DALLAS — This year the 65th AHR Expo, Jan. 28-30, Dallas, broke records for Southwest shows — more than 51,000 attendees filled the aisles of the Dallas Convention Center, covering 397,000-sq.ft., to see all the newest and most innovative products and technologies from more than 1,900 exhibiting companies.

“We were very pleased with the attendance and the enthusiasm on the show floor,” said Clay Stevens, president of the International Exposition Company that produces and manages the AHR Expo. “The aisles were packed for almost all three days of the Show.”

Xylem Inc., a global water technology company, previewed the addition of its integrated VFD sensorless control on the Bell & Gossett series 80 & 80-SC in-line pumps. Available in the second quarter of 2013, the variable speed drive sensorless controller utilizes the latest generation hardware platform with advanced pumping software and proven algorithms to create a smarter, more cost-efficient and energy-saving pump system for HVAC and pressure booster applications. The sensorless control mode eliminates the cost and complexity of installing and maintaining pressure or flow sensors in remote locations. The new controller also lengthens the equipment life and lowers operating costs of the series 80 pumps. All series 80 pumps feature space-saving design and ease of maintenance for a wide variety of HVAC applications. Also introduced was Bell & Gossett series e-90 in-line centrifugal pump, designed for the commercial market. Featuring a high hydraulic efficiency and closed-coupled design, the new e-90 can be mounted either vertically or horizontally for a wide range of applications. The compact design saves space, eliminates bearing frame maintenance and requires no coupler alignment. The durable new pump also features a vacuum cast bronze impeller and a more robust silicon-carbide mechanical seal to deliver reliable operation in even the most demanding environments. The e-90 is available in eight sizes providing wide hydraulic coverage up to 300 GPM flow.

ClimateMaster displayed its new Trilogy 40 series, the first series of geothermal heat pumps certified by AHRI to exceed 40-EER at ground-loop conditions. The new Trilogy 40 utilizes variable-speed technology to provide a wide range of heating and cooling capacities, with the ability to match loads to as low as 30% of maximum.

In addition, patent-pending Q-Mode technology produces year-round domestic hot water on demand, even when space conditioning is not required. The Trilogy 40 Q-Mode series is the outcome of a five -year collaboration between ClimateMaster and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Program. Based on field tests and analysis by ORNL, the Trilogy 40 Q-Mode can save 55%-65% of annual energy use and cost for space conditioning and water heating in residential applications versus new minimum efficiency (SEER 13) conventional systems, and 30%-35% versus current state-of-the-art two-stage geothermal heat pumps.

Grundfos held a press conference at AHR to announce its Magna 3 circulator. Designed for commercial hydronic applications, Magna3 will cut power consumption, the company says, up to 85% through its AutoAdapt function that automatically and continuously adjusts circulator performance, and the FlowAdapt control mode that reduces the need for pump throttling valves. AutoAdapt allows the variable-speed ECM-based circulator to use an integrated logic algorithm to “learn” the varying energy-usage patterns of an application over time, enabling the software to automatically determine the lowest possible operating‐efficiency point to meet changing demand. By continuously fine‐tuning power consumption and flow rates to meet the dynamic needs of the system, the AutoAdapt function saves both energy and money. A patented differential pressure sensor is built right into the pump housing. A system sensor allows the Magna3 to monitor flow temperature constantly.

Aquatherm’s polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping systems, which are increasingly being used in a variety of PHVAC applications, now feature a threadless transition, featured at show, from PP-R pipe to fixture units and flush valves. This transition allows for installations to be fitted out entirely in PP-R. Now with Aquatherm-to-copper stub-outs, which come in ½-in., ¾-in., and 1-in. diameters, installers can easily transition through a wall to a fixture unit or flush valve using PP-R. Aquatherm teamed up with Sioux Chief Manufacturing to create this new stub-out, which represents a more mainstream transition method for potable and greywater service. The PP-R portion of the stub-out is mold-injected PP-R manufactured in Germany from the same material as Aquatherm Greenpipe and Climatherm and is connected via heat fusion. The copper portion of the stub-out is manufactured in the U.S. by Sioux Chief and is connected using standard copper solder joints or compression fittings.

At Taco’s booth, the new GeoSentry Geothermal Zone Valve was showcased. The GeoSentry Zone Valve is designed to enhance the overall performance of any open- or closed-loop geothermal system by providing accurate, reliable control of exchange fields. A microcircuit-based logic is used to activate a gear-driven, electronic actuator, driving a ball valve body design. The result is a geothermal zone valve with industry-leading energy efficiency, flow capacity, shutoff pressure rating, ease of installation and diagnostic capability. Both normally-open or normally-closed configurations are available.

Much like Taco’s Zone Sentry valve, the actuator mounts to the valve body in either direction. Snap-in quick connects on the back of the valve make for a simple, secure and fast wiring hook-up. A green LED light shows full functionality of the valve’s operation and thermostat status. In a no-power situation, the manual override button allows the ball to be rotated up to 90° with a slot indicating its position. A total of 12 valves can be used on a standard 40VA transformer. GeoSentry zone valves are available in sweat, threaded and three-way configurations.

Watts launched its Triton Plastic Pipe Joining System, a plastic pipe welding solution, while at the show. Triton uses radio frequency electromagnetic technology to improve pipe joining and testing times. Using Triton, ¾” plastic pipe can be fused in about 40 seconds, and welds are ready for pressure testing immediately. Triton includes three components — a control unit, fusers, and fittings — which operate together to create durable outside diameter welds offering unobstructed flow and decreased pressure drop. The use of RF electromagnetic technology also eliminates exposed heating elements, adhesives and VOCs. The Triton Control Unit creates a high-frequency radio signal that is delivered to the handheld fuser. The fuser in turn produces an electromagnetic field. When the fuser is placed around the Triton fitting the electromagnetic field causes a reaction that fuses the plastic into a durable, hermetic weld. The fuser features a patent-pending fuse-tel indicator that gives a visual and tactile indication of a successful weld. The Triton Control Unit automatically calibrates for ambient outdoor temperature. Watts offers a full complement of fusers for corresponding pipe sizes.

Rothenberger USA introduced the ROSCOPE 1000 Video Scope, a handheld battery-powered inspection device designed for plumbers and HVAC contractors to inspect connection and collector pipes. By using different modules, pipes from DN40 up to DN100, and hollow spaces can also be precisely inspected. A patented system in the camera head always keeps the picture upright. The zoom function makes it possible to enlarge the picture and makes it easier to evaluate details. The picture resolution is set at 720x480, while the scrolling feature allows scrolling over details when the picture is zoomed. The recording feature allows recording of pictures and videos on an SD card. The ROSCOPE 1000 Set Pipe 25/16 module enables end-users to inspect pipes up to 4-in. O.D. The flexible camera head allows for 90-degree bends and precisely locating the camera head is simple with the integrated transmitter.

At Webstone’s booth the Hydro-Core Flex and the addition of Press Ball Valves to its Pro-Connect line of solderless products were showcased. The Hydro-Core Flex is a new expanded lineup of complete near boiler piping kits designed for wall-hung boilers with integral pumps. This Hydro-Core Flex represents the latest edition to the revolutionary Hydro-Core, hydronic manifold system. Each kit includes a Hydro-core Double Ball Drain Manifold and flexible Stainless Steel supply/return lines, outfitted with connections for specific boilers. Designed specifically for hydraulic separation and purging the near boiler piping or secondary circuit loops, Hydro-Core Flex is compatible with more than 30 different boiler models from 11 different manufacturers. Also showcased was the addition of Press Ball Valves to the Pro-Connect line of solderless products.  Press Ball Valves are available in lead free and standard brass construction in sizes 3/4” through 2”, and compatible with all standard press tools and guaranteed for life. 

Expanding upon the innovative line of Armor Commercial Water Heaters, Lochinvar LLC introduce two new Armor Wall Mount models at AHR.  Available with inputs of 125,000 Btuh and 199,999 Btuh, the new Armor Wall Mount offers up to 96% thermal efficiency with a 5:1 turndown and a compact, wall mounted design that fits tight installations.

The modulating/condensing units with stainless steel heat exchangers join a line of floor mount Armor water heaters with inputs as high as 1.5 million Btuh. The new wall-mount models are equipped with the advanced Smart System operating control to maximize hot water delivery. The Smart System interface includes a built-in cascading sequencer that allows for water heaters with different Btuh inputs to be installed together to maximize turndown capability. The water heaters offer five unique venting options. They can be installed with direct-vent air intake and exhaust runs up to 100 equivalent feet using PVC, CPVC, Polypropylene or AL29-4C stainless steel vent pipe. Intake and exhaust runs can terminate horizontally through a sidewall or vertically through the roof.

Rinnai America Corp. introduced its Q Premier Boiler. The one-appliance heating and water-heating solution combines a Rinnai heating-only boiler coupled with a 24-gal. charged indirect tank. It is an engineered appliance that provides space heating and high-domestic output water heating. Available in natural gas with propane conversion kits, the Q Premier can deliver 211-gal. of domestic hot water within the first hour. The boiler requires approximately 70% less space than a traditional floor-standing boiler and indirect-tank system. The floor-standing boiler offers the same high efficiency as Rinnai’s wall-mounted boiler. For professionals, the fully assembled system is designed for a zero-clearance installation. Ideal for retrofit or new construction applications, the Q Premier Boiler has flexible plumbing and venting options, along with a reduced need for sourcing components.

WaterFurnace International Inc. announced that its 7 Series variable capacity geothermal heat pump unit has achieved the Energy Star Most Efficient 2012 designation. The 7 Series joins the WaterFurnace 5 Series, Synergy3D Series and Envision Series, all of which achieved the honor earlier in 2012. The other Series were also on display at AHR. The 7 Series is the first variable capacity geothermal unit available for homeowners, and its 41-EER and 5.3-COP ratings are more than twice that of traditional air conditioners or heat pumps and 33% greater than current geothermal units. The unit makes use of a soft-start variable capacity compressor, in concert with a variable speed ECM blower and variable speed loop pump.

Eternal hybrid water heaters revealed two new retrofit-friendly models, the Eternal GU125T and GU160T, during a press luncheon at the AHR Expo. The new GU125T and GU160T provide 125 GPH and 160 GPH of hot water respectively. Designed to retrofit easily in residential applications, the hybrids are half the size of a traditional 50-gal. gas water heater, but almost double the industry output average of 83 GPH. Both models run on ½-in. gas lines at 3.5” WC, vent with 3” PVC, and have 75,000 BTUs and 100,000 BTUs of input respectively. Since the models contain Eternal’s patented hybrid technology, the new units will be highly efficient, Energy Star listed (pending), and capable of providing continuous hot water. The GU125T and the GU160T will be available late spring 2013 and will be backed by a 12 year no leak warranty on the tank and a five year warranty on parts.

NY Thermal Inc. showcased the Trinity Tx, a high-efficiency stainless steel boiler with models that offer outputs of up to 151,000 BTUs. Available in a combi version, this boiler is certified as a heating boiler and is pre-wired for use as an indirect water heater. In fact it can offer full capacity in both heating and domestic hot water modes. The Tx has been engineered to make installation, set-up and service easy via the service ports, test receptacles, easy access, flexible installation and venting and quick release components. The Trinity Tx offers both wall mount and floor stand options for installation, with water connections made at the bottom of the unit. A fully modulating combustion system with 5:1 turndown and advanced outdoor recent control, this boiler meets a home’s needs year round. Low NOx operation, a low loss header manifold and domestic hot water (DHW) heat exchanger means that the system operates as efficiently and environmentally consciously as possible. In fact, The Tx can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 50%, and lead to a reduction of 2.5 tons of GHGs, equivalent to two acres of trees. The advanced operating control includes DHW priority and preheating, modulation to DHW temperature and electronic tempering.

Rehau introduced show-goers to its Smart Controls system, designed for residential to mid-range commercial buildings. Smart Controls can be operated via a Web-enabled device from any Internet-accessible location. The control system facilitates intelligent integration and optimization of a building’s HVAC system components. The Rehau Smart Controls configurator software allows for the integration of HVAC systems, including defining thermostats for each building zone; defining sensors and relays to monitor and control HVAC system components; defining operating parameters for conditions such as temperature, kWh, humidity and CO2 emissions; and configuring the outdoor reset curve. The control center can be customized to allow for remote user interaction with such functions as monitoring temperature, kWh, humidity and CO2 emissions; turning a water heater on and off; and changing the setpoints of each building zone.

Bosch introduced a new line of stainless steel commercial condensing boilers. The Buderus SB series features two models, the SB625WS and SB745WS, with input ranges from 563 to 5443 MBH. This new boiler line is introduced under the Bosch brand, while maintaining its strong identity with the Buderus product category.

The new Buderus high-efficiency condensing boilers feature design flexibility for retrofit and new construction projects. The boilers are tailored to fully meet space heating retrofit applications. This series can be used with multiple fuels including natural gas, propane or heating oil. Boiler insulation comes pre-installed and convenient top connections allow easy access to piping for reduced installation effort. Project costs are reduced due to simplified piping – a high water content heat exchanger requires no minimum flow rate, which eliminates the need for a costly extra circulator.

Off site, Honeywell hosted a press event about the redesigned Prestige IAQ thermostat. The new smart thermostat is up to 60% smaller than previous models, and controls temperature, humidity, ventilation and fan settings from any web-enabled device. The thermostat controls temperature to an industry-best +/- 1 degree of accuracy and allows homeowners to also control and program humidity, fans and ventilation, providing total indoor comfort. The thermostat also virtually programs itself, either on the thermostat or with the Total Connect Comfort app, in less than a minute. It also analyzes how long it takes to heat and cool a home to ensure it is always at the temperature you want at the time you want it. Monitoring and testing the heating and cooling systems is another useful feature. If the system is not running at peak efficiency, the thermostat will alert the homeowner. The thermostat also sends out alerts to homeowners such as when it is time to change a filter or humidifier pad, and integrates with sensors that factor in the temperature and indoor and outdoor humidity levels when heating or cooling the house to help manage use of auxiliary heat, reduce window condensation, and determine the optimum time to ventilate the home. Available in three frame colors —white, black and silver — the Prestige IAQ has a 4.3” high definition touch screen display featuring a customizable color-matching palette to match or complement any home décor. 

Dunkirk showcased the H2O – Single Coil Stainless Steel Indirect Water heater, featuring top connections, low pressure drop, a smooth stainless steel coil, minimal standby losses and a lifetime warranty. It’s available from 30- to 150-gal. capacity, with 316L stainless steel construction and top connections for an easy installation.

This water heater is so well insulated that the water will lose only a half-degree for every hour it stands by. The smooth coil design prevents sediment build-up. The Dunkirk H2O line also offers Storage Tanks, Buffer Tanks and Dual Coil Indirect Water Heaters.

At the show, Gastite confirmed its claim that its FlashShield CSST is currently the only product on the market that provides best-in-class lightning protection by meeting the new PMG LC 1027 performance standards for multi-layer, conductive, jacketed corrugated stainless steel tubing. LC1027 testing evaluated the ability of Gastite’s CSST jacket material to prevent melt-through of the inner stainless steel piping when exposed to simulated lightning voltage/currents that may exist within a residential structure. Gastite commissioned the independent third-party test. An independent lightning test laboratory accredited by the International Accreditation Service performed the LC1027 testing. All samples of FlashShield CSST were subjected to and passed a minimum 96-hour corrosion test as well as Arc Resistance and Bonding Equivalency Testing without puncture or other failure.

ecobee showed that it’s still the go-to electronic thermostat for contractors with a host of wired and wireless communicating thermostats that can be controlled by iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry apps.  The ecobee Smart and Smart Si thermostats are Wi-Fi enabled, come with an easy-to-use Web portal, free apps, color interface and live weather. The Smart model is touch-screen controlled, can control a humidifier and has connections for two remote temperature sensors. ecobee also announced a beta launch of Home IQ that takes thousands of data points, automatically collected through a customer’s ecobee thermostat, and uses advanced math and physics to create a model that learns about the customer’s home, and provides them with insights into their home’s energy performance. That information is integrated into each customer’s Web portal. The Smart thermostats also come with the ecobee Contractor Portal that lets you upload your business information and logo so that it appears on your customers’ alerts and reminders. Contractors can access customers’ HVAC Reports for remote troubleshooting and diagnostics.

Speedclean showcased the FlowJet with chemical injection, making a quick work of cleaning debris and grime from microchannel and thick condenser and evaporator coils. The FlowJet connects to the water source for continuous cleaning. Powerful 400 PSI spray cleans debris and grime without damaging fins. An optional spray wand with 90° nozzle lets you clean from the inside out, forcing dirt and debris back in the direction it entered. It also features a 12' hose with additional 12' extension hoses available.

Rostra Tool Co., innovator and manufacturer of SARGENT PEX Tools announces the introduction of the first ever PEX crimper with interchangeable dies and spring loaded holding pins. Contractors can replace four crimping tools with one. Dies swap in and out with the touch of a button, and spring loaded pins make changing sizes quick and easy. The  9358 SAK Size-All crimper for copper rings is a tool with a specially designed 1” head that accepts 3/4”, 1/2” and 3/8” inserts for copper rings.  The Size-All crimper crimps all those sizes. The Size-All crimper is made in the USA.