According to the results of a recent questionnaire that I received via e-mail, my expected life span will take me to the summer of the year 2023. And here are some things that I expect to see by then:

    1. Greatly expanded use of micro-channel HVACR coils.

    2. R-22 shortages and significant price increases starting 2012.

    3. More industry and federal emphasis on refrigerant recovery (at last).

    4. More interest in installing filter-dryers.

    5. More interest in and purchases of vacuum pumps.

    6. More interest in and purchases of vacuum gages.

    7. Availability of new and better refrigerant lubricants.

    8. All airhandlers and furnaces will have variable-capacity airflow capabilities.

    9. Generic DC PM variable-speed motors and controllers will soon become available for the replacement market.

    10. R410A will be scheduled for phaseout by 2020 due to its GWP.

    11. Locking refrigerant caps will be required for all cooling systems.

    12. Standard building-control protocols (e.g. LONWorks) will enter the residential HVAC market, bringing about true “Smart Homes.”

    13. There will be much greater growth in the installation of small multi-zone ceiling-mounted airhandlers in the U.S. residential market, greatly reducing the need for ductwork.

    14. Rotary compressors will be better designed for greater reliability and use in the split-system HVAC market.

    15. Variable-capacity compressors will become standard on all cooling systems.

    16. There will be a shift away from mechanical controllers and toward digital controllers using standard protocols in the commercial refrigeration market.

    17. State and/or federal regulations will require better duct designs and diffuser selection/location.

    18. State and/or federal regulations will require all energy-consuming systems to be certified as meeting minimum efficiency standards AFTER INSTALLATION.

    19. There will be a much broader range of efficiencies and features on packaged HVAC units.

    20. There will be legislation of much higher efficiency standards on all commercial/industrial HVAC and refrigeration systems.

    21. HVAC airhandlers will have built-in anti-microbial devices.

    22. Anti-microbial materials or devices will be built into all new duct and diffuser designs.

    23. Twenty-year warranties will be offered on all internal residential HVAC system electronic controls.

    24. Whole-house ventilation management will be built into all residential HVAC systems.

    25. State and/or federal laws will require zone control for buildings with more than five rooms.

    26. Improved plastics will replace copper tubing for refrigerant lines.

    27. Furnaces will have automatic, fully variable (variable capacity) flame control.

    28. There will be a noticeable growth in the ground-source heating/cooling market nationwide.

    29. Slot-diffuser vents will become widely used in the residential HVAC market.

    30. Separate residential discharge plenums will be eliminated through better air-conditioner cooling-coil housing designs.

    31. The need for crankcase heaters will be eliminated through better refrigeration management and improved compressor designs.

    32. There will be much greater growth of off-peak-use thermal-storage systems in both residential and commercial cooling applications.

    33. Wired 24V control systems will be a thing of the past.

    34. All residential thermostats will be capable of being programmed.

    35. New materials will be developed to replace all copper and aluminum in HVACR systems.

    36. Residential HVACR systems will be replaced instead of repaired.

    37. Simpler, less costly and more reliable duct system designs and materials will be developed.

    38. There will be much more use of hydronic cooling distribution in commercial refrigeration.

    39. All circulating pumps in commercial/industrial heating/cooling systems will come with built-in variable capacity capabilities.

    40. The dedicated-controls market will vanish as such systems become easier to design, program and install.

    41. Economizers and energy recovery will be required on all new commercial HVAC installations.

    42. Pre-packaged ductless-split systems will be sold over the counter to consumers.

    43. Carbon monoxide detectors will be required for all residential gas and oil furnace installations.

    44. The air-conditioning minimum efficiencies will be legislated as 15-SEER by 2012, and 18-SEER by 2015.

    45. Thermo-electric (Peltier effect) heating systems will be introduced.

    46. There will be positively dripless airhandler designs for attic installations.

    47. Residential/commercial systems will be required to shut down or sound an alarm whenever airflow is severely impeded (as with dirty air filters).

    48. There will be built-in refrigerant charge indicators in all residential cooling systems.

    49. Screw compressors will cut a major swath into the centrifugal-compressor market.

    50. The EPA will (hopefully) open its eyes and realize that many banned refrigerants are really ok to use when properly managed.

Do some of the above prognostications sound objectionable to you? If so, I’m just telling you what I think that I will see, not necessarily what I hope to see.