Wheeler On HVACR: New HVACR Technology - Other Products
In the last two issues of this magazine I covered some new industry technology that I noticed while attending this year's AHR Exposition in Anaheim, Calif. last January. And, of course, it was impossible to do justice to all the exhibitors at all the hundreds of booths by taking the time to find out what technology each of them had to offer. However, I did come back with a handful of literature on products and technology that I found new and interesting, at least from a supply-house perspective.
Having worked in the indoor air quality field in the past, I have many times wished for a HEPA air filter system that I could install as a replacement for the standard filter rack that you find in office lay-in ceilings. When trying to sell a project to improve the air quality in an office building (for example), all I could find a few years ago was (almost) HEPA filter boxes that had to be installed in the return-air ductwork. This not only added installation expense to the job, but it made replacement of the filters difficult. So I was interested when I noticed the Q3-400 Ceiling Filter System from HEPA Corp. (Anaheim, Calif.) at the show. Of course, because HEPA filters have greater pressure losses, they require more area than standard filters, but that manufacturer seems to have all the necessary hardware covered.
Just a simple little product that seems like a good idea is the Corrview from Corrview International (Landing, N.J.). It is a sight glass plug that contractors screw into HVAC water lines to indicate any condition that would cause the pipe or condenser tubes to be damaged (high flow, corrosion, pitting, galvanic activity, etc.). Of course, failure damages the plug and it must be replaced. But this relatively inexpensive and easy-to-install device can save thousands of times its cost on large commercial jobs.
In the “What's New in Service Tools” field, I was impressed with a new clamp-on Amprobe meter from TIF (model ACD-14). What impressed me is that this true RMS meter has two separate displays on the body, one for reading amps and the other for volts - and they can both be read at the same time! This will be of interest to more affluent technicians who are tired of having take the extra time and trouble to read both current and voltage separately, which usually has to be done on service jobs.
Something that I wish we could get more HVAC installing contractors to use is another simple and inexpensive new device from Thermaflex (Abbeville, S.C.), the FlexFlow Elbow. What does it do? It is made of two adjustable plastic straps that are connected together at a 90º angle, which are used to make smooth 90º connections of flex duct to diffuser boots. Back when galvanized elbows were commonplace, such devices weren't needed. However, whenever flex duct is the only connector, something (like this) is needed to ensure that each diffuser receives proper air flow.
Since there were so many foreign companies at the show looking for distribution, I wanted to include at least one of their products, so I have chosen the BacComber electric water treatment devices from Ecospec Pte Ltd of Singapore. I have long wished that there was a way to get contractors into the water-treatment business, so they could be responsible for the entire HVAC job on large commercial buildings. However, nobody wants to get into the chemical business. One of the two electronic panels this company sells uses electromagnetism to reduce corrosion and scale, while the other uses copper-silver ionization to control algae. Pretty simple and pretty complete, but probably pretty pricey.
And finally, for those of you who also sell plumbing products, this column wouldn't be complete without giving honorable mention to the new Japanese electronic toilet that has several cleaning, seat lifting, and comfort functions. There is a whole control panel on the right-hand side. I don't know what this product was doing at the AHR Expo, but as I passed I noticed several contractors having their pictures taken either lying next to it or posing as though they were sitting on it.
Yes, quite a show!