ORLANDO, Fla. - There was definitely an international flair in the area of nonducted systems at the 2005 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo).

Foreign-based companies were represented in abundance, with manufacturers from Italy, Germany, China, Japan, and Korea on hand to exhibit new products. Because ductless systems are more prominent in other parts of the world than they are in North America, these companies came to the Orange County Convention Center in hopes of selling the value of ductless to the "ducted" crowd.

Ductless Innovations

Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. Ltd.(www.changhongac.com) used the occasion to showcase its light commercial product, the 96000 Btu, which is compact in size and designed to save 40 percent of the space of competitive units. The company, based in Nantou, Zhongshan, China, said it has an "innovative airflow output design" with a washable and detachable panel. The unit can be operated by remote control, and it has user-friendly timer controls, according to the company.

At the booth of Gree Electric Appliances Inc. (www.gree.com.cn), representatives talked about the company's new FP Series terminals. The units are in four different configurations: ceiling series, concealed ceiling series, standing series, and the concealed standing series. According to the company, the units experience no condensate, thanks to a molded water tray, combined with pressed insulating materials. The company, based in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, said the units have air discharge and a drainage function, plus "it can make heating sufficient and avoid pipe freezing in winter."

LG Electronics, HVAC Division (www.lgusa.com) displayed its unique Art Cool™ series. According to the company, which is based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., its duct-free split air conditioning systems offer three unique advantages: duct-free comfort, air purification, and "a stunning visual effect." Regarding the latter, the company can offer its indoor units in popular finishes and art designs "to complement the look of any décor."

"We like to think of it as combining form with function," said a representative. "We are changing the look, feel, and economics of duct-free technology."

While the available colors are limited to three (mirror, metal, and blue), by 2006 the company said it plans to incorporate Wood, White Wood, Cherry Wood, and two painting fronts, Van Gogh and Sisley.

York Industrial (Thailand) Co. Ltd. (www.york-minisplit.com) displayed its MasterGold wall-mounted split air conditioners, which are currently only available overseas. According to the company, its equipment is able to catch small dust particles, aero-sols, and microbes on its electrostatic Bio Screen. The manufacturer claimed that when bacteria are trapped by the germicide fiber, the bacteria cell walls break and dissolve onto the screen, becoming part of the fiber. The company said over 95 percent of the bacteria are killed and 99 percent of the particles are trapped by the Bio Screen, "creating an unsurpassed healthy environment for your home."

While Quietside (www.quietside.com) did not display any new ductless systems, John Miles, director, engineering and technical support, noted it did have new side discharge condensing units. The SDCU line is constructed from galvanized steel, with a baked-on powder-coated finish "to ensure durability in all weathers."

What Miles was more eager to tout was the company's new Ondool System, a collection of floor panels designed to help simplify the installation of radiant floor heating. According to Miles, the word Ondool means "warm stone" in Korean. The panels can be easily assembled and screwed into the floor. There are openings incorporated into the panels to allow water to be piped through the openings. "It was our next progression," said Miles, noting the Ondool System can be incorporated with the company's dual-purpose water heaters.

Fedders not only had its ductless systems on display at the expo, but its new 13-SEER packaged units and more. (Photo by Nelson Moy.)

Expanding And New

Fujitsu General America Inc.(www.fujitsugeneral.com) announced the expansion of its Halcyon IAQ ductless mini-split lineup with the introduction of its new 9,000- and 12,000-Btu models. According to a company spokesperson, the new models round out Fujitsu's line of existing 18,000- and 24,000-Btu models.

Both new models offer all the features and capabilities of the company's larger models, with an additional fourth "sleep mode" extra quiet fan setting, the company said. "This new fan mode enables the units to run virtually silent, running up to 23 percent quieter than conventional models and 40 percent quieter than competitors' models, making them perfect for bedroom or guest room use," said the spokesperson.

Fedders Corp. (www.fedders.com) featured its new ductless mini-splits line, too. The units provide a four-way air discharge deflection and air swing control, designed to allow the user to position the airflow "for better air circulation and cooling."

For added convenience, its new splits also include a one-touch removable inlet grille, designed for easy cleaning. According to the company, the units feature an anti-mold blower wheel and washable filter.

"One major advantage of the ductless mini-split is that it provides high cooling power in a compact design," said Todd Duckwitz, senior manager, product planning, residential HVAC.

"With Fedders' 24-volt DC motor low voltage feature, there is no complicated wiring. Fedders' ductless mini-split is not only cost-effective and easy to install for a contractor, it also saves energy and installation costs for the consumer."

Air Control Industries Inc. (www.aircontrolusa.com) had one new mini-split to show at its booth. Its ACC/ACH models feature three fan speeds plus auto fan, auto restart, auto swing louver, and LCD wireless remote control.

Yamata USA Inc. (www.yamata.com/ricoma) was glad to show off its Ricoma air conditioners. Some of the features include auto swing and wide-angle airflow, anti-rust cabinet, and hydrophilic aluminum fins. According to spokesperson Joe Marquez, delivery from China is 45 to 60 days. The North American operating offices are located in Miami.

Increasing Efficiency

The story at the booth ofTempia Co. Ltd.(www.tempia.co.kr) was how it was making air conditioning more efficient and more environmentally friendly.

"Air conditioners discharge heat from indoors to outdoors during the summer, while the heat pump heaters absorb heat from the low temperature outside and discharge it indoors to obtain high temperatures in winter," said spokesperson Lee Jae-Ki. "However, the performance of existing heat pump heaters drastically falls when the outdoor temperature is -5 degrees C or below, causing failures. Tempia's six-stage method overcomes this existing defect to realize the world's first energy revolution of significantly raising the indoor discharge temperature even in cold regions."

According to Tempia, its units cut heating costs by two-thirds, generate no carbon dioxide, and have multiple safety features.

"We think this is the future," said Jae-Ki.

Parker Davis HVAC Systems Inc. (www.pd-hvac.com) displayed its Pioneer line of ductless mini-splits. The company has a full range of capacities, including cool-only and heat pump models.

New from United Cool Air Corp. (www.unitedcoolair.com) was its MiniDual dual-mount ductless split. According to the company, the commercial split is able to function up to 250 feet from the condensing section. Also, it can be used with an air- or water-cooled indoor condensing unit. Each refrigerant circuit is individually controlled.

Soleus Air (www.soleusair.com) featured its "whisper quiet" single-zone, wall-mount, ductless heat pump mini-split systems. The company noted that some selected models are available with a backup electric heat strip "ideal for secondary heat source in colder climate zones."

EDC International Inc. (www.edcinternational.com) did not have a new ductless system to show. However, new to its stables is its Limpet condensate discharge module, which is designed to collect condensate in most wall-mounted air conditioners. The device straps onto the unit and pumps the condensate into a tray.

Multiaqua Inc. (www.multiaqua.com) touted its ductless chilled water A/C systems. Though it has not added a new product to its line, the company wanted to point out that its product helps control the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus, plus is more energy efficient through zoned control comfort.

At the Haier America (www.haieramerica.com) booth, the company showed its new 12- and 13-SEER mini-split units.

Publication date: 02/28/2005