In this day and age of environmental awareness, homeowners are more keen on energy efficient products than ever before. Thanks to Federal stimulus dollars, utility and state government rebates, and manufacturer specials, high efficiency mechanical systems are now very affordable for the majority of homeowners (at least until the end of December). To achieve greater efficiencies, especially on the air conditioning side of the system, equipment size has increased exponentially. The reason — more coil surface area, greater heat exchange, and higher efficiencies. But this design trend is being reversed by some HVAC manufacturers.
According to J. Kelly Hearnsberger, director product marketing for Goodman Global Group, Inc., Houston, TX, the company's mission is to become the heat transfer experts in the HVAC industry. For the Goodman and Amana brand, the genesis of that expertise revolves around their SmartCoil™ technology, which employs five millimeter copper tubing and aluminum fins in the condensing coils.
During a trip to visit Goodman Global to learn more about their latest technologies, Contracting Business.com had the opportunity to talk with Hearnsberger and several other product managers on the latest product developments and enhancements from the company, and what lay in the future with regard to technology.
"With the SmartCoil products, it's all about increasing the efficiency of our condensing units, reducing the footprint, and using less refrigerant," explains Jim Fisher, product manager, split systems. The smaller foot print requires less copper and other natural resources making the unit more environmentally friendly and yet, it still has a great heat transfer capacity," he says.
With regard to forced air furnaces, Andrew Karl, gas furnace product manager, adds, "the Amana brand employs a stainless-steel, dual-diameter, tubular primary heat exchanger. This feature allows the units to be backed by a lifetime unit replacement limited warranty to the original, registered homeowner. Goodman brand gas furnaces use a similar tubular heat exchanger made from aluminized steel. These gas furnaces are covered by a 10-year unit replacement limited warranty and a lifetime heat exchanger limited warranty to the original, registered homeowner. The durability of our heat exchanger design is amazing." The Amana brand heat exchanger has successfully cycled over 2 million times in our reliability laboratory. From a modulating standpoint, Karl says Goodman Global is launching a furnace line in 2011 that will be compatible with the "ComfortNet™" communicating control system.
Speaking of which, Fisher is also the product manager for the company's communicating control system: ComfortNet (http://bit.ly/ComfortNet). This communicating control system helps HVAC contractors avoid the time-consuming (and potentially confusing) wiring arrays frequently associated with high-efficiency residential HVAC systems.
"In fact," says Fisher, "the HVAC technician never needs more than four control wires to connect a gas furnace or air handler to the control system. Our goal was to make the installation of a high-efficiency system as easy as the standard efficiency systems."
Goodman and Amana brands currently feature several enhancements to the heat pump product lines. The updates are focused primarily in the split system and packaged units, according to Fisher. Standard features on heat pumps now include crankcase heaters, suction line accumulators, high-density sound blanket, discharge line mufflers, as well as, the "Smart Shift™" defrost transition controls.
Darren Sheehan, product manager for packaged products, says there's considerable excitement around the 3- to 20-ton commercial packaged product units. From an installation standpoint, he says the packaged units from three to 12.5 tons in capacity will fit onto many existing roof curbs. This feature not only saves installation time for the contractor, but lowers the total cost for the customer. Many of the Goodman commercial products also feature same-side service accessibility, and the compressors are mounted outside of the condensing coil.
"In addition to offering field installed accessories, we're launching factory installed options, including economizers, hail guards, and electric heat kits," he explains. "These features were all driven by dealer input during our design and development of this product line. Our entire commercial product line was developed with extensive input from contractors from all over North America. With contractor input and support we’ve been able to develop an outstanding line of commercial products."
"Dealers are our product development partners," says Hearnsberger. "All of our design improvements are based on their needs, their input. When they talk, we listen. After all, they install HVAC products and systems every day, and they're the experts. We work to design products that fulfill those needs and that provide the greatest heat transfer surfaces.
"For Goodman Global, everything that goes into Goodman and Amana brand products and systems is designed around the concept of reducing waste, using fewer raw materials, recycling where it makes sense, and being environmentally economical and responsible in all we do. At the same time, our products remain easy to install, service, and maintain. Our customers would expect nothing less from us," adds Hearnsberger.