This year’s AHR Expo was largely a hydronics show.

Eternal's Condensing Hybrid Water Heater is wall-mounted.

If you look at the heading of this column (above), you’ll see that it is titled “The Air Side,” because that’s my area of expertise. However, since none of the traditional, large U.S. air-side HVAC equipment manufacturers were represented at this year’s AHR Expo in Orlando, FL, it was largely a hydronics show.

It was an unusual exhibition that certainly reflected a down economy. And for the first hour after they opened the doors, I wondered if it was going to be a total flop, because there were so few people walking the aisles. But I guess this was due to the early morning rain, or perhaps most were sleeping in after a long night of seeing Orlando’s many attractions. Because by noon everything became very crowded, staying that way throughout the next two days. And although we locals considered the weather quite chilly (highs in the low 60s), it was sunny most of the time and few heavy jackets were seen in the coatroom.

A food-grade water pipe from Aquatherm.

Some products introduced there that I thought might interest you are listed below for your consideration:

  • Aquatherm’s Green Polypropylene Water Pipe – a food-grade water pipe for almost all applications that is very freeze resistant, and uses a simple heat-sealing process to make firm, sure, permanent connections. See

  • Eternal’s Condensing Hybrid Water Heater - a wall-mounted domestic gas water heater. Why hybrid? Because it’s a “tankless” water heater that includes a small tank. It features a high-efficiency condensing design and a modulating gas valve. However, its claim to fame is the fact that it has virtually no water-pressure loss, which is often a problem with tankless water heaters. See

  • American Hometec’s Electric Tankless Water Heater – a wall-mounted electric domestic water heater with a very unique internal design. To eliminate the problem of efficiency losses due to internal scale buildup, these folks employ quartz crystal heat-exchanger tubes that have a conductive outer coating, which does the heating (no metal coils here), and the tubes carry a 15-year warranty. Their beautiful, thin-cabinet products come in point-of-use and whole-home sizes. See

  • Bell & Gossett's ecocirc e3 series Circulators are for domestic use.

  • Rinnai’s Wall-Mounted Condensing Boilers – to heat an entire home and to provide domestic hot water. Operating very quietly at up to a 96.5% AFUE efficiency, the condensing units use significantly less energy than traditional gas boilers. They offer maximum BTU inputs ranging from 75,000 to 205,000 and come with a variety of venting options: direct-vent ready, out-of-the-box or dual-pipe adaptor. See

  • Bell & Gossett ecocirc®e3 Series Circulators – hot water circulating pumps for domestic use. Featuring an electronically commutated motor, these pumps are said to use 68% less energy (10 watts of power) than most standard pumps and can save an average family of four more than 12,000 gallons of water a year by eliminating the need to wait for hot water to reach the plumbing fixture.  The built-in temperature sensor automatically adjusts the frequency and voltage, and it has a built-in 24-hour timer. See

    In next month’s column I’ll get back to discussing some of the non-hydronic products that I found new and interesting. However, the lack of participation by domestic equipment manufacturers left quite a void when it comes to understanding the latest air-side technology. Many of us would like to see their return and active participation, just to know what’s going on.

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