New Product Development – ComboFlair
The ComboFlair Space Conditioning and Water-Heating System was developed to meet the need for a compact energy-efficient space heating-cooling and water heating system for factory-built residential homes.
Traditionally, space-heating systems installed in HUD-Code manufactured homes are inherently inefficient electric resistance furnaces with no provision for air-conditioning. Upon delivery to new homeowners, the furnace is discarded and replaced with a combined heating-A/C system at additional cost for homeowners who need air-conditioning.
DeLima Associates assembled a team to develop a space conditioning system that would enhance comfort conditions while also reducing energy usage at the systems level. The product, Comboflair® was defined as a result of a needs analysis of project sponsors and industry stakeholders. An integrated system would be developed that would combine a packaged airconditioning system with a small-duct, high-velocity air distribution system. In its basic configuration, the source for space heating would be a gas water heater. The complete system would be installed at the manufactured home factory and would require no site installation work at the homesite as is now required with conventional split-system air conditioners.
Several prototypes were fabricated and tested before a field test unit was completed in October 2005. The Comboflair® system, complete with ductwork, was installed in a 1,984 square feet, double-wide manufactured home built by Palm Harbor Homes in Austin, TX.
After the home was transported and installed at a Palm Harbor dealer lot in Austin, TX, a data acquisition system was installed for remote data collection. Over 60 parameters were continuously monitored and measurements were transmitted to a remote site every 15 minutes for performance analysis.
The Comboflair® system was field tested from February 2006 until April 2007.
The cooling system performed in accordance with the design specifications. The heating system initially could not provide the needed capacity at peak heating conditions until the water heater was replaced with a higher capacity standard water heater. All system comfort goals were then met.
As a result of field testing, we have identified improvements to be made to specific components for incorporation into production models.