I know that in my last article, I sounded as though I had wrapped up the new and interesting equipment that I found at the AHR Expo last February, but I started searching through my sack of stuff and found two more items that I thought were interesting. The first is just a pie-in-the-sky heads up, because nothing is available yet. It's something that Goettl Air Conditioning of Phoenix, Ariz., is working on: a heat pump that doesn't have a defrost cycle. How does it work?
Well, the description was just a bit sketchy. But, rather than building up frost on the condenser coil, then kicking it into the cooling mode to defrost the coil (while turning on the electric heater to temper the air), Goettl is installing an electric heater in the suction line as it returns to the compressor, which raises the refrigerant temperature as it enters the coil, keeping frost from forming - and it works! So, what's the delay with the product? Testing to ensure the reliability of the parts.
Now, I'll admit that I'm not a boiler man, so perhaps I should have left this one for Holohan. But I was very impressed by a small, wall-mount whole-house boiler from Monitor Products Inc., of Monmouth Junction, N.J. Its diminutive size (30 inches by 22 inches by 13 inches for the 94,500-Btu unit) comes from their use of copper tubes rather than a steel tank. Its efficiency ranges from 92 to 97% and it is available to 142,000-Btu.
Now on to other stuff. I noticed that almost all residential HVAC manufacturers now offer a full line of branded add-ons, such as humidifiers, high-efficiency air filters, and now even ULTRAVIOLET LIGHTS for air quality. And the latest one to offer such things is Goodman Manufacturing's Janitrol and Amana product lines.
Speaking of ultraviolet lights (they are used to kill mold and germs in airhandlers), the problem with them is that the bulbs (which are a bit pricey) should be replaced once each year, so they are hard to sell. I was interested in a new UV product from EcoQuest International of Greenville, Tenn., (they call it the Fresh Air Ductworx) that I was told uses a higher range of radiation and it lasts THREE YEARS. However, then the whole product must be replaced - but the price isn't that high.
I liked a new condensing unit cover from AC Top Hat of Lowell, N.C. This is an attractive, round, flexible cover that mounts over the condenser fan with magnets, to keep rain, dirt, leaves, etc., out of the unit. So, what's so special about it? If someone forgets to remove it and turns the unit on, it simply blows off (no compressor damage).
Something that really looks good is the rounded E-Cap PVC high-efficiency furnace vent cap from Peak Industries of Oklahoma City. It is available in 1.5-inch, 2-inch, and 3-inch sizes. It eliminates the need for the typical “plumbers nightmare” design that is used to keep water out of the pipes, and it can fit on both the intake and discharge pipes.
I usually say “ho-hum” when I get to bathroom vent fan displays, but I noticed a good-looking and interesting new product from the British manufacturer Airflow (www.iconofan.co.uk), called the Icon. It has closed louvers that open automatically when the fan is turned on, and the fan can turn on automatically whenever the humidity gets too high in the bathroom.
Also, I usually bypass the grille and register booths rather quickly, but this time I was stopped by a manufacturer that really had a story to tell. They are Accord Ventilation Products of Greensboro, N.C. I was particularly interested in their ABS plastic line of registers, first because they are hard to tell from metal types. They come in all sorts of colors, as well as metallic and wood finishes. But after I heard that their plastics have an imbedded anti-microbial agent, I realized that this is something special. And the interesting story about ABS plastic registers is that the louvers always work well, they never rust - and the price hasn't gone up!
Finally, I'm stepping into another area where I have little expertise - the world of circulating pumps. I'll have to admit that a friend asked me to stop by the Grundfos (of Olathe, Kan.) booth, but I was impressed by two new products: the SuperBrute, and their Instant Hot Water System.
The SuperBrute is simply a 1/25th HP circulating pump (for hot or cold water) but it has a switch that sets it to three different speeds, so one pump takes the place of three - makes sense. But I want the Instant Hot Water System in my home. It consists of a circulating pump and a small valve, and it's designed to circulate hot water throughout a home, so it's always hot when the faucets are turned on. The small valve is placed between the hot- and cold-water lines at the end of the longest run. And whenever the hot water turns cold, the valve opens, circulating the water back to the water heater for reheating through the cold-water pipe.
Next month, we'll take a look at some interesting new service tools, parts and pieces. <<