The contractor-judges inThe News'first-ever Dealer Design Awards were certainly impressed by the entries in the HVAC Equipment - Residential category.

When the votes were tallied, the Evolution Controlâ„¢ from Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems (Indianapolis) garnered the gold medal in this category. As one contractor-judge noted in the comment section of his score sheet, "This is cutting edge technology that will surely change the industry."

The second-place finisher was the Aprilaire Whole-House Dehumidifier, manufactured by Research Products Corp. (Madison, Wis.). Coming in a close third was the Tranquility 27â„¢ Series geothermal heat pump, which manufacturer ClimateMaster (Oklahoma City) termed, "the most efficient residential and light commercial geothermal space conditioning system in the industry today."

Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems said its Evolution Control has been designed to reduce the dealer’s installation time and improve the efficiency of their service calls.

Gold Winner

To say the least, the contractor-judges were impressed with the Evolution Control, giving it high marks for ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and ease of service or repair. In fact, in the area of "overall installation and service benefits to the contractor," the product earned a perfect score from three of the judges on the panel.

"I have installed one of these," remarked one contractor, "and it was very simple to install."

Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems referred to the Evolution Control as "the most technically advanced, yet easiest to use, programmable comfort control in the industry." It termed the control as the "command center and service station" for the Bryant Evolution Systemâ„¢, "providing integrated temperature, humidity, IAQ, ventilation, and zoning control from one location."

In the big picture, the Evolution Control was designed for use with Bryant's Evolution System variable-speed furnaces and fancoils. Optional two-speed Bryant air conditioners, heat pumps, zoning, and IAQ products may also be integrated with the system.

In the eyes of Bryant, dealers can save at least 10 percent on installation time and dramatically reduce callbacks due to improper wiring and system setup because of Evolution's four-wire, color-coded connection.

A bypass damper is not required.

It is Bryant's belief that dealers will improve service call efficiency, too, thanks to the control that provides "information-rich screens that display operating status and fault history. This information will assist in the reduction of service call guesswork and help the technician more accurately diagnose the issues with the system."

At the same time, the control doubles as a service tool. According to Bryant, dealers can get system-wide diagnostic information without entering the home by connecting a second Evolution Control to the outdoor unit. The manufacturer said it can also be unattached from its back plate on the customer's wall and reconnected to any piece of Evolution equipment to help facilitate the troubleshooting process.

To help its cause along, Bryant also developed a comprehensive educational and sales kit, which includes a training video on the technical aspects and installation of the Evolution System, plus a consumer video to help explain the benefits of the product when talking with customers.

For more regarding the Evolution Control, visit

The Aprilaire Whole-House Dehumidifier received high marks from The News’ contractor-judges.

Silver Winner

Just as the contractor-judges had plenty to say regarding the gold winner, they had glowing remarks concerning the Aprilaire Whole-House Dehumidifier.

One contractor-judge provided these written comments: "A truly unique and innovative product that is easy to install and service. It's versatile, to be used either in the home, in a basement, or in a crawl space to dehumidify."

Another judge was less wordy, but no less enthusiastic. "I love this product!" he wrote.

According to the manufacturer, its dehumidifier "is an efficient and effective solution to control humidity. With 90-pints-per-day capacity and power of 115VAC, 9 amps, it features "a robust design, exceptional performance, and flexible installation." The Model 1700 has built-in automatic humidity control, a fully insulated cabinet, and quiet operation, the company noted.

Research Products hailed its dehumidifier as "a completely new sales opportunity for contractors." It is their belief that contractors now have a product to offer a customer that needs whole-home dehumidification "rather than a missed opportunity."

It is the company's belief that a contractor will realize the installation and service benefits in the flexibility and the low maintenance demands of its dehumidifier. As the company noted in its entry form, "The dehumidifier can be installed in a variety of house sizes, and various locations within the home. This will result in easy installation and will reduce the need to carry many different styles and sizes of dehumidifiers to different jobs."

As one judge concluded in his comment section, "It looks like a great fit for our high humidity problems and possible mold problems in basement areas."

For more regarding the Aprilaire Whole-House Dehumidifier, go to

The Tranquility 27 Series from ClimateMaster features a variable-speed ICM2 blower motor, which was designed to automatically adjust to multiple duct system applications.

Bronze Winner

The panel also gave high marks to the Tranquility 27 Series for ease of installation, ease of maintenance, and ease of service or repair. One contractor-judge was impressed with its EER rating - ARI/ISO EER (ground loop) ratings of 27, according to the company. Its COP rating - 4.5, per ClimateMaster - also impressed the judge.

"Currently used in residential and light commercial geothermal installations, the two-speed system handles space-conditioning needs anywhere in the world," wrote ClimateMaster in its entry form. "Owner/occupants of commercial properties with water-loop systems will benefit from the energy savings and environmental safeguards. The EarthPure™ refrigerant [R410A] and trace CO2 emissions also present the Tranquility 27 for ‘green construction' applications."

In regard to assisting the contractor in the installation, maintenance, and service for the product, ClimateMaster noted the Tranquility 27 Series offers front service and replacement access to all refrigerant components in the compressor section. At the same time, all compressor cabinet

components can be serviced or changed from the front access panel. Another benefit is the UPS (Unit Performance Sentinel) feature, which is designed to alert the customer to performance issues before a system fault occurs. Diagnostic lights are standard on all ClimateMaster heat pumps.

For more regarding the Tranquility 27 Series, visit

Publication date: 07/19/2004