to The Freedonia Group, a market research firm, air purification
system shipments are expected to increase from U.S. $750 million
in 2001 to $965 million in 2006, fueled by ongoing consumer concern
about indoor air, and an increasing willingness to act on those
magazine traveled to Chicago, IL, U.S. to attend the 2003 International
Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition
WeatherMaker(R) 8000 gas furnace from Carrier Corporation (Farmington,
CT, U.S.) is said to enable simpler, more flexible installation
and service. A newly designed vent elbow, with three reportedly
easy-to-access screws, is the only adjustment necessary to
convert to any of the unit's four multi-poise positions. The
advance is also said to enable distributors and dealers to
inventory fewer models/SKUs, while enabling more applications.
"Today's consumers are interested in much more than simply heating
or cooling their environments," Scott J. Boxer, president of Lennox
Industries Inc. (Dallas, TX, U.S.) and member of the board of the Air-Conditioning
and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) tells APPLIANCE.
"Our research shows a growing number of residential and commercial
HVAC customers are becoming increasingly interested in many other aspects
of indoor comfort - for example, air purification and humidity control
- provided by products that are quieter, more energy efficient, and more
Thus, Lennox is introducing its Healthy Climate line of indoor air quality
products, which were developed to meet the needs of a growing number
of consumers demanding healthier, cleaner indoor air. The line includes
PureAir, which the company says is the industry's most efficient air
"As customers become more sophisticated in their knowledge of indoor
air quality and energy efficiency, the demand for these types of products
will continue to grow," he says.
Broan-Nutone's new GuardianPlus(TM) adds energy recovery as a feature
to its standard whole house HEPA air systems. The GuardianPlus ERV transfers
both latent (moisture) energy and sensible (temperature) energy from opposing
air streams, heating/cooling incoming air and minimizing incoming humidity.
Aprilaire (Madison, WI, U.S.) also offers an energy recovery ventilator.
The company says that the appliance reduces unhealthy indoor air pollutants,
such as radon, formaldehyde, smoke, and odors. "Ventilation is one
of the areas that a lot of states and even municipalities are looking
at, with a lot of new homes being so much tighter and more energy-efficient.
They need to bring outside air into it to ventilate it," says Sean
McCarthy, national sales manager for Aprilaire.
HVAC manufacturers are also looking to the materials they use in their
products to make for a healthier environment. During the International
Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating (AHR) Exposition, held in Chicago,
IL, U.S. in January, Carrier Corporation announced an agreement with
AK Coatings, Inc. (Middletown, OH, U.S.) to use AgION(TM), a silver ion-based
compound that is said to suppress the growth of bacteria, molds, mildew,
fungi, and other microbes, in the production of Carrier's top air handling
"Recently, public awareness about mold, mildew, and other microbes
has increased, particularly in the education and healthcare sectors,
as the general public has learned that heat and humidity allow these
elements to infiltrate their buildings," says Todd Bluedorn, Carrier's
president of North American Commercial.
In addition to the
100th anniversary of Willis Carrier's invention of modern air-conditioning,
2002 marked the 80th anniversary of Mr. Carrier's invention of the centrifugal
chiller. August 2002 also marked the production of the 130-millionth
air-conditioner, according to ARI figures.
The celebration doesn't
need to be over yet. William G. Sutton, president of the Air-Conditioning
and Refrigeration Institute told APPLIANCE that 2003 will see record
or near-record residential/light commercial unitary shipments for the
second year in a row. That potential growth will continue to be driven
by the consumer, as the industry works to give the end user the types
of products they want.
Many new residential
air-conditioner products seem to be based on a "smaller is better" theory
as consumers seek compact, sleek designs. And, as always, increased energy
efficiency and reduced noise levels also continue to drive the industry.
Haier America (New
York, NY, U.S.) has introduced an indoor air-conditioner unit, which
is said to be compact enough to fit in a closet or utility room. It is
said to be fully convertible with upflow, left, or right horizontal,
and counterflow positions and features a direct-drive, multi-speed motor
for higher efficiency and greater comfort, according to the company.
LG Electronics U.S.A. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ, U.S.) recently introduced its
Low Profile air-conditioner. At only 12-in high, it reportedly provides consumers
with more window exposure than conventional window units. It has an 11 Energy
Efficiency Ratio (EER), surpassing the U.S. Department of Energy's mandated
GE Appliances (Louisville,
KY, U.S.) has introduced what it calls an "out-of site, out-of-mind" design
for hotel rooms. The company's Zoneline(R) Vertical Packaged Terminal
Air Conditioner has been reconfigured to fit into a corner closet, as
opposed to being installed under a window. The unit fits into a sleeve,
which is directly connected to the duct, drain, and outside plenum. This
means that when the unit needs to be serviced, it only needs to be unplugged
and slid out of the sleeve. It is said to be quiet, as unwanted noise
is further muffled by the closet in which it is installed.
Another type of product
seen throughout the AHR Expo was the portable air-conditioner. Soleus
Air(R) (El Monte, CA, U.S.) has introduced a unit on wheels, which the
company says does not aesthetically alter the appearance of a building
and needs no installation. The air-conditioner features a remote control,
as well as panel control and reportedly moves easily from room to room.
mini-split systems are catching on in the U.S., although slower
than in other regions where energy and space constraints are
of more concern, according to Jack Earnest, vice president of
Marketing at Quietside Corporation, the U.S. and Canada marketing
company for this Samsung model.
seeing more and more mini-splits installed in high-end condos," he
tells APPLIANCE. "Samsung provides individual room control
and greater filtration in each room with ductless mini-splits,
not to mention less noise."
With the likelihood
of a more stringent federal standard looming and the demands for energy-saving
equipment increasing, manufacturers are producing more high-efficiency
residential gas furnaces, according to the Boston, MA, U.S.-based Consortium
for Energy Efficiency, Inc. (CEE). CEE reports that 22 percent of all
available models are rated at 90 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency
(AFUE) or higher, compared to just 12 percent in 1998.
MO, U.S.) is just one of the companies working toward higher efficiency.
The company will make its Maytag M1010 Series 92 percent plus AFUE gas
furnace available in a compact size beginning June 2003. It features
an insulated blower compartment, upflow or horizontal configuration,
and an optional variable speed blower.
On the other side
of the spectrum, the company will also begin manufacturing its first
Frigidaire two-stage 80-percent AFUE furnace in April. "This 80-percent
AFUE Frigidaire furnace allows our dealers to offer the comfort benefits
of the two-stage feature to homeowners who may not be in the market for
the highest-efficiency equipment," says Dennis Kloster, Nordyne
vice president, Marketing and Sales, Residential and Light Commercial.
Pumps Corporation (Olathe, KS, U.S.) introduced this Comfort
Series Instant Hot Water system for the retrofit market. The
company says it provides instant hot water and significant
water savings to owners of existing homes, and is the most
successful HVAC product launch in the company's history.
market was waiting for a practical way to retrofit hot water
recirculation," says Michael Easterly, director of Sales,
HVAC, for Grundfos Pumps North America. "Other retrofit
HWR systems require multiple pumps, electrical installations
at each sink, and often still require a wait for hot water
at the tap, even if the water is delivered hot."
Into Hot Water
According to the 51st
Annual Appliance Industry Forecast in the January 2003 issue of APPLIANCE
magazine, electric water heater shipments are expected to increase 2.2
percent this year, while gas water heaters should have a 1.7-percent
increase. Several issues will affect what the increased end-product will
"The number one
story in the water heater industry in 2003, affecting the entire chain
of distribution including the consumer, will be the new technology for
flammable vapor ignition resistance," says David R. Martin, vice
president, Marketing for Rheem Water Heaters (Montgomery, AL, U.S.)
Effective July 1,
30-, 40-, and 50-gallon, gas-fired, atmospherically vented water heaters
with input ratings of 75,000 BTU/hour or less and produced on or after
the date must be tested to a new American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) Standard: ANSI Z21.10.1-2001.
Rheem has addressed
this issue by unveiling the Rheem Guardian System(TM), its new line of
residential gas-fired, atmospheric water heaters featuring an exclusive
air shutoff system.
Like all FVIR water
heaters, the Guardian System will include a flame arrestor plate to shield
the burner and prevent its flame from spreading beyond the arrestor and
igniting vapors outside the water heater. Since shutting off the gas
supply does not stop vapors from continuing to burn inside the water
heater's combustion chamber, Rheem's safety control shuts off both the
air supply and the gas supply whenever a flammable vapor incident occurs.
The FVIR transition
is scheduled to affect power-vent designs in 2004 and direct-vent and
the remaining (larger) gallon capacities in 2005, according to Mr. Martin.
"This ongoing, voluntary industry approach to developing FVIR technologies
calls for manufacturers to invest their own resources in new product designs
and the methods to test them," he adds.
According to Allen
Wicher, global market manager, Water Heating Control Systems for Therm-O-Disc,
Incorporated (Mansfield, OH, U.S.), a supplier of electronics and electronic
controls to the water heating industry, another driver is a shift in
industry distribution structure. "Where wholesale used to dominate
the channel with about 60 percent of the volume, that has flip-flopped
and retail is now approaching 60 percent of the total market channel," he
"So now water
heater manufacturers are not only looking to meet governmental legislation,
but they're also looking to maintain differentiation schemes for their
products to remain competitive. So products like electronic control systems
run themselves through kind of an upsell," Mr. Wicher adds.
Therm-O-Disc is working
to provide that differentiation by incorporating diagnostics to help
consumers and technicians troubleshoot a water heater. He gives an example
of a dry-start failure where the consumer plugs the electric water heater
in, without any water in it, burning out the elements. This results in
increased returns to the manufacturer.
a dry start prevention feature to reduce these types of returns.
"The manufacturer is looking to reduce its total cost while increasing thermal
management, and creating increased safety and functionality. Control electronics
will continue to play a role in helping water tank manufacturers meet environmental
and energy usage requirements and end-user consumer demand for greater functionality
and economy. That's something we have tied into electronic control systems," he
"The mantra of
OEMs is differentiation, technology and diagnostics."
Another issue affecting water heaters is increasing energy efficiencies. Quietside
Corporation (Whittier, CA, U.S.) has launched a new product, which is multipurpose
as a water heater and boiler. The company's Transax-90 stainless steel heat
exchanger is said to provide hot water for less energy, with energy savings
in a typical residential application ranging from 20-35-percent annually. It
is said to deliver up to 370 GPH of domestic hot water and up to 175,000 BTUH
Instantaneous or tankless
water heaters are also said to address the energy crunch. While they
can cost up to two times as much as a 50-gallon gas tank initially, the
residential versions "pay for themselves" within 2 years or
less and commercial versions are sometimes less expensive at the onset,
according to Robert Kirkpatrick, national sales manager of the Water
Heater Group at Rinnai Corporation (Atlanta, GA, U.S.).
While a tank water heater stores and heats water 24 hr a day, a tankless system
heats water as it is used, explains Mr. Kirkpatrick. While such water heaters
are becoming the standard in most of the world, they are slower to take off
in North America because of the long history of not having a choice other then
tank type heaters, he says.
"With tankless products versus storage, the advantages are space savings,
efficiencies, and aesthetics because it is one less stack sticking out of your
roof," he says.
Mr. Kirkpatrick also
says that the company's customers of the Continuum water heaters say
they can operate up to two showers, a washing machine, and a dishwasher
at the same time, and if the homeowner left them running for a year,
they could return and the water would still be ±2°F.
NH Series of electrode steam humidifiers from Nortec Industries
Incorporated (Ogdensburg, NY, U.S.) features a patented auto-adaptive
water management system, allowing the unit to operate in various
water conditions with minimum water usage and ensures full output
throughout the life of the cylinder, according to the company.
So what does the immediate
future hold for HVAC appliances? According to APPLIANCE's Forecast, the
entire comfort conditioning category should see 0.3-percent growth in
2003. The largest of those increases is expected for gas duct furnaces,
with growth of 6.5 percent expected for that category in 2003. Dehumidifiers
(up 4.4 percent), gas unit heaters (up 4.3 percent), and gas vent-free
inserts (up 3.9 percent) are also expected to see strong growth. But
that, of course, depends on the consumers, who may take their home comfort
home is one of the largest financial investments an individual or a family
will make," says Mr. Earnest of Quietside. "However, most people
are more concerned about looks than taking the time to think about the
Another concern is the struggling global economies. "With consumer spending
being tighter than it has, people tend to repair their equipment rather than
replace it with new equipment," says Mr. McCarthy of Aprilaire. But he
says that older products aren't as energy efficient and that, combined with
indoor air quality, is really what's on the mind of consumers.
"People are always
trying to figure out ways to save money on their energy costs, and consumer
awareness of indoor air quality has improved significantly over the last
5 years or so," Mr. McCarthy says.
a great thing, because it's presented a lot of opportunities for companies
in the HVAC industry, such as Aprilaire, to help meet that need."
what challenges are facing the HVAC industry, many manufacturers told
APPLIANCE magazine that the lack of certified technicians is a major
is power and in an age with so much information available at our fingertips,
we continue to rely on the HVACR technician for consumer satisfaction," says
Jack Earnest, vice president of Marketing at Quietside Corporation. "With
the power of information comes an even greater need for communication.
Our greatest challenge is the constant need for technical training," he
According to Scott
J. Boxer, president of Lennox Industries and member of the board of the
Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), based on independent
research, 87 percent of consumers want a certified technician to service
their HVAC equipment. However, discounting changes that the war on terrorism
might bring, in 2001 the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that
the HVAC/R industry will face a labor shortfall of 104,000 by 2004.
associations, and companies have been working to establish apprenticeship
and other educational programs.
For example, in 2001,
HR 1950 was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives and referred
to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill would
require applications relating to apprenticeship programs be processed
within 90 days by the U.S. Department of Labor, or the Department has
the option of requesting additional time.
In 2002, ARI launched
a pilot program in Milwaukee, WI, U.S. to give students the skills necessary
to enter a career in the HVACR industry immediately after high school.
The idea also spawned the development of a how-to guide called Establishing
an HVACR Program in Your School.
ARI has also joined
with more than a dozen industry organizations to form the Heating, Ventilation,
Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Plumbing Career Education Coalition
which launched a web site (www.coolcareers.org). In addition, the group
distributed kits to 1,300 training programs to recruit high school students
and adults seeking retraining to applied technology courses offered across
The Partnership for
Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) a partnership
between HVACR educators and the HVACR industry, is also now available
nationally for training programs that volunteer to have the quality of
their program compared to national standards validated by the profession.
Partners in PAHRA
include the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), the Air
Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Gas Appliance Manufacturing
Association (GAMA), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and
Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the North American Heating, Refrigeration & Air
Conditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW), and the Plumbing Heating
Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC).
will help HVACR training schools obtain federal, state, and local funding
because they have been accredited by a recognized body. HVACR training
programs have been declining in number in part due to inadequate funding.
But more needs to be done for training and certification, according to HVAC
Mr. Boxer notes that
Lennox is encouraging its dealers to promote certified technicians and
is offering significant marketing benefits to dealers whose technicians
are certified by North American Technical Excellence (NATE), a non-profit
U.S. certification organization for HVAC technicians.
and education will make a big impact on our industry's reputation among
consumers in the years ahead," says Mr. Boxer. "Certification
can be a powerful marketing tool, but more importantly, it is the right
thing to do for our customers and our industry."
By The Book
regulations for HVAC manufacturers evolve from different agencies,
it can be difficult to keep track of them all. Listed below is
some of the latest standards and certifications news.
- The U.S.
Department of Energy set a 12 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency
Ratio) standard for central air-conditioners and a 7.4 Heating
System Performance Factor (HSFP) for most central air-conditioners
and heat pumps to be manufactured for distribution in the U.S.
beginning Jan. 23, 2006.
- Under the
Montreal Protocol, industrialized countries agreed to the eventual
phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) production by 2030,
beginning with a 35-percent reduction in 2004, followed by a
reduction of 65 percent by 2010. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has established a chemical-specific phaseout schedule
to meet the obligations that would eliminate production of HCFCs
in order of their ozone depleting potential. HCFC-141b reportedly
has the highest ozone depleting potential of any HCFC. The deadline
for phaseout of HCFC-141b production was Jan. 1 of this year,
although stockpiled HCFC-141b produced prior to that date may
still be used.
- To combat
toxic mold, the "United States Toxic Mold Safety and Protection
Act of 2002," HR 5040 was introduced in U.S. Congress. It
is said to be the first proposal of a federal indoor mold bill
in the U.S. Among its specifications are the design, installation,
and maintenance of air-ventilation and/or air-conditioning systems
to prevent mold growth or conditions that foster mold growth.
The goal, according to the Act, is to ensure adoption of such
standards by June 1, 2004.
- The American
National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard Z21.10.1-2001 requires
that the design of gas-fired residential water heaters of 75,000
BTUs or less, manufactured in the U.S., "shall not ignite
flammable vapors outside the water heater created by the spilling
of...gasoline onto the floor."
Standard 62-2001, "Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air
Quality" has been revised. Changes include the addition
of Addendum 62u requiring mechanical ventilation systems to include
controls that enable fan operation whenever spaces are occupied.
It also requires the system be designed to maintain the minimum
outdoor airflow under any load condition. Addendum 62v adds requirements
to assure that the air distribution system is capable of delivering
outdoor air to the occupied spaces. The addendum also requires
that the design documents specify minimum requirements for air
balance testing and that exhaust ducts conveying potentially
harmful contaminants be negatively pressured relative to the
spaces through which they pass.
Laboratories Inc. (UL) has launched a new Mark for gas-fired
products. The new Mark features the "UL in a circle" with
the words "GAS-FIRED" and "LISTED." It signifies
that a product has been certified to the appropriate U.S. and
Canadian standards referenced in the fuel gas and mechanical
Standard 135-2001, BACnet - A Data Communication Protocol for
Building Automation and Control Networks, has been approved as
an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and as
a European Committee for Standardization (CEN) standard. Standard
135 will be published as international standard ISO 16484-5 and
as European standard EN/ISO 16484-5.
- The General
Standards Committee of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration
Institute (ARI) has approved and released an addendum to ARI
Standard 550/590-1998 "Standard for Water Chilling Packages
Using the Vapor Compression Cycle." Standard 550/590-98
combines two previously separate standards: ARI Standard 550-92, "Centrifugal
and Rotary Screw Water Chilling Packages," and ARI Standard
590-92, "Positive Displacement Compressor Water Chilling
Packages." In 1999, ARI's Large Tonnage Liquid Chiller Product
Section voted to combine the two standards to reduce confusion
in equipment application and assure consistent treatment for
rating and testing of two very similar and overlapping product