WAYNE, N.J. – Haier America is about to make a lot of noise about a very quiet appliance.
Its forthcoming Serenity series of window air conditioners boasts the lowest sound levels of any leading brand – and at a reasonable $100 premium over comparably powered units.
According to Tom Kelly, the company’s air quality VP for sales and marketing integration, Serenity was born of consumer research pointing to noise as the No. 1 concern for AC shoppers.
Also driving its development are the standing orders of recently installed president/CEO Adrian Micu to differentiate Haier’s product line in the marketplace. That directive has also led to the company’s entry into the untapped HVAC business with its competitively priced FlexFit- and Advanced-series ductless program that was soft-launched last year.
“We want to stand out from the pack, rather than chase a price point and push retails lower,” Kelly told TWICE. “There’s a market for a premium product that delivers beyond customer expectations.”
The Serenity series, initially available in 6,000 and 8,000 Btu models, are 9db quieter on average than window ACs by other major brands, and are softer on the ears than the next-most-quiet competitor by at least 3db, independent testing showed.
Haier’s engineers achieved the lower sound levels through the use of a transverse blower, separate motors for the fan and compressor, and sealed compartments, Kelly said. The wider blower, along with an angled coil, increases surface area, allowing for greater air flow at lower fan speeds than conventional blowers, he explained.
In addition, the use of dual independently controlled motors allows each to be smaller and quieter than a traditional motor, while providing users with greater air control.
The unit also isolates the blower and compressor in sealed compartments that are separated by a hard partition to limit vibration and noise, while the compressor is wrapped in a felt and rubber blanket to further dampen vibration and sound.
Suggested retails are $299 for the 6,000 Btu model and $399 for the 8,000 Btu unit. Both are manufactured in-house by Haier.
The company will formally debut Serenity at the Nationwide Marketing Group’s PrimeTime convention March 8-11 in Dallas, with shipping to begin this month through distributors Almo, Climatic and DSI Systems, as well as direct from Haier.
Kelly, who developed a similar concept during his days at Electrolux, said distribution will be limited in Serenity’s first year to independent dealers and a handful of core partners who can explain and upsell the concept and won’t disrupt the pricing structure.
A marketing campaign is planned that includes product videos, and the packaging, specially created by Haier’s new ad agency, succinctly conveys the product benefit with a photo of the AC besides a soundly sleeping infant.
Larger models are expected to follow, Kelly said.