RTU Retrofits Facts and Considerations with JCI

In this episode recorded live at AHR Expo 2023, Matthew Schlegel, the Commercial Product Manager of Ducted Systems from JCI (Johnson Controls) joins Bryan to talk about rooftop unit (RTU) retrofit facts and considerations.

When doing an RTU retrofit, you want to make sure you know the budget before anything else; larger budgets will allow you to implement things like VFDs and even VAV technology. In many cases, you may consider adding an economizer for “free” cooling and energy savings. You also want to know what you will get out of a retrofit in terms of value, especially when it comes to system efficiency and longevity.

Some common IAQ upgrades for RTUs include improved filtration, especially with MERV 13 filters. Economizers also allow you to control the amount of outside air with the help of an exhaust system or even barometric relief. UV lighting can also be used in light commercial RTUs.

When doing a retrofit, you'll want to pay attention to the existing equipment's footprint. Sticking to that footprint will make the replacement aspect easier. The utility and electrical infrastructure are also important to consider, as you won't want to replace the existing piping, wiring, and connections.

With regulations and technology constantly changing, it helps to be able to contact the manufacturer to assist with the retrofit process. Companies like JCI are trying to assist contractors with installations by providing guidance and education in the field.

Matthew and Bryan also discuss:

  • Matthew's professional experience at JCI
  • Adding economizers and VFDs
  • Convertible filter racks
  • Cost-benefit analysis resources
  • Changing regulations
  • Interfacing with the manufacturer during the retrofitting process

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