Des Champs Technologies Wants to Educate the HVAC Industry About its Air-Trap™ Line
Des Champs not only creates solutions to HVAC issues, but also develops products and has the means to market and distribute them.
Des Champs Technologies is on a mission to transform the HVAC industry with its HVAC Air-Trap™ product line that was developed to solve long-standing problems with the traditional P-trap, a standard condensate trap. “We envision the standard P-trap will be no longer,” President Connie Loughhead says. “We are a research and development technology-based company that not only comes up with a solution to the issues in HVAC, but develops a product and has the means to produce, market and distribute it.”
Founder Nicholas H. Des Champs, Ph.D., has 29 patents and prides himself on being an inventor and problem-solver. The Natural Bridge Station, Va.-based company’s best practices are its flexibility and ongoing product innovation. “Our company was created to turn on a dime,” Loughhead says. “Nick and myself are entrepreneurial spirits and are always looking for ways to solve an issue or tweak a product to make it better.”
Des Champs Technologies’ first product was the HVAC Air-Trap P-Series, a positive pressure waterless trap. The P-Series was developed for a data center client that was filling its P-traps with water every two weeks to keep them from drying out, allowing conditioned air to escape or air to enter the HVAC equipment. “In 2018, we conducted a study on the evaporation rate to determine the cost of lost energy due to failed traps. We measured the rate over a six- to eight-month period,” Loughhead explains. “[We multiplied] that by the number of estimated traps and the energy cost in the United States and found that dry traps result in $3 billion in lost energy.”
The HVAC Air-Trap never requires the addition of water to prevent unwanted air leakage, operating dry when no water is required and wet when it is required. Water never needs to be added when condensate begins to form at the beginning of the cooling season and it prevents freezing of the trap during cold periods.
After the success of its Air-Trap P-Series, Adobe, a San Jose, Calif.-based computer software company, contacted Des Champs Technologies, looking for a negative pressure solution. Des Champs Technologies developed the N-Series Air-Trap, a negative pressure waterless trap, that reduces the trap height by up to 60 percent. The negative pressure plenum requires less than half the height required for P-Trap installation.
From there, the RLC-Series and Union Strainer were born to solve problems for contractors in the field. The RLC-Series was developed for residential and light commercial properties. The Air-Trap is installed horizontally for negative pressure and vertically for positive pressure. The Union Strainer was created after meeting with contractors in Miami who wanted to stop rodents, snakes or debris from getting into the condensate line.
In 2019, Des Champs Technologies released the FCN-Series based on a UK-based manufacturer’s needs for a smaller, easy-to-maintain trap. The FCN-Series uses side clips to open the Air-Trap for cleaning. The traps are made from Schedule 40 white or clear PVC. “For the European market, the manufacturer needed the Air-Trap to be smaller and they called us to see if we could do it,” Loughhead says. “I said of course we can.”
By the end of 2020, Des Champs Technologies will release its newest Air-Trap PLP-Series, a low-profile positive pressure trap. “Positive pressure is all about buoyancy and the trap had to be taller to handle the pressure,” Loughhead explains. “The PLP-Series does not require the height and can handle high pressures with a low profile.”
Knowledge is Power
Des Champs Technologies believes that after the release of the PLP-Series later this year, it will have solved every possible challenge for the HVAC industry with its six Air-Trap products. “In 2020, we are focusing on saturating the market with education through advertising, articles, speaking engagements and traveling to contractors in the field,” Loughhead says. “According to our calculation, there’s an estimated 500 million traps, from installs to retrofits.”
The company says attending the AHR Expo in Orlando, Fla., is a great way for it to showcase its products to the industry. “Ninety percent of the human race are visual learners and during the AHR Expo [people] can touch and better understand the product,” Loughhead notes. “What we are doing is changing the mindset. For well over 100 years a P-Trap is what’s been used, so we have to change the mindset of the contractors who 80 percent of the time are installing it, and change can be hard for people.”
By having a team on the ground and in the field, Des Champs Technologies lets contractors know it is listening to their needs. “Every time they give me feedback, we take it back and figure out how we can improve the Air-Trap to make their problem go away,” Loughhead says. “Contractors love to know someone’s listening to them.”
As Des Champs Technologies continues to educate potential customers, it expects Air-Trap will eliminate the use of P-traps in the future. “The Air-Trap will pass inspection and ours works 100 percent of the time when the P-trap fails,” Loughhead says. “It meets the demand for Prop 65, the state of California’s regulation for furnaces and gas emissions.”
Des Champs Technologies is preparing for residential to be a very big market. “Commercial and industrial segments understand spending $25 to up to $100 on a trap is more beneficial than trenching the cement floor,” she explains. “With a consumer market, it’s cost-driven. You and I as consumers will go to five different grocery stores because we have a coupon, so we design the product and negotiated the best prices with our suppliers to keep our overall cost down on the FCN-Series so it’s attractive to the consumer market.”