AHR Expo meets in Dallas

Written on: March 1, 2013 by Mike SanGiovanni

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The 65th International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition, better known as AHR Expo, set four new records for Southwest shows, say show organizers. The show greeted 33,891 visitors, and counting exhibitors, more than 51,000 people were in attendance for the three-day event, held on January 28-30 at the Dallas, TX Convention Center.

Filling multiple halls covering nearly 400,000 square feet, 1,951 companies exhibited their wares and services. In addition, there were some 100 plus educational sessions, three New Product and Technology Theaters, a Building Automation and Control showcase and a software center.
Awards are also presented at the show. The Eleventh Annual AHR Expo Product of the Year Award went to Rheem Manufacturing Company. Rheem received the award for its H2AC Rooftop Unit, a restaurant integrated AC and water heating system. The system features refrigerant-to-water heat recovery that can reduce the water heater’s energy consumption by an estimated 50%. Rheem also was an Innovation Award winner in the Cooling category.
Created by ASHRAE, AHRI and AHR Expo, the awards program was designed to recognize the most innovative and useful products on display at the AHR Expo. Entries submitted by exhibitors each year are judged on the basis of innovative design, application, market impact and value to the HVACR industry. The Awards are also meant to promote and encourage new product development in ten major categories: Building Automation; Cooling; Green Building; Heating; Indoor Air Quality (IAQ); Refrigeration; Software; Tools & Instruments; Ventilation; Plumbing.

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The entry fees from the AHR Expo Innovation Awards are donated to a local charity in the city where the expo is being held. This year’s total of $10,350 was donated to Family Gateway, a Dallas- based organization dedicated to helping homeless children and their families achieve independence. Family Gateway will use the donation to upgrade outdated and inefficient HVAC equipment in 28 of their family units.
Just about any product in the show has Indoor Comfort applicability, and as we walked the show floor, we noticed quite a few new products being exhibited for the first time. For example, indoor comfort relies heavily on hydronics these days, and pumps and circulators were there in abundance, as were other indoor comfort products.
AHR Expo comes to the East Coast next year: on January 21-23, 2014 it’ll be in New York City, and in 2015, it’s back to Chicago on January 26-28. Then it’s Orlando in 2016 and Las Vegas for 2017.
Below, we highlight some of the new products we saw at the show, items you’re likely to see making their way into homes and commercial buildings in the near future.

Honeywell revamps its smart home thermostats

Honeywell’s two connected programmable thermostats, the Prestige IAQ and the VisionPRO 8000, are up to 60% smaller than previous models. The smart units can control temperature, humidity, ventilation and fan settings from any web-enabled device from any location. The company claims homeowners can cut annual heating and cooling costs by up to 33%.

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The thermostats connect to the Internet through Honeywell’s free Total Connect Comfort cloud-based application, available from the iTunes store or from Google Play. Beth Wozniak, president of Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls, said, “We’re packing more features into a lighter, thinner body to help them complement home décor while managing roughtly half of a home’s energy consumption-and half of a homeowner’s energy dollars….”
She mentioned home décor because the Prestige IAQ can be programmed with a background color to match the color of a home’s walls. The VisionPRO is the contractor’s version, and while it lacks the color controls, is just as programmable.
The Prestige IAQ can control temperature to ±1 degree accuracy, can be programmed with its touch screen (manually or via built in programs) or by the Total Connect app, all in less than a minute. It can even send alerts to the homeowner—it tests the heating and cooling system every time it turns on and if not at peak efficiency, alerts the homeowner. Honeywell says the thermostat integrates with sensors that factor in the temperature and indoor and outdoor humidity levels and the unit can be set to follow a utility’s timeof- use rate schedule for homeowners who live in regions with tiered energy pricing from utilities.
The unit comes in three frame colors-white, black and silver-and sports a 4.3″ high definition touch screen with customizable color matching palette. The new VisionPRO 8000 is compatible with virtually every thpe of heating and cooling system and is highly customizable. One example is the Portable Comfort Control accessory. It is a small remote control with a built-in temperature sensor which allows it to individually control the temperature of any room. “A parent with a newborn could place the device in the baby’s room to ensure it stays at a constant temperature.”  Both units will be available this month. While prices will vary a bit, the Prestige IAQ will be priced somewhere around $300 for homeowners. The VisionPRO 8000 will run about $150. More information: Honeywell.com.

New germicidal UV light for mini-splits and ductless AC

Fresh-Aire UV unveiled its Mini UV System, which it claims is the first germicidal ultra-violet light system designed specifically for mini-split and other ductless airconditioning units in residential and commercial applications.

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The Mini UV employs miniaturized components, consisting of two pencil-thin 9 x 3/8 inch UV lamps and a 6 x 1.5 x 1 inch, 120 or 208-230 VAC power supply. The components fit inside all ductless A/C brands and even tight, compact mini-split spaces. The lamps inhibit mold and other biological growth on blower and evaporator coil surfaces and sterilizes germs, viruses, allergens and other pathogens that grow mainly as a result of condensation moisture.
The estimated 45-minute installation time for new and retrofit applications requires dropping the condensate pan to gain access to interior surface areas. The Mini UV includes industrial-grade adhesive clips for quickly mounting the two lamps inside any ductless unit. The power supply is small enough to fit inside most ductless system line set areas. For more information, www.freshaireuv.com.

Field Controls introduces FlexMountUV

Field Controls has added a new product to their UV-AireTM line called the FlexMountUVTM, a dual lamp air sanitizer designed to take half the space of traditional UV units, but with twice the power. The unit is designed for fast, flexible installation inside package units and air handlers. It is equipped with a large magnet to allow quick installation inside virtually any metal cabinet, and no holes or fasteners are required.

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The FlexMountUV features a high output, dual lamp, available in 13″ and 17″ models and can be adjusted to any desired angle for optimum placement inside the cabinet or over the A-coil. It comes with an adjustable deflector shield and the ballast is separate from the lamp module for mounting out of the way. Connection between the lamp and ballast is via a moisture and UV resistant cable, included in the kit. For more information, www.fieldcontrols.com.

Wilo USA shows high efficiency in-line circulator

Wilo USA, a provider of pumps and pump solutions
for water management, building services and groundwater, showed its latest technologies at AHR, including the Stratos GIGA, a high-efficiency inline circulator with ECM technology for use in hot water heating systems, air conditioning, closed cooling circuits and industrial circulation systems. Wilo says the unit features redesigned hydraulics and permanent magnet motor to achieve better than IE4 efficiencies.

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The company also showed its Wilo IL Inline Centrifugal Circulators, with an extended range for 2013, its WQB Multi-Stage Booster Pump which features extremely quiet operation (67db for an automatic self-priming multistage pump, its Helix Vertical Multistage Pumps with 33% ore head and 10% more flow per stage, and 64 models of its SCP Horizontal Split Case Pumps, which are offered in sizes up to 500HP.
For more information: Stratos GIGA www.wilo-usa.com

Xylem’s Bell & Gossett introduces wireless circulator, commercial pump

Xylem, Inc. announced the addition of the Bell & Gossett ecocirc wireless circulator to its line of hot water circulators. The smart system, says B&G, can save thousands of gallons of water and uses as little as 14 watts of power.

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The ecocirc wireless is designed for plumbing systems without a recirculation line and uses an electronically commutated motor (ECM) to achieve energy savings while operating on as little as 14 watts of power. In continuous hot water systems like this, a valve is installed under the sink or other water outlet farthest away from the water heater, where hot water takes the longest to arrive. The valve is battery-operated and equipped with an onboard temperature sensor and wireless RF transceiver that communicates with the circulator pump, which is mounted to the water heater or hot water source.
The company also introduced its series e-90 commercial centrifugal pump. The pump features high hydraulic efficiency and closed-coupled design and can be mounted either vertically or horizontally for a wide range of applications. More information: xylemappliedwater.com.

Grundfos unveils high efficiency commercial circulator

Grundfos introduced its MAGNA3 circulator, designed for commercial hydronic applications. The company says the new circulator will cut power consumption up to 85% using its AUTOADAPT function that automatically adjusts circulator performance and the new FLOWADAPT control mode that reduces the need for pump throttling valves.

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Grundfos says the MAGNA3 is an energy-optimized, variable- speed wet rotor circulator that features a permanent magnet motor. The design incorporates a variable- speed electronically commutated motor (ECM) that features an integrated logic algorithm to learn the varying energy-usage patterns of an application over time. This allows the software to automatically determine the lowest possible operating- efficiency point, and it does this on a continuing basis, without human intervention. The pump also features improved hydraulics and rotor system; a built-in differential pressure sensor; a carbon fiber reinforced composite rotor can, which seals fluid from the stator motor; constant temperature mode, useful in domestic hot water applications; on-pump TFT display screen; and a rotating power head. More informatiion: us.grundfos.com.