HOUSTON - As one of the top HVAC suppliers in Texas, Century Air Conditioning needs to stock products that are not only good for contractors and their customers, but products that contractors can promote as being ecologically friendly. When staff members were preparing their new Barker Cypress branch location, they needed a high-performance duct system to market to their customers.

The company installed a Knauf Insulation Max 10 system for its thermal properties, the efficiencies of which make it a good green choice. The 10-sided configuration is designed to offer efficient airflow and noise control.

According to Knauf sales representative Ron Sandman, "I knew our Max 10 duct system would be a great fit for their new location. Even better, having a working system on display will allow them to demonstrate the benefits to their own customers."

The system uses Knauf's Duct Board-M, which is grooved to be formed into a 10-sided shape. The duct board's thermal and acoustical performance is enhanced by a tightly bonded mat facing on the airstream surface. Used in the 10-sided configuration, the duct board offers efficient airflow like round sheet metal ductwork, but with improved energy efficiency and noise control, according to Knauf.

The Max-10 system installed at Century A/C’s Barker Cypress branch location shows one of the exposed color possibilities in full view of the company’s contractor customers.

Aesthetic Considerations

In many renovation situations, ductwork is exposed, so the finished appearance is also important. The manufacturer pointed out that traditional spiral or flex duct products have to be painted and repainted if the building's interior design is changed.

Sheet metal ducts are therefore often used for exposed areas. In hot and humid climates, however, heavy condensation can form on sheet metal ducts, causing paint to blister and flake off.

The 10-sided product "is less susceptible to condensation, and the Max 10 system is easily covered with color-imbedded Proto PVC fittings and jacketing available in a variety of shades," said the manufacturer.

Knowing how important it is for HVAC contractors to see new products in action, Century A/C branch manager Michael King said he was eager to showcase the efficient system in the building. It is the best type of new product marketing available for these customers, King maintains.

"When Ron [Sandman] first mentioned Max 10 to me, I looked into it and thought there would be an outstanding market for it in Texas," said King. "For a while I kept some samples on display, but it's really going to help to have the full working system out there."

Century A/C branch manager Michael King displays color samples available for the ductwork’s color-embedded jacketing, which can be changed to match interior design changes.

The Installed System

Century Air Conditioning's Barker Cypress branch is a metal building with a 30-foot-high roof. Thanks to a higher-than-usual drop ceiling, the ductwork is on display at all times.

"The contractor that hung it was very comfortable with the system," King said. "It's very easy to fabricate and install.

"Since the installation, I've had tremendous feedback from our other store managers and our customers. One of our contractors has even brought his customers in to see it. I've been getting anywhere from five to 15 inquiries a day."

Founded in 1973, Century A/C distributes HVACR products in the Houston and southeast Texas areas from 11 locations. It is a privately owned and operated company.

Among the services it offers to contractors are free use of duct board machines at select locations, technical support, bilingual staff, free delivery within the service area, Saturday hours, and after-hours pagers for round-the-clock availability.

It offers the Ruud Dealer Program. "Some incentives are based upon total Ruud purchases, and others are available just by asking," according to Century. The company also administers the Tappan dealer program.

"Our unique approach to inventory control dictates that we stay focused on our customers' needs," stated the wholesaler. In addition to residential and commercial air conditioners, heat pumps, air handlers, and furnaces, the company offers " complete stock of First Company fancoil units, Eubank wall-hung equipment, and G.E. Zoneline PTAC units," plus plenums, transitions, and curbs.

Refrigeration equipment includes Tecumseh compressors and condensing units, Russell refrigeration components, Ameri-Kooler walk-in boxes, and Master-Bilt cases. Parts and supplies include Fasco motors, thermostats and controls from Honeywell and White-Rodgers, Atofina and Genetron refrigerants, Parker and Danfoss refrigeration components, controls from Johnson Controls and Ranco/Paragon, and duct and insulation supplies from ATCO, Knauf, M&M, and Hardcast.

For this wholesaler, it's more than marketing green. It's about serving the needs of the company's contractor customers.

Publication date: 01/19/2004