Turning Up the Heat

Written by Pauline Muller

Headquartered in Waterloo, Ontario, with a second facility in Langley, British Columbia, Viessmann Manufacturing Company, Inc. has a new range of next-generation boilers that push the boundaries of modernity further than ever.

Everything about Viessmann Manufacturing Company Inc. is efficient, and while clean lines and minimalist design have always been part of its signature style, this innovative leader in heating solutions has just added to its traditional offering with a crisply designed, range of boilers engineered to suit even the most demanding modern lifestyle.

The company’s product design is every bit as slick as its technology. The new boiler design “matches the philosophy of everything we do. Whether it’s a boiler, a presentation, or software, we keep things very simple, sophisticated, and functional,” says Benjamin Jewell, Product Line Manager for North America. Whether these boilers are installed in purpose-built spaces or into smaller living arrangements, they blend into their surroundings effortlessly.

Choosing any Viessmann product is about a lot more than heating or hot water. Every product comes with the company’s service backed by its knowledge base with dedicated instructors at training facilities guiding installation contractors. Its Canadian office is also home to its engineering and controls departments and a CSA Group-certified testing laboratory.

The Vitodens wall-mounted high-efficiency boiler range comes standard ready for high altitude natural or propane gas installation and carefully blends the best new technology with dependability to create the company’s most efficient, reliable, low-maintenance, and intuitive Vitodens unit to date.

“From a volume perspective, the current models of our Vitodens wall-hung residential boilers are our most popular products, and we are excited to be launching our new versions of these models, including a few additional sizes, in July 2021. We are expecting these new models to be equally, if not more popular,” says Sandra Folleville, Marketing Manager.

The company’s new Vitodens 100-W B1HE and B1KE models (85 to 199 MBH) as well as the Vitodens 200 range (85 to 199 MBH) all come complete with new design elements like the Diamond Edge and Vitopearl White finish and several technological features. These boilers are all less expensive to run thanks to a sophisticated electronics platform and its most refined combustion platform yet, Lambda ProPlus. There are also installation benefits, automatic gas adjustment, natural gas to propane switching by pressing a button, automatic vent length adjustment, and software altitude adjustment. These features all allow for smooth installation, making calibration processes, hardware changes, switch adjustments, and specialty equipment obsolete during commissioning.

A new human-machine interface gives homeowners and end-users easy access to information such as the boiler’s gas and electricity consumption in English, French Canadian, and Spanish. Standard, integrated Wi-Fi offers connectivity to the company’s proprietary hydronic heating application, ViCare, available on both IOS and Android, and, because the new boilers also feature standard components of Viessmann’s existing range, servicing is easy.

Looking at the ViCare system, Jewell draws a comparison with systems on the market that have scheduling functionality on their thermostats. “Only about 60 percent of homes use the schedules that are available to them on smart thermostats. Smart thermostats are super common. But the percentage of people that use things like vacant modes, et cetera is really low,” he says. ViCare is different.

Viessmann created a technology that sets up schedules according to the temperature that users would like at certain times of the day. Manual schedules can be easily set up like on a thermostat, only this is a lot more user-centric, employing technologies such as geofencing on smartphones. This technology also switches the boiler from a preset Comfort temperature to an Eco temperature and back to create toasty warmth upon the user’s return. Being able to turn boiler temperatures down when not in use and on again in time for the user’s arrival makes a real difference to cost and energy savings.

The 100-series boilers offer a 3.5-inch display screen and the 200-series has a 7-inch color touch-screen similar to the latest smartphones to allow users to interact with the boilers. “It operates a lot like a cellphone. It allows for a more intuitive user interface. Both the 100 and 200-series’ interfaces also provide more information than we have historically done and quite a bit more than is common in the segment that we’re in,” says Jewell.

More specifically, the 200-series screen provides a range of messages from warnings and fault alerts to status messages letting users know exactly what is happening in the system. This function is a huge improvement on using codes or numbers that had users searching for the user manual or dialling a service technician for more information on what is happening with their boilers.

“Both [user] displays offer three languages. We [also] tend to embrace space, and that’s very much what you get with [our] boilers. The displays are beautiful and intuitive and very functional but disappear when you’re not interacting with them,” Jewell adds, noting that this makes the displays unobtrusive.

Vitodens 200-W B2HE is ideal for larger residences and offers the most applications yet, heating as many as three zones and up to four heating circuits simultaneously. Additional value add-ons include VitoGuide, ViCare, and ViPlan. Apart from providing users with comfort, the ViCare application also allows users to contribute to environmental protection effortlessly by saving energy with timing settings.

“The boilers have been around 95 to 98 percent efficiency for quite some time. As a manufacturer, we’ve invested quite a lot both from a research and development perspective and from a user study perspective. We have a pretty sophisticated [dedicated] user lab in Germany. Trying to understand what makes people happy and comfortable in the home as they interact with our products has allowed us to be a little bit more future-thinking,” says Jewell. “It’s one thing to be [nearly 100 percent] efficient but to make systems intuitive and easy so that contractors and users can use them more efficiently is where I think the Viessmann commitment shines.”

While minimally improving efficiency may not provide any huge immediate financial savings to homeowners, fuel and emissions savings for contractors who know exactly what they need to install the boilers, especially in remote locations, are real. Interchangeable parts take this saving even further, helping to improve overall efficiency tremendously. Time can now be used more effectively.

“It’s thinking outside of the box with regards to some of the efficiencies and green initiatives that are part of the overall system,” says Jerry Leyte, Director of Sales and Marketing.

COVID-19 proved that Viessmann cares about much more than only smart design. Since the beginning of the health crisis, every unit that the company dispatches is accompanied by two cloth ViCare-branded masks, for a total of around 10,000 masks. “We have customers buying multiple boilers. Some are giving them to homeowners who want them or to their own family members,” says Folleville of the masks, noting that the company has seen them around “on teenagers and homeowners who likely got them from a contractor.”

This is a close-knit team ready to serve. Company President Harald Prell recently received the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating’s lifetime service award for forty years of service. However, his tenure at the company is even longer.

Adding to the Vitodens range, the Vitocrossal 200, CI2, (399 to 2000 MBH – one MBH is 1000 BTU per hour.) will be joining its collection later this year. This high-efficiency, light commercial boiler features new proprietary technology that promises to change how commercial boiler engineers specify projects in the future on both retrofit and the new construction market.

“The larger, commercial-model Vitodens boilers can be installed on a racking system in various configurations, as well as larger, floor-model, high-efficiency, condensing boilers that range from 1000 to 6000 MBH,” says Leyte.

Looking ahead, Viessmann has its aim firmly on connecting its entire supply chain to cloud technology to ensure that its customers and end-users enjoy the best user. “There is a future-proof experience behind all of the technologies,” Jewell says. After forty-one years, Viessmann Manufacturing Company, Inc. has the stability and long-term manufacturing expertise it takes to keep North America supplied with top-quality boilers for many years to come.

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