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JAN/FEB 2018 $6.95

Also in this issue:


PM #41536047


February 2018


ww w . m ec h a n i c a l bus i nes s . c om

Visit us at the CMPX Toronto - Booth 2309

Me chanical




30HVAC TOP TIPS Winter maintenance checks Mark Parliament and Alexandra Wennberg


Golden Moments, with

Jon Montgomery

60PLUMBING Sprinklers in tight quarters Jonathan Lee

WHAT Cover Photo: Jimmy Jeong


February 2018

We’re well into heating season, making it an ideal time to check out the first of our biannual Wet Heat Applications & Technology supplements! Turn to page 33 for the latest in hydronic products, news and features!


Water piping Fred Bretzke 10 tips for pro drivers Lewis Smith

80QUATTRO’S CORNER Getting wise about Double Ys Andrew Quattrociocchi

82EVENT IN PICTURES Proud Canadians converge in Hawaii Adam and Wil Freill

Skyrocketing to stardom thanks to an epic victory walk through Whistler Village after taking skeleton gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Jon Montgomery has gone on to share golden moments with Canadians throughout the world, and it’s a task that he loves. Adam Freill



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Helping customers navigate efficiency Mark Rippon

Busine ss

22MARKETING Communicate change Doug MacMillan


PRODUCTS 21,78,79Plumbing 29,76,77HVAC/R 56,58Hydronics 81Stuff you need

Supercritical CO2 Phil Boudreau

40HYDRONICS Heat Pumps: Look to the Earth Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr

50HYDRONICS Fun with foreign objects Dan Holohan

DEPARTMENTS 04From the Editor’s Desk 06News 16Profile: Dave Flamand

72HVAC Back to the filter Gord Cooke

42Find the Fix



Change will come fast this year Roger Grochmal

86By the Numbers

84The Info Page

On the cover: Famed Canadian skeleton racer Jon Montgomery has taken the glow from his 2010 Olympic gold medal winning performance and continues to share it with Canadians from coast to coast as host of CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada. Photo: Bell Media/CTV

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Found money and its implications I can always tell when election time is looming. That’s when incentive programs start to kick into high gear.

Jan/Feb 2018 Issue Published 6 times per year. Editor: Adam Freill, ext. 224 Associate Editor/Web Editor: Jonathan Lee, ext. 225 National Sales Manager: Jeff Superle, ext. 221 Controller: Liz Mills Office Manager: Caroline Bexfield, ext. 227 Art Direction: JJM Graphic Ltd. Circulation Manager: Shila Naik (905) 272-4175 Publisher: Bruce Meacock, ext. 222 PM:41536047 ISSN 1916-0674 MB (Print) ISSN 1906-0682 MB (Online)

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada.


We’ve seen it recently in my home province of Ontario, where an election needs to be held by June of this year. Not surprisingly, this past December a significant heat pump program was launched to much media fanfare (see page 10 for details). With Quebec’s provincial date with the polls coming no later than October, and Alberta’s in the spring of 2019, it wouldn’t be surprising if a few new energy efficiency carrots were offered in those parts of the country as well. Personally, I view incentives as the fast food of the building trades. They are quick and easy, but they are not always the best path for long-term consistent health. That said, they can help kick-start a sector into high gear, and if you don’t take advantage of them, someone will, so I encourage you to look into how you can offer those to your customers, if for no other reason but to stay competitive.

Coming Next Issue Back by popular demand, the March/April edition of Mechanical Businesss will include our biennial Products in Profile supplement. This special section features products specifications and descriptions from the top suppliers to the trade. Don’t miss it. It’s like a trade show in print!

Beyond the government programs, utilities, manufacturers and various non-government agencies may also offer rebates or incentives in your area, so don’t overlook the help these can offer when preparing quotes for potential customers. Of course, like fast food, there may be a price to pay once the meal is done. Incentive programs typically accelerate the natural sales cycles in an industry, and an accelerated peak of work that results from temporary rebates and discounts is often followed by a slowdown, especially if there is a flurry of work ahead of a program’s expiry.


Submissions: Copyright in material submitted to the magazine and accepted for publication remains with the author, but Mechanical Business and its licensees may freely reproduce it in print, electronic or other forms. Mechanical Business also reserves the right to edit said submitted materials to suit the editorial needs and mandate of the publication.

So, take adv van ntage ge off the buffet of saving advantage savings, but don’t neglect the long-term health of your b usiness. Plan ahead so that you can keep your crew busy business. when the free lu lunch stops.

Notice: Mechanical Business is published for owners, managers and decision makers with mechanical contracting firms and the sector’s supply chain partners in Canada. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Mechanical Business, Content Media Group Inc., its staff, directors, officers and shareholders (‘The Publisher’) assume no liability, obligation or responsibility for advertised claims, for errors and/or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Manufacturers’ instructions take precedence over published editorial. The publisher reserves the right to publish a printed correction in a subsequent issue for editorial errors, omissions and oversights. Subscriptions are available for $90 plus taxes in Canada and the U.S. Single copies are $15.00. Outside Canada and the U.S., the rates are $150.00 (annual) and $25.00 (single copy).

Whether it’s of offering ongoing service plans for customers ttaking ta king advantage advanta of those rebates, or setting aside additional marketing funds fund to be used in the months following the end of a popular re rebate program, savvy owners and managers will have a plan for when incentives disappear. Plann Planning ahead and being prepared is just good busi business.

From time to time, Content Media Group Inc. makes subscribers’ names available to reputable companies whose products or services may be of interest to readers. If you would like your name excluded from these mailings, please notify the publisher.

U Until next time,

© Copyright 2018. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the publisher. Proud members of:


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Printed with bio-renewable vegetable-based inks with less than 3% V.O.C.



Good eyes Bryan! Bryan Wilson, a 15-year veteran working for the City of Mississauga, was declared the winner of Mechanical Business’ Spot the Fake Cover contest featured in our September/October issue. The contest was held in recognition of our publication’s 10th anniversary. Wilson, an HVAC technician who is a member of a team that repairs and maintains hundreds of facilities managed by the city, says he’s an avid reader of Mechanical Business and has been a subscriber for the past three years. “Often, the cover story is a favourite of mine. It’s enjoyable to read about the life of a local Canadian celebrity,” says Wilson. “There are also insights you gain from the trade-specific articles that you can use on the job.” Wilson managed to spot the imposter cover – featuring famous Canadian sportscaster, Ron MacLean – amongst some 47 various front pagers. In recognition of his acute vision and shrewd elimination process, he won a $500 shopping spree at a store of his choice.” Congratulations and thank you for reading, Bryan!

Roger (left) and Michael (right) Grochmal meet with charity reps: Debra Tigchelaar (second from left) executive director of Eagles Nest Association of Waterdown; Corey Besso (centre), fund development and donor relations coordinator for Scientists in School; and Erinn Oxford, executive director of The Dale Ministries.

AtlasCare reveals winning charities AtlasCare’s Care to Share program donated a total of $8,500 to three local charities this year. This year’s winners, drawn from a collective of nominees, include Scientists in School (first prize winner of $5,000); The Dale Ministries (second prize winner of $2,500); and the Eagles Nest Association of Waterdown (third prize winner of $1,000).

CMPX Show reveals seminar lineup

Behind the scenes at the Roger’s Centre More than 50 industry professionals took in a tour of Rogers Centre as part of a jointly hosted IPVF Council and Canadian Water Systems Council networking luncheon at the end of November. The event included a private guided tour of the Centre’s facilities, including the Clubhouse, suites and field level, as well as an inspection of the stadium’s mechanical facilities and roof system. Here, Dave McCormick (right), the facility’s manager of engineering discusses the stadium’s heating and cooling systems.


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The CMPX show committee has unveiled a list of seminars for the upcoming event, which hits the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 21 to 23. Sessions will address such topics as the Ontario Building Code, natural refrigerants and water quality. Don’t miss sessions from Mechanical Business contributors Anderw Quattrociocchi and Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr. Full seminar details can be found on the CMPX show website.

Follow Us on Twitter @MechBusiness

Driscoll cited in Caleffi contest MCA Hamilton and Niagara to unite Mechanical Contractors Association Hamilton (MCAH) and Mechanical Contractors Niagara Inc. (MCAN) are amalgamating, which will lead to a new association name that will be revealed later this year. The decision to unite associations expands Hamilton’s management services to all of Niagara region signatory contractors that are members of MCA Niagara.

Caleffi has named Patrick Driscoll, CEO of Edmonton’s Ironclad Mechanical Plumbing and Heating, the winner of its 2017 Excellence contest. Driscoll was revealed as the grand prize winner, which was determined by popular vote, during a Coffee with Caleffi webinar. “We are beyond thrilled and humbled to have won the grand prize. This is extremely exciting. A huge thank you to everyone who voted for us,” exclaimed Driscoll. He wins a trip to Italy for two, including a tour of the company’s world headquarters, factories and design facilities.

Uponor forms Phyn Plus Pro Squad Uponor has announced that the company will be enlisting contractors to its Pro Squad to sell and install the Phyn Plus, a home smart water monitoring system that measures changes in water pressure to monitor for leaks and mitigate damage by shutting down the water. Phyn Plus was launched simultaneously at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and International Builders Show in Orlando in early January. Licensed plumbing professionals interested in joining the Uponor Pro Squad can apply online.

Prompt payment passes in Ontario In early December, Bill 142, the Construction Lien Amendment Act, passed following a unanimous vote at Queen’s Park. The bill is designed to enhance the rights and securities of Ontario’s 400,000-plus workers in the construction sector. “This legislation could not have been introduced at a better time, as higher interest rates will make delayed payment unbearable,” says Ron Johnson, director of Prompt Payment Ontario (PPO). “We hope that this ground-breaking piece of legislation will set the stage for change across the country.”

Canadian firm Yellow Jacket’s agency of the year B.J. Williams & Assoc. Inc., a manufacturer rep agency based in Kingston, Ontario, was named the Yellow Jacket sales agency of the year at Yellow Jacket’s annual sales meeting, held in Naperville, Illinois in early November. B.J. Williams, the exclusive Canadian sales agency for Yellow Jacket, was recognized for its success at growing sales of the brand’s full lineup of products across Canada.

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Improving residential efficiency

Canada proposes asbestos regulations

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) recently unveiled plans for the next phase of its TowerWise retrofit program for multiresidential buildings in Toronto and Hamilton. The $9 million project aims to achieve a 40 per cent reduction in energy use and carbon emissions. Natural Resources Canada and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) are financially supporting the project with TAF. Energy efficiency retrofits are expected to include boiler and HVAC system replacements, as well as other building systems. The four demonstration sites include one building in Hamilton and three in Toronto.

The federal government has released its proposed regulations banning the use, import and sale of asbestos, as well as the manufacture and import of products containing asbestos. Canada now joins over 50 countries that have banned asbestos, which is linked to mesothelioma, asbestosis and a range of cancers.

Calgary shows to co-locate Show organizers for the CIPHEX West and BUILDEX Calgary shows have confirmed that the two events will share the same venue, the BMO Centre at Stampede Park in Calgary from November 7 to 8. The events, held in adjacent exhibition halls, are connected so attendees can easily visit each. CIPHEX West will feature more than 200 exhibitors from the mechanical sector.

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Green Ontario rebates I

n December, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change introduced the Residential Green Ontario Rebate Program, which will be administered by HRAI. Aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) levels in the province while lowering energy costs, homeowners are being offered incentives to install qualifying air and ground-source heat pumps, or windows and insulation.

Consumers taking advantage of the rebates must use program-approved contractors. Evelyn Lundhild, senior manager of the Green Ontario Fund, says that a “solid list of participating contractors” are needed to help ensure program is a success.

Contractors interested in registering to be featured on the program website must have been in business for at least two years, hold a minimum of $2 million in general liability insurance and have $1 million in auto insurance. They must also have the relevant certifications for the work, necessary training, have completed Green Ontario’s program orientation and signed the Rebate Contractor Participant Agreement.


“There are some details that are not finalized,” says Sara Coleman, HRAI’s senior project coordinator. “We will be issuing further information regarding those details, but everything efficiency-wise is clear on the website as far as the efficiency requirements.”

Consumers can receive up to $5,800 to install or replace an air-source heat pump (ASHP) in their home. To qualify, the ASHP must be a new Energy Star-certified system, or one that meets CEE Tier-1 qualification. Up to $20,000 in rebates are available for Energy Star-certified geothermal heat pumps (GSHP). Ontario residents living in a detached home, townhouse or semi can take part. The rebate is also available to homeowners of new custom home builds. For specifics on qualifying heat pumps, visit

One concern was whether or not there would be rebate implications if a home’s older interior coil did not match a newly added heat pump. Coleman says the whole system needs to be improved to qualify for the rebates.


Details regarding rebate-eligible equipment can be found on Green Ontario’s website,, which specifies the requirements that the air and groundsource heat pumps need to meet in order to qualify.

“It’s a package replacement,” she says “If the system doesn’t meet the ratings outlined, it won’t qualify [for the rebate]. The program is designed to replace both items.” Coleman says contractors should keep an eye out for further program details. “Expect further clarifications on what contractors are allowed to replace, allowed to install, and in what scenarios, in order for the consumer to still qualify for the rebate,” she adds. “If contractors have other questions, the answers will be coming soon.” Among the answers she is hoping to see soon is whether consumers will be able to qualify for the Green Ontario Rebates Program as well as the decadeold Heating and Cooling program.



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1. Homeowners work with a participating contractor to purchase and install an eligible heat pump. 2. The contractor submits the rebate application on behalf of the homeowner/landlord. 3. The homeowner/landlord validates that the work has been completed and submits proof of purchase to receive the rebate cheque in the mail in approximately 8 to 12 weeks.

Green Ontario has created a specific contractor support line managed by the HRAI.

Tel: 905-602-4700 Toll-free: 1-800-267-2231

DIGITAL ALERT CIPH posts webinar on low lead The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) has posted a free webinar it recently hosted on low lead plumbing products in Canada. The presentation discusses the differences between Canadian plumbing codes and standards on this topic.

Fergus facility earns safety award

A.O. Smith Corporation’s Fergus, Ont., location has earned the company’s Lloyd B. Smith President’s Safety Award for outstanding workplace safety. The award is presented annually to the A.O. Smith facility that achieves the best overall performance in workplace safety. A total of 23 facilities were evaluated worldwide.

HRAI Members App Available at the Google Play store, the HRAI Members App provides access to HRAI member wholesalers, refrigerant management program participants and training. Members can stay current with HRAI news through social media links.



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Movers & Shakers

Taco acquires Taconova The Taco Family of Companies has re-acquired Switzerland-based Taconova Group, a manufacturer and distributor of hydronic products and technology. John Hazen White, Sr., the second-generation owner of Taco, started Taconova in 1961 as a European trading company for Taco, Inc., but sold it to the Guinness Group in 1980.

Goodman opens p regional distribution centre Goodman Canada unveiled its new regional distribution centre with an open house event in December. Located at 1200 Rodick Road in Markham, Ont., the facility is fully stocked with equipment, parts and accessories and will support all branches in the region. The centre can be reached at Tel. 289-859-7612.

Zonefirst and Ecovent to collaborate on HVAC products ZoneFirst and ConnectM Technology Solutions Inc. (parent company of Ecovent Systems Inc.), are collaborating on a combined product offering to digitalize the HVAC and zoning industry. Zonefirst will integrate the next generation of Ecovent product in order to create a complete digital, room-by-room zoning solution for the market.

Trane acquires Calmac Corporation The purchase of ice storage tank manufacturer Calmac Corporation by Ingersoll Rand’s Trane was made official in November. The company’s ice storage tanks are integrated into a number of Trane commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. The storage tanks store energy, similar to a battery, and use that energy to cool commercial buildings during times when the cost of energy is high.

Belanger g opens p Ontario showroom and distribution centre Quebec-based Bélanger UPT has made a push into Ontario with the opening of an 11,000 sq.-ft. Mississauga warehouse and showroom late last year. The dual-purpose facility includes a 4,500 sq.-ft. showroom that will enable all levels of the faucet manufacturer’s clients to browse products t . It also contains a warehouse space dedicated exclusively to wholesale distribution.

GloMar Technologies and Comfort System Solutions amalgamate GloMar Technologies and Comfort System Solutions Inc. (CSSI) have amalgamated. The combined organization will now operate as CGC Group of Companies Incorporated. Bulldog Heat Pump, Compax, and Varipak will retain their present brands and logos, and will be offered as product lines from the CGC Group of Companies Incorporated.

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Danfoss Turbocor Compressors will be adding 25,000 square feet to its facility in Tallahassee, Fla., bringingg it up to 150,000 square feet. Construction will begin this year and is expected to be completed in 2019.


Danfoss to expand p Turbocor facility

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Higher energy-efficiency ratings and lower cabinet heights


Goodman brand high-efficiency gas furnaces now offer more features and benefits than ever. And all of them help to make Goodman gas furnaces easier to sell and install. Take a look at some of the enhancements you’ll find on select Goodman brand gas furnaces. Q

Energy-efficiency performance ratings up to 98% AFUE


Newly designed tubular heat exchanger with wrinkle bend technology


20,000 BTU firing rate per burner to deliver capacities from 40,000 to 120,000 BTU


Vertical gas valve for easy field connection to either side of the cabinet


Thumb screws on the cabinet doors for easy access without tools


Factory-installed internal trap for vertical applications


Overall cabinet height reduced to 34.5 inches


ComfortNet communicating control system compatible


For a closer look at the new line of Goodman high-efficiency gas furnaces, simply visit, call 1-877-780-3316, or contact your local Goodman brand distributor. Our continuing commitment to quality products may mean a change in specifications without notice. © 2017 Goodman Manufacturing Company, L.P. · Houston, Texas · USA

At Goodman, we believe in American dependability. Units are designed, engineered and assembled in the U.S.A.


People in the news

JERRY LEYTE has joined Viessmann Manufacturing Company as the company’s new director of sales and marketing. A regular contributor to Mechanical Business, Jerry has a track record of sales management and business development success in the hydronic heating sector. He will be located in Waterloo, Ont., and will oversee sales teams across Canada.

Weil-McLain Canada has hired BRIAN McCABE as its regional sales manager for the GTA and Central Ontario. McCabe brings more than 17 years of experience in the Ontario heating industry to the position. He will focus on the company’s commercial projects. His responsibilities will also include working with the company’s existing sales distribution network, and calling on engineers, design/build contractors and wholesalers. Ontor Limited has named NICHOLAS BOURQUE its new regional sales representative covering Alberta, Northwest Territories and the Yukon. Bourque brings over 30 years of HVAC/R and industrial experience in the oil, gas and mining industries to his new position. BRANDON SOMERS has been appointed applications engineer at Continental Fan. Somers is based at the company’s Mississauga, Ont., location, and is responsible for application and technical support for customers.


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ARTIN VARTANIAN (1) has joined Goodman Manufacturing, taking on the role of branch manager of the Pickering, Ont., location. Vartanian brings senior management experience to his position, specifically in customer service and operations. The company has announced the promotion of ED GIZAW (2) to the position of branch manager for the company’s Vaughan, Ont., branch. Gizaw has been with Goodman since 2008, serving in a variety of roles, most recently as the branch manager in Pickering. Also promoted is LISA JOHNSON, to branch manager for the company’s hub in Markham, Ont. Johnson has been with Goodman in Vaughan since 2006, serving in a variety of roles, most recently as branch manager. STEVE GRIFFETH (top) has been named president of Jess-Don Dunford Ltd. Griffeth takes on responsibility for the overall leadership of the company, operational management and developing the company’s vision for future success. Also joining the firm is DAVE HARRISON (bottom), following the retirement of Marty Lovelace from Eastern Ontario after 22 years. Harrison has spent the past 25 years in the HVAC and plumbing industry, including 17 years in the wholesale sector. He will be visiting customers from Oshawa to Cornwall. Venmar-Broan recently named NICOLAS JARROLD its vice-president of sales for Canada. Based in Montreal, Nicolas brings more than 25 years of sales and distribution experience from multiple industries to his new position.

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Goodway Technologies has hired GREG WYATT as senior vice-president of engineering and operations. Wyatt will primarily be responsible for overseeing all of the company’s engineered products and operations activities, including managing R&D, material sourcing and operation efficiency. He brings 25 years of experience in manufacturing operations, engineering and supply management to the position.



RON MECHALY (1) has been appointed the role of vice-president of operations at Dahl Brothers Canada Limited. In his new role, Mechaly will be responsible for production, production scheduling, warehouse and logistics, and engineering and maintenance. He has been with Dahl since April 2017, previously serving as an engineering manager. The company has also appointed STEVEN CLARE (2) to vice-president of business operations in its OEM division. In his new role, Clare will be responsible for developing Dahl’s OEM business channel. Clare has been with the company since 2013, previously serving as vice-president of operations. With the pending retirement of MCA Canada’s CEO, Richard McKeagan, the association’s board of directors has named PIERRE BOUCHER as the organization’s incoming CEO. Boucher brings extensive experience to his new position, including serving as president of Canadian Construction Innovations and COO of the Canadian Construction Association.

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Profile Dave Flamand: Making a difference Now a journeyperson and business owner, Dave and his two business partners have operated Saskatoon’s Peak Mechanical Partnership since 1999. Dave was recently elected president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, a role that he says helps him make a difference in the industry he calls home. “I encourage everyone to get involved in your industry via the various associations out there or in anyway you can. You won’t regret it.”

Photo: McMasters Photographers

Ask Dave Flamand what got him into the industry and he’ll share a story of his father asking 15-year-old Dave if he’d like a car when he turned 16. Before Dave could reply, dad added that he’d need a job if he wanted wheels. So, with dad’s goalsetting help, Dave called his brother Allan, who had a plumbing company, to see if he was hiring that summer. “I came home with $2,000 cash. I plunked it down on the kitchen table and dad was pretty happy and proud,” he reflected. “I bought my first car shortly thereafter, a 1965 Ford Galaxie 500 XL. I loved that car.”


What do you enjoy most about the industry?


What’s the most interesting change you’ve seen in the industry?

Initially, when I was working on the tools, I loved the challenge of installing a mechanical system and making it work as per the design. Now, I like to mentor and solve problems with our people using the knowledge I have gained over the years.

I am a bit of a tech geek, so the explosion of technology is one the most interesting changes that has happened. We now have our service guys getting dispatched electronically, and they do their work orders on an iPad.


BIO Name: Dave Flamand Title: Partner Company: Peak Mechanical Partnership Age: 57 Resides in: Saskatoon Saskatchewan Family: Wife Valerie, sons Jeremy, Clinton and Steven, and 7 grandchildren. Joined the industry: 1975

What is the biggest lesson you have learned about business?


There isn’t a silver bullet answer to anything. Most decisions must be monitored, updated and changed as time goes on and circumstances inevitably change.


What are some of the challenges facing the sector in the coming year? The challenges we face differ from region to region across the country, but the one common theme is getting paid promptly. MCAC is a driving force of the National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada (NTCCC) and they are working to get prompt payment legislation adopted federally.

FAST FACTS 1. Dave’s favourite sports teams are the Saskatchewan Roughriders (of course), the Bruins and the Oilers. 2. He used to hunt and have a trapline as a kid. “Now I feed squirrels at the lake and I feed deer out back of our house in the city.” 3. Back in high school in the ’70s, when big long hair was in, he and his friends used to blow dry their hair with the exhaust from an Electrolux vacuum cleaner. “Needless to say, we had some pretty good big fluffy hair!”


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By Fred Bretzke

Fred Bretzke is a full-time pipe trades instructor with SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary and the general manager of A&B Plumbing & Heating. He can be reached at


good THE bad THE ugly THE


he date is sometime in 1983. I’m a young apprentice trying to impress my journeyman on a service call to a high-rise apartment building in downtown Calgary. To give you an idea of the type and age of this building, it was eight storeys tall, built in the mid-60s and, having been renovated many times, there were no as-built blueprints to be found.

con’t pg. 20

WAR-ERA PIPING Back when many of Calgary’s inner-city houses were built, around the time of the Second World War, they had a shortage of copper due to the need for ammunition. As such, underground water services were made with a material that was


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Apparently, Canadians use an average of 329 litres of water per person each day. That’s a lot of water passing through a building’s pipes on a continual basis. When water is acidic it can cause havoc with copper piping, wearing it out prematurely. High water velocity can also be hard on copper. Even at the 2.4 m/s listed in tables in our code books, these water flow rates can still cause copper pipes to wear out too soon.

It was my first time in this building but as I walked through the hallways I could see many holes in the ceilings. I said, “This must be a rough place to live.” My older, more experienced plumbing buddy laughed and explained that it was the too-thinwalled type M piping that had been installed on the recirc line that was developing pin holes. (I didn’t even know what a recirc line was.)


since lead services need to be changed anyhow. part copper and part lead. This was probably not the healthiest of materials. These were very difficult to adapt to if the main water shutoff leaked. The lead would fall apart if you tried to tie to it. This was probably a good thing though,

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There are still homes in Canada that may have these water lines underground though. This has some municipalities treating water with phosphate. This anti-corrosive agent helps prevent the lead from leaching into the water.

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PLUMBING The service call was a running basin faucet on the top floor. I led the way to the back bathroom, which had an old enamel tub with matching light pink toilet and basin right out of the ’60s. The faucet appeared to be an old, four-inch centreset, and the hot water was running at full bore out of the spout. This was the time of washer and brass seat faucets. Hourly rates were only $32 per hour and cheap faucets listed for around $50, so it was still an option to quickly repair a tap rather than replace it. I even brought my tap repair kit, complete with brass seat, flat washers and a seat wrench. Now I had heard that it would probably be tough to remove an old worn brass seat on a tap, so I brought my Rambo mode to the job that day – I was going to remove that seat come hell or high water.


So, there I am, hot water spraying all over me. No problem. I just plugged it with my thumb as I searched for the bonnet of the valve, which had flown off somewhere in the wall.

Nowadays we have so many different pipe and material options to transport water that it’s interesting to see what some companies use for different applications.

As the 140°F water started to bother my thumb, I began to panic as my buddy called me all sorts of uncomplimentary names. To my dismay, and relief, I finally had to let go of the valve, and then all hell broke loose.

I’ve had the opportunity to take my students on field trips to various job sites and buildings in Calgary, and I recently took them to a Hoover Mechanical commercial jobsite called Westland Village.

Hot water shot across the bathroom, against the wall, and down to the other apartments.

They used CPVC in the parkade, stainless steel where pipe sizes were larger than 2”, and 1/2” PEX in the individual units.

I got on my knees, cleared the vanity cabinet and squeezed into this very tight dirty place (might I add that it didn’t smell very good either). I couldn’t find the shutoff.

Not realizing that there could have been a valve in the hallway isolating the apartment, we eventually found two holes in the wall under the vanity that appeared to be slot screwdriver shutoffs. It was difficult to apply my regular screwdriver to the bonnet of this wall valve, as it was very worn, but my Rambo spirit took over and I huffed and puffed and unscrewed that valve – so much so that the whole valve body came apart in the wall.

My Rambo mode continued to kick in, so I ran down the hall looking for the caretaker. He was nowhere to be found. He had gone out for a coffee, so it was about an hour before we could shut the water off.

As you may have guessed, there was just a tad of water damage. As it turned out, this had happened before to other plumbers as well. That building was in bad need of repair, and new isolation valves. We ended up replacing the old type M copper recirculation lines with new type L piping and valves, and my lesson learned was to always find a way to isolate, before you attempt a repair.

AN EVOLUTION, OF SORTS Back in the 1950’s and ’60s it wasn’t unusual to use galvanized steel. This ended up corroding in a decade or two, so we then switched to copper for almost everything. Most buildings currently have an abundance of copper in them. This has not been perfect either, due to the make up of the water and its effect on copper pipe. I did service calls for years in 20- to 30-year-old apartment buildings in the Bankview area of Calgary. We’d commonly see multiple access panels cut into hallway ceilings, allowing for repairs to be done to the ever-leaking pinholes in the potable copper recirculation lines. This led us to replacing the copper lines with all sorts of different piping. One favourite for a few years was Poly B, or Polybutylene. Unfortunately, this pipe didn’t last long in many homes as it lacked an oxygen barrier and it couldn’t handle very hot temperatures. Hot water lines would split or develop pinholes. Many residential systems had to be replaced, and eventually Poly B was banned from use in Canadian plumbing systems.


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Magnetic backwater valve

High efficiency reverse osmosis Canature WaterGroup’s Aqua Flo High-Efficiency Reverse Osmosis (H.E.R.O.) system offers a 99.9% recovery rate by collecting purified water in the storage tank and recycling the rinse water for use throughout the house. The system also flushes the membrane with pure RO water every time the tank is full to prevent high TDS water from passing through the membrane.


RectorSeal’s Check-Flo backwater valve uses a repelling magnetic levitation flapper to prevent sewer backflow due to flooding following excess storm volume. The valve is designed for use on 4” diameter residential building main lines and is constructed of corrosion-resistant ABS plastic and stainless steel parts.


Kitchen faucet The Litze kitchen faucet from Brizo features knurling on the wand and handle to provide a better grip. The pull-down faucet features a twofunction spray wand that returns to a magnetic dock. SmartTouch water activation is available as an option. Other items in the line include wall and deck mount pot fillers, a soap dispenser, an escutcheon plate (for three-hole installations) and a decorative hole cover.


Your success didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken hard-fought wins, raw determination, and steadfast business savvy to stay ahead of the game. Blue is the color that represents your work ethic. It symbolizes the lifeblood of what you do every day. That’s why the Little Giant® brand stays true to the tough demands of this industry. We share the same DNA, and remain committed to offering the highest quality products to help you succeed.

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21 xx



12 STEPS to effectively communicate change



Write a communications plan

Someone needs to be in charge of drafting a focused plan that explores communications goals, identifies and understands all relevant audiences, outlines the best message for each audience, researches the most effective tools to reach these audiences, and includes a tactical calendar of who does what, and when.

’m as resistant to change as anyone I know. When the brilliant operations folks at my agency introduce something new, perhaps a different budgeting tool, cloud storage solution or project management process, they strategize when and how I should be onboarded – with clear instruction sheets, and pictures whenever possible. It’s actually happened where I’ve been brought in after most others at our company have quietly adopted the new setup. They create a comfortable cushion before pushing me to a ledge. They know me well. Still, I’ve learned my lessons about the risks of not embracing progress, or avoiding changes that I know are the right steps for my business – even if they’re not the easiest steps to take. To side-step hard calls or new business ideas is simply foolish. I’ve learned to seek out change and new thinking, but I like to understand these changes fully before leaping off that ledge, so that we can have a smart and effective implementation. According to research by McKinsey & Company, 70 per cent of changes in an organization fail to deliver on expectations. The number 1 reason for this is poorly executed communication about those changes.

We overlook the fundamental tenets of good communication, possibly because the change itself is enough to think about. Too often we just want to tear the Band-Aid off, get it over with quickly and move on, even if a slow transition with steady communication is a better strategy.


Appoint a subject matter expert

You, or someone in your organization, needs to have thorough knowledge of what’s changing, and why it is important. This person should be an accessible go-to for messages and questions.

Doug MacMillan is president of The Letter M Marketing in Guelph, Ont. To reach him, email


M e c h a n i c a l

If you’re introducing significant change this year – and the odds are good that you will be, if you’ve already read Roger Grochmal’s column in this edition (see page 74) – here are some quick and simple rules to spreading the word.


Focus on internal communications first

It is essential that every person in your organization fully understands the changes that are coming, and can answer questions about them. We’ve all read the headlines about employees being blindsided with big news, and it almost always leads to discontent and poor PR. Inform people carefully, in-person, and allow time for things to sink in, and for their questions to be answered.

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Understand your audience(s)

Be sure to define, in detail, all affected audiences (employees, suppliers, neighbours, local media, etc.). And don’t just use the general term “customers” on your list. Break it down into specific customer groups: older ones versus younger, long-time versus new, etc. Create a chart that lists the audience, what they need to know, and how to best reach that particular group.



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Prepare key messages

A consistent narrative is essential. Develop a set of key messages, or a script, for staff. This will not only help them understand the change but also how to talk about it. Hold a mock Q&A session to anticipate questions or confusion, and include these in your staff information package. Why the change? What problem is it solving? What’s involved? How does it affect me? What do I need to do? When? Use plain language. Avoid getting too detailed or technical. Most people just want the high points.


Explain the now, and the then

Define how it works today and how it will work after the changes are completed. “You’re used to receiving a phone call when we’re on our way, but effective next month, we’ll text you with a photo of your technician so you can see a face before we even ring your doorbell.”


bite-sized pieces. Different people can stop to process each layer of information in their own way before soldiering on. An email might contain the high points, with a link to a web page offering further details, with embedded links in the content for users who want to drill even deeper.


Notwithstanding the role of your subject matter expert, the company’s top brass needs to be available to answer critical questions, speak with media if appropriate, smooth over any calls from frustrated customers or upset employees, and support the changes personally. It’s not always enough to send a memo or say, “Talk to Martha.”


Give it to them in layers Sometimes it’s better to communicate complex changes in

Be available

Talk up the changes frequently

Once-and-done is rarely the best communication strategy. Rather, people need to be reminded using all of the marketing channels available to you. Plan to repeat the high points over several weeks to encourage a full understanding of the changes and what’s required.


Be patient


Engage and adapt


Finally, lead by example

Change rarely goes smoothly. Anticipate some level of confusion, slow adoption or frustration amongst those affected. Anticipate that some people may get it wrong, and have ready messages to correct that. Prepare to hold a few hands.

Following the launch of your news, plan to connect with those affected to ensure that your messages are clear. Keep track of questions or examples of confusion or frustration. Adjust messages or tactics as required as you continue to communicate.

I’m guilty here, and am trying to – well – change. Some changes mean everyone needs to adjust to a new way of doing things. Whether it’s as simple as a new protocol for inventory, procedure for processing leads, or a new company mandate for no overtime and better work-life balance, the leaders need to demonstrate their personal commitment and not keep rolling in at 5:30 a.m. to catch up on paperwork.

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n a transcritical carbon dioxide (R744) refrigeration process, evaporation of the refrigerant takes place as heat is absorbed by the liquid. In direct-expansion systems, the liquid is completely evaporated and then superheated before it leaves the evaporator. When we plot this type of process on a pressure-enthalpy diagram, we plot the evaporation process within the two-phase region. Note that in this same system, all heat is rejected at conditions which “transcend” the critical point. For carbon dioxide, the critical pressure is 73.9 bar (1,071 psia) and the critical temperature is 31.1°C (87.98°F). As long as the carbon dioxide is above either one of these two values, it will be above the critical point. Above the critical point, the refrigerant is said to be a fluid in its “supercritical” state. The process of compressing the refrigerant beyond its critical point is referred to as a “transcritical” process while the physical state of the refrigerant is referred to as a “supercritical fluid.” In a transcritical system, some form of gas cooler is used to reduce the temperature and heat content, or enthalpy, of the refrigerant. Since heat rejection in the supercritical region is purely sensible, no condensation takes place. This is one of the most important aspects of this type of system. In fact, the supercritical fluid does not return to a liquid state until it is metered down to a lower pressure at some point downstream from the gas cooler. This is accomplished by a regulator that is installed between the gas cooler outlet and the liquid receiver. As always, flash gas forms as the refrigerant cools itself during a decrease in pressure.

Phil Boudreau

ONE UP ON THE SUB When condensation takes place as heat is removed in the high side of the system, the process is said to be “subcritical.” This is because the entire process takes place below (sub) the critical point. One of the most attractive features of supercritical gas cooling is the great quality of heat that is consistently available at higher temperatures. This is a major difference from subcritical systems, where the refrigerant condenses at a fairly constant temperature. It is important to note that evaporation in both subcritical and transcritical systems takes place within the two-phase region. Therefore, the primary difference between the subcritical and transcritical systems is the type of heat rejection process that takes place within the high side of the system.

Phil is the Ontario sales manager for Bitzer Canada Inc. and provides training and technical support for Bitzer’s clientele. He can be contacted at: 26

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COMPRESSION MISCONCEPTIONS Some have a misconception that transcritical processes can only occur at high compression ratios. This is not necessarily true. For example, what is the compression ratio of a transcritical compressor that operates at 20°F SST and a discharge pressure 1,377 psia? The pressure at a saturation temperature of 20°F (-6.7°C) is approximately 422 psia. Taking that discharge pressure of 1,377 and dividing it by the pressure at the saturation temperature (422), we get a compression ratio of approximately 3.26.

PROPERTIES OF SUPERCRITICAL FLUIDS It is interesting to note that a supercritical fluid is neither a liquid nor a vapour; it exhibits properties of both. At the critical point, the density of the vapour and the liquid are equal. Therefore, we can say that a supercritical fluid has a high density characteristic, which is also a characteristic of liquid. Looking at our R744 example in its supercritical state, since the density is so high, it is important to note that a further increase of the pressure of the CO2 will not result in any condensation. Supercritical fluid also has the low viscosity and highdiffusivity characteristics of a vapour, making it much easier for it to pass through liquids and solids. In fact, supercritical fluid is used to extract a particular substance out of a liquid or solid. Decaffeination is one example. The CO2 extracts caffeine as it passes through the coffee bean. The temperature of supercritical CO2 can be relatively low. This is desirable because the CO2 does not damage the material that it is passing through. Supercritical fluid extraction processes are also used to extract essential oils from plants.

Carbon dioxide pressure temperature phase

HEATING D THE FLUID In a refrigeration system, the temperature of the fluid entering the gas cooler can be quite high, due to the heat absorbed in the low side of the system, the heat of compression, and the heat absorbed from the motor in semi hermetic-compressors. This series of photos illustrates the physical change that takes place as heat is added to a sealed chamber containing CO2. In photo #1, the chamber has been charged approximately half-level with CO2 liquid. Next, a heat source is added. Since the CO2 is confined, the volume remains constant throughout the process. As heat is added to the chamber, the CO2 moves towards its critical temperature and pressure. Note that in photo #2 the liquid and vapour phases appear to be merging, and the meniscus is beginning to vanish. Adding further heat to the chamber results in further merging of the vapour and liquid as their densities become closer together, which we can see in photo #3. Finally, the meniscus has completely vanished and liquid and vapour are no longer present. What we see in photo #4 is the CO2 in its supercritical state.

Next time… In the March/April 2018 issue of Mechanical Business, we will discuss the methods used to calculate or plot the gas cooler outlet conditions (GCO) so we can have a better understanding of the role of algorithm-driven regulators used in transcritical R744 refrigeration systems.


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HVAC/R PProductss Centrifugal compressors

Airflow measurement system Ruskin’s TDP05K advanced thermal dispersion air measurement system measures average velocity and temperature within a duct or plenum. Each airfoil-shaped probe can have up to eight moisture-resistant flex sensors. Users can specify up to 16 probes for any given opening, providing a maximum of 128 sensing points, each capable of measuring a velocity range from 0 to 5,000 fpm.

Danfoss’ Turbocor TT Series variable-speed, magnetic bearing ring centrifugal compressors support ort low-lift applications such as air-cooled heat pumps. All compressors produced after this past December and equipped d with compressor firmware version 4.1 are compatible with both R-134a and R-513A. www.

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Wireless monitoring Trane’s Air-Fi wireless technology is available with carbon dioxide and occupancy sensing options. The device measures temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and occupancy status without the use of wires. The system is built on a platform that supports BACnet open standards. Typical indoor signal range is 200 feet.

K-Flex’s Titan closed-cell, flexible ble as a elastomeric insulation tubing has flexible polymeric jacketing thatt offers UV protection as well as abrasion and weather resistance to help protect outdoor lineset tubing. The slide-on insulation comes in 6-foot lengths and is available for 1/2” to 2-1/2” piping.



Coil cleaning system Goodway Technologies’ CC-201T coil cleaning system is designed to clean n coils in mini-split systems, packaged terminal minal air conditioners and interior air handlers. dlers. Its pressurized water system removes es dust, dirt and debris. The unit can be connected to a water source for continuous cleaning or operate from m its built-in eight-gallon storage tank. The he unit works with an odour eliminatorr for improved indoor air quality.

Low-GWP refrigerant chiller


Johnson Controls’s York YZ Magnetic Bearing Centrifugal Chiller operates on R-1233zd(E), a low-GWP refrigerant. The chiller uses an integral, variable-speed drive and magnetic bearing technology that features a single-moving assembly suspended in a magnetic field designed to never require lubrication.

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HVAC TOP TIPS B y Ma r k Pa r l i a m e n t a n d A l e x a n d r a W en n b er g


maintenance checks



ost parts of the country have experienced one of the colder winters in recent memory, and the cold keeps HVACR technicians busy as furnaces falter and the calls for winter maintenance just don’t seem to ever stop. Frustration can mount when a furnace is not working properly and the indoor temperature continues to fall, despite following the maintenance check-list. Sometimes the issues are due to additional failing parts, but other times it’s the procedural steps that block the path to a fix. In the spirit sharing knowledge, and to help get you to your next no-heat call quickly, here are three common component errors made in the field that could cause a furnace to fire improperly, or worse, not at all. And remember, no matter how long one has been working in the

field, one can never learn too much or know too much. You can be the type of technician that is hesitant to jump at emerging technologies or the one who embraces the new and looks for the latest products to work into the systems you are installing. Regardless of your stripes,

only you are in charge of your knowledge level, so strive to learn something new every day by trying different ways of troubleshooting appliances, reading manufacturer manuals, registering for industry courses or signing up for online industry blogs and forums and keep reading magazines like this one.

MANIFOLD PRESSURES AND SEALED COMBUSTION With a direct vent furnace equipped with a sealed combustion burner, it is important to check the manifold pressure to ensure that the system is not over-fired. Over-firing can lead to premature limit failure, damage to the heat exchanger, improper combustion and CO poisoning. At one time, we would check the manifold pressure with the burner box cover removed or by disconnecting the hose from the gas valve and plugging it, leaving the valve vent open to the atmosphere. These burners run in slightly negative pressure, however. By removing the cover or disconnecting the hose, the manometer does not see the negative pressure and could easily over- or under-fire the unit while in operation. Instead, it is recommended to insert a tee in the hose from the gas valve vent to the burner box. The other end of the tee is then connected to the negative port on the dual port manometer. This way you can see the operating pressure of the unit while running in true load conditions.


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THE PSC MOTOR: TESTING THE CAPACITORS In a Permanent Split Capacitor (PSC) motor, the capacitor does two things. First, it gives the motor the extra starting torque that it needs to overcome the locked rotor, and more importantly, it keeps the startwinding in the circuit to assist the runwinding to make the motor more efficient. To do this, the capacitor must act as a “load.” If the capacitor is out of variance then it is not going to give the startwinding the proper load required, causing the startwinding to overheat and prematurely burn out because it does not have the capacity to stay in the circuit by itself. A common error during a maintenance call is to allow a capacitor to stay in the circuit even though it is outside its minimum requirements because the motor is operating. Capacitors should be tested each time a maintenance or service call is performed on the motor. The aim is to ensure the capacitor is within five per cent of the capacitor’s rated microfarad. The most common way to test this is by using a meter that has a microfarad setting. This can present two problems: One, the test can’t be performed while the system is operating; and two, you end up using nine volts on something that is designed for 370 to 440 volts.

the capacitor from the motor by placing the volt leads across the capacitor while the motor is running. Then get the AMP draw on the startwinding wire that is going to the capacitor. The formula in the Illustration can be used to determine microfarads.

To get around these problems, it is best to test the capacitor while under load. First, get the back-EMF voltage that is being fed to

By using this method, you will get a more accurate reading of the capacitor under load and will also be able to see the true voltage being applied to the capacitor.

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Based out of Westport, Ont., Mark Parliament has over 30 years of experience in the HVACR industry and is a senior training consultant with Lennox Learning Solutions. Alexandra Wennberg is the founder of Maven Marketing & Communications, a communications agency with specialized focus on the construction, real estate, HVACR and non-profit sectors. To reach the authors, email


Did you know The first forced-air furnace was introduced in 1935. It used coal, and was equipped with an electric fan to move the heated air through the ductwork.

When working with non-sealed combustion burners, it is important to test the pressure switches correctly. Checking the pressure switch with the front door off can give a false reading, since the furnace cabinet is the burner box in non-sealed combustion burners. With the front door off the cabinet, you are not able to adequately check for proper vent lengths, operation of the inducer motor, or if the pressure switch is working properly. To look for proper installation of the

One box. Unlimited solutions

vent and the furnace, or to troubleshoot intermittent problems with the unit going off on the pressure switch, run two hoses through the furnace cabinet. The first should be inline with the hose to the pressure switch. Leave the second hose hanging loose in the combustion compartment beside the pressure switch. Take readings with the front door securely in place. This will show you what the pressure switch is truly seeing while the unit is in operation.


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February 2018


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WHAT F E A T U R E S 38GUEST COMMENTARY Game changing technology Mathew Pottins

great C O N T E N T S supple m e nt

giving a [tiny] house the solar treatment

02 . 1 8

46PROJECT PROFILE Architectural student Ben Hayward is designing and building a 200 sq.-ft. tiny house, complete with a custom-designed radiant heating system. Bradfield Craig

Winning the race 54ROAD WARRIOR Tony Pregal knows a thing or two about speed, power and combustion, and he puts that knowledge to good use, whether he’s in a boiler room or behind the wheel of his BMW race car. Adam Freill

40HEAT PUMPS Look to the Earth Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr


50TROUBLESHOOTING Sometimes a heating system’s biggest challenge isn’t the equipment itself. Sometimes the things that get left behind create mysteries for technicians to solve. Dan Holohan


D E P A R T M E N T S 36From the Editor’s Desk 42Find the Fix 56,58Products

Cover Photo: Jimmy Jeong


Content Media Group Inc. 19 – 1525 Cornwall Road Oakville, ON L6J 0B2 Canada Tel: 905.465.2919 Fax: 905.465.2913 Jan/Feb 2018 Issue Editor: Adam Freill, ext. 224 Associate Editor/Web Editor: Jonathon Lee, ext. 225 National Sales Manager: Jeff Superle, ext. 221 Controller: Liz Mills

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Finding the comfort zone How well do you know your potential customers? And do you use that knowledge to help craft your sales approaches to turn that potential audience into real sales? Let’s face it, hydronic systems have always been very good at moving a lot of energy, efficiently and relatively inexpensively, but sometimes that’s not enough to earn a sale, especially when there are less expensive, less complex, or newer options available, so knowing what matters to a customer can make or break their buying decision. Customize for your

customer Sure, you are more than happy to explain how efficient water is at moving BTUs around a building, and you might even find that technical details are a key driver for some of your customers, but I’d hazard a guess that many people are more than willing to glaze over as their contractor extols the virtues of using a pump or a valve to control each of the zones in their home or building.

In light of increased equipment choices and competition, to survive (and thrive) it helps to consider why hydronics is a good option for your customers, and that reason can be different from one customer to another.

Although there will be customers who want to know how many BTUs are being directed to their office or den, and that there’s a control monitoring the weather outside to maximize the efficiency of the boiler, don’t expect all customers to want to know technical details, and that’s fine. The trick is to figure out what matters to them, and then adjust the conversation to meet them in their comfort zone.

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Some will want to be told that they have the most expensive system available. Those are the ones who will be bragging about their system to anyone who will listen – not about the technical details of the system, however; just the price. have experienced the feel of heat under their feet Others may hav elsewhere and w want that for their own floor. Don’t be discouraged care how it’s delivered. Mechanicals are the invisible if they don’t ca our industry delivers. comforts that o

Notice: Mechanical Business is published for owners, managers and decision makers with mechanical contracting firms and the sector’s supply chain partners in Canada. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the information, Mechanical Business, Content Media Group Inc., its staff, directors, officers and shareholders (‘The Publisher’) assume no liability, obligation or responsibility for advertised claims, for errors and/or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. Manufacturers’ instructions take precedence over published editorial. The publisher reserves the right to publish a printed correction in a subsequent issue for editorial errors, omissions and oversights. Subscriptions are available for $90 plus taxes in Canada and the U.S. Single copies are $15.00. Outside Canada and the U.S., the rates are $150.00 (annual) and $25.00 (single copy).

Do we need to know what happens when we turn the key in the each morning? Not really, as long as it starts and we truck eac can get to our shop or office.

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So don’t be surprised if a customer doesn’t follow S the calculations. As long as the system works, and they can fit the payments into their monthly budget, you’ll be hitting them at their level. That’s the comfort zone.

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Game changing technology P

icture this: You’re stuck on a jobsite looking at a boiler and trying to troubleshoot. You can’t quite figure it out, so you call tech support and wait 10 minutes for someone to answer.

When they do, they ask for the model and serial number, but it’s not exactly accessible because of the tight quarters of the mechanical room. You struggle to find an opening and stretch your eyes as far as they can go and hopefully you can make out all the numbers and letters. Next you try to explain the problem, but you’re having trouble describing the symptoms and using the right hydronics terminology because every manufacturer has a slightly different term they use for components and parameters. One hour goes by, two, three… Now instead of calling tech support, imagine if you were to take full advantage of that magical device you were holding to your ear. You send a text to the tech support general number and a couple of minutes later you receive a video call from Nashville, Chicago or Germany. Instead of getting your head caught between the mechanical room wall and the boiler to get the serial number, or fumbling through the explanation of what’s happening with your hydronics system, you can just flip your phone around and show an expert in real time. Or better yet, the machine can tell you its serial number and component setup because it is stored in the onboard diagnostic memory. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t quite at this point yet, but we’re not far off. It won’t be long before one manufacturer will make this happen and completely change the game of technical support.

Changing with the times

The point is that we need to embrace technology in this trade.

My wife’s grandparents live on the other side of the world; yet somehow, my daughter sees them more than she sees my grandparents who live 15 minutes away.

We need to understand that we aren’t just dealing with heating or cooling systems anymore; we’re dealing with computers that provide comfort to our homes. We also have computers in our pockets, and if we can have those computers communicate with each other, we can use them as sales tools, programing tools, design tools and much more. That’s how to be a step ahead instead of trailing behind.

Do we ship my daughter overseas all the time? Do we pretend we’re not home when my grandparents spontaneously stop by? No, and no. But we do walk around with tablets and smartphones that give us the ability to have a video conversation with anyone we want, anywhere we want, anytime we want.

Mathew Pottins is the group leader for residential products at Aqua-Tech Sales and Marketing Inc. He can be reached at or find him on Instagram (@aquatechsales).



Suppl emen t

02. 18

Our grandparents have lived through the most extraordinary times, and when I think about the advancement in technology from when they were kids to now – they’ve gone from listening to the radio to streaming live baseball games – it boggles my mind. I can’t even imagine how they feel. I have so much respect for this generation of people who want to embrace all that technology has to offer. And I hope that we, as an industry, can also embrace all that technology can offer us.

Heat Pumps Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr has been a plumbing, radiant heat and solar contractor and installer for 30 years. A long-time columnist and trainer, he is manager of training and education with Caleffi North America. You can reach Hot Rod at

By Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr

Look to the



he term “Geo” conjures up thoughts of energy transferred directly from the earth, but that’s just the tip of the energy iceberg that can be harnessed from the world around us. Modern systems are making use of energy that is stored in the ground, bodies of water or even the air around us. Over the years, I have written mainly about hydronic systems. For the most part, these were systems where heat energy was supplied by fossil fuel, or in some cases, thermal radiation from the sun as active or passive solar energy. However, technologies and products are evolving to transfer many types of earth energy into our buildings to heat and cool them. Some (Bob Dylan, for one) have said, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,” but perhaps, in our case, the answer is not just in the wind. It’s also under our feet and all around us. Energy can be found in many different places. It is your job to select, blend and apply the appropriate source(s) to deliver comfort and efficiency to your customers.

“At the Peppermill Hotel, energy collected from the Earth reduces natural gas consumption by 85%.” 40


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Gambling on geo In some cases, energy collected from the earth can go directly to the load, such as from hot springs or wells drilled deep enough to reach hot water aquifers. One such project that I recently toured is the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in Reno, Nevada. Almost all of the energy used in the HVAC and domestic hot water systems for its restaurants, shops and outdoor pools – not to mention its 2,000 rooms – comes from its 4,400-foot deep geothermal well. The well is capable of producing water that is around 79°C (174°F) at a flow rate of up to 75 L/sec, that’s around 2,000 gpm! Spent water is reinjected about a quarter-mile away into an injection well. This source of energy has reduced natural gas consumption by 85 per cent, and the project had just a 3.2-year return on investment.

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PUMPED ABOUT ENERGY Heat pumps can leverage “earth” energy, or upgrade it, so to speak, so that it can be gathered in sufficient quantities that a heating or cooling effect can be generated, as the application demands. Air-to-air heat pumps have been successfully applied for many years in residential and commercial applications, and newer technology is expanding the climate regions where these electro-mechanical devices can be effective. Water-to-water heat pumps gather their energy from well-, lake-, or earthcoupled loop fields and enhance it so that it can be used to heat or cool a structure. Another type of heat pump technology, the air-to-water heat pump, is seeing more development and improvement. These use the outside air temperature as the heat source, and they play nicely with the types of hydronic distribution methods we currently embrace and love. Air-to-water heat pumps eliminate the need for, and associated cost of, drilled wells, loop fields in trenches, or pond or lake heat exchangers. It also allows them to be used in congested areas that do not have access to the ground or water sources generally required for other types of heat pumps.

Hot and cold efficiency

All of the brands that I have been able to check out can easily supply lowtemperature radiant floor ceiling or wall applications, but expect the output temperatures to continue to rise as this technology evolves in the future.

A three-ton, 36,000 BTUH output provided with a 3,000-watt input would have a COP of 3.51. Compare this to a 3,600-watt resistance heater that operates near 100 per cent, giving you a 3,600-watt heat output for the 3,600 watts of electricity applied to it: that’s a COP of 1.

Crunch your numbers

On the cooling side, we use Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) ratings. A similar efficiency formula applies, but with EER, the amount of cooling capacity in BTUH is divided by the electrical input, which is expressed in watts.

The key to the successful selection and application of a heat pump starts with doing some number crunching. Calculate the load that you are looking to cover; determine the type of heat emitters that will be used; and size the emitters to work at the lowest possible supply for heating, or at the warmest supply for cooling.

For the heating mode of a heat pump, we look at the coefficient of performance, or COP. In its basic form, this is the ratio of useable heat output (expressed in watts) divided by the electrical input (also expressed in watts).

HYDRONIC OPERATIONS If the heat pump is moving energy into a water or fluid stream, then hydronics steps in as the ultimate way to move and store the converted energy.

Look for training sessions that are specific to heat pump systems to learn the ins and outs, and speak with experts that can lead you through your first design.

Buffer tanks are often applied to reduce the cycling of the heat pumps, for both heating and cooling applications. Once we have the fluid stored in a tank, we can pull the loads off the tank with weather-responsive outdoor reset controls (ODRs).

Some forward-looking gurus in our industry predict a time when we no longer rely on fossil fuels. Energy to heat, cool and provide DHW could be geo based, with electricity, possibly from solar PV panels or a wind turbine, being used as the energy transfer fuel source.

With a properly designed, installed and commissioned ODR control, the distribution is always receiving the exact amount of energy to cover the load. This can provide near-constant circulation, and lessen or eliminate short cycles. Ultimate comfort from a radiant panel or surface can be obtained when the panel is not overshooting or undershooting the required output.


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Jeff House is an experienced industry professional and hydronics trainer. He handles the sales territory from the Niagara region to the Greater Toronto Area for Jess-Don Dunford, a manufacturers’ rep in Ontario. He can be reached at

Find the Fix

BACK TO THE MANUAL You are called to an 8,000 sq.-ft. custom ustom home with walk out basement. Your ur task is to install an infloor heating system m with a second stage air handler forr heating and primary cooling. Your wholesaler prepares everything, but you’ve adjusted to other boilers and a different piping scheme. After listening to the manufacturers’ experts, and a read d of the installation manual, you startt troubleshooting. 1. The second-floor radiant floor panel and the air handler were not heating. After purging and purging to ensure all the air is out (remember if you purge and no air comes out, it’s not an air problem) you: a) Add an extra pump in series because it’s a long distance to the boiler. b) Add a pump to the infloor loop, and a second one on the air handler. c) Blame the pump manufacturer that three speeds isn’t always enough. It should have four. d) You are about 36 feet above the boiler, so you set the fill and expansion tank pressures to 21 psi. 2. Looking at the main system pump, is it: a) Pumping away from the point of no pressure change. b) Pumping toward the point of no pressure change. c) There’s no such thing as the point of no pressure change. d) Old boilers worked just fine without ever thinking about the point of no pressure change.

Email your answers to Please include your name and daytime phone number.

Looking for the November/December answers? If you need the answers to last edition’s quiz, you’ll find them at our home on the web, Just click the “Looking for Answers?” button on our homepage.



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3 Although the 40-gallon indirect DHW tank with 1” fittings and 1-1/2” internal heat exchange coil somehow provided lots of hot water, to get the maximum output, the supply and return lines should be: a) 3/4” as installed. b) 1” would have been better. c) The manual said that maximum output requires 14 gpm at 180°F, so 1-1/4” would be the best. d) You should have used a tankless for the five bathrooms. 4. The high efficiency 1-1/4” air separator that’s piped to the 2” main loop will: a) Work just fine. Eventually all the air will come out. b) It’s not doing anything. c) A 2” air separator should have been installed without the detour. d) You really don’t need one with high-efficiency boilers. e) A low-cost air scoop would have worked just as well.

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Bradfield Craig is the director of marketing for Canada at Uponor North America. He can be reached h at

Project Profile By Bradfield Craig

giving a house the solar treatment [tiny]

the small size of the home. As designed, the house will have two domestic water heaters. One for the heating system and the other for domestic hot water use. Seeing as how this house has a very small footprint and will be super-insulated in the floor, walls and roof, the total heatloss of the space will be minimal.


adiant systems are often found in custom homes or cottages, and less frequently in smaller homes and condos, although I recently had an opportunity to get involved in an in-floor radiant project in a very small house – a home so small that it might fit into the bedroom of some of your projects! Ben Hayward, an architecture student at Carleton University in Ottawa with the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism, is designing and building a 200 sq.-ft. tiny house, complete with a custom-designed radiant heating system.


method of heating the space. There are lots of funky shapes and features to this house that truly make it unique. For example, a bed will actually drop down from the ceiling in the living room on cables. It can be wound back up when not in use. The ceiling chandelier also doubles as a coffee table. Talk about optimizing your space. Ben made sure that every inch of this space was utilized when he came up with the design.

Ben originally reached out to my company last July to share the idea and concept of what he was looking to build, and to see if we would be interested in participating in the project by supplying radiant product and design support.

The objective of this research project is to pursue low-cost, easy, self-managing heating in a Canadian climate using solar thermal technology. The concept is to use a photovoltaic solar array to feed electricity into a conventional domestic hot water tank, and to heat the space using traditional in-floor radiant heating.

Once I saw the renderings of the design concept I was hooked on the “cool factor” of how this tiny house looked, how it was being constructed, and the intended

Ben’s thinking is that a PV system is more economical and easier to install and maintain than a full conventional hydronic solar thermal system, due to


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At 20 BTUH per square foot, the total load is estimated to be 4,000 BTUH. The total volume of fluid in the radiant loops will be just over two gallons, and the system will use a supply water temperature (SWT) of 102°F to deliver a floor surface temperature of 82°F. The system is designed to have a 30 per cent glycol mix in the hydronic fluid, primarily as a precaution for times when the house is not being used. If the system is turned off, we wouldn’t want the fluid in the system to freeze. As part of the research for this project, supply temperatures will be adjusted to determine the minimum water temperature that can be used to meet the load for the tiny house while providing proper comfort. The whole focus of this project is to minimize all of the system demands. Once the project is completed, the intent is for it to be used as a research facility on the Carleton University campus where students and faculty can fine-tune the

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Radiant luxury to go The piping diagram shows the zoning and loop pattern for the four loops in the system. Each loop is around 150 feet in length and uses 5/16” diameter PEX tubing using 6” spacing.

system, and capture data on its performance. Eventually it is hoped that the house will make its first road trip across Canada to Ben’s hometown of Edmonton, Alta., so keep your eyes open for this unique dwelling. You may pass it on one of our Canadian highways one day and wonder “what the heck is that?”

The loops that are shown outside of the floor space are actually loops that will be installed on the walls. This will help to maximize the overall surface area of the radiant space,

Just another finely built Canadian home, using some of the plumbing, fixtures, hardware and heating system components we are all so proud of representing in our industry.

FROM CANADA TO MIDDLE EARTH Ben Hayward is not only a student, he is also a member of the Canadian National kayaking team and competes around the world in kayaking events while travelling around in his first tiny house, aptly dubbed “The Hobbit Van.” The van serves as his home on the road, and definitely has a Middle Earth style to it with the custom windows and door. Be sure to check it out on his website,

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allowing a lower water temperature to be used to meet the required heat load. For the wall heating areas, self-sticking plastic panels for 5/16” PEX were installed as these were able to follow the curvature of the wall. Radiant tubing was installed in the main wall of the living room, as well as in the majority of the lower wall space in the bathroom and shower area. This area will be fully tiled, providing the luxury and comfort of warm radiant walls in the shower.

WEIGHING CUSTOM APPROACHES The most interesting challenge for this project was the overall shape of the space. There is a lot of curvature to the living space. We were originally looking at using prefabricated plywood panels, placing the radiant tubing in before installing the finished floor, but we quickly realized that there would be a significant amount of custom fitting required with these rectangular panels in a space with so many curves. Plan B was an option of “knob mats” where the tubing could be walked into place and could follow the shape of the space, but it would have required a gypcrete over-pour and there were concerns around the additional weight. The house would need to be towed periodically. The solution was custom-cut sheets of plywood. These were routered using a CNC machine to create the desired loop pattern. Ben already had a CNC technician making most of the panels for the structure, so adding these custom floor panels was a natural fit. This approach allowed the radiant tubing to properly cover the floor space while keeping the weight to a minimum.


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fun Troubleshooting

By Dan Holohan

Dan Holohan is an author, speaker, steam heating expert, and founder of, a highly regarded industry site that shares information about heating systems old and new. He can be reached at



he contractor was a good steam man but he had run out of ideas with this job. It was a typical, five-storey, New York City tenement building. Its one-pipe steam system had served generations of tenants for more than 100 years. “This one riser that takes care of the back bedroom on each floor just won’t heat,” the contractor told me. “What have you done so far?” I asked. “I changed all the air vents, as well as the main vent down in the basement. I’ve checked the pitch of all the radiators on the riser. They’re fine. I opened and closed all the radiator supply valves. They’re old but they’re turning. I don’t know what else to do.” I love stuff like this, so I met him on the job. We walked around the basement and climbed the stairs to look in all of the apartments served by that riser. The radiators were all cold. We looked at the boiler. It was the right size for the connected radiation and it had heated the whole building up until that riser decided to quit. The steam pressure cut in at 1/2 psi and cut-out at 1-1/2 psi, which was good for this system. Too high a pressure in a one-pipe-steam system can hold the air vents closed and lead to no heat, but that would have shown up everywhere, not just in that one riser. Years ago, the installing contractor had anchored the steam risers at their midway point. I saw the escutcheons around the riser on the ceiling of the second floor and the floor of the third floor. These kept the riser from expanding straight upward toward the fifth-floor radiator. That could cause the radiator to pitch toward the air vent and squirt water. With the anchor point in the middle, the riser expanded both upward and continues on page 52



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DEALING WITH WILD LIFE I’ve had the pleasure of sharing stories with numerous contractors over the years. I recall one telling me about a boiler that was making a rumbling sound. At first, he thought it was the circulator, so he opened it up but it looked fine. The rumbling continued and it was definitely coming from inside the boiler. He opened the boiler and found a few hundred acorns in there. Squirrels. Another contractor friend found a live baby owl in the flue of a cold-start boiler. The homeowner had jammed the barometric damper shut because he thought it was a squirrel (there they go again). He called the contractor and the contractor called Animal Control. They got the baby owl out alive and released it in the woods. Isn’t that a real hoot?






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continues from page 50

downward against the swing joint in the basement. It’s an old-timer trick. That got me thinking about that fifth-floor radiator, so we paid it another visit. I opened and closed the radiator’s supply valve. It moved as it should, but then I wondered what it was like inside. “Can you pop this one open?” I asked the contractor. “What are you thinking?” he asked. “I want to see if the valve seat is in there. He opened the bonnet and took it out. The stem was there but the seat was missing. “What the heck happened to it?” the contractor asked. I think it’s in the basement,” I said. We went downstairs and I had him cut the steam main at the elbow where the riser turned upward. Sure enough, the seat from the radiator valve up there on the fifth floor had fallen into that elbow and clogged the pipe enough so that the steam couldn’t get by. How did you know to look here?” the contractor asked me. “The top-floor radiator is the only one that has a supply valve connected directly to the riser. There’s no swing joint there, so it was able to fall five storeys. I just had a feeling,” I said.



In one system I checked out, a technician chnician found a roofing nail in the inlet flange ange of the system’s circulator, which wass on the vertical return line. Previous techs had bled air again and again. (Again, why do we do that?) ?) They even changed the circulator. No dice. There was no flow because the nail was acting like a check installed backwards. The nail would allow water to pass backward up the return, but not downward into the pump. Gravity caused the nail to drop into place and stop the flow again and again. Go figure.

Good one, eh? THE NICKEL DEFENSE T O day I was called out to help a One contractor out with a hot water system. One of the zones was erratic. It would get hot and then go cold. The circulator was running and the contractor had purged iit again and again without it making a d difference. (Why do we do that?) “It’s almost like someone is opening and closing a valve,” the contractor said. So, we looked some more and we did our best to think like water. The pipe got hot to this elbow and went cold at that point, but not all the time. I was thinking that the fitting was partially or fully blocked. That’s a manufacturing defect. It’s unusual and I’ve seen it in cast fittings, but never with a copper fitting, which this one was. When you don’t know what’s causing the problem you can’t dismiss any possibility, so I asked the contractor to cut the pipe so we could look inside that elbow. You know what was in there? A nickel. And sometimes it was turned this way, and other times it was turned that way. Just like a butterfly valve. Flow. No flow. The contractor got to keep the nickel as a souvenir. But you’re probably wondering how that nickel got into the system, right? I figure someone put it there. Now why they put it there is more a question for a psychologist and not for me. Oftentimes, the most complicated components of any heating system are the installers. 52


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HOLD THIS FOR A SECOND, WOULD YOU? I worked for a Bell & Gossett rep years ago, and we came across yet another of these internal mysteries that stands out to me to this day. We had this shell-and-tube heat exchanger that wouldn’t do what we promised it would do. When we popped the head open we found a pair of welding gloves pressed up against the tube sheet, with fingers splayed. Seriously!

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Road Warrior By Adam Freill

Tony’s Olympic moment

Current work ride: 2013 Ford F150 Kilometres per day: 150 per day on average Service area: Mainly B.C.’s Lower Mainland Favourite local area: Vernon. It’s a beautiful country up there. It’s a great spot to ride your ATV.

“The coolest thing that I have worked on was at the 2010 Olympics,” says Tony. “I got to work on commissioning and starting up the outside cauldron before the official Olympic flame was lit.”

Most useful tool in your toolbox: My multimeter Favourite tool in your toolbox: A Greenlee 9-in-1 screwdriver Tool that you wish you had: Does a crystal ball count as a tool? If you were granted one wish: I lost my dad in 2008. I really wish I could hang out with him one more day.

He spent time working with an Australian group for two weeks ahead of the games, setting it up and ensuring that it was operating safely. “You had to go through security background checks, but we were rolling big bottles of nitrogen through the facility, and the cops would help us,” he laughs. “I got to meet Wayne Gretzky, and got to be there the night that he lit the cauldron. It was awesome. To me, that was the coolest thing I’ve ever done. It is something that I’ll never forget.”

Favourite band: AC/DC Best concert attended: ZZ Top in 1984 at the Pacific Coliseum

Last book you read: Do equipment manuals count?

Favourite magazine: This one, but a close second is Hot Rod Magazine.

Last movie you saw: The Hitman’s Bodyguard

Favourite TV show: Married with Children

Favourite website: There’s a BMW forum called

Favourite character: Al Bundy

3 albums that you’d take with you to your desert island:

Favourite cartoon: Yosemite Sam

1. AC/DC Highway to Hell 2. Led Zeppelin Physical Graffiti 3. Audioslave’s first album, Audioslave

Favourite actor: Clint Eastwood Favourite movie: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Biggest pet peeves: Fast lane road hogs.

Favourite sport: Auto racing

One place in the world you would like to visit: Antarctica

Favourite car of all time: 1966 AC Cobra Term that describes you: Family man Photo: Jimmy Jeong

Favourite video game: Gran Turismo on PS4


My rule of thumb is... measure twice, cut once. Favourite place to hang out: My garage out back Favourite snack: My kryptonite is potato chips.


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When I was a kid, I wanted to be a... race car driver.

Name: Tony Pregal Company: TNT Energy Systems Services Inc. Title: Partner/Industrial Class A Gasfitter Born in: Vancouver, B.C. Lives in: Surrey, B.C. Age: 54 Joined the industry: 1984

Winning the race, with

Tony Pregal A

t work, Tony Pregal gets to play with fire. At play, he lets others eat his dust.

A professional gasfitter, his company operates commercial and industrial divisions, and he handles the commissioning and start up of a lot of retrofit boilers in multi-family apartment buildings, as well as the servicing and installation of industrial burners. “I get to play with some big natural gas burners. Lighting those things up, especially when they are brand new, is just incredible,” he says. “I love playing with fire, and mixing the air and fuel.” Away from the boiler room, Tony puts his mechanical skills to good use keeping the cars in his garage in top shape. He piloted his 2001 BMW, sponsored by Raven Hydronic Supplies, to the 2017 GTM road race series championship at Mission Raceway, and he spends a

portion of his spare time working on his X4 roadster. “It’s highly modified. I did all the work myself. Nothing like taking a fairly nice car and stripping the motor apart and adding a supercharger to it, suspension, rear differential. It is a lot of fun,” he says. W H A T

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HYDRONIC PRODUCTS High-efficiency circulator Taco’s 0015e3 variable-speed, highefficiency wet rotor circulator, with an ECM permanent magnet motor, is made for hydronic systems zoned with circulators or zone valves. It features three settings, a BIO Barrier that protects the pump from system contaminants, and a SureStart automatic unblocking and air purging mode.


Hydronic ball valve Viega’s ProPress hydronic ball valve is full port and designed for non-potable water applications. Available in 1/2” and 3/4” press sizes as well as 3/4” hose size, the valve features NH threads and an EPDM sealing element.


Condensing boilers Weil-McLain Canada’s Evergreen high-efficiency condensing boiler line includes units from 70,000 to 399,000 BTUH. Each is equipped with a circulator, 24V low-water cut-off, floor stand and wall-mount bracket. Designed for both residential and light commercial applications, the models deliver up to 96.5% AFUE efficiency.

You burn more calories sleeping than sitting, watching television.


Fire tube boiler series Navien’s NFB fire tube boiler is designed for residential and light commercial applications. The series includes four models: 175,000, 199,000, 299,000 and 399,000 BTUH, each offering IoT integration, a 10:1 turndown ratio, up to 95% AFUE and flexible venting.


Commercial three-way mixing panels

Press Connection Valves Watts offers its hydronic and mixing valves in models designed for press connections. Available in 1/2” and 3/4” sizes, the brass and bronze valves can be joined to copper tubing using a press tool. They are suitable for retrofit and new construction projects and have pressure ratings up to 150 psi.

HeatLink's pre-fabricated commercial threeway mixing panels are designed to control a building’s radiant heating system supply water temperature. The panels may be used with a dedicated heat source or a non-dedicated heat source with a heat exchanger. All panels include a motor, pump, circuit setter, thermometers, isolation valves and cover.





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HYDRONIC PRODUCTS Modulating condensing boilers

PP-R piping Aquatherm polypropylene-random (PP-R) piping systems feature chemically inert piping material that is designed to never rust, corrode or leach. Its piping is designed for a variety of hydronic applications and can handle 180°F water at 100 psi. It comes in 1/2” through 24” diameter sizes and is connected by heat fusion.

Lochinvar’s Knight modulating condensing stainless steel boilers offer up to 95% AFUE efficiency and are available in seven wall mount models ranging from 55,000 to 399,000 BTUH. The units feature the company’s Smart System Control and up to a 10:1 turndown ratio.



Stainless steel manifolds Designed for use in hydronic heating and ld cooling systems, Legend’s M-8330 manifold series includes the M-8330P Stainless Steell -8300 Pro, M-8300AP Stainless Steel Pro and M-8300 Basic. The stainless steel 1” supply header n has built-in flow meters, while the 1” return headers have circuit isolation valves.

Water can dissolve more substancesthan any other liquid.


House control tekmar’s tekmarNet 2 House Control 406 is designed to operate the equipment in a two-pipe, single tank, hydronic heating and cooling system. It operates two heat pump stages (water-to-water or air-to-water) with a backup heat source (boiler or electric resistance). The unit operates four on-board heating and cooling zones and is expandable up to 52 zones on the boiler, tank and mix water temperatures.


Auto air vent Available from Ontor, Spirotherm’s Spirotop VTP050FT low profile, high-compression valve provides a leakresistant, high point vent. It is designed to resist dirt particles and sudden pressure shocks that can cause leaks. The auto air vent is offered in 1/2” FPT and 3/4” MPT, has a 150 PSI standard working pressure, and 270°F maximum temperature limit.

Stainless steel boiler line Bosch’s Buderus residential stainless steel boiler models are available in four sizes: 85,000, 120,000, 160,000 and 255,000 BTUH. Each features an AFUE efficiency rating of up to 96% as well as integrated controls with weather compensation.


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By Mark Rippon

Helping customers navigate efficiency home as heat. In many ways it is similar to a combined fuel economy rating for a vehicle, looking at both optimal conditions (steady-state highway driving) and less optimal conditions (starts and stops of city driving).

When comparing gas or oil-fired boilers and furnaces for residential heating systems we generally refer to their Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) as being the most indicative measure of how well they perform, but just what is AFUE and what does it mean in the context of choosing an appliance? And better yet, how can we explain it to our customers in a way that’s not too simple, but not so complicated that they gloss over and miss the key points that they should be considering as you help them select their next furnace or boiler?

It should be noted, however, that AFUE is a calculated estimate, and based on laboratory testing under conditions that may not always match the real world. Despite this limitation, AFUE does provide a useful means to compare similar products that burn the same fuel and use the same heating medium, so it is still a very good indicator of relative efficiency and is our most useful and meaningful means of comparing apples to apples (or furnaces to furnaces and boilers to boilers).

AFUE provides us with an indication of how well the appliance converts fuel energy into heat over the course of the year. The homeowner can use the AFUE rating to estimate how much of their fuel dollar remains in the

Calculating AFUE

Encountering other efficiencies

As we know, in simple terms, AFUE is a calculated estimate of efficiency over the course of the year and reflects the percentage of heat energy available in the fuel that is transferred to the home to be used as useful heat. You may explain this to a homeowner like this:

AFUE= (Seasonal output) (Seasonal input)

Some homeowners will do a bit of online research, which can lead them to some of the other measures of efficiency that may be included in product literature or online discussions, so it may be helpful to explain some of the differences. For example, AFUE should not be confused with either combustion efficiency or thermal efficiency, each of which have very specific meanings. Combustion efficiency is a measure of how well the equipment burns fuel under steady-state conditions, as measured by unburned fuel in the exhaust. Thermal efficiency is a measure of the effectiveness of the heat exchanger in transferring heat to the water/steam, again at steady state.

The full energy cost picture It would be helpful to remind customers that, while being a very good indicator of an appliance’s relative efficiency, AFUE does not take into consideration the electrical energy used for controls, pumps, fans, etc., so it does not indicate the full operating cost of the appliance. In the case of boilers, it also does not consider standby loss or heat loss to piping. As such, it is possible that the AFUE rating of an appliance may be artificially higher than actual real-world appliance efficiency, as well as the overall system efficiency. Knowing this, it may be advisable to manage your customer’s expectations to avoid any difficult phone calls when the first utility bills for their new system arrive in the mail. Mark Rippon is the technical advisor with HRAI. He can be reached at


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Sprinklers in tight quarters B

onneville’s Habitant Loggia, a multi-level pre-fabricated condo located in Saint-Lambert, Que., presented Michael Vadnais one of the more unique jobs of his career. Tasked with installing the dry fire suppression system on the building’s balconies, little did he know the challenges awaiting him.

Ironically, the builder’s selection of the name “Loggia” for the complex is quite appropriate. Derived from an Italian word meaning “lodge,” it conveys the idea of a room that opens to the outside, such as a gallery or balcony that overlooks a court. This is precisely where the install project took place, on a series of balconies on the building’s various floors. Working for Gicleurs FF in Granby, Que., a company that specializes in sprinkler installs, Vadnais has seen his fair share of challenging jobs, but this was the first time he had to adapt to the unique circumstances that came with working on a prefabricated building – namely tight spaces.

Loggia Saint-Lambert 975 Saint-Charles St. STRUCTURE: 66 apartments FOOTPRINT: 82,000 square feet HEIGHT: 6 storeys OWNER/BUILDER: Les Industries Bonneville ENGINEERING: Groupe CME SPRINKLER INSTALLER: Gicleurs FF WEBSITE: ADDRESS:

Located on the east side of the St. Lawrence River, across the bridge from Old Montreal on the western shores, the modular design of Loggia sets it apart. Instead of a single structure that’s built and then divided into individual units, this building’s units were factory-built and assembled on site. Each housing unit has its own walls, floors and ceilings, and is completely separate from the others in terms of its structural components. Unfortunately, because of the pre-assembled nature of the structure, accessing the spaces needed to run the necessary sprinkler supply lines would prove difficult for even the nimblest of hands. Compounding the project for Vadnais and his crew was an unrelated water leak. With a few of the floors requiring decontamination, the team had its sprinkler install time cut in half. “At the outset, we had two weeks to complete one level,” he recalls. “After damage from the leak, we were only given a week for each floor.” Even under the gun, Vadnais managed to install the dry sprinkler system on the balconies within the deadline.


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Loggia’s modular pre-fabricated components are lifted into place.

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The system he used offers a choice of three lengths of tubing, 38” (965mm), 50” (1,270mm) and 58” (1,475mm), and Vadnais says he opted for the longest because of the flexibility it provides if a little extra hose needs to be pulled out.

The fire protection system is attached to an independent branch portable water supply line that is protected by a backflow preventer to avoid any contamination of the stagnant water. At the swivel nut connection, a Belleville seal opens to release water if activated. “The water goes up to the point that the dry sprinkler is connected,” says Vadnais. “The flexible hoses we used on the balconies are just under five feet long and hold no water until triggered.” The sprinkler system uses flexible, kinkresistant, annular corrugation tubing, with heads that are activated via a thermal bulb. The braided hoses have a two-inch bend radius, which allowed Vadnais to feed the system through the limited space offered by the balcony ceilings.

The orange-capped piping that the flexible dry sprinkler system connects on to. It also allowed him the flexibility to pull out a little extra length after the finishing touches were put into the balconies. Finishing of the balcony space happened well after his initial install, so to ensure the sprinklers would function properly, he returned to make any needed adjustments, paying particular attention to the sprinkler’s through-wall exit points.

“Usually, the outside sprinkler system is already working by the time the final touches are completed to the outside finish,” he says. “With a rigid system, you cannot change the length of hose extending from the wall afterwards without tearing things open.” The specifics of the sprinkler head location will dictate the type of head to be used, but Vadnais had a choice of at least five different styles of sprinkler heads for the dry system used at Loggia, including flat plate concealed pendent, recessed pendent, sleeve and skirt pendent, recessed sidewall, and sleeve and skirt sidewall heads.

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ADAPTING FOR MURPHY’S LAW Murphy’s Law dictates that if something can go wrong, it will go wrong, so it came as no surprise when challenges arose to test Vadnais’ problem-solving skills. One such hurdle was finding ways to secure the system in place. “On the sixth floor (top) we couldn’t fit the sprinklers in the same place as the

other floors because there wasn’t enough space between the roof and the ceiling,” he explains. “So, we had to put the sprinklers over the door, instead of above the windows. Working with a flexible system gave us a chance to overcome obstructions.” In another instance, it wasn’t an issue of space, but rather the framing carpentry that Vadnais and his team needed to work with.

Triggering the system Geneviève Bédard, the engineer who specified Loggia’s sprinkler system, says the system is typically set to 155°F in residential applications, unless the sprinkler head is located relatively close to something expected to heat up, such as a cooking range. “The system can discharge at temperatures ranging from 155°F to 286°F,” adds Bruno Dandurand, a Victaulic sales rep. “It only takes seconds to activate.”

“We used the system’s dedicated bracket,” he said, adding that they augmented the framing in the area due to the unique shape of the ceiling.


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kyrocketing to stardom thanks to an epic victory walk through Whistler Village after taking skeleton gold at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Jon Montgomery has gone on to share golden moments with Canadians throughout the world, and it’s a task that he loves.

Main photo courtesy of Bell Media/CTV. Sliding photo: Dave Sandford/Canadian Olympic Committee

“I’ve always found that when I was having fun and enjoying myself, I did well. The trick is to get ourselves into a head-space where we are focused, but not over analyzing; loose, but not apathetic; committed, but not cray-cray.”


Canada’s unofficial ambassador, and host of The Amazing Race Canada, Jon collects as many of those moments as fingerprints on the medal that made him famous – a collection that was added to by many in the mechanical trades when he served as the keynote speaker at MCAC’s annual conference this past November. Now officially retired from “sliding on a cafeteria tray,” Jon is serving as a skeleton analyst during the CBC’s coverage of the 2018 winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, and will return to his hosting duties when The Amazing Race Canada starts shooting again in April.

DID YOU KNOW? The fifth season of The Amazing Race Canada was the most-watched Canadian program last year, with an average audience of 1.8 million viewers.

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Know the ice Focus and knowledge are often what give an athlete rs the edge against the top competitors in the world. Learning about the subtle nuances in equipment and the sporting environment can mean the difference between a podium finish and going home empty handed, especially in a high-speed, technical sport like skeleton, so Jon immersed himself in learning all that he could about the tracks where he competed. “The things I learned about ice, I never thought possible,” he laughed during our interview. “You can tell just by looking at it what kind of day you’ll be having. The best weather for competing is usually around -1, with zero humidity and overcast skies.” Of course, no two sliding centres are alike. “Slow, fast, bumpy, smooth; every track in the world is different, from how they refrigerate the concrete, to the type of water used to make the ice,” he explained. “At the Konigssee track in Germany, the oldest refrigerated track in the world, they began to use treated water that lowered the amount of air bubbles in the water to create a harder ice surface.” That, he said, led to dramatic reductions in the record track times.

An amazing adventure Heading into its sixth season, The Amazing Race Canada celebrates some of the country’s most beautiful locations, as well as bringing contestants to exotic overseas destinations for some segments of the show. “I enjoy the travel and the stunts that are part of the gig, but I absolutely love watching the racers push themselves to their limits,” said Jon, who has hosted the show since its debut. “We make them earn every inch in front of them, and the teams never disappoint – well, almost never.” As host, Montgomery outlines the rules throughout each episode, so he gets to do many of the challenges that the contestants try to complete. A bit of a daredevil – understandable given the speeds he would reach on his skeleton sled – he takes most in stride, but the occasional one can cause him to pause for a moment or two. “I was really unnerved by the bungee tower jump in Macao,” he recalled. “It was 762-feet high, and the oil tanker that was below me looked like a child’s tub toy. That was freaky for sure.” Season six, which films for four straight weeks this spring, will launch in the summer.

The first step is the hardest Back in 2002, the view of Calgary’s sliding centre captured Jon’s curiosity, and witnessing a skeleton race grab grabbed his interest, but it still took a buildup of courage to grab a ssled and try his hand at something new. Stepping out of his comfort zone to take on the new challenge that would change his life is not unlike a journeyman starting a company for the first time, so we asked Jon for some advice from sport that could be applied to business. “The hardest part of any journey is just getting going,” said the Olympic champion. “It’s not always going to get easier right away, but nothing is harder than taking those first steps. The rest is about finding opportunities to celebrate your progression and savouring the small victories along the way. ”Sometimes simply deciding what to do first can be a barrier to success. “Folks need to decide what the first thing to do is, and then get it done! For some that’s verbalizing their desires, and others it means journaling the idea,” he added. “It might be as simple as asking for help and filling out an application, but momentum is a powerful force and, if we can lean into it when things are exciting and new, it can take us a long way.” Post-retirement, Montgomery can see how his sport training has helped his new career in media. “I think the work ethic I applied to sport is something that has stead me well in the world of television,” he said. “Being a part of a team also helped, as working in TV is so collaborative. If you are unable to work towards common goals with others, or think that certain jobs or duties are below you, then it’s going to be a slog.” A good team definitely gives anyone a leg up. “You’ll never earn anything truly important in life, on your own. All the best things, rewards, victories, milestones and any other sort of achievement is something we need help to accomplish or earn.”

The importance of water In n add ddit ddit itio tio ion to ion o hiiss wor orkk in in tel elev evis ev isio is ion io n an nd spor sp port orrt, Jon on and d his is wifife, e, ffe elllo lllow ow skke elle ele eto ton ra racer race cce er Da Darlla De Desc sch scha ha amp mps, s, sup uppo port rt Wat ater erAi Aid d,, an inte in nte terrn rnat nattiio onal nal ch na cha arrit ity tth hat at loo ooks ks to br brin ing cclle ea an wa atte er, r, dec ecen ent to toililets etts e an a nd go good od hyg ygie ygie iene ne to un un nde dersser de ders ervviicce ed pa part rts o off the he wor orld d. “We ar “W are b be eyo yond nd luc uck cky ky to ha have ve th he e acc cces cces ess to to the he ame meni niti ittiies es we do o,,” ” sai aid Jo aid Jon. n. “Cl Clea lea ean w wa ate er be beiin bein ng at at the he ver erryy to top of of th ha at list lilist. st. A st huma hu man’ n’s se selff-w wor ortth h is re rest sttor ored or ed whe hen en th they ey hav ave th the ca cap pa acciity ty to prrovid p ovid ov de th th he ee esssse en ent nttiia als ls of lilife fe in tth he eiir o ow wn ho home me an nd d ca an n acccces ess faci fa cililiti t ess for ti or san anit ita attio ion sa safel fely fe ly..” ” He and d hiss wiffe co comp mple mp lete ted te d a 50 5000 km 0m bikke ri ride de th hrrou oug gh h Co ossta ta Rica Ri a and Niccar a ag gua a rai a si sing ng mon oney eyy for or the h cha ari rittyy. “Aft “A fte err the he cycclliing ng,, we w vis isit sited itted ed the he No orrth ther ern Au Auto tono nomo mous mou us re eg gio on off Nicca o arrag gua ua to se see wh whe erre Wa Wa ate terA terA te rAid id d is h ha avi ving ng an infl influ in fluen ence ce on tth he llo oca cal po popu pula lati attiion on’ss abi on’s billiityy to ac bili access cesss cle ce l an an dri rinkkin ing g wa water te er an and s n sa niita ati tio on n. It It was as rem ema arrrka kabl kabl ka ble tto o see ee. Th The wo work rk the ey ar a e doin do oin ng in in tth hes ese re emo mote te e com mmu mun niiti tie ties ess was as inc ncre rediib blle. e.” Detta De ails iills o off the he cha hari rittyy, an nd it its wo its worrkk, ca can be be fou un nd d at wa wate tera raid id.o .orrg g. M e c h a n i c a l

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B y L ewis S m it h Lewis Smith is the manager of national projects with Canada Safety Council, an organization that offers defensive and professional driver training programs. Lewis can be reached at For more information about the council’s education offerings, visit their website,



perating a vehicle

requires a high degree

of attentiveness, patience

and skill. Professionals who drive commercial vans and trucks are

among the most skillful on the road. It’s in no small part thanks to the

first two traits – attentiveness and patience.

Over the course of a career, it’s not unheard of for a contractor to have logged over a million kilometres behind the wheel. Some professional drivers have driven for more than 1.5 million km without a traffic collision. Weather conditions can pose interesting challenges for drivers of any experience level, however.

1 1.

KEEP DISTRACTIONS TO A MINIMUM. A distraction is defined as anything that takes your attention off the road. This includes texting and driving, but it also runs much deeper. Avoid any activities that might reduce your attention span, including eating, grooming, reading and talking on the phone at the wheel. Even with a hands-free device, talking still requires a level of focus on the conversation that is difficult to match up with the level of attention required on the road. It’s better not to risk it. Driving is a skill that requires your full attention. You might be able to get away with being distracted in the short term, but avoiding the temptation will ensure you’ll be able to react quickly when the need is there.

Between snow, sleet, slush, rain, hail and freezing rain, inclement conditions make for tricky maneuvering. Add to that the


unpredictable nature of some fellow

Yes, this particular advice would seem like common sense. Yet, sadly, common sense isn’t always that common. Be sure your seatbelt is fastened snugly and securely, with both the lap and shoulder belts being used properly (i.e., not shrugged off to the side or riding too high). Aside from the safety factor – Transport Canada estimates five lives are saved for every one per cent increase in seat belt use – a snug belt also keeps you sitting upright and causes less back fatigue. When you’re driving long runs, it’s important not to neglect your comfort or musculature.

messy endeavour. Here are some tips for keeping yourself and your vehicle safely on the road.


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drivers, and it can quickly turn into a

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Most commercial vehicles are heavier, larger and wider than other vehicles. This can make for reduced maneuverability, which makes it that much more important that you can stop safely when the situation calls for it. Rather than waiting until the cars ahead are stopped to hit the brakes, you can take a cue from both the vehicle in front of you and the brake lights from the vehicle ahead of it. The earlier you see them beginning to stop, the more time you leave yourself to stop smoothly.



In line with the previous tip, sightlines are only effective if you’re using them well. Keep your eyes moving at least every two seconds to keep a constant scan of the space surrounding your vehicle. This will give you advance warning of situations that may require your attention, whether near or far. As you know, an emergency situation on the road can develop quickly and suddenly. Any amount of notice and preparation time you can give yourself will give you a leg up on any potential issue and better prepare you to handle it.





Your reaction time typically has to be sharp to avoid an oncoming vehicle, but that’s only one part of the equation. You also need space available around you so you can move safely. Leave yourself an “out” in adjoining lanes, front, rear or shoulder. Have this space ready at all times even if you don’t need it – you’ll be glad you did when you do need it. Leave yourself appropriate following distance, too, so a driver who unexpectedly slams the brakes does not catch you off guard.

d % te s 0 e 10ry t

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Spatial awareness is one of the most important tools you have at your disposal. A good understanding of what surrounds you can make the difference between a collision and a near miss. It is important that you give yourself as wide a field of vision as possible. Your rearview and side mirrors should be adjusted to your specifications. Every driver is built differently and requires their own minor adjustments.



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7 10 8 9 7.


Safety is meant to be proactive where possible, but a lot of the time itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a result of reaction instead. Still, the more times you can avoid a collision proactively, the better itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be for everyone on the road. Enough time on the streets should allow you to expect what other drivers will do, and this anticipation can lead you to take precautionary measures before they become necessary. If you see a situation developing where you may be put in harmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s way, take advantage of the foreknowledge and remove yourself from the situation.



Every now and then you might get hit with a long drive, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to know your limits and operate within them. By the time ďŹ ve or six hours at the wheel have passed, most drivers USE YOUR HORN are beyond their peak efďŹ ciency. This IF YOUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;RE UNSURE. can result in tension, slightly lowered You may have heard the expression that good drivers reaction time, fatigue and general donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to use their horn. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t listen to it. Much like discomfort. Again, the key is adapting everything in a vehicle, your horn is a tool thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s useful to circumstances. Slow down. Take it in the right contexts. No, using it as a complement to easy. If possible, take a break road rage isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t effective. It wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make trafďŹ c move faster. and unwind. What a horn is useful for, though, is alerting other drivers


that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be shy to use it if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not sure a fellow road user has seen you. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s better to make sure that your presence has been noted than to incorrectly assume youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been seen.



Nighttime driving naturally causes a decrease in visibility, owing to the dark and occasional headlight glare from oncoming drivers. This lack of visibility only gets exacerbated when accompanied by bad weather and precipitation. As with any unfavourable condition, you should make sure that your driving matches your surroundings. In the event of driving at night, we recommend dropping your usual speed by about 15 km/h. In addition to giving you more time to react, this also helps avoid the problem of over-driving your headlights.


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HELLO MERV! ASHRAE Standard 55.2, Method of Testing General Ventilation Air-Cleaning Devices for Removal Efficiency by Particle Size, provides a measure of a filter’s initial efficiency in 12 particle size ranges. These results are averaged in three particle size ranges, and the results of those averages are used to determine a single number value, the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV).


The higher the MERV number, from 1 to 20, the more effective the filter is at removing small particles. For residential applications, standards such as ASHRAE 62.2 Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings call for a minimum of MERV 6 on outdoor air systems and MERV 8 on recirculating systems.


Leading indoor air quality programs, such as the LEED NC program, call for a minimum of MERV 10 for commercial buildings. Many building designers and engineers call for MERV 13 in better performing commercial buildings and institutional buildings.


hen I get talking about high-performance buildings, I like when two of my favourite worlds, indoor air quality and energy efficiency, seemingly collide. This can happen when the ever-increasing expectation for better air filtration gets balanced against the potential impact on fan electrical consumption. We should all be attempting to optimize both the filtration of fine particles and power consumption of fans, but there are choices to be made, both at the design stage and over the expected life of the filter. Let’s focus on three aspects that are affected by those ever-increasing expectations: the impact airflow resistance has on fan energy; the impact of air leakage bypassing the filter; and how dust loading impacts both energy consumption and filtration effectiveness.

Gord Cooke

A professional evaluation To fully optimize the filtration effectiveness and energy impacts of a filter selection, professional contractors should evaluate at least four things: • The initial resistance of the filter; • The final resistance of the filter; • The initial MERV required to remove the particle sizes your client wishes to target; and • The MERV number after conditioning to ensure it meets your client’s objectives.

is a professional engineer who has spent 20 years helping builders and HVAC contractors implement innovative technologies into high-performance homes. He has particular expertise in IAQ and airflow management in houses, and can be contacted at 72

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Designing for flow Meeting a MERV goal doesn’t have to compromise your resistance targets. Leading manufactures of filters have ways of optimizing airflow through their filter media to minimize pressure drop. For example, imagine in your mind the turbulence air might encounter as it squeezes through the bottom of a deep, crisp V-pleat in a filter. Now consider how the airflow pattern could be smoothed and the pressure reduced if the bottom of the pleats were carefully rounded. Subtle changes in filter media design could reduce pressure drop while simultaneously improving dust attraction and holding effectiveness.

Did you know From a health perspective, particles that are 2.5 microns in diameter, or smaller, are considered most important because they are respirable and could be damaging to the lungs.


PRESSURE Most readers will recognize that, typically, as filtration efficiency goes up so too does the resistance to airflow. The resulting increase in pressure drop across the filter reduces the airflow in the system.

When using common centrifugal fans, as the static pressure went up, the airflow went down, as did the power consumption of the fan as well. Less air was moved, meaning less work was being done, which resulted in lower power consumption. That has changed now that variable speed drives and motors have become common. As the static pressure goes up, the fan controls ramp up the speed to maintain a stable airflow. This is quite helpful in maintaining heating and cooling system performance, but it does mean the electrical consumption of the fan motor goes up. As such, the conversation has to change when selecting appropriate filters for an HVAC system that employs variable speed fan motors. Both the initial pressure drop of the filter and the average pressure drop across the filter over its expected life need to be considered, along with the fan drive power consumption at those pressure drops. This sample chart, taken from the specification sheet of a two-ton residential air handler, shows the impact that pressure drop increases can have on power consumption.


808 75

824 125

840 170

836 210

830 250


THE PRIME DIRECTIVE IS FINE Energy impact, while important, needs to be a secondary consideration to the primary function of better air filtration, especially when it comes to fine respirable particles. There are two primary approaches to fine particle removal efficiency, the use of fine fibres manufactured from micro glass and the use of coarse fibres that rely on an electrostatic charge to attract and hold fine particles. The fine fibre approach is typically more expensive but tends to retain its filtration effectiveness over the life of the filter. The coarse fibre approach may have a lower initial pressure drop, but these filters typically lose their charge as they load so the removal efficiency often drops over the life of the filter.

As professionals, we should take responsibility for how installation detailing can affect filtration effectiveness. Specifically, even seemingly small leakage paths around a filter have significant impact on fine particle removal effectiveness. Indeed, because we are seeing an interest in higher efficiency filters, with higher MERV specifications that typically have higher pressure drops, bypass leakage effects are even higher than in the past. A modeling study done by Matthew Ward and Jeffrey Siegel found that gaps as small as 10 mm (0.4”) around a standard 24” x 24” filter could reduce the effective MERV number of a MERV 6 filter to a MERV 5. The effect of the same gap on a MERV 15 filter would take it down to a MERV 8. Even a small, 1 mm gap would lower the MERV number from 15 to 14. Small gaps around low-efficiency filters designed to keep coils and heat exchangers clean were not very important in the past. Now that your clients are expecting high-efficiency filters to remove significant percentages of fine, respirable particles, even small gaps are important for you to eliminate. This means that the sealing of filter cabinets and the use of gaskets on all filter edges and access doors is at least as important as spending more money on higher MERV filters in the first place.

with Roger Grochmal

Change will come fast this year


eorge Bernard Shaw wrote, “Progress is impossible without change.” I’ve certainly found that to be true. This yearr will present many new directions that will affect our industry, and I’ve learned that being prepared is critical.

Roger Grochmal is the CEO of AtlasCare in Oakville, Ont. To submit a question about your company, business practices, or the industry in general, send an e-mail to Mechanical Business Magazine’s editor, Adam Freill, adam.freill@

Start with Why When working with change, it is important to engage your staff so they understand why you are doing what you are doing. A great resource is Simon Sinek. He has written the definitive book on the subject, Start with Why, and produced a YouTube video for those with shorter attention spans. It’s worth taking a look at. Once your people have a better understanding of the why, you have a better chance of getting them to do what you need them to do. The most successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily the smartest but rather those that are best able to manage change.


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Here are a few of the things that we’re talking about out at my company as we adjust to the changes that are in store for this year.

REBATES ARE BACK The Th federal government has mandated carbon taxes in every province, so that th will likely spawn a number of programs. One big spending initiative in Ontario is something I call the off-carbon program: program put a heat pump in every home, and the province will kick back some dollars. All types typ of heat pumps qualify under this program, including ductless, air source and ground source source. I’m sure Ontario won’t wo be the only province with this kind of incentive. Other parts of the country are expected to introduce similar programs, so wherever you do business, HVAC contractors will need to be in the know. As with most grant programs, there will be rules for who gets to do what, and it will employ more civil servants and give the impression the government is doing something positive with our money, but whether we agree with the program or not, it is here, so the big question is: “How will your company take advantage of these programs?” Taking steps now to be prepared, such as securing suppliers and expertise, and readying your marketing, will help you hit the ground running when customers are clamouring for cashback driven deals. This could be the summer of the heat pump.

LEGALIZING POT Another known change for 2018 will be the legalization of marijuana. As a minimum, we will all have to rewrite our employee manuals to deal with it. Is it enough to put alcohol and marijuana in the same category in our policies? I plan to carefully look into this area. I didn’t realize until recently the huge difference that exists between medical and recreational products. To say the least, this is a complex area and every province will deal with it differently. Remember, we have a duty to the public because our employees drive vehicles and we work with fossil fuels as well as dangerous refrigerants.

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WAGES AND ENTREPRENEUR TAXES I recently saw a definition of an entrepreneur as someone who works 80 hours/week so he or she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to work 40 hours/week for someone else, so Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll put my tongue in my cheek as I say that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure all of you can spare a few moments from your busy day to fit in learning about all the new programs without much difficulty! Of course, if we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t find time, we could find ourselves in some awkward spots.

Another big change that came into Ontario, and is coming to other parts of the country, is the increase in minimum wage. On the surface, a rise to $14 or $15 per hour may not seem like a big change if you pay above the minimum now, but it will create wage pressure up and down the employee chain. Will a person who is making $16 per hour be happy if the person who was making $12 an hour now goes to $15? The supply chain is working through this too, so will our costs from suppliers increase? Most surely yes. In addition, governments rarely put though a singular initiative like this. They usually append a number of other initiatives to it. In Ontario, this includes personal days and extended maternity benefits, among others. This too will require significant rewrites of the policy and employee manuals. Add to all of this, the extensive rewrite of the federal tax code affecting entrepreneurs in several ways, and 2018 will indeed be a busy year. Owners and managers will need to spend time understanding how this affects them.

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HVAC/R Products P Two-stage scroll compressor LG Electronics’ Component Solutions division has launched its first two-stage modulating scroll compressor for unitary residential HVAC applications. The model lowers energy consumption in air conditioning systems by operating at 66 per cent capacity when demand is low, but operates at full capacity when required.

Bath and cabinet fans Canarm CBF fans are equipped with an EC motor and backward inclined aluminum wheels. Available in three sizes with CFMs ranging from 100 to 1,500, the fans are designed for offices, conference rooms, public restrooms or any space that requires ongoing ventilation.



Integrated thermal recovery unit Rather than directly discarding exhaust air from the occupied space, Whalen Company’s Whispertherm Integrated Thermal Recovery unit transfers energy to incoming fresh air, requiring less energy to bring fresh air to the indoor conditions. The unit can be used for new construction or retrofit applications, in both low and high-rise buildings.


Prefabricated duct


GET THE INDUSTRIES BEST TUBE CLEANERS. TODAY. The RAM-PRO® and RAM-PRO-XL® series from Goodway quickly tackle the most demanding tube cleaning jobs. They are built tough and feature quick connect technology. Plus RAM-PRO-XL features TubeGuard® technology, which cleans and protects tubes in one pass. Make it look easy.

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Selkirk’s All-in-One Ventilation Duct is a modular system designed for multi-storey tenant spaces that require the installation of clothes dryers, bathroom fans and range hoods. The fire-rated duct assembly eliminates the need for separate fire-rated shaft wall construction and field fabricated ductwork.


Commercial rooftop units Modine Manufacturing’s Atherion D commercial rooftop gas-fired units are available 30, 40, 52 and 60-ton models, offering a heating rating ranging from 400,000 to 1,600,000 BTUH. The series offers a thermal efficiency of up to 94%.

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HVAC/R Products P Two-stage furnace Featuring a two-stage gas valve, the A962V gas-fired furnace from Armstrong Air can adjust its heat output based on conditions inside and outside the home. The unit has a variable speed blower motor and a stainless steel heat exchanger. Units range up to 132,000 BTUH in size, and are rated at 96% AFUE.


Refrigerant replacement A drop-in replacement refrigerant from RS Cool, RS-50 can be used in R-404A and R-507A systems. The non-flammable refrigerant is a blend of HFC-32, HFC-125, HFC-134a, R-227ea and HFC-152a. It has zero ozone depletion potential and a lower global warming potential than the refrigerants it replaces.


Residential VRV system Daikin’s residential VRV Life system combines several styles of both ductless and ducted indoor models to accommodate design flexibility. Up to 10 indoor units can be connected to a single outdoor VRV heat pump and an indoor furnace to provide zoned heating and cooling. Configurations can provide heating via the heat pump when outdoor temperatures reach as low as -18°C.


Compatible thermostat Stelpro’s Maestro is designed to be compatible with a full range of electric heating devices, including baseboards, convectors and fan heaters. It’s controllable via a mobile app that allows users to set up alerts, set geofencing preferences and monitor zones in real-time.




Gas Fired, Decorative, Two-Stage, Low Intensity y Tube Heater Specifically designed desig for comfort and reliability. Ideal for fo outdoor driving ranges and restaurant pa patios. Product Features: Features two-stage operation - Patented two-st controls - Pre- and post-purge post-p - Self-diagnostic LLED, microprocessor based circuitry - 28 linear feet of radiant tube - 24 volt controls and power cord are standard.

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Call us to find a distributor near you. 34 Scott Ave. Paris, ON. N3L 3R1 PH: 1-800-387-4778

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Integral tub drains Designed for bath tubs with integral overflows, OS&B’s new integral tub drains feature a strainer with built-in overflow holes and weeping channels. Available in brass or ABS, in a variety of closure mechanisms and finishes, the drains are compatible with the company’s Island Tub Drain and Freestanding Tub Testable Rough-in.


Press tool Ridgid’s RP 240 press tool is designed with tight spaces in mind. The 13-inch long tool weighs 7.4 pounds and connects copper and stainless steel systems up to 1-1/4”, PEX and multilayer systems up to 1-1/2”, and steel pipe up to 3/4”. It’s designed to last for 140 presses on a single battery charge.


Chrome la lavatory faucet Part of the Kara bathroom collection, Belanger’s KAR22CP is a single hole installation lavatory faucet equipped with a swivel aerator and presto drain. The brass body faucet offers a maximum flow of 4.5 L/min (1.2 gpm) at 60 psi and comes in a polished chrome finish.


CPVC and PVC pipe joints Made for Schedules 40 and 80 CPVC and PVC pipe, Victaulic’s Installation-Ready system consists of a full line of couplings, fittings and pipe preparation tools. Each provides a rigid mechanical joint on CPVC or PVC pipe. Available in sizes from 2” to 12", the products are NSF compliant for potable water systems.


Inline controls Franklin Electric’s Inlinee Controls are compatible with both Franklin Electric and Little Giant brand pumps. The family of products includes five pumpstarting and control devices vices that pair with a variety of submersible or surface pumps up to 20 amps (approx. 2 hp) to provide or boost the system’s overall water pressure.

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Video inspection system Optional Wi-Fi is available on General Pipe Cleaners’ Gen-Eye Pod video inspection system, allowing users to record footage on a tablet or smartphone. The full-size model sports a self-levelling camera and 200 feet of the company’s Gel-Rod for 3” to 10” drain lines, while the Mini-Pod offers 125 feet or 175 feet of push rod for troubleshooting 2” to 4” lines.

• Quickly and easily remove pipe and solvent cement residue to salvage fittings for reuse. • Reliable Clean Ream PlusTM engineered for 250 or more reams — far more than the competition.

Heat-Treated Cutting Disc for Long Life

Cleaner Results

• Exceptional performance and durability result in less downtime.

www. Reed Manufacturing Company Erie, PA USA •

Business for Sale: The following turnkey business opportunity is currently available. Ideally suited for business expansion, or for a motivated self-starter.

Children's classroom sink Franke’s Wash-and-Play Trough children’s sink is made of Miranit, a resin-bonded mineral material with a high gloss finish. The larger outer radii of the basin are designed to minimize risk of injury, while the inner radii facilitate cleaning. Available in five models, the sink’s faucet deck has four 1-3/8" (35 mm) holes.


A plumbing system used by the Indus River Valley Civilization over 5,000 years ago used earthenware pipes to transport water.

Company Location: Ontario; ‘705’ area-code region Company Sector: Complete plumbing & hydronic services Company Markets: Residential & light commercial Company Services: New construction; renovation; service Yearly Sales: $1.0 - $1.25 million Established: 1971 Asking Price: $300,000 Financing: Vendor willing to finance All inquiries are strictly confidential and will be vetted for possible conflict of interest. Contact us, in confidence, at 416-457-9563, or

19 – 1525 Cornwall Road, Oakville, ON, L6J 0B2 Confidential Communication: Tel: 416-457-9563,

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Andrew Quattrociocchi, C.B.C.O., is the deputy chief building official for the Township of Oro-Medonte, and a director with the Ontario Plumbing Inspectors Association. He can be reached at

By A ndr e w Qu a t t r o c i o c c h i

Getting wise about Double Ys R

enovations can be a tricky and interesting scenario for plumbers.

What’s shown here may be a familiar scene for many of you possibly when you’ve found yourself digging into a project because a homeowner has called you into their renovation – sometimes after they’ve had a first attempt at the plumbing, much to the chagrin of the friendly local plumbing inspector. All these electrical wires, outlets and HVAC pipes, and working from above, rather than working from below can be confusing with such an assortment of pipes and sizes. For this edition of Quattro’s Corner, pay close attention to the 3” Double Y fitting that is installed nominally horizontally. There’s a bit more to that story, but it may depend on where you are in the country, so read on.

The details in Ontario Checking in with the code near my home, here in Ontario, we see that, according to Ontario Building Code, “No Double Y, Double TY, Double T or Double waste fitting shall be installed in a nominally horizontal soil or waste pipe.” The Ontario Building code goes further, indicating in section (1) that “…pipe or tubing assembled to comprise a standard drain waste and venting system shall be connected with drain, waste and vent fittings in conformance with table” In the legend of Table, it indicates that a Double Sanitary T or Short Turn Double TY can only be used vertically if the vertical run is 3” in size or larger and horizontal branches are 1-1/4”, 1-1/2” or 2” in size.

National differences The National Plumbing Code of Canada does not restrict the installation of the 3” Double Y installed on the horizontal, however, but lists limits in section NPC (1) A single or double sanitary T fitting shall not be used in a nominally horizontal soil-or-waste pipe, except that a single sanitary T fitting may be used to connect a vent pipe.


2) A double sanitary y T fitting shall not be used to connect the trap arms of: a) back outlet water closets installed back-to-back, or b) Two urinals where no cleanout fitting is provided above the he connection.


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STUFF YOU NEED Pocket-sized level Tape measure DeWalt’s 35-foot XP Tape Measure uses two retracting springs in an impact-resistant, heavy-duty case, and is designed for an ergonomic fit in the user’s hand. Its 1-1/4” wide high-carbon steel blade provides up to 13 feet of blade standout.


Kapro’s 846 Cyclops compact level is made from cast aluminum and fits into a pocket or tool belt. Engineered for a range of applications, including HVAC and plumbing, it features a solid acrylic vial offering a front view of the bubble to make it easier to check vertical surfaces. The level’s accuracy is designed to be within 0.5 mm/m.


Expansion tool Milwaukee’s M12 Cordless Lithium-Ion ProPEX Expansion Tool features an autorotating head and continuous expansion for 3/8” to 1” ProPEX connections. Designed specifically for Uponor ProPEX, it comes with 1/2”, 3/4” and 1” expansion heads, expander cone grease, two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, a charger and a carrying case.www.

Chamfer tool for plastic pipe


Reed Manufacturing’s Chamfer Tool attaches to an electric or cordless drill to deburr and chamfer both the inner and outer diameters of plastic pipe such as PVC, CPVC, ABS and PE. The chamfer tool creates a smooth, consistent 15-degree chamfer in seconds, and is available in 2”, 3” and 4” sizes in a kit or individually.


Design from a tablet

Hex chuck driver Malco’s cleanable and reversible Magnetic Hex Chuck Driver offers access to the magnet for cleaning metal shavings from the hex opening. The dual hex socket allows 1/4” and 5/16” hex bits to be reversed while the shaft remains installed in a drill or impact driver chuck.


Shapr3D’s direct modeling tool now runs Siemens’ Parasolid software and HOOPS Exchange natively on the iPad Pro. This offers a CAD experience to engineering and design professionals who now have access to 3D geometric modeling components as well as a CAD translation software development kit on a tablet.

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Proud Canadians converge in Hawaii “I am very proud to be from where we are all lucky enough to call home, Canada,” announced MCAC conference keynote speaker Jon Montgomery to the crowd of more than 300 Canadians who made the November trek to Maui for the 2017 event. Mongomery, the 2010 Olympic gold medalist in skeleton racing and host of The Amazing Race Canada, shared stories of what makes him proud to be a Canadian and what’s great about hosting a show that honours some of the things make our country the envy of the world. “Having a passport from a country like Canada is a massive opportunity,” he said. “People are what make Canada great, and we celebrate that on The Amazing Race Canada. Next year’s national conference is scheduled for September 19-22 in Whistler, B.C.


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Photos: Adam and Wil Freill



1 MCAC Associates chair Dan Milroy presents 1. Me Mechanical Business magazine editor Adam Freill with a ce certificate recognizing the magazine’s 10 years of service to the organization. 2. Senator Donald Plett discusses pro prompt payment legislation and his efforts on the topic. 3. Jim Garrett, of Taco Comfort Systems, talks product du during one of the Associate Council’s tabletop display ses sessions. 4. Incoming MCAC president Dave Flamand pre presents outgoing president Del Pawliuk with a plaque to commemorate his term of service to the industry. The gre hats, that’s another story. 5. Keynote speaker Jon green Mo Montgomery shared a few of his golden moments with co conference delegates, and even passed his Olympic me around for everyone to touch and try on. 6. A medal dancer strikes a pose during the luau entertainment. 7. CIPH chair Joe Senese (right) presents MCAC CEO Richart McKeagan with the Oratorical Order of the Bath and Bowl. 8. Neil and Linda Holbeche of Ipex. 9. The OS&B family having fun during the Aloha, welcome event.


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The Marketplace Ads from $995


INTRODUCING THE CLOSETLINE® Featuring a compact cabinet designed for ease of service, The Whalen Company’s Closetline® CAS Packaged Heat Pump is available in capacities ranging from 0.5-ton to 5-tons with 13.5 or 15 EER at WLHP conditions. Horizontal units can be serviced through the unit bottom to virtually eliminate removing ceiling units for service. With optional hot gas reheat for temperature and humidity control as well as hybrid heating and cooling, the CAS Series offers flexibility over a wide range of applications.

Glow Brand Manufacturing of Concord, Ontario is the first manufacturer of tankless water heaters in North America for the Canadian and U.S. markets (commencing May 2017). Glow Brand’s T180 tankless unitss can be used exclusively for waterr heating or in combination with potable certified air-handling nd products to satisfy both water and home heating applications. The tankless water heaters feature the latest technology sourced from respected component manufacturers in Europe, a continent that has led the world in tankless product development. TODAY’S ANSWER TO A BETTER TOMORROW The RS series of refrigerants is the most complete and easy-to-use line of drop-in replacement refrigerants on the market today. From RS-50 (R-442A), the ideal replacement for R404A, to RS-70 (R-453A), the lower GWP drop-in for R-22, we have solutions for today and tomorrow. Visit our website for more information and a wholesaler near you. Refrigerant Services Inc. REFRIGERANT RECOVERY MACHINE The new MR45 Recovery overy Machine features a smart, variable speed d one-horsepower DC C motor that minimizes es liquid slugging and maximizes vapour recovery. The digitall display is precise and d easy to see, and the electronics are well protected for use in the rain, cold and heat. Lightweight at only 22 lb., the MR45 is also rugged, with a rubberized housing and rail slides for extra protection. M e c h a n i c a l

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CIPH Charity Gala March 20, 2018 Toronto, Ont. CMPX March 21-23, 2018 Toronto, Ont. CIPH Ontario Business Meeting April 12, 2018 Mississauga, Ont. Meet Show May 2-3, 2018 Moncton, N.B.



World Plumbing Day March 11, 2018




CEC Annual Golf Tournament July 11, 2018 Milton, ON MCAC National Conference September 19-22, 2018 Whistler, B.C. ASPE Convention September 28-October 3, 2018 Atlanta, Ga. HRAI 50th Annual Conference October 14-16, 2018 Playa del Carmen, Mexico Chillventa October 16-18, 2018 Nuremburg, Germany

SEE YOU AT CMPX 2018 Booth #N22


MIFAB seeks a National Specification Manager. The ideal candidate has experience calling on specifying engineers and National Accounts (Loblaws, Sobeys, Tim Horton’s, etc . . .) Focus will be to get MIFAB’s range of plastic grease and oil interceptors and other products specified. Candidate will report to the President.

MCA Canada & CIPH Day on the Hill May 8, 2018 Ottawa, ON

CIPHEX West November 7-8, 2018 Calgary, Alta.

CIPH ABC June 17-19, 2018 Whistler, B.C.

The Buildings Show November 28-30, 2018 Toronto, Ont.

Excellent compensation, benefits and bonus package. Reply to Michael Whiteside, President, MIFAB –

CLASSIFIED M e c h a n i c a l

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Compiled by Mechanical Business



Photo: Tourism Yukon

The combination of a growing economy and a dearth of skilled workers has created a labour shortage - the highest number of unfilled private sector jobs ever recorded in Canada.

361,700 Jobs left unfilled in Canada in the third quarter of 2017.


3.4% Vacancy rate (60,000 unfilled jobs) in British Columbia –

-81.4°F (-63°C)

1.9% Vacancy rate in PEI (900 unfilled jobs), and Newfoundland and

Sure this winter has experienced some considerable cold, but we’ve yet to reach Canada’s lowest recorded temperature, as reported in 1947 in Snag, Yukon. So, really, what are you complaining about?

38,000 Number of unfilled jobs in construction.

the highest percentage in Canada.

Labrador (2,800) – the lowest percentage in Canada.

DIDN’T BOTHER CHECKING Homeowners may not be performing enough research before hiring a contractor, which potentially leads to poor hiring decisions and costly mistakes. Contractors report that clients are not consistently asking them for their credentials, making them potential prey for shady individuals.

70% of Canadian contractors say that homeowners do not do enough research before hiring a renovation professional.

CANADIAN ENERGY CONSUMPTION Have you ever wondered which Canadians use the most electricity per household?

20.3% of survey respondents work in compulsory trades. 69.6% report that their clients never ask to see their trade licences. 68.1% report that their clients do ask to see their liability insurance. 40% say that their clients never mention vetting their contractor’s trade licence.

67.2 gigajoules Electricity use per household by Quebec residents.


65.3 gigajoules

+5% Revenue from printed booksellers

New Brunswick, the second highest.

from 2013 to 2016.

24.8 gigajoules Alberta, with the lowest average use of electricity.

8,893 KM

-17% Sales of e-book in 2016 alone.

Length of border between Canada and the U.S., making it the largest in the world.

PM# 41536047

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Integral Tub Drains Specifically designed for Bath Tubs with Integral Overflows. Featuring a Strainer with integral Overflow Holes and Weeping Channels. Works with our Island Tub Drain™ Freestanding Tub Testable Rough-ins*. Available in Brass o orr ABS and off c closure mechanisms and finishes. ABS a nd a vvariety ariety o losure m ec Your Y our jjob ob jjust ust got got easier. easier.™



Under Tub Dimension


Under Tub Dimension

Under Tub Dimension

600 Series ABS Features an 1-1/2” ABS/DWV Hub. Clicker® model shown.

300 Series Brass Accepts a 1-1/2” T.O.E. Tube (included), Flanged Tailpiece w/Nut and Washer, or a Copper DWV Tailpiece (Solder connection). Clicker® model shown. * Must verify clearance between outlet of tub and interior of Island Tub Drain™

NEW! 302 Series Brass Low profile model. Accepts a 1-1/2” T.O.E. Tube (included). Clicker® model shown.

Get customers Connected with our WiFi solution •

Access tekmar WiFi thermostats & controls remotely with tekmar Connect mobile app

Hydronic Zoning Just Got Smarter Zoning with RoomResponse™ Zone Valve Controls 304V & 306V Switching Relays 304P & 306P Automatically adjust the boiler temperature based on feedback from ANY brand of low voltage thermostat to: • Improve comfort & efficiency • Avoid customer callbacks

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WiFi thermostats with optional floor sensor WiFi Thermostat The 561 One Stag Stage Heat

WiFi The Thermostat 562 Two Stage Stag Heat, One Stage Co Cool, Fan

WiFi Thermostat 563 Conventional 2H/2C or Heat Pump 4H/2C

Mechanical Business Jan/Feb 2018  

Golden Moments with Jon Montgomery HVAC: Back to the filter Harnessing the heat pump Tiny house goes solar hydronic The good, the bad, a...

Mechanical Business Jan/Feb 2018  

Golden Moments with Jon Montgomery HVAC: Back to the filter Harnessing the heat pump Tiny house goes solar hydronic The good, the bad, a...