first-hand experience with zephyr dcbl and act technology?

lori_inthenw_gwSeptember 26, 2013

It says that the installer can set the max cfm for the vent, but I've looked at the manuals, and I'm not sure how easy it is to do (or change.) Our house is all electric, but will be tight. I just like the idea of the super-quiet fan and if I turned it up to a higher setting on rare occasions, we'd just open the window a little (fairly mild climate here, too).

The MUA requirement is new in our county, and both our architect and GC don't think it's being enforced, but I don't want to be the first guinea pig, either. Seems like this might offer some flexibility. Plus I think the Zephyr Europa Venezia would be a good aesthetic fit as well. And I like that it's 24" deep. (This will go over 36" induction and all our grilling happens out side.)

This is the PR product text below, so I take it with a grain of salt:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA --(Marketwire - March 05, 2013) - Zephyr, the leader in kitchen ventilation hood design, innovation and technology, today launched the industry's first Airflow Control Technology (ACT(tm)); an exclusive technology that gives builders and developers the ability to set the maximum motor CFM level, without compromising design. ACT is part of the DCBL Suppression System(tm) technology that offers the quietest, most energy efficient and performance-driven hoods on the market.

There are some national building codes that limit the maximum amount of CFM a ventilation hood can output, due to make-up air regulations that are required for all homes. This forces builders and developers to purchase expensive make-up air kits, which includes additional labor and installation costs, or specify ventilation hoods with lower CFM. Often the range hood a customer wants is not available in a lower CFM or the lower CFM models are much more limited in performance. Zephyr has found a solution to the make-up air kits with its groundbreaking new technology that allows the installer to easily set the maximum blower speed to one of four most commonly specified CFM levels: 290, 440, 590 or 715.

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weissman

Interesting - can the homeowner up the CFMs after the inspector leaves?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:21AM
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CT_Newbie

Please explain this. I am considering a 1000cfm Zephyr. Do I have to buy the make up air unit since it is over the cfms listed? Also, just curious how the in-line # (PBN-1000a) differs from 1000 cfm. Are they the same?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 4:13PM
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weissman

Make up air requirements vary by jurisdiction - some didn't have any requirements, many required it only above 600 CFM and the colder climates had lower limits. My understanding is that more recently many locales have been lowering their requirements for make-up air - you need to check your local building codes. In any case, 1000 CFMs would almost always require make-up air.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 5:23PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Weismann, that's what I was wondering. Just out of curiosity of course! But I can't find the description of how that setting is either set up or changed. Can anyone else?

CTnewbie-- sorry, I can't help. Just trying to figure it out myself.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 7:57PM
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CT_Newbie

Thank you Weissman. Laurie, I'm asking my contractor and local appliance store. If I find out anything useful, I'll post it. The Zephyrs are gorgeous, aren't they.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:54PM
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CT_Newbie

Thank you Weissman. Laurie, I'm asking my contractor and local appliance store. If I find out anything useful, I'll post it. The Zephyrs are gorgeous, aren't they.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 11:55PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Sorry, I was away and didn't have very good internet this weekend. Is there really such a shortage of experience with these? I would like to know more about how the maximum flow is set (or changed). I'm hoping it's not just that one fan is disabled and the ventilation is all on one side or something? Or that the entire hood has to be removed and reinstalled to change the max cfm setting? I'll see if I can find out more from someone at the appliance store or Zephyr and let you know.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 5:53PM
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kaseki

I love this careful choice of words: "Zephyr, the leader in kitchen ventilation hood design, innovation and technology, today launched the industry's first Airflow Control Technology (ACT(tm)); an exclusive technology that gives builders and developers the ability to set the maximum motor CFM level, without compromising design." What it compromises is the flow rate. How would one compromise the hood design, block off part of the aperture? The statement is useless except as a means to be misleading.

One method to achieve this exclusive technology is a multiply wound motor that can change rpm depending on how the winding wires are connected to each other and to the feed. This would be done in the motor electrical box. This might have been new techology before Faraday was born. Other schemes that are effectively limitations on supplied power are not very innovative, except perhaps to Zephyr's product line. Gagging the ducting is another possibility, which technically would not compromise the hood design, just the overal ventilation system design.

I would argue that the innovative part (which is a good idea, I think) is providing a flow rate limitation means that Zephyr can specify in the installation manual where the AHJs can see it and check for compliance.

With respect to future changes when one has upgraded his MUA system, under the NEC if motor wiring is done in the connection box to the feed power, the box has to be accessible, so the homeowner could in principle change it. If performed somewhere in the guts of the hood system with extension to an accessible box where the feed was connected, the motor wiring could potentially be buried where a major effort was needed to access it.

kas

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 7:47PM
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gigelus2k13

Don't know anything about this hood, but the "DCBL" motor stands for a brushless, electronically-driven model. The speed of this type of motor is controlled digitally (PWM), therefore the max-RPM setting must reside in the control board itself, either via jumpers (hopefully that's the case) or by the control chip reprogramming. In any case, the access is easy.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 12:33AM
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kaseki

And here I thought DCBL was just a cute way of rewriting decibel, given its usage in a sentence about noise suppression.

I don't recall seeing that usage for brushless dc torque motors going back to the '60s, but we now know that every character saved helps save another virtual tree.

kas

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:43AM
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gigelus2k13

Here is the relevant bit.

Here is a link that might be useful: zephyr's motor

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:23AM
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lori_inthenw_gw

I have looked all over that brochure and also at the installation manual and have still not located the place where they describe HOW the limitation is set. What am I missing?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:44PM
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foodonastump

Do any current models offer this technology yet? If so, which ones? Would think their model specific documentation would address this.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 4:39PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

foodonastump: yes I know at least the Venezia has DCBL, but the details get lost in the marketing-speak as quoted by kaseki above. I couldn't find flow rate setting instructions in the installation manual, so not sure where else to look.

gigelus: control "via jumpers"? Is my GC going to know how to do that if there's nothing in the manual? (On the other hand, if we can't figure it out, I don't suppose the inspector will.)

I'm not worried about safety as we have no combustion devices in the house other than a wood stove and it has to have some sort of passive vent near it that allows air in-- not sure how that works until I see it. I'm fine with using the vent hood on the low and quiet setting the vast majority of the time and cranking a window open if we need it on full blast.

I see there is a link here to a MUA system, but it shows a typical installation that includes a furnace with ducting. We'll have hydronic floors, so I don't know if this is even relevant or if so, how it would be installed. These requirements are new in our county and neither the architect nor GC have had to deal with them much yet,if at all.

Here is a link that might be useful: Zephyr Europa Venezia

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 7:04PM
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foodonastump

Oh ok, you're reading it as all models with DCBL have ACT. I didn't read it that way, but you may well be right.

What is less ambiguous to me is the "without compromising design" clause. Obviously that just means the same hood can work for different CFM requirements.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 8:12AM
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kaseki

Unless very tightly sealed, wood stoves and manufactured fireplaces will backdraft if the hood can move more air than the stove/fireplace MUA duct can supply at a pressure difference (probably about 0.04 in. w.c.) between the chimney top and the fireplace hearth. In other words, a three or four inch duct isn't going to compete successfully with an 8-inch duct and fan unless there are other sources of MUA that supply air at the low backdraft pressure difference.

A window screen could cause enough pressure drop to allow backdrafting when both hood and wood stove are operating. None of this is easy to analyze, so experimentation is called for. If you intend to cook and have a nice fire going at the same time, plan for a possible future upgrade, even if manually controlled, to force air into the house.

kas

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 11:42AM
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foodonastump

Ok, confirmed with Zephyr. All DCBL models have ACT. Adjusted by moving a jumper on the control panel.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 2:44PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Thanks, foodonastump! That is what the salesman at the appliance store told us a few months ago, but I'm glad to hear it verified. (Now if someone could just tell me what a jumper on the control panel is and how one would adjust a setting on such a thing!)

Kaseki, thanks for the insights. The woodstove is a modern one and should be tightly sealed, but in practice, I don't know how it will perform. Understand about the difference between the 3" passive and the 8" plus fan situation, though! We will have a separate HRV system, but I think those are also not very high cfm. I'm still thinking opening the kitchen window during the rare high-fan use will work, but I agree about the need for experimentation. (We probably won't even install the screens on the windows. I know it sounds odd, but we have so few bugs here, we don't use them now.)

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 2:53PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

foodonastump, I got your email, but could not reply as your settings don't allow it!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:47PM
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foodonastump

Thanks I'll have to check that. In the meantime you can click on my username and email me straight from there and I'll respond.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 3:56PM
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gigelus2k13

A jumper is just a removable short. The control board will have a series of pins onto which to place the jumper. I bet that CFM numbers are printed on the board so you will know where to insert the jumper to get your desired max-speed.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:49PM
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lori_inthenw_gw

Thanks, gigelus. The picture helps. Zephyr responded to foodonastump with a page that I never found in the installation guide, but it was just a sketch. It looks like something pretty simple to move, if needed. Thanks everyone who responded. I think this is what we will get. Hope this is useful to someone else someday because it was not easy to figure out!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 6:12PM
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gigelus2k13

Duplicate. How in the world did the little one manage to post on GW when fiddling with the tablet is beyond my comprehension!

This post was edited by gigelus2k13 on Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 1:31

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 5:01PM
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CT_Newbie

Have you tried calling Zephyr? I felt they were very responsive to some of my basic questions. I was told by a local appliance store that I didn;t need an MUA so I didn't pursue questions about that but I would guess, they could explain it to you

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 12:35AM
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lori_inthenw_gw

thanks CT-- I think we are going to be able to make this one work. I haven't found anything I like any better, anyway, and the adjustability of the max cfm is a plus. It seems like it will be really quiet on the lower settings as well, which is how it will get used 98% of the time.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 11:35AM
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gigelus2k13

Here is the relevant bit.

Here is a link that might be useful: zephyr's motor

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 3:34AM
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foodonastump

Little one at it again? :)

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 7:45AM
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