Even construction pros who attend only one industry conference a year go to the JLC Live show each March in Providence, R.I. Smaller than the International Builders Show and more geared toward installers, JLC Live gives attendees a chance to try out tools and learn about new technology from experts in the field.

At this year’s show, one of those experts was Jeff Oliver, Rinnai’s heating and energy development manager. Oliver’s training session about Rinnai’s direct-vent furnace – which he calls “one of the best-kept secrets in the heating market today” – drew remodelers, heating contractors, propane industry representatives, developers, and even a few homeowners.

The fully modulating wall furnace can be used in whole-house applications but is most often retrofitted in hard-to-heat areas such as bonus rooms, in-law suites, basements, and carriage houses. That’s because it’s designed for simple, flexible installation with minimal space requirements. In fact, it’s possible to remote-vent this furnace up to 15 feet from the unit itself.

“From an industry standpoint, it’s a natural option for people who, until now, felt they had to switch to electric or an alternate energy source [for hard-to-heat areas],” Oliver says. “Because it’s fully modulating, with flexible venting, this furnace can deliver better comfort at lower fuel costs than our competition.”

Oliver also makes the point that Rinnai’s direct-vent furnace is a natural for big applications, too, especially apartment conversions. “There are three things I know for sure when it comes to building owners,” Oliver says. “They’re concerned with the cost of installation, the cost of operation, and the cost of service calls. An owner wants to put in something that won’t have to be serviced repeatedly.”

Those who missed the show should check out this video from last year’s JLC Live, when Rinnai’s Tim Greer demonstrated the installation of his company’s direct-vent model.