Spread The Word On CO Detectors

A couple of years ago I purchased a CO detector for my daughter and son for their homes. I have also made a note to include a warning about carbon monoxide poisoning in our customer newsletter. I will use every way that I can to get the word out.

We all know this, but John R. Hall’s column (“I’m Mad as Hell Over CO Poisoning Deaths,” March 25) served as a reminder. We will not install an oil- or gas-fired unit without a CO detector.

Jim Gray, Varney Electric and Mechanical, Roanoke, VA

Fight The Good Fight

I just read John R. Hall’s column (“I’m Mad as Hell Over CO Poisoning Deaths,” March 25) and am 100% behind him.

I was a victim of CO poisoning at my high school in the late 1960s in Oklahoma. Fortunately, I lived to tell about it, along with about a half a dozen other kids on my track team. The flue of a water heater had been blocked by some construction in our locker room, causing recirculation of the exhaust gases in the locker room and production of CO.

From experience, I can tell you, it strikes without warning and if it had not been for one of my teammates going to get the coach when some of us had blacked out, I wouldn’t be writing this now.

The cost for a detector is cheap — I’ve got one in my home and wouldn’t live in a house without one.

My advice to Hall: Stay mad and keep beating the drums about CO detectors. Three hundred deaths a year from CO poisoning is 300 too many.

Dennis O’Neal, Ph.D., P.E., Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Coil Debate Continues

Bob Forty’s venerable hvacr experiences, detailed by Joanna Turpin (“Aluminum vs. Copper: The Great Condensing Coil Debate,” Feb. 18), and comparisons of our industry’s all-copper, all-aluminum, and copper-aluminum condensing coil designs reveals just how committed an industry’s users are to what they’re most familiar with.

Copper tube/aluminum fin (CTAF) coils are “the standard” to some technicians, just as aluminum tube/ aluminum fin (ATAF) coils are to others. Mr. Forty was reported to have seen many trends in his storied career, but he and our hvac industry are about to experience a complete paradigm shift. The other aluminum coils (i.e., brazed aluminum microchannel [BAM] coils) are coming.

BAM technology was first developed for and then transformed the automotive industry. The Montreal Protocol’s mandated R-12 phaseout created the need for larger AL/CU condenser size issues with its replacement, R-134a. Those space constraint issues led to the overwhelming conversion of the automotive industry to BAM a/c condensers in the 1990s, which were lighter, exceeded corrosion resistance requirements, and had greater performance per coil face area.

Positioned right behind the grille and enduring constant punishment under the hood, BAM coils proved effective and robust. Since the beginning, our company, Thermalex, has supplied extruded microchannel tube for nearly 60 million automotive BAM condensers.

As to Mr. Forty’s chief concern for repairability, BAM coil repair is an afterthought in what today is a 6-sigma industry. And new, easy, low-temp brazing options exist today which were not available in the past.

U.S. DOE [United States Department of Energy] recognizes condensers along with variable-speed motors and advanced compressors as “emerging technologies.” ARI listed nationally distributed BAM condenser models, and has several advanced projects underway in its ARTI-21CR program. Many manufacturers are studying BAM technology and its application potential as others ready their product availability. The BAM condensers are here.

Michael P. Panopoulos, HVAC Sales Manager, Thermalex, Inc., Baltimore, MD

[Editor’s note: An article written by Panopoulos, “BAM Coils: The Other Aluminum Coil,” may be found under “Manufacturer Reports” on The News home page.]

Publication date: 04/15/2002