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Enalasys' innovations keep coming

March 11, 2002|By RICHARD MONTENEGRO, Staff Writer, Dateline: Calexico

Enalasys Corp. made a name for itself more than two years ago when it introduced a patented diagnostic tool for troubleshooting inefficiencies in home heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

After executing a marketing and sales agreement with $5 billion global HVAC controls powerhouse Honeywell Home & Building Control in early 2001, the Calexico-based enalasys, formerly known as Federal Air Conditioning Technologies, unleashed its whole-house troubleshooter on HVAC contractors and utility companies throughout the nation. Called the escanAC, the device is now a standard tool with more than 80 contractors.

Since January, enalasys, nestled among office buildings and wrecking yards on Avenida Campillo, has been rolling out its second product and companion to the escanAC.

Dubbed the Airscan, enalasys through a licensing agreement and partnership with Portland, Ore.-based AirAdvice, is distributing via its escanAC contractor base an online indoor air-quality monitor that tracks temperature, humidity and particulate matter and carbon dioxide levels in a home.


"It's part of our ‘Piece of Mind' campaign," enalasys Chief Executive Officer Eric Taylor said. "The EPA has reported indoor air quality is five times more polluted than outdoor air in most major cities."

Said enalasys Director of Operations Mike Davis of the Airscan: "It's the next product in powering our HVAC contractors in revolutionizing their industry."

Plugged into a power source and an analog telephone line, the Airscan transmits detectable particulate and CO2 pollutant levels to a Web site administered by AirAdvice. When undesirable levels are detected in the home, an email is sent to the homeowner or the distributing HVAC contractor makes a phone call warning of conditions.

"To show what's happening, our contractors will print out a report from the Web and take it to the homeowner," Taylor said, "and give them the solution."

Taylor said plans are under way for equipping the Airscan with a radon detection component. While radon isn't a problem in California, radon detection is a common business in the eastern portion of the country, home to many of enalasys' contractors.

Davis said the uses for the air-quality scanner are endless, with Taylor foreseeing its use in office buildings and hospitals.

Some 300 Airscans have been placed in homes throughout the country, including about a dozen locally through contractor Locke Air Conditioning of El Centro.

Taylor said the Airscan is the second of seven "smart" products enalasys plans to launch aimed at improving home energy efficiency.

"Our goal is to build a contractor network infrastructure across the country that will install communication products in the home," Taylor said.

"We want to be known as the company that fixes the indoor air," he added.

In the wake of deregulation in California and many parts of the country, utilities have begun to take notice of the services enalasys can provide as a means to lowering energy consumption.

Enalasys' escanAC finds hot and cold spots, duct leaks and other home HVAC problems contributing to energy waste. By employing capture hoods laden with numerous sensors, as well as sensors in and outside the house, information is collected in a laptop computer and interpreted through computer programs designed by enalasys programmers.

"Duct leaks contribute to an energy waste of 30 to 40 percent annually," Taylor said.

He added, after winning a bid, Locke Air Conditioning recently completed an HVAC efficiency study on 90 homes within the Sacramento Municipal Utility District using the escanAC.

What's more, Taylor said one of the nation's largest utilities, the Tennessee Valley Authority, recently began exempting contractors in its service area from the need for an exhaustive heat pump inspection if escanAC and Airscan technology are used in the home. Enalasys has worked with the TVA for some time now.

The former owner of Jet Express delivery service, Taylor said, "We're going to revolutionize the HVAC industry the same way Federal Express did with the (package) scanner."

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