I predict indoor micro-channel coils to be the inevitable future of our industry.

As I pointed out in my column last month(Part 1), except for the lack of participation by the major domestic HVAC manufacturers, the 2010 AHR Expo in Orlando, FL, was well attended and quite a success. The only major (part) U.S. equipment manufacturer there in any size was the newly-formed Daikin/McQuay group, and I’ll give them the “Most Employees Per Booth Square Foot” Award - they had plenty of people present to discuss their product with the many interested attendees.

Delphi had a new "A" style micro-channel evaporator coil.

New and interesting: micro-channel coils

I’ve been following the progression of the micro-channel coils into our market with a lot of interest, because these zinc-coated aluminum coils are smaller, use less refrigerant, and they maintain their efficiencies longer than their traditional copper-tube aluminum-fin counterparts. They are being used on some Carrier and York (Johnson Controls) cooling products, as well as on a few other smaller brands. However, until now they have only been used as condenser (outdoor) coils. But this year the largest manufacturer of these types of coils,Delphi, had a new “A” style evaporator coil on display that they had developed for both straight cooling and heat pump applications.

What other advantages do such indoor coils offer? They are extremely thin, extremely light, and they cost less to produce. So contrary to the views of many of my friends, I predict these types of coils to be the inevitable future of our industry. And while I was there, the product engineer gave me a peek at the next generation - what I would call a spread-horseshoe design, which is even less expensive to manufacture. However, to date, no equipment manufacturers have bought into this product.

Silentium offered a noise-reduction system.

New developments in HVAC equipment

Fujitsuwas showing an add-on to their current line of inverter-driven mini-split systems, something they call Flex-Zone. With these refrigerant splitter boxes, you can very efficiently operate up to eight individual zones of indoor coils from a single outdoor unit. For example, you could take a two-story house with eight zones and a cooling-load design of 5.5 tons, and operate it quite efficiently from a four-ton outdoor unit, taking advantage of load diversity. For more information, seewww.fujitsugeneral.com.

Here are some other new products that you might find of interest:

  • General Tools and Instruments has a new line of bore-scope video inspection tools (for looking inside things such as ducts, drains, furnace heat exchangers, etc.), which start at the amazing low contractor price of $189!
    See www.generaltools.com/Products/The-Seeker-200-Video-Borescope-System

  • Silentium, an Israeli manufacturer, had a great new idea on display that I’m sure many contractors will find valuable - an electronic noise-reduction system for installation inside such things as condensing units and air-handler/furnace outputs and return ducts. The contractor prices start in the $150 range. It includes a loudspeaker and low-voltage electronics that provide significant noise cancellation. For more information, see www.silentium.com.

  • La-Co showed its Cool Gel Heat Barrier Spray.

  • La-Co was showing their new Cool Gel Heat Barrier Spray. This water-based gel comes in a spray bottle that is used to protect sensitive parts and surrounding flammable materials when brazing and welding. Because it comes as a sprayable gel, it can be used on vertical surfaces (their demonstration was pretty impressive). For more information, see www.laco.com.

  • Resource Conservation Technologies was at the Expo with an innovative line of AquaGuard secondary drain pans and water sensing systems. What could I have found interesting about a secondary drain pan? Well, if you had seen the 200+ pound rep jumping up and down on this product, which can be bottom-supported from just two points and has cushioned mounting for a standard horizontal air handler or furnace, you would have been in awe also. Tough stuff and a great idea! They come standard with an integral magnetic float switch. For more information, see www.rctus.com.

  • CPS had something on display that caught my attention, although there was no technology involved - it’s just sexy! What they call their Vortex refrigerant manifold set is designed for the service tech who thinks himself/herself cool, and I was told that there’s a huge demand for it. What’s so appealing about it? It’s all black and chrome! Prices start around $150. For more information, see www.cpsproducts.com.

    These are just a sampling of the thousands of new things that were on display at this year’s Expo, and I’m sure that many of the company reps that I talked to will be disappointed that I didn’t mention their product. However, these were the ones that most interested me, and it’s all that I have room to cover here.

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