Taco Inc.’s SmartPlug Instant Hot Water Control was announced as the 2017 AHR Expo Innovation Award Product of the Year. The award was presented Jan. 31 at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas.

The product also secured a win in the Innovation Awards’ plumbing category. According to the award judges, the product allows for easy installation onto existing domestic hot water recirculation pump systems to more efficiently manage on-demand hot water delivery. 

“Winning an AHR Expo Innovation Award is a great achievement,” said Wil VandeWiel, president and CEO of Taco Inc. “The winning products in all the categories will define the markets in the next decade, where innovation, sustainability, and energy management will be key drivers.

“For Taco Comfort Solutions to be recognized as part of this illustrious group of top-tier companies is a confirmation of the new strategic direction we started a couple of years ago,” he continued. “Being awarded Product of the Year is a very important milestone for our company, and a great achievement by all of our employees. We thank the AHR Expo for all it does to move the industry forward.”

“The AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition is a chance to publicly acknowledge the hard work companies contribute toward the future of the industry,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company, the show’s producer. “We congratulate Taco for being recognized as 2017’s Product of the Year, and extend further congratulations to all 10 winners for displaying exceptional utility, ingenuity, and efficiency in their respective product categories.  We look forward to seeing what’s next, as AHR Expo’s exhibitors continue to innovate through the coming year.”

Taco’s 115-volt SmartPlug Instant Hot Water Control features technology to learn and record a homeowner’s hot water usage pattern, and employ the resulting data to operate a home’s hot water recirculation pump precisely when hot water is typically required. While hot water recirculation pumps typically run continuously or are controlled with an aquastat or timer, SmartPlug provides fully automatic and self-adjusting pump operation — only when hot water is desired.  Usage patterns are monitored and recorded on a daily and weekly basis, with the SmartPlug system regularly refreshing data and adjusting any changes to hot water usage patterns.

All 2017 AHR Expo Innovation Award winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated each entry based on innovative design, creativity, application, value, and market impact.