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    Fiscal Discomfort Does Not Have to Mean Physical Discomfort When it comes to Indoor Air Quality

    April 5, 2012
    No one would argue that these are tough economic times. Still, although your individual financial situation might cause you some fiscal discomfort, there’s no reason it has to be accompanied by physical discomfort.

    No one would argue that these are tough economic times. Still, although your individual financial situation might cause you some fiscal discomfort, there’s no reason it has to be accompanied by physical discomfort. And even if it takes just one look at your 401K to make you hot under the collar, you should still be cool as a cucumber in your own home.

    Millions of households continue to rely on older central air conditioning systems to provide relief from uncomfortable summertime heat and humidity. Besides their general inferior performance as compared to today’s high SEER rated variable speed units, these older systems have one primary drawback: they are not as effective and/or efficient at keeping air-moisture levels low. This can be a problem, since drier air is far more comfortable than humid air. What’s more, excess humidity in the air decreases overall indoor air quality as well as provides a fertile breeding ground for mold, mildew, and dust mites, which can lead to serious health issues.

    Naturally, these folks would appreciate the efficiencies and performance of a new system, but due to fiscal constraints, many are unable to afford the high costs of a new system or significant upgrade. Consequently, they not only feel the heat in their wallet, they have to feel the physical discomfort in their residences as well.

    Consider some of the various alternative devices available on the market for improvement:

    • High SEER Rated Systems: Upgrading an existing system to a new 13+ SEER rated system is expensive, given the cost of a new variable speed unit. What’s more, properly sizing and positioning the unit in the existing space can prove difficult. And what if a replacement motor is ever needed? The high cost to replace a variable speed motor is one thing to consider, but sourcing a proper replacement in a timely manner can be even more of a challenge.
    • Ductless Mini-Splits: These do have a significant upside: greater and more efficient zone control. However, the price – from $1,500 to $2,000 per ton or 12,000 BTUs – is prohibitive, while the units must be sized on an individual basis per room.
    • Dehumidification Systems. The price tag for a system to achieve whole-house dehumidification can run from $1,500 to $3,000, not counting the cost of installation.
    • Fan Coils: Unlike the other options, these are relatively economical but they are exceptionally noisy. Further, because they are unattractive, they are typically used only in low- or no-traffic areas, such as basements and garages.

    An affordable, multi award-winning solution
    There is, however, a multi award-winning alternative that is not only cost-efficient but highly effective: the CC750 Comfort Control Center from ICM Controls, a leading U.S. manufacturer and supplier of electronic controls to the HVACR industry.

    The CC750 enhances comfort and indoor air quality of the home or workplace by intelligently controlling the blower speed in the structure’s existing single-phase central air conditioner or heat-pump. By safely reducing the blower speed, the CC750 helps the existing system more effectively draw moisture from the air, thereby quickly reducing humidity levels to improve and maintain overall indoor air quality and end-user comfort.

    When used in conjunction with a system equipped with advanced IAQ devices, the CC750 also allows these devices to operate more effectively and efficiently, leading to even greater end-user satisfaction. By allowing the air to stay in contact longer with the IAQ devices, the CC750 can play an important role in keeping occupants healthier and create a perfect option for elderly residents, allergy sufferers or people with asthma.

    Plus, the CC750 protects against mold propagation by keeping humidity levels low (it has been shown that relative humidity levels below 60% eliminate most mold, mildew and dust mites).

    The overall comfort of the system is complemented by the noise reduction that can be achieved. The slower fan speeds coupled with a programmable “Skip Frequency” menu option results in imperceptible fan operation and makes the device one of the quietest of its kind on the market.

    As an added bonus, during colder months, the CC750 also provides warmer air discharge temperatures for heat pumps.

    A stand-alone product, the CC750 eliminates the need for – and costs of – extra equipment; it can be easily mounted in or out of the air handler, enhancing its appeal.

    Reduced Energy Consumption
    As a variable frequency/variable voltage fan motor speed control, the CC750 varies the blower speed of the existing central air conditioner or heat pump based on the evaporator and return air temperature. A field-adjustable temperature differential between the evaporator and the return air duct is maintained by controlling the blower speed. Simple-to-use, menu-driven programming allows the installer the latitude to fine-tune key parameters to establish a latent and sensible cooling ratio best suited to the environmental conditions unique to each install.

    These advanced features increase the potential for reduced energy costs that cannot be overstated.

    Besides improving overall system efficiency, the device through the resulting drier air allows for higher set point temperatures in the home while improving the overall perception of comfort. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every two degrees that you raise your thermostat in the summer, you can save 5-7% on your cooling bill. Furthermore, with controlled fan speeds from the CC750, a system will consume less overall power for the potential of even greater energy savings. In these challenging economic times, that is a notable advantage.

    Contractors, homeowners praise CC750
    It’s one thing to read about the benefits of a device like the CC750. It’s quite another to hear about these benefits directly from the people who install them and know firsthand the benefits that can be realized. Larry Stewart, an outside sales associate with Florida Cooling Supply, performed a test installation at a home in Melbourne, FL. His experience with the product was extremely positive.

    “The residents of the home where I installed the product were completely satisfied,” he said. “They can’t hear it, and the air in their home feels much more comfortable. Everything I’ve heard and read about the CC750 is true.”

    “The CC750 provides a very economical replacement for an old unit where the variable drive has gone bad. It is the perfect option, where you can buy an inexpensive, standard motor to go along with it. We’re saving the customer a lot of money and giving them a better product.”

    The energy savings of the CC750 did not go unnoticed. “This is such a unique product,” he said. “It is the perfect thing to save customers money in the long run.”

    Installation of the CC750 was smooth, “It was very easy to put in,” Mr. Stewart noted. “And that’s saying something, since I’m not an air conditioning technician.”

    Bill Price, a purchasing agent with Duncan Supply, has a similar tale to tell about the CC750. “The system works perfectly,” said Price. “I’ve seen a number of benefits since the system was put in: increased efficiency of the UV light and electronic air cleaner, lower humidity in the summer, more comfortable heat from the heat pump during the winter, and lower noise levels.”

    And the installation? “It took just an hour. And it was fairly easy” he said.

    American-made quality and reliability
    It’s worth noting that, unlike many of its competitors, ICM Controls has a philosophy of keeping all of its operations in the United States. “We made a commitment years ago to invest in America and in ourselves, and resist the temptation to outsource,” said Ron Kadah, president of ICM Controls, whose company is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary and proudly brands its Made-in-the-USA ideology. “The decision to become a vertically integrated manufacturer has served us, and our customers, extremely well over the years by providing greater control over both sides of the supply chain.”

    It has also allowed ICM Controls to maintain its high standards for reliability while continuing to push the bounds of innovativeness in technology – all of which is easily transparent in the CC750.

    “Our OEM customers appreciate our greater design flexibility and faster times-to-market, while end-users continue to benefit from our ability to more closely monitor quality and performance on our full-line of OEM and aftermarket products.”

    Clearly, the experiences of Price and Stewart cast a positive light on the performance of a product that can be a welcome addition in these difficult economic times. As it has been stated before, drier air is more comfortable, and any device that can help produce it should be looked at very seriously. The CC750 Comfort Control Center fits the bill on all counts. It’s not going to solve the current financial crisis. But it’s a good start.

    For more information on ICM Controls, visit www.ICMControls.com.