May 22, 2024

OEMs Offer Innovative High

The demand for innovative, energy-efficient, and high-performing HVAC equipment continues to grow, thanks to homeowners who understand the benefits that these premium systems can offer. These informed consumers see the value in investing in systems that promise better comfort, improved IAQ, and significant energy savings.


• High-End HVAC

• High-Efficiency HVAC

To meet this growing demand, many manufacturers are offering a variety of advanced, feature-laden HVAC solutions. This is leading to a wealth of opportunities for HVAC contractors, who can offer their clients a number of premium solutions that are designed to exceed customer expectations.

VARIABLE SPEED: Carrier’s top-of-the-line, variable-speed, heating, cooling, and IAQ products are known as the Infinity System. (Courtesy of Carrier)

Carrier’s top-of-the-line, variable-speed, heating, cooling, and IAQ products are known as the Infinity System. These products are designed to work together seamlessly to let homeowners customize their home's indoor environment while also giving them information to make smarter decisions about energy management, said Heidi Gehring, director of residential product management at Carrier.

“The biggest advantage of our Infinity System is the ability to create the ideal level of comfort,” she said. “All the parts work together, giving homeowners superior energy efficiency, quiet performance, and the ability to control it from anywhere.”

This premium product family includes the Infinity 26 air conditioner with Greenspeed Intelligence (up to 24 SEER2); the Infinity 24 heat pump with Greenspeed Intelligence (up to 22 SEER2); the Infinity 98 gas furnace with Greenspeed Intelligence (up to 98.5% AFUE); and the Infinity ductless heat pump with basepan heater (up to 42.5 SEER and 15 HSPF).

Greenspeed Intelligence is created by pairing adaptable-speed technology with the Infinity System Control, which enables communication between indoor and outdoor equipment. This allows the system to learn and adapt, which offers greater comfort and performance for homeowners. For example, when managed by the Infinity Control, the modulating gas valve of the Infinity 98 gas furnace with Greenspeed Intelligence makes tiny, 1% adjustments between 40% and 100% capacity, giving the home only the amount of heating necessary.

The Infinity System also benefits HVAC contractors, said Gehring, who noted that the products are “infinitely easier to install, start up, and service, while offering industry exclusives unmatched by the competition. On-screen service prompts that include the dealer’s name and phone number virtually assure a customer for life.”

Contractors will appreciate Carrier’s latest innovations as well, which include the new, patent-pending InteliSense Technology. Available exclusively in the Carrier Performance Series, InteliSense gives dealers the power of remote diagnostics and real-time updates, said Gehring. Another innovation, the updated Carrier Service Tech App featuring Near Field Communication (NFC), allows dealers to simply tap their mobile device to the NFC antenna on the control board of a furnace to modify installation settings or pull diagnostic information — without any power to the unit.

FLEXIBLE SYSTEM: With the VRV LIFE, up to nine indoor units can be connected to a single outdoor unit. (Courtesy of Daikin)

Daikin's top-tier VRV Life product is a heat pump system employing variable refrigerant volume (VRV) technology to provide the flexibility of gas, all-electric heat pump, or a combination of both gas and all-electric heat pump heating, called dual fuel heating. The VRV Life outdoor unit can be matched with either a traditional residential ducted gas furnace and evaporator coil for gas or dual fuel heating, or it can be matched with an air handler or several styles of ductless models for all-electric heat pump heating.

With the dual fuel application, the chosen heating method — either gas heat or all-electric heat pump heat — is determined by the parameters set by the installation contractor. As a multizone system, up to nine indoor units can be connected to a single outdoor unit, with indoor units being a combination of either ducted or ductless for ultimate application flexibility.

“VRV Life provides high efficiency along with the ultimate in application flexibility for both new construction and retrofit, offering unique application possibilities that are many times difficult or not possible with traditional ducted systems,” said David Palazzolo, director of residential product marketing at Daikin. “Several different types of indoor units, both ductless and ducted, provide the contractor and end user with the ultimate system control, performance, and comfort.”

At the core of the VRV Life system is built-in intelligence, which gives the homeowner independent zoning control with maximum flexibility, as well as energy savings when compared to traditional residential single- or multi-stage ducted systems with single zones, said Palazzolo. With the ability to connect up to nine indoor units to one outdoor unit, the space-saving VRV Life system is ideal for most residential projects.

“The wide range of connectivity offers contractors the opportunity to configure and customize the system to address homeowner needs and address any comfort challenges present in the home,” said Palazzolo. “The flexibility of up to nine different zones and the connectivity to the ducted gas furnaces makes the VRV Life system a great solution when homeowners are looking for efficiency and ultimate zoning comfort. The outdoor units can also reuse most existing line sets, saving time and money on installations.”

When operated with the Daikin ONE+ smart thermostat, the VRV Life system offers contractors and owners remote monitoring capability, saving time and money on the maintenance of the system, said Palazzolo.

SPEEDY INSTALL: The YZV heat pump comes with sophisticated, built-in technologies designed to speed up installation and routine service. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

Johnson Controls’ high-end dual-fuel system, the York YZV 19 SEER2 Affinity heat pump paired with the York Affinity YP9C 98% modulating gas furnace, provides homeowners with superior comfort, energy efficiency, and reliability, said Mark Reding, product manager of ducted systems at Johnson Controls.

“Dual-fuel systems are essential to residential electrification and decarbonization and allow for the use of the most effective heat source based on energy costs or capacity,” said Reding. “In very cold outdoor temperatures, residential heat pumps alone can see a decrease in heating capacity and require a backup heat source, which can be electric resistance or fuel combustion. Electric resistance ‘strip’ heating is highly inefficient and can significantly strain the electric grid. In comparison, a furnace’s fuel combustion heating can be less carbon-intensive than electric resistance heating during the infrequent periods it’s needed.”

As the primary source of heating and cooling, the YZV heat pump matches changing comfort needs for even, consistent comfort and minimal energy use. A variable-capacity scroll compressor dynamically adjusts capacity from 30% to 100% of nominal capacity with overdrive ability to meet the most demanding outdoor conditions. The unit’s precise refrigerant control uses indoor and outdoor electronic expansion valves controlled by advanced algorithms to maximize efficiency and capacity.

To ensure faster installation and service, as well as added peace of mind, the YZV heat pump comes with sophisticated, built-in technologies designed to speed up installation and routine service, said Tom Tasker, senior product manager of ducted systems at Johnson Controls.

“York Charge Assurance ensures optimized setup without connecting gauges, sensors, or accessories and provides built-in system refrigerant charge measurements by simply removing two screws,” said Tasker. “This allows an installing contractor to quickly and accurately install and charge the YZV and receive a direct readout of system performance that shows high and low system pressures, suction and liquid line temperatures, and system superheat and subcooling calculations.”

Tasker expects to see additional innovations as high-efficiency HVAC equipment continues to grow in popularity. For example, advanced connectivity can help simplify service for contractors, while innovation in controls technology will result in smarter comfort management that is easier to use, he said.

COMMAND CENTER: The Lennox S40 Smart Thermostat is the command center for the entire system, having the ability to monitor sensors throughout a home and in all HVAC equipment. (Courtesy of Lennox)

Lennox Industries offers a premier, high-end residential HVAC system called the Ultimate Comfort System, which combines the best of the Dave Lennox Signature Collection products to create a whole-home HVAC comfort system, said Sweta Hari, director of product management for IAQ and controls at Lennox International.

The Ultimate Comfort System is designed to provide exceptional energy efficiency and consistently clean air, with products including:

Earlier this year, Lennox expanded its suite of smart products with the launch of the Lennox S40 Smart Thermostat and accessories. This innovative new thermostat is more than a temperature regulator, said Hari; instead, it’s the command center for the entire system, having the ability to monitor sensors throughout a home and in all HVAC equipment.

“When paired with the Smart Air Quality Monitor, the S40 Smart Thermostat detects and tracks particulates, carbon dioxide, and volatile organic compounds inside the home,” said Hari. “The monitor is the only one on the market that enables on-demand ventilation, purification, and filtration based on real-time air quality readings. Dealers can also use the data from the Smart Air Quality Monitor to increase sales on necessary IAQ products.”

Another benefit for contractors is the Smart Technician App and Service Dashboard, which streamline installation processes and enable remote troubleshooting and diagnostics, resulting in time savings and fewer service visits. The availability of performance and installation reports also empowers contractors to fine-tune system settings for enhanced efficiency.

Looking ahead, Hari noted that one of the next-generation innovations for HVAC equipment is the advancement of cold climate heat pump (CCHP) technology.

“Lennox’s achievement in the DOE's CCHP Challenge demonstrates our dedication to accelerating environmental sustainability through ongoing product innovation, efficiency gains, and greenhouse gas emission reductions — making clean, efficient heating and cooling solutions more accessible across North America,” she said.

LG’s premier offerings include the Art Cool Gallery Multi F indoor unit and the Multi F MAX with LGRED° heating technology.

The Art Cool Gallery is available in 9,000 and 11,200 Btuh models, and unlike traditional wall-mounted ductless units, they are a square picture frame that allows customers to easily modify and personalize the unit with their own artwork or photography. Its Chaos Wind feature electronically controls fan speed and vane angle position to create a more natural flow of air, while the Jet Cool feature operates at a higher fan speed for 30 minutes to quickly cool down a room. The return air is filtered with a factory-supplied, removable, washable pre-filter.

The Multi F MAX with LGRED° heating technology (up to 22 SEER) offers a multi-zone heat pump, with a single outdoor unit that can connect up to eight indoor units. The system provides continuous heating down to -13°F and 100% of rated capacity at 5°F and is available in 36K, 42K, and 48K sizes.

“Ideal for residential and light commercial applications, LG’s Multi F Max with LGRED° is designed to allow individual indoor units to be placed in respective rooms when sized correctly, enhancing space comfort by enabling individual temperature settings while avoiding over-cooling and/or heating and thus minimizing uncomfortable temperature swings,” said Terry Frisenda, executive sales manager at LG Electronics USA Air Conditioning Technologies.

The Art Cool Gallery is a flexible, wall-mounted unit that can be retrofitted in most residential and commercial settings. There is no need for ductwork or window installation, said Frisenda, and units are designed to mount on a vertical surface. They come complete with an installation mounting guide and a separate hanging bracket, and the unit allows refrigerant piping lengths up to 229 feet.

IAQ and electrification, as well as new refrigerants, will spur the next-generation innovations in HVAC, said Frisenda.

“Changes in refrigerant requirements will help the HVAC industry move toward products with less negative impact on the environment,” he said. “However, the HVAC industry is still managing the refrigerant changes that will be implemented over the next few years. On the bright side, these changes will make HVAC products more efficient.”

CEILING MOUNT: The EZ Fit MLZ-KP (bottom) and MLZ-KY (top) is designed to fit into shallow ceiling cavities. (Courtesy of Mitsubishi Electric)

Mitsubishi Electric’s ceiling-mounted indoor unit, EZ Fit, is designed to fit into shallow ceiling cavities, making this slim unit a popular selection for room upgrades or new construction projects. The EZ Fit (up to 22.9 SEER2) allows for zoning, operates very quietly, and provides a clean, flush-mount appearance, said Ken Johnson, senior manager of West Coast performance construction at Mitsubishi Electric Trane HVAC US.

“Mitsubishi Electric recently launched a new ½-ton model, the MLZ-KY06NA-U1, which is the perfect capacity for smaller load spaces, such as bedrooms, closets, dens, etc.,” said Johnson. “The introduction of this ½-ton unit means the EZ Fit can match up well with the heating or cooling load of almost any room in the home. It also has a smaller grille, so proportionately, it looks more attractive in these smaller spaces.”

Another benefit is that the EZ Fit is the only product on the market that fits between 16 inches on-center joists and only requires 8 inches of clearance, said Johnson. He added that installers will also appreciate that these units don’t require an access panel, meaning they can be serviced from below. In addition, the EZ Fit has a built-in condensate lift, eliminating the need for a condensate pump.

“With the EZ Fit, new homebuyers can expect a much more energy-efficient system, no energy loss due to ducts and duct leakage, stable temperatures, and quiet operation from the indoor and outdoor units,” said Johnson. “Because there are no ducts with the EZ Fit, there is no dust or other matter introduced into the home and no need for duct cleaning.”

While the EZ Fit has already been a breakthrough product with builders, architects, engineers, installers, and homeowners, said Johnson, Mitsubishi Electric offers another innovative technology as well.

“The 3D i-See Sensor on Mitsubishi Electric's MSZ-FS Deluxe wall-mounted indoor unit and SLZ four-way ceiling cassette uses a rotating infrared sensor to scan a room in order to develop a thermal image and determine occupant location,” said Johnson. “Using this temperature profile, the system can then direct warm or cool air to where it is needed to make the entire room comfortable.”

Rheem’s new high-end heat pump, the EcoNet-enabled Endeavor Line Prestige Series RP18AZ, is Energy Star certified and offers efficiencies up to 20 SEER2/12.5 EER2/8.5 HSPF2. The unit is available in sizes ranging from 2 to 5 tons and features smart technology, including EcoNet communication for auto system configuration at installation, remote monitoring and alerts, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

“As more consumers look to electrify their heating solutions, the RP18AZ is a great choice for colder climates,” said Jeff Goss, director of residential project management at Rheem. “In heating mode, it delivers an industry-leading 2.25 COP at 5°F and 100% of its heating capacity at 17°F. Season after season, the unit helps keep the consumer’s utility bills low, keeping their home consistently comfortable while reducing their carbon footprint.”

The inverter-driven, variable-speed compressor in the RP18AZ provides cooling operation between 40% and 100% of capacity (with overdrive capability up to 115% in extreme conditions) to continuously meet ever-changing heating and cooling needs. Homeowners will enjoy exact temperature and advanced humidity control that combine to exceed optimal comfort expectations, said Goss.

Contractors will appreciate that the unit features Bluetooth connectivity, which helps with installation and diagnostics, said Goss. He added that built-in technology — PlusOne Diagnostics — with the Rheem Contractor and EcoNet Apps make advanced setup, monitoring, troubleshooting, and repairing the product easier than ever before.

“In an independent study, we’ve proven that the new Contractor App allows a contractor to properly diagnose a system fault 62% faster than competitive equipment, making the lineup Rheem’s most energy-efficient, reliable, and sustainable offering to date,” said Goss.

As far as future innovations are concerned, Goss noted that these will likely be centered around improving energy efficiency, comfort, and sustainability.

“HVAC systems are increasingly integrating advanced control systems to optimize performance,” he said. “These controls can monitor and adjust temperature, humidity, and ventilation based on real-time conditions, occupancy patterns, and weather forecasts. Additionally, energy management systems provide comprehensive monitoring and analysis of energy consumption to identify areas for improvement and achieve energy savings.”

REMOTE MONITOR: Trane’s premier systems now feature the communication technology, Trane Link, which is designed to simplify installation, commissioning, and remote monitoring of variable-speed HVAC systems. (Courtesy of Trane)

Trane’s premier 17, 18, and 20 SEER2 variable-speed HVAC systems now feature Trane Link, an award-winning communication technology that is designed to simplify installation, commissioning, and remote monitoring of variable-speed systems. When paired with the Trane Diagnostics mobile app (for technicians) and the Trane Home app (for homeowners), both contractors and homeowners will receive the best experience possible with ease of use, peace of mind, and customizable comfort, said Paul Parish, digital adoption manager for Trane Technologies Residential HVAC.

“Trane Link enables a precise installation, saving time and giving both the technician and homeowner peace of mind,” said Parish. “After an install is completed, technicians can provide the homeowner with a Homeowner System Report, which captures the successful completion of automated system tests. Post-installation, homeowners can also opt-in to have their system's data remotely monitored for even the slightest system changes, staying ahead of any problems.”

Trane Link technology has a centralized system that interacts with the Trane Diagnostics mobile app, helping to ensure accuracy during the installation process of variable-speed systems and certifying accurate installation before the team finalizes the job. Trane Link systems are built to be plug-and-play, so once technicians have connected the outdoor unit, indoor unit, system controller and smart thermostat, they simply need to turn on the system. The equipment will communicate and configure the system automatically to default settings.

The all-new automatic charging feature, SmartCharge, is built into every variable-speed system with Trane Link. Coupled with a charging solenoid, the Trane Diagnostics mobile app works with the built-in system sensors to automatically charge the equipment without constant technician engagement. Once charging is complete, the Trane Diagnostics mobile app will alert the technician and provide an overview of the results.

“With these new features, contractors can expect a higher degree of installation accuracy, faster commissioning, and reduced callbacks — all combining to make these systems our most reliable ever,” said Parish. “With the monitoring and diagnostics of Trane Link, homeowners can relax and enjoy the exceptional comfort their variable-speed system provides.”

Joanna Turpin is a Senior Editor. She can be contacted at 248-786-1707 or [email protected]. Joanna has been with BNP Media since 1991, first heading up the company’s technical book division. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Washington and worked on her master’s degree in technical communication at Eastern Michigan University.