institute’s role as an industry watchdog. “Describing the coming year of his presidency as one of ‘re-examination,’ new ARI President Carl Moeller warned the Institute’s members and staff at the 21st Annual Meeting of another possible difficult year for the industry and urged them to set up priorities for the association activities, and to approach their assignments with the dedication required to do the best possible job.

    “‘We have our work cut out for us. I can sum up what’s at stake in one word: Integrity. Consumer groups are going to keep us honest. The government and members of the press are going to be our severest critics,’ he said.”

  • In April 1975, a standard was published for larger equipment, and two more covered significant changes for heat pumps and the increasingly important issue of outdoor noise levels. “The new standard bears the number 560-75 and covers ‘Absorption Water-Chilling Packages.’ The updated standards are 240-75, which covers ‘Unitary Heat Pump Equipment,’ and 270-75 for ‘Sound Rating Outdoor Unitary Equipment.’

    “Revised Standard 270-75 also contains updated references and a revised section on ‘Reduced Ambient Operation.’ Heating ratings for heat pumps have been dropped and the rating at Reduced Ambient Operation was added for units designed to automatically reduce fan speeds under reduced ambient conditions to help meet night-time ordinances where requirements during evening conditions require lower levels.”

  • In July 1975, water-source heat pumps were given a standard. “The Packaged Terminal Air-Conditioners Section, at its spring meeting last month, voted to include water-source reverse-cycle heating and cooling units (heat pumps) within its scope.

    “The Section also approved a recommendation that ART Standard 240-75, Unitary Heat Pump Equipment, be used until a new one covering water-source heat pumps can be written by the Engineering Committee.”

  • In Oct. 1975, “A new standard that establishes the requirements for rating commercial and industrial unitary air conditioning equipment has recently been published by ARI.

    “The standard, which applies to factory-made, commercial and industrial air conditioners of 135,000-Btuh and above cooling capacity, bears the number 360-75 and deals with electrically driven, compression-type systems.

    “It is similar to ARI 210 but provides that sensible cooling capacity is required in addition to total cooling capacity. It also requires a part-load rating in addition to the standard rating.”

  • In Nov. 1975, “Standardized procedures for performing tests, inspections, or measurements to evaluate characteristics would be promulgated by the Federal Trade Commission under the terms of S.643, the Consumer Product Testing Act of 1975. The bill was introduced by Sen. Moss (D-UT) and cosponsored by Sen. Magnuson (D-Wash.), Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. Hearings will be held Nov. 11 and 12 by Sen. Moss’s Consumer Subcommittee.”

    “Whenever the FTC determined that a consumer product test method — called a ‘test protocol’ in the bill — would assist consumers in making an informed purchasing decision, it would publish a notice describing the product, identifying the product’s characteristics which could reliably and uniformly be tested, and inviting any person to submit an existing protocol or to offer to develop a test protocol. Once such a protocol has been issued, all products covered by it would be required to comply.

    “The bill gives the FTC the authority to conduct or contract for compliance testing of consumer products subject to test protocols.”

    Efficiency Initiatives

    Herb Phillips remarked that “In the 1980s, federal efficiency levels for residential heating and air conditioning systems were determined thanks to NAECA (National Appliance Energy Conservation Act), which raised efficiency levels for residential air conditioners, heat pumps, and forced-air and hydronic heating systems.”

    The battle between the industry (as represented by ARI) and the Department of Energy (DOE) over raising air conditioner and heat pump levels was particularly heated, because it occurred at a time when the system manufacturers also faced the nearby phaseout of CFC refrigerants and eventual phaseout of HCFCs. The manufacturers recognized that changing refrigerants could mean a reduction in system efficiency.

    ARI’s role here was more as representing the industry in government discussions. In 1987, President Reagan signed the national Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987. ARI says the document was “originated and supported by a unique coalition co-spearheaded by ARI.” The Institute’s board also initiated the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Technology Institute (ARTI) to help manufacturers plan for the change in refrigerants while increasing product efficiency.

    It was no small task. “As soon as you change the refrigerant, the efficiency of a product changes,” commented Phillips.

    Mark Menzer pointed out NAECA required third-party certification. ARI’s testing program already used third-party certification, so it made sense to use it for NAECA verification.


    The first certification program was for room air conditioners. Here is how past ARI Engineering vice president Herb Phillips describes the certification process:

    “An interested program participant signs a License Agreement with ARI and submits the certified ratings of his production models. All models of his products within the scope of each program must be certified.

    “A unit is then randomly selected from an inventory or from a production line by a representative of the independent laboratory. It is sealed and shipped to the laboratory for testing. If the test results are within 95% of that potential participant’s claimed ratings, all of its certified ratings are accepted. Each and every year thereafter, approximately one-third of that participant’s product basic models are similarly randomly tested. Failure to meet claims result in serious penalties,” including potentially heavy fines and notification to the trade at large.

  • In Feb. 1957, ARI announced that the certification program was supported by most manufacturers. “Thirteen members of the ARI Room Air Conditioner Section already had published printed literature giving the Btu/hr capacity ratings of their 1957 room units under ARI Standard 110-56 when this issue of Koldfax went to press late in January.

    “Three others had provided the ratings of their products to ARI, for publication as the Institute sees fit, and were planning to incorporate these ratings in the first re-issue of their specification sheets and consumer literature. Six more had told ARI that they will provide such ratings to ARI, and subsequently publish them, when they have made the tests prescribed in Standard 110-56, upon which the ratings are based.”

  • April 1958 marked an important turning point for unitary products. ARI stated that “A ‘rating certification program’ for unitary air conditioners is being prepared by the Unitary Air Conditioner Section of ARI, in cooperation with National Warm Air Heating and Air Conditioning Association.

    “The program, which follows the room air conditioner testing and rating program to a degree, will be conducted and administered by means of certification of unitary equipment in accordance with ARI Standard 210-57, which sets up a Standard Test Method for Rating by referring to ASRE Standard 16-56. Capacity ratings are expressed in Btu per hour [Btu/hr] or in tons but not in horsepower.”

  • Good ideas will attract like magnets. In Dec. 58/Jan. 59, a Koldfax headline announced, “Unitary Certification Program Set To Go With 30 Participants”

    “Under contracts with ARI, each participating manufacturer agrees to produce, test, and rate these units in accordance with the ARI standard, and to supply the test data to ARI. On acceptance by ARI of this test data, the producer is given the right to use the certificate and seal. The Institute will then include this information in a ‘Directory,’ which will be made available to the trade, to competitors, to the government, and to the public.

    “In addition, the contracting manufacturers agree to ‘random’ testing of their certified products by a laboratory under contract to the Institute. This means that ARI may at any time go to a distributor’s warehouse, ask for a unit by model number, take it to the laboratory for testing, and advise its manufacturer of the test results. If they are not up to the advertised claims, the manufacturer will be told that he must bring the unit into conformance or forfeit the right to use the seal.

    “Under another phase of the program, participating manufacturers are urged to test the certified products of their competitors and report results of these tests to ARI.”

  • In Feb. 1959, “The Unitary Air Conditioner Certification Program is well under way,” the Institute stated “— one of the most important programs undertaken by a product section of ARI in the Institute’s history.

    “Based on testing and rating of unitary equipment in accordance with ARI Standards 210-58 (or 250-58, in the case of heat-anticipated air conditioners), the program counts 33 participants as of early February, representing more than 80% of the total output of the industry.

    “The first ‘Directory of Certified Unitary Air Conditioners’ was published in January, and the first Supplement to this directory has been published early in February.”

  • A good idea will also garner plenty of praise. In Oct./Nov. 1959, “ARI’s ‘Unitary Air Conditioner’ Certification Program was highly praised in a recent Educational Bulletin distributed by the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society.

    “‘P.T. Barnum … is alleged to have said, ‘There’s a sucker born every minute,’ RSES stated. ‘Somewhat the same spectacular type of advertising by some manufacturers of air conditioning equipment has occurred in the past, to sell systems which, when placed in operation, did not perform according to claims made by the manufacturer of the units.

    “‘ARI has been a leader in transforming a chaotic, questionable industry condition by inducing manufacturers to establish a standard whereby all unitary air conditioners will be tested and rated in the same manner.’”

  • In Dec. 1959, ARI managing director Geo. S. Jones Jr. stated that “Undoubtedly, one of the factors behind the 1959 gains of unitary equipment has been the Unitary Certification Program launched by ARI at the beginning of the year to stabilize and standardize capacity ratings of this type of equipment and thus provide the purchaser with a yardstick in the purchase of home cooling.

    “About 90% of the manufacturers of unitary air conditioners are participating in the program, which will be made known even more widely during the coming year as the Institute seeks to give assurance to purchasers and prospective purchasers on what these units will do.

    “… Aside from central residential air conditioning, in which perhaps the most spectacular gains for 1959 will be shown when the final figures are in, the installation of big ‘systems’ for the cooling of office buildings, apartments, and hotels, industrial plants, and similar large structures has continued its upward trend in 1959, although perhaps not so sharply as in the smaller units.

    “Early estimates are that installed value of such systems in 1959 will be more than $600 million, a gain of about 10% from the figure of $550 million in 1958.”

  • The 60s started with hope for the industry, thanks for the Certification Program. The Jan/Feb 1960 Koldfax noted that “Marking completion of the first year’s operation of the ARI Unitary Air Conditioner Certification Program, and the beginning of the second, ARI has issued the first 1960 Directory of Certified Unitary Air Conditioners, in which some 1,995 models of about 50 participating manufacturers are listed.

    “The Directory is being distributed, as were its predecessors in 1959, to dealers and contractors throughout the country, to architects and consulting engineers, to government personnel concerned with air conditioning at national, state, and local levels. …”

  • In March/April 1960, it was announced that “All unitary air conditioning equipment purchased by the United States Air Force in the future must bear the ARI Seal of Certification, under an Air Force directive published in AFP 91-2-1 and signed by Gen. Thomas D. White, Chief of Staff.

    “While the pamphlet working merely ‘recommends’ and ‘requests’ that ARI certification be required, it actually constitutes an order, according to the Air Force.”

  • The program even caught the eyes of Congress. In the July/Aug. 1960 edition, Koldfax noted that “ARI’s Unitary Certification Program has been cited in Congress as ‘an example of free enterprise at work under our American system.’

    “In the June 29 [1960] edition of the Congressional Record, Congressman Joel T. Broyhill, Virginia Republican who was in the home building business before his election to Congress eight years ago, extended his remarks on the floor by inserting the following comment of the ARI program.”

    Spreading The Word

    That summer, the Institute started an aggressive campaign to alert homeowners, service engineers, and home builders to the benefits of unitary certification:

    “Since the ARI clipsheet was issued early in April and distributed to daily newspapers throughout the country, more than 100 papers have issued special ‘air conditioning’ sections using editorial material and illustrations provided in the clipsheet.

    “Material in the clipsheet promotes air conditioning generally and the Unitary Air Conditioning Certification Program specifically. Most papers which have issued special sections have used the … article in its entirety, and many have reproduced the seal of certification, which was supplied to them in mat form.

    “Another piece of copy in the clipsheet which has found wide use in special editions is a short story offering copies of the Unitary Air Conditioner booklet, ‘A New Assurance,’ and cooling load estimate form for 10 cents to all who write in to ARI headquarters. Several thousand individual letters have been received at ARI in response to this offer, and booklets and cooling load forms have been mailed out.”

  • The Oct./Nov. 1960 newsletter announced that “The Unitary Air Conditioner Certification Program was explained at length to members of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society annual meeting at Portland, Ore., late in October by ARI president Rudy Berg. Mr. Berg also explained to the RSES representatives the set-up of ARI, which has always cooperated closely with the Service Engineers on educational and promotional projects.

    “Summing up his remarks on the Certification Program, the ARI president said:

    ‘Now, what does this program mean to you?

    ‘It means, I believe, that you have a selling tool, if you are selling air conditioning equipment, and I’m sure that most of you are. With this background of testing and promotional effort, both in behalf of air conditioning itself and certified equipment in particular, you have some very conclusive sales presentations ready-made for you. In the field of servicing, you and your men will know what you’re getting into when work on a certified unit is called for. You will know many of its characteristics, and how it is expected to perform. No more ambiguities about horsepower — you’ll know its ratings in terms of Btuh.

    ‘… But it means even more than this, and I can’t emphasize this point too strongly: Our industry can build the best equipment in the world, but unless the installers — the service engineers — you people, and your people — install it right, we might as well produce junk.’”

  • In the Feb./March 1961 newsletter, ARI stated that “Home builders throughout the country are being told the story of the ARI Unitary Air Conditioner Certification Program this year through showings of the film, ‘The Climate That Sells,’ at meetings of local home builder associations affiliated with the National Association of Home Builders.

    “… Availability of the film has been made known to executives of the NAHB-affiliates, and many of them have scheduled showings for the spring and summer months. Distribution of the film is being handled by ARI’s Public Relations Department.”

  • The NAHB Journal of HomeBuilding devoted a special section in its March [1961] issue to central residential air conditioning, including the ARI Unitary Certification Program. The Journal used a colored picture of an air conditioned home, showing the outside condensing unit prominently on its cover. The main story in the book’s special section was headed: “Air Conditioning — Will It Sell Homes in 1961?”

    Heat Pump Certification, ‘Witnessed’ Testing, And More

  • In the summer of 1961, it was announced that “An ARI certification program for unitary heat pumps will be initiated as soon as test equipment can be installed and contracts and other preliminary details are completed” — probably by the end of that year, the Institute said.

    “…. The testing of heat pumps will required a longer time and a considerably increased set-up of equipment. They must be made top operate under a wide range of conditions, with possible extremes of 0 degrees F in winter to 100 degrees in summer in areas most suitable for heat pump application.”

  • In May 1963, “‘Witnessed’ testing of unitary air conditioning equipment under ARI’s Unitary Certification Program is scheduled to begin about June 1 in laboratories of those participants whose facilities have been approved as adequate, it was announced by the new Certification Programs and Policy Committee following a meeting in Hot Springs, Va., at the time of the board of directors meeting.

    “Each manufacturer, each year, will have at least one complete test performed at Electrical Testing Laboratories in New York, plus additional witnessed tests in his own laboratory, under the supervision of ETL, or at ETL, to equal 30% of his basic models.”

    As originally set up, the program did not provide for witnessed tests.

  • In early 1965, “The first combined ‘Directory of Certified Unitary Air Conditioners and Certified Unitary Heat Pumps’ was issued as of Jan. 1 as a part of the ARI Certification Programs for these types of equipment. Heretofore, Directories for the two had been issued as separate publications.”

  • The April 1965 Koldfax noted that “Effectiveness of the expanded ARI Certification Program for unitary air conditioners and heat pumps may be measured, at least partially, in the number of ‘starred’ (revised) ratings in the successive editions of the Directory issued by the Institute covering these items of certified equipment.

    “These revised ratings may be credited to a number of factors, including the fact that participating manufacturers have become more rating-conscious during the six years that ARI certification has been effective, and that they are becoming more aware of the need for accuracy in ratings, according to Managing Director L.N. Hunter.”

    Beyond Unitary Certification

  • Based at least partly on the unitary-heat pump certification success, as well as the Institute’s stated intention to look into certifying larger systems for commercial spaces, in May 1966, ARI announced “a program for the certification of forced circulating air-cooling and air-heating coils. The program applies to coils intended for field installation (built-up systems), those for use in central station air-conditioning units, and those for use in central station heating or heating-ventilating units.

    “Cooling coils to be certified under the program include those through which either chilled water or a volatile refrigerant is circulated, and heating coils including those using either hot water or steam.”

  • Also that May, “Discussion of a certification program for ‘packaged terminal air conditioners’ is the first order of business on the agenda of a May 26 meeting of the newly created Subsection ‘A’ of the Unitary Heating and Cooling Section.

    “The designation packaged terminal air conditioners was developed at an organization meeting of the subsection earlier in the year. It was determined that the maximum capacity of units within the subsections scope would be 5 tons (60,000 Btuh), that they would be of a type generally intended for use in individual rooms, provide forced ventilation, and must have components and characteristics agreed upon by the subsection.”

  • In April 1967, “Plans for extension of ARI’s certification programs to air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufactured in Canada or produced in the United States for sale in Canada, are being worked out on a cooperative basis by the Canadian Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Association and ARI.

    “Although details remain to be agreed upon, the evaluation of engineering data and actual testing of equipment will be carried out by ARI, as is currently done under existing domestic programs, and administration of the program. …”

    More Endorsement

  • In Feb. 1969, Koldfax announced that “Promotion of the ARI Unitary Certification Program has moved into a new area with the announcement that this year it will include a series of one-minute, editorial-type features distributed to radio stations across the country.

    “The Unitary Certification Promotion Committee of ARI said the radio feature series is an effort to impress American housewives the year-round benefits of air conditioning and of equipment certification. The first series of one-minute features also will emphasize the value of having air conditioning installed and serviced during the off-season winter months.”

  • And again, ARI was praised on Capitol Hill. “On April 15, 1969, Rep. Joel T. Broyhill, of Virginia, praised the air conditioning and refrigeration industry and ARI for their success in establishing and maintaining effective and workable standards in the interest of protecting the American consumer.”

  • Entering 1971, ARI’s eight certification programs were being widely used. “Manufacturing companies in the air conditioning and refrigeration industry will spend almost $1 million in 1971 to pay for certification of their products under the eight current ARI certification programs,” noted the March Koldfax.

  • Two new ARI certification programs were announced in March 1973, for implementation that year. “The first Directory of Certified Central System Humidifiers will be published April 1. The first Directory of Certified Self-Contained, Mechanically Refrigerated Drinking Water Coolers is scheduled for issue on June 1.”

    Humidifiers models of 10 companies were listed. They were Airtemp Division, Chrysler Corp.; Bryant A/C Co.; Carrier A/C Co.; Day & Night Co.; General Electric Co.; Lau Industries; Lennox Industries Inc.; Payne Co.; Sears Roebuck & Co.; and Skuttle Manufacturing.

    The Energy Front

  • In Dec. 1973, “Retiring ARI president George D. Heeringa … lauded the growth and progress of the air conditioning and refrigeration industry over the past 20 years, but warned his listeners, ‘We’re entering now into a period that promises to be more difficult than any we’ve every experienced.’

    “Heeringa, who is president and general manager of Hart and Cooley Manufacturing Co., Holland, Mich., cited pending government controls and regulations and the current energy crisis as the main obstacles which the industry is facing and will continue to encounter in the future.

    “‘ We have some of the finest people in this industry that I’ve ever been associated with. That’s why I’m looking to the future with confidence that the dedication and quality workmanship of the individuals who serve our great industry will see us through these testing times.’”

  • In June 1974, Koldfax announced that “A national standard designed to effect more efficient use of energy in housing and commercial buildings, is being researched and written by a Coordinating Committee of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

    “Fred Reed, ARI’s director of Engineering, has been a participant on the Coordinating Committee which is working on the proposed ASHRAE Standard Design and Evaluation Criteria for Energy Conservation in Buildings.”

  • In Feb. 1975, “To help consumers conserve energy and reduce cooling costs, ARI this month published and distributed the first industry-wide listing of energy efficiency ratios (EERs) of all certified central cooling units.

    “The EER listings by manufacturer and model number are contained in the Institute’s new Directory of Certified Unitary Air Conditioners. The directory contains more than 95% of all the central cooling units produced in the United States.

    “ARI managing director Monk Munger said that they publication of the EERs is the latest step in the industry’s energy conservation campaign. ‘Publication of the EER figures will enable consumers to purchase central cooling units on the basis of energy efficiency as well as overall performance and safety,’ he said.

    “Window [units] and through-the-wall air conditioners are considered by the industry as appliances rather than home equipment and are not listed in the ARI Directory.”

    Heat pump EERs and COPs were included in the 53rd ARI Directory of Certified Unitary Air Conditioners, which includes a new Section with EERs and COP figures for heat pumps, distributed Aug. 1, 1975.

    Humidifier Promotion

  • The year 1975 was a big one for humidifier manufacturers. “The ARI Humidifiers Section, at its May Spring Meeting, approved a proposed certification promotion budget for 1976 but deferred until the next annual meeting further consideration of a proposed expanded consumer publicity and research program designed to increase humidifier sales.

    “The section also approved the recommendation to include the section about construction requirements in the next revision of ARI Standard 610-74 (Central System Humidifiers), and rejected a recommendation from the Engineering Committee that low-capacity, plate-type humidifiers be excluded from certification tests.

  • Later that year, “Members of the ARI Humidifiers Section were recently mailed additional information about the Institute’s humidifier certification cassette program, designed for wholesaler and company dealer education programs.

    “The program consists of a seven-minute sound and slide presentation that describes the benefits of humidifiers certification for the wholesaler, dealer, and public. It is available for company use as is, and firms can also add their own company logo or sales message.”

  • In addition at the May 1975 meeting, “The Fans and Blowers Section suggested that its Engineering Committee complete proposed ARI Standard 670 (Fans and Blowers) without incorporating formal efficiency ratings into the standard.”

    The Importance Of Certification

  • Certification programs, once begun, need to evolve and change as technology changes. This became particularly true for ARI in the 1980s and 90s, as the HVACR industry started dealing with mandated efficiency increases, the near-term phaseout of CFC refrigerants, and long-term phaseout of HCFCs (which are not quite so far away now). Many standards and certification programs reflected these changes.

  • In 1996, ARI established the Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment Product Section. The new group was formed with 16 members.

  • Herb Phillips noted that these decades also brought “the recognition of the importance of ARI certification by contractors.” This, he said, was due to the certification of unitary system coils.

    “Independent coil manufacturers held out on certification because they did not want to certify as part of a system; they wanted to certify as separate components,” Phillips said. “They wanted coils rated as individual products. However, their performance can only be truly certified as part of a matched system.

    “Once the coils became certified as part of a system, it gave contractors confidence that the coils would be matched.”

  • Most recently, on Sept. 9, 2002, ARI announced initiation of the Indoor Pool Dehumidifiers Certification Program.

    “The certification program, based on ARI Standard 910, Indoor Pool Dehumidifiers, was initiated in 1999 by the Indoor Pool Dehumidifier Product Section, covers factory-made residential, commercial, and industrial pool dehumidifiers.

    “‘ARI-certified products are sought worldwide because of the integrity of the certification program,” said Reinhold Kittler, chairman of the Indoor Pool Dehumidifiers product section. “Our section’s current activities are aimed at enhancing that position and image for our members and those depending on our ARI-certified equipment.’”

    Publication date: 11/11/2002