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F E AT U R E S 20DRAIN INSPECTION Pain in the drain David Janzen

50FIND THE FIX 80PLUMBING Testing and servicing backflow preventers Wayne Wilson

29We’ve packed our first 2011 dose of W et

Heat Applications & Technology, WHAT, full with hydronic information that matters to you. Discover WHAT it’s all about in this issue of Mechanical Business.

82PLUMBING The hard facts on soft water Jon Sandomirsky


Veteran referee Bill McCreary, who once worked as a plumber’s helper, is in the midst of his final season of NHL hockey after 26 years of keeping games fair and safe. Adam Freill

MB SPECIALISTS 18HVAC/R Raising your IAQ I.Q. Gord Cooke

24REFRIGERATION Dealing with low suction pressure Phil Boudreau

28ASK ROGER Weathering the economic storm Roger Grochmal

38HYDRONICS Thermal mass & in-floor heating Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr

74MARKETING Social media part 2 Doug MacMillan

93WORLD VIEW World Plumbing Day: Plumber’s pride Jeff Patchell


Connected and breathing right Adam Freill

Denise Deveau

P R O D U C T S 43,62,65Hydronics 78,90HVAC 85Plumbing 92Stuff you need

D E PA R T M E N T S 04From the editor’s desk 06News 16Profile: Noble 88The Info Page 89Calendar 94By the numbers

On the cover: Bill McCreary began his refereeing career at age 23 and called his first r egular season NHL game in 1984. During his time, he’s shared the ice with such greats as Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK Content Media Group Inc. 19 – 1525 Cornwall Road Oakville, ON L6J 0B2 CANADA Tel: 905.465.2919 Fax: 905.465.2913 Jan/Feb 2011 Issue Published 6 times per year. Editor: Adam Freill, ext. 224 National Accounts Manager: Laura Goodwin, ext. 221 Controller: Liz Mills Assistant Editor: David Janzen, ext. 225 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)

Postmaster – Please send all address changes or undeliverable copies to: Mechanical Business, 19 – 1525 Cornwall Road, Oakville, ON L6J 0B2.

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 for ms. Mechanical Business also reserves the right to edit said submitted materials to suit the editorial needs and mandate of the publication. Notice: Mechanical Business is published for owners, managers and decision makers with mechanical contracting fir ms and the sector's supply chain partners in Canada. While ever y 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 adver tised 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 reser ves the right to publish a printed correction in a subsequent issue for editorial errors, omissions and oversights. Subscriptions are available for $94.50 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).

Seeking growth in 2011 With this being our first print edition of the new year, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a prosperous 2011. It should be an interesting year as we adjust to an ever-changing marketplace. Some rebate programs have gone by the wayside, others have come into place; we have a dollar that’s sitting pretty much at parity, so that will affect the supply chain; and we could be seeing an election before too long, and who knows what that will bring with respect to political promises of efficiency and incentives. One thing that is not changing is the need to connect with your customers, and to create a positive impression that will have them coming back for more. Reaching out can be tricky business though. Reach out in the wrong way, and all of your efforts can go for naught. Get it right, however, and you might be in for your best year yet. In the distribution sector, one company that seems to be quite adept at the connection equation is Noble. While others may have been tightening their belts over the past year or two, Noble has been in growth mode, growing both organically and through acquisition. The one-time regional player has expanded from Ontario into Quebec and B.C., and has its sights set on being a truly national player. For a background on who they are, check out our interview with two of the company’s key executives on page 16. On the hydronic front, there are some exciting activities that will be put into motion this year as well. Don’t miss our special report on the establishment of Beautiful Heat Inc. on page 36, and the $5 million marketing campaign aimed at the consumer marketplace. The new year has kicked off, and we do hope that it is going well so far, but there’s always another rung to reach for. So enjoy this latest edition, don’t forget to check out the advice from our line-up of MB specialists like Doug MacMillan and Roger Grochmal, and please visit our website to check out training opportunities, employment and event listings, back issues, and to keep your subscription to the magazine and our e-newsletter, up-to-date. Until next time,

Adam Freill, Editor

From time to time, Content Media Group Inc. makes subscribers’ names available to reputable companies whose products or ser vices may be of interest to readers. If you would like your name excluded from these mailings, please notify the publisher. © Copyright 2011. 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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From waste pipe to Hoops of Hope Three years ago, New Brunswick native Cory Richardson, founder of Action Hero Network, contacted Lee Thompson, Ipex customer service manager in Saint John N.B. to see if they had any extra polyethylene pipe. Richardson was organizing a trip to Uganda and wanted to make hula hoops for children at an orphanage in the Kanungu district. Thompson was more than happy to supply the pipe to a good cause. With another trip to Uganda in the works for Richardson this year, Ipex is once again donating spare pipe. “We don’t throw any of it out anyhow, as the material is recyclable,” explains Thompson. “But now it’s going to a good cause making kids smile, and that’s what it’s all about.”

B.A. Robinson renovates in Calgary Matt (left) and Ross Robinson welcomed guests as B.A. Robinson unveiled its newly-renovated Calgary showroom in November. Approximately 500 people attended the 12,000 sq. ft. showroom’s grand opening. Displaying hundreds of lighting and plumbing fixtures from numerous vendors, the facility has a working wall of faucets, a lighting lab, and a fully-functional shower suite. The showroom is located at 4120 Blackfoot Trail SE.

Pipe-making revealed at IPVF luncheon The Industrial Pipe, Valve and Fittings council’s luncheon in November took place in Welland, Ont., where guests had the chance to attend a tour of Lakeside Steel. More than 55 industry professionals took part in the hour‐long tour, where the steel pipe manufacturing process was explained. Founded in 1909, Lakeside produces 250,000 tons of product annually with its stretch reduction and ERW mills, which are capable of producing 3/4” to 8-5/8” pipe. The next IPVF Networking function will be held in May.

Recognizing support and dedication Keith Ottaway, president of Allpriser, a publisher of material pricing guides for plumbing, HVAC, electrical and fire protection contractors, recently received the first ever Doug Crawford Memorial Award, which recognizes those who have made significant contributions to MCA Canada through long-standing voluntary participation. Ottaway has served on several MCAC committees, and was one of the founding members of MCA Canada’s associate membership council.

Focusing on productivity

Guest speaker Sherry Cooper, executive vice-president and chief economist with BMO Financial Group, discussed Canada’s economic outlook during CIPH Ontario region’s business meeting in November. She advised that productivity will have to increase as the Canadian dollar continues to hover around parity with the U.S. dollar, but at the same time, Canada is viewed internationally as a safe haven for real estate investment. More than 250 people attended the event, where numerous service awards were handed out. Among the recipients was Wolseley Canada’s Cathy Warner (pictured at left receiving her award from Kevin Fullan), who received CIPH’s Outstanding Service Award for her 25 years in the industry, and for five years serving as a director on the CIPH Ontario board.


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Targeting customer service HRAI Greater Toronto Area chapter guest speaker Ellen Roseman, a business columnist for the Toronto Star, spoke to a full house at the chapter’s November meeting about providing better customer service.

Looking to hire?

Heat pumps an option in low ambient temps Anton Wolmarans, vice-president and general manager of Mitsubishi Electric Sales Canada’s Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Division, welcomed engineers and contractors to the Mits Airconditioning technical training event, held in Vaughan, Ont., in November. The day featured sessions about Mitsubishi’s line of heat pumps, and potential applications in the Canadian marketplace. The company’s Zuba Central is rated for use down to -35°C.

Mechanicals making an appearance in Quebec Presented by CIPH, CMMTQ, CETAF and CMEQ, the Mecanex/Climatex/Electricite/Eclairage (MCEE) show will take place at Place Bonaventure in Montreal on April 20 and 21. The event is Eastern Canada’s largest mechanical trade show, with more than 300 exhibitors taking part. In addition to discussing product and service offerings on the show floor, guests will also have the opportunity to attend seminars and workshops addressing technical, sales and design challenges. This year’s seminars cover such topics as R-22 transition refrigerants, ground source heat pump systems and solar thermal technology.

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Incoming MCA of Hamilton McMaster University Student Chapter president, Brad Gregus, recently received the association’s $1,500 Student Chapter Scholarship. In his fifth year of the Mechanical Engineering and Management program, Gregus is specializing in thermofluids and energy systems.

PAP Registration No.11116

Mechanical engineering student receives scholarship

“Customer service is a moving target,” she explained, adding that it’s important for contractors to help homeowners understand how their homes work. “New homeowners especially need help. In a lot of cases, they’re not exactly sure what’s going on in their basements, which provides you with a better business opportunity,” she said.

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Carrier acquires controls firm

B139 committee seeking input COHA is encouraging oil-heat professionals to get involved with the process of forming the new edition of B139 Installation Codes for oil-burning equipment. The latest versions are B139-09 and B139-06 ON. For more information or to submit suggestions, additions and revisions email COHA at

Carrier Corp.’s Automated Logic Corporation (ALC), a provider of control systems for HVAC, lighting and energy management of buildings, has acquired T.A.C. Controls & Automation Inc., an independent ALC controls contractor in Concord, Ont. T.A.C. Controls & Automation designs, installs and services building control systems for a wide range of market segments, including education, healthcare, and commercial offices throughout southern Ontario. The company is now called Automated Logic Ontario.

Lowe’s supports skills training Lowe’s Canada has donated $1.25 million to Skills Canada to encourage the promotion of skilled trades to youth. “Lowe’s is committed to helping close the gap on the impending shortage of skilled trade workers that Canada is facing,” says Alan Huggins, president of Lowe’s Canada (far right in photo). “We are very passionate about the work Skills Canada is doing and are thrilled to partner with them.” The Lowe’s funding program is aimed at engaging students and teachers looking to improve their school campus, curriculum delivery and surrounding community. The program supports high school-based projects currently underway in Alberta and Ontario, and will expand to other regions as Lowe’s establishes retail locations in additional communities.


Savana Cargo Van Sierra HD connect


Phone. 905-695-8911

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72 HRVs adopted HVAC for Habitat raised $154,286 in equipment and cash donations for the Toronto chapter of Habitat for Humanity through a charitable event held in November. With the support of Honeywell Canada, 72 heat recovery ventilators were “adopted” by guests at the event and donated to the Habitat cause.

Features Designed With The Plumber In Mind

During the event, Neil Hetherington, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Toronto, presented the original founders of HVAC for Habitat with the “groundbreakers” shovel. Receiving the shovel were David Ferracuti of Ambient Mechanical, David Dawson of TA Canada and Gerry Cellucci of Yorkland Controls. The NovoSoft 465 Water Softener

Fluid requires safe handling

Modern Cabinet Design With Two-Piece Convenience

Quick Connect Brine Line, Drain Line and Power Cord

HRAI has issued a hazard alert concerning the use of ethanol in geothermal heat pump installations in the province of Ontario. A growing number of geothermal systems are using an ethanol-water mixture as an alternative to glycol. Ethanol-water mixtures containing as little as 20 per cent ethanol in the total system volume are classified as class IC flammable liquids by NFPA 30 Flammable and Combustible Liquids code. Basic precautions include keeping sources of ignition at least three metres from the ethanol or ethanol-water mixture, and placing a spill control kit and a 10B or 20B portable fire extinguisher at the location where the flammable liquid is dispensed.

Quick Connect Bypass

Incentives for sustainable design The City of North Vancouver has adopted a zoning bylaw amendment giving new buildings a density bonus in return for energy-efficient design. The bylaw does not increase the allowable density on a property, rather, it permits additional floor area over a base threshold of permitted density, up to the official community plan maximums. In turn, developers must meet the energy performance requirements of ASHRAE standard 90.1-2007. The bylaw went into effect on January 1, and represents an opportunity for progressive contractors in the B.C. region.

Call to Find a Stocking Wholesaler Near You


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THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR YOUR JOB Introducing Ford Work Solutions Ford Work Solutions is a suite of tools designed to enhance the productivity of Ford trucks and vans. Real solutions for real-world needs.

I N - DASH CO M P U T E R The in-dash computer with Internet* is your mobile office.** Remotely access and edit files on the office computer with the LogMeIn® feature.* Create and print invoices with word-processing and spreadsheet software, and an available wireless printer. You don’t have to wait to get back to the office to take care of business.

C RE W C H IE F Manage your fleet in real-time with vehicle tracking and data.* Plan vehicle routes to adapt to the ever-changing needs of your business. Crew Chief can help your fleet run efficiently and reduce fuel costs.† The better you know your fleet, the better it works for you.

TO O L L I N K TM Make sure you have the right tools for the job before you get there. With RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags attached to your equipment, you can quickly take inventory of the tools in your truck bed or van box on the in-dash computer screen.‡

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Movers and Shakers

Redmond/Williams adds a distribution centre

Sauermann Group comes to Canada

Redmond/Williams has acquired a new 43,000 sq. ft. distribution centre near its head office in Mississauga, Ont. The facility, at 5190 Timberlea Blvd., will house an improved training centre and a state-of-the-art fireplace showroom. Construction of the new complex finished in January.

The Sauermann Group NA has named E.S. Gallagher Sales Ltd. of Toronto as its national sales representatives in the Canadian market. The Sauermann group, based in Italy, manufactures condensate pumps for the HVAC/R industry.

Research and development expansion

Yorkland Controls partners with eSight Energy Yorkland Controls Ltd, a HVAC control systems distributor, is eSight Energy’s first business partner in Canada. Yorkland Controls works with commercial high-rise residential and industrial companies throughout Canada providing costeffective energy management and reduction solutions. Monitoring data from energy systems, eSight Energy’s software suite is a web-based tool designed to help save energy.

MJSI Inc. is expanding its headquarters, increasing the space available to its warehouse and R & D facilities. The plan is to expand its facility, in Shorewood, Ill., by an additional 10,000 sq. ft., effectively doubling the size of its current testing facility and providing more warehouse space. The company expects to have the new facility completed this spring.

ITT restructuring businesses ITT Corporation’s board of directors has approved a plan to divide the company’s businesses into three separate, publicly traded companies. The Bell & Gossett product line will be part of the yet-to-be-named water division. All brand and company contacts are expected to remain unchanged.

Pipe distributor rebrands Mueller Flow Control, a distributor of commercial, industrial, waterworks and fire-protection piping, recently unveiled its new name. The company is based out of Stoney Creek, Ont., has 17 locations across Canada, and is now known as Flocor. The company’s management team, employees, office locations and contact numbers remain the same as they were prior to the name change.

Armstrong growing in Asia Expanding its global operations, Armstrong has opened a manufacturing facility in China. The Armstrong Fluid Systems Shanghai facility measures over 30,000 sq. ft. and is the company’s third manufacturing location in Asia, and ninth worldwide.


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A new Face at OS&B


Originality Simplicity & Boldness

Screwless does not mean Faceless . Introducing the revolutionary new 7030™ ABS Waste & Overflow System from OS&B™. Featuring a unique screwless design, our new Slide-on Faceplate is a perfect complement to today’s popular modern and minimalist tub designs. To learn more about 7030™, scan the QR-code with the QR-code reader on your smart phone. If you don’t have a QR-code reader, from your mobile browser download one from


People in the news

Mechanical Business is pleased to announce the addition of our newest team member, LAURA GOODWIN. Laura joins the crew as national accounts manager. A 20-year veteran of the B2B marketplace, she has a record of excellence honed through years with technical journals. She has three sons, and they, along with her husband Michael, share their home with two cats and a Boston Terrier named Murphy. When she’s not on the phone or on the road visiting clients, Laura enjoys crafting stained-glass artwork.

McQuay International has added a new position to its solutions group with the hiring of MOHAMMED LUQMAN as vicepresident of solutions. He brings with him more than 20 years of experience in construction, and energy and facilities management.

Pinchin Environmental has named EDWIN LIM, senior vice-president of sustainability and building sciences. He has 20 years of building industry experience and is an active volunteer with the Canada Green Building Council.


M e c h a n i c a l

M.A. Stewart & Sons has hired RICK PALAMARUK (left) as western region manager. Rick brings 15 years of industrial sales and management experience to the company and will be based out of its Edmonton office. ROB HARDY (centre) has been appointed to product development manager, Canada and will also oversee the B.C. sales team. TROY TRAVIS (right) has been appointed sales rep, within British Columbia. STEVE SAUNDERS (right) has been promoted to president of Goodman Canada. Saunders brings more than 25 years of industry experience to his new role. Also at Goodman, BRENT PURNELL (right) is now branch manager of the Edmonton location. Superior Radiant Products Ltd. has appointed KRIS KADLECEK sales manager, engineered projects. He brings more than 15 years of experience in the HVAC industry with specialization in infrared technology. Eden Energy Equipment Ltd. has announced MATT IRVINE has joined its sales team. A professional engineer, Matt has seven years of experience the geothermal industry in Ontario.

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B. A. Robinson Co. Ltd. recently announced several personnel changes within its Western Canada operations. GREG RIDDELL (left) has moved to the Winnipeg office as the company’s HVAC product manager. He has been with the company for 14 years, spending most of that time at the Brandon, Man., location. Based out of Surrey, B.C., MIKE BRYANT, (right) is now regional HVAC manager. He has more than 20 years of HVAC industry experience.

A.O. Smith Canada has announced that GEOFFREY HOLLOWAY, director Canadian sales, will be responsible for the Canadian wholesale channel. Geoff previously handled A.O. Smith’s commercial sales. PAT CUSHING, vice-president sales is now responsible for the Canadian rental and retail channels.

Heating, Air conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International has hired SUSAN LITTLE as the association’s director of marketing. She will oversee HARDI’s marketing and branding strategies.

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Brantford: 1-888-764-7740

Montreal: 1-877-653-1007

Edmonton: 1-855-443-3072

West Toronto: 1-866-797-4756

Ottawa: 1-866-876-2927

Saskatoon: 1-888-651-7350

Vancouver: 1-888-420-1331

East Toronto: 1-866-374-8844

Laval: 1-877-698-1809

Calgary: 1-866-950-6579

Maritimes Kerr Controls Ltd.: 1-902-895-9285

Burnaby, B.C. Trane HVAC Parts and Supplies: 1-604-473-5650

w w w . w h i r l p o o l c o m f o r t . c o m Whirlpool® is a registered trademark of Whirlpool U.S.A. and is used under license by Tradewinds Distributing Company, LLC, Jacksonville, Florida. Tradewinds and the manufacturer of the HVAC units are solely responsible for the products and the warranty. View warranty certificate for complete details. ®Registered trademark/™Trademark of Whirlpool, U.S.A. ©2009 Whirlpool Corporation. All rights reserved. WSP9051. 10/09.



Noble: Fostering growth in the mechanical sector Quite possibly the biggest newsmakers of the year in the Canadian mechanical marketplace in 2010, wholesaler Noble is promising that the positive news and growth will continue through 2011. Over the past year, the company expanded its presence beyond Ontario with the acquisition of wholesale firms in Quebec and British Columbia, and grew further in its home province with the purchase of Don Park. Despite the rapid growth, the company, which is owned by Rona, is adamant that its culture of customer service excellence and product availability will be the pillars upon which future growth will be pinned. To find out a little bit more about the company, we sat down with vice-president of procurement Brahm Swirsky and president Michael Storfer.


Was your rapid expansion pre-planned, or were you adjusting to economic circumstances? Brahm: Noble, even prior to the Rona acquisition, had mapped out a strategy should the economy start to falter. In times of uncertainty most of the market will take steps to cut back on key areas like inventory, staffing, services and even close locations. Our plan was to maintain and increase our services and inventory in order to better serve our customers and garner more market share.


What’s your corporate philosophy? Michael: Our obligation is to keep our customers active and productive on their job sites. We have built the company on the same premise by continuing to provide our customers with multiple levels of support: locations, people, trucking and inventory.


Are there Noble policies that you are rolling out into the acquired companies? Michael: Our goal is to both learn from our acquisitions, but also impart some of our core values. These companies will work in conjunction with, and as part of, the Noble network and will be expected to offer the same service platforms as the balance of the company.


Brahm 16



You’ve recently made a few purchases, and rumour is there are a few more to come. What’s going to be the biggest challenge going forward? Brahm: Likely the biggest challenge will be to quickly integrate the new acquisitions while managing new markets and our growth. We have great people and these tasks take a lot of effort. We have stepped up and added much more depth to handle this in all our departments.


What do you do when you are not on the road buying up other companies? Brahm: Family and cycling, in that order. Michael: Beyond the office, we encourage all our staff to “place family first,” and strongly believe in that credo. There is NOTHING more important than the people you love outside of the workplace.


Company: Noble Founded: 1997 as Noble Trade (Trade Plumbing Supply started in 1992 and Noble Plumbing Supply in 1993) Brahm: Many of us have been Acquired by Rona in 2007 together now almost 18 years, Rebranded Noble in 2010 growing up in the company and Size of original Noble Trade location: 22,711 sq. ft. industry. We Moved to Concord location in 2005 were two family businesses that DID YOU KNOW? (144,000 sq. ft.), added 188,000 sq. ft. in merged into one 2009, adding 167,000 sq. ft. this spring. entity. New 84 employees, spouses and Number of locations (current): 40 people coming industry friends are riding on in get exposed the Noble team for the Ride to to the Conquer Cancer in June. How do you foster the feeling of belonging that you have amongst your employees?

camaraderie and get taken into the fold. Simply, it is family and we take great pride in saying that.

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Photos: Lou Recine


© 2009 Masco Corporation of Indiana


Delta® electronic faucets and flush valves with H2Optics® Technology operate consistently, time after time, regardless of interference factors such as dark clothing or lighting conditions. All electronic faucets and flush valves featuring H2Optics Technology are water efficient*— contributing to LEED® certification. And, all Delta commercial products are backed by the industry’s best 5-year limited warranty. Give a hand to more responsive electronic faucet technology. Another way that Delta is more than just a faucet.

* Water-Efficient Product—Lavatory faucets: flow rate of 1.5 gpm versus Industry Standard ASME A112.18.1/CSA B125.1 of 2.2 gpm. Flush Valves: water closet flush valves of 1.27 gpf and urinal flush valves of 1.0 gpf versus Industry Standard ASME 112.2/ CSA B125.3.


By Gord Cooke

Raising your I Q A


Gord Cooke is a professional engineer who has spent 20 years helping builders and HVAC contractors implement innovative technologies into highperformance homes. He has particular expertise in IAQ and air flow management in houses, and can be contacted at

Indoor air quality is an important public health issue and requires a thorough, comprehensive, measured approach to find practical, cost effective solutions. For this reason a varied, multi-level training experience is beneficial. Look for at least four opportunities – courses, workshops, seminars, reviews of research papers or government publications – to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to provide clients with helpful solutions.



anada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is no longer offering its residential indoor air quality training through the IAQ Program. Over the past 14 years, CMHC had developed and delivered a series of courses across Canada to develop an awareness and understanding of residential indoor air quality issues. There were one day and multi-day courses. The one day courses were more general in nature; one presenting a comprehensive overview of IAQ issues, the other was targeted to the new home and renovation building industry and focused on mould and moisture issues. The unique offering was a three-day IAQ Investigators Course where small groups of participants learned to conduct home inspections focused on air quality issues and provide written action plans to homeowners to improve the quality of air in their homes. This course included a field training phase where interested participants submitted four field reports for peer review over a 12 month period.







The first level, this involves a full understanding of potential indoor air pollutants, their sources, technologies for detecting them and an understanding of all the possible solutions. It is common for participants who take this type of training to feel overwhelmed and even some desperation that there are no simple ways to improve air quality in most buildings. It is important to remember that this is a first level of training and more practical application is required.

At this level, contractors should be able to investigate and identify indoor air quality problems in the field. Training might include a review of testing protocols and investigation techniques and tools.

The ultimate goal is for contractors to have a level of understanding of IAQ issues that allows them to empower their clients to take appropriate, costeffective actions to optimize air quality in their homes and offices. This implies a level of knowledge that is beyond simply recommending specific products that a contractor might off er for sale. This level of knowledge will undoubtedly be the combination of numerous training courses and field experience.

M e c h a n i c a l

■ INTERPRETATION Training participants should be able to rank and prioritize IAQ issues they discover when doing investigations, and develop appropriate solution strategies. Achieving this level takes field experience and ideally mentorship from an organization or individuals with field experience.

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• Finding IAQ training • Levels of knowledge

What’s available? HRAI IAQ ONLINE: • • • • • • •

The real value of the CMHC training was that it focused on empowering industry participants and homeowners to make informed, practical and effective decisions, and to take appropriate action. CMHC has offered to explore opportunities for alternative delivery channels for the course materials but is looking to the building industry to increase the capacity for the delivery and maintenance of effective indoor air quality training. So there is a challenge to the industry to replace the practical and helpful CMHC approach to air quality issues. Let’s have a look at courses already available to our industry, and how contractors can use them to take advantage of the CMHC training legacy.

ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF IAQ TRAINING • Manufacturers’ training – These courses can be a great supplement to independent training resources. • Conferences and trade shows – This is a great way to hear different voices and perspectives on the issues to enhance education and experience. • General building construction courses – Such courses as the Better Built House course offered in Atlantic Canada by Atlantic Home Warranty, or the R-2000 Builders Workshop offered by the Canadian Home Builders Association, always include helpful segments related to moisture management and indoor air quality.

The Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (HRAI), through its SkillTech Academy, has had longstanding interest in IAQ training. For example, the ventilation courses have always had an introductory section on air quality and mechanical strategies to resolve them. More recently, HRAI has introduced a specific comprehensive three-day course focused entirely on indoor air quality. It is called the Indoor Air Quality Awareness Course. It covers a wide range of building issues that can lead to air quality problems, discusses tools, techniques and protocols for investigating IAQ issues, and identifies available solutions. IICRC The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration Certification (IICRC) has historically represented the interest of the carpet and floor cleaning industry. More recently they have become an important resource in training for mould remediation, and their certification designation is often required by insurance companies in water damage claims and mould clean ups. While the courses do cover the basics of indoor air quality issues, they are specifically focused on clean up and r emediation strategies and techniques. EnerQuality The EnerQuality Corporation in Ontario offers building science training to the ne w home construction industry, as related to the energy efficiency programs they deliver – including ENERGY STAR for New Homes, R-2000 and EnerGuide for New Homes. More recently EnerQuality has expanded its off erings to include a half-day IAQ workshop and a ventilation workshop. The IAQ workshop is based on a similar w orkshop offered by the Energy and Environmental Building Alliance in the U.S. That course was written to highlight the requirements of a new EPA labeling program called the Indoor airPLUS Package for New Homes. This label can be earned b y participating ENERGY STAR builders in the U.S. if they build to specific requirements focused on improving indoor air quality. HIP The Healthy Indoors Partnership (HIP) is an industr y association with multi-stakeholder collaboration. Members include government, manufacturers, HVAC industry companies, restoration companies, research institutions and public interest groups. A fairly new Canadian organization, HIP has been offering webinars and short seminars on a variety of IA Q related topics, and the organization is developing a more formal indoor quality curriculum that will include full and multi-day courses at deeper levels of interest.

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By David Janzen

Tales of woe:

Pain in the A

lthough no academic establishment

offers an unclogology degree, one could argue that plumbers qualify for an honourary


bachelor’s. Whether it’s an eight-hour ordeal, or a week-long affair, drain servicing is simultaneously part fine art, part


SEE AND HEAR When pipe locating, working with a camera

science, part war and a whole lot of detective work.

equipped with a sonde and a detector can

Resolving blocked-drain distress demands creative thinking,

prove invaluable, especially when working

plenty of know-how and a good deal of patience.

close to electrical or gas lines. Accuracy,

Here are a few interesting stories from the field. If you have

should any digging have to take place, becomes critical since clipping a line is not

any of your own feel free to email them our way.

an option.



Perpetrators guilty of clogging drains come in all f orms. Even something as innocuous as cauliflower can cause a headache . Just ask Wayne Stewart, president of A.R.Wright Plumbing & Heating Ltd. in Calgary, Alta. He’s been a plumber for 26 years and has seen all kinds of od d blockages. “Pork chop bones, pieces of curtains, toys, false teeth, tooth brushes, phones - you name it.” On one occasion he was on a r esidential job responding to a plugged water closet call and discovered the source of the blockage was a clump of cauliflo wer. At that point, the light went on for grandma, who didn’t understand how the toilet could get plugged as it had been w orking fine all day before her family arrived for dinner. She told Wayne that her grandson wasn’t fond of cauliflower, and instead of eating his veggies, he must have fed them to the toilet. Cauliflower is now off the menu.

continued on page 22


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DRAIN CLEANING continued from page 20


Sometimes honest mistakes can make for a real nightmare. Dave Hurst, of Dave Hurst Plumbing & Heating Inc., in Kitchener, Ont., once ended up having to replace more than 100 feet of pipe after a concr ete firm accidentally allowed cement to overflow into the sewage system at a commercial site. In his 43 years of plumbing, he reports that he had never encountered a problem of this nature before. “The floor had separated from the wall in a commercial building, and the engineers told the company to re-pour the floor. What they didn’t realize is that some of it had spilled into the cleanouts during the repair. We were the third company they had called in to deal with the situation.” His company worked around the clock for a week cleaning up that mess. “We put in some long days. Because it had gotten into the drain system, environmental people got involved, and on top of it, the business stayed open during the fix.” After diagnosing the problem, the plumbers systematically identified which pipes contained concrete and made the appropriate replacements. A helpful tool in Dave’s repertoire that proved vital to the floor incident was a camera at the end of the auger . “After we replaced all the problem pipes, jetted and flushed the system, we used the camera to make sure no other pipes were partially full of concrete.”

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• Concrete cleanouts • The chimney cleaner • Th e r o o t o f t h e matter THE ROOT OF THE MATTER Tree roots can cause problems, especially in homes that still have clay-tile, or cast-iron sewage pipes. “When tree roots hit a foundation wall, it drives them straight down,” says Dave Hurst, of Dave Hurst Plumbing & Heating. “If there’s a worn out pipe there, the roots will find a way in. I’ve seen roots as thick as your thumb.”

THE CHIMNEY CLEANER Things took an interesting twist while Jamie McLellan of J.J. McLellan & Son Plumbing & Heating in Mount F orest, Ont., was augering a second-floor toilet drain. “What we didn’t know initially, is that the drain was block ed

Using an arrowhead cutter on a one-inch steel cable, he sends the cutter down the line to punch a hole in the blockage. That’s step one of his threepronged approach. The blockage could be anywhere between the house foundation and the city sewage line, so it takes “a good plumber, who has a feel for the machine, to know they’re into something.”

by ice.” So instead of performing its job, the auger line was diverted by the ice up and out the v ent. “We couldn’t figure out what exactly was happening and thought we had maybe hit a blockage. So we

After carefully retrieving the line back, step two involves jetting to clear the line. “Over time the ‘spidered’ roots will have blocked all kinds of debris and hardened. We can flush that, and the broken root matter, but we can’t stop the roots from growing back.”

decided to go outside and there it was, wrapped around the chimney.” Fortunately, the cable hadn’t tangled too badly and Jamie was able to get on the r oof and retrieve it

The final step is to get a first-hand look inside the pipe, and measure the extent of the problem. There are root-killing products available, says Dave, but depending on the situation, typically the pipes have to be replaced with ABS, PVC drainwaste-vent or SDR sewer pipe.

safely. This time, all the pipes needed was a bit of heat, and the system was back to normal.

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By Phil J. Boudreau Phil Boudreau, is the Ontario sales manager for Bitzer Canada Inc. and also provides training and technical support for Bitzer’s clientele. Phil is also a refrigeration instructor at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario. Phil may be contacted at

The effects of low suction pressure


ast issue we discussed compressor application limits, electrical connections, electrical starting equipment and how to determine the correct operating amperage of a compressor (Controlling compressor shortcycling, Mechanical Business, November/December 2010, page 64). In this article, we will cover compressor short-cycling issues and will also have a look at compressor operation in a vacuum.

Some arcing may also take place between the windings themselves at these very low pressures. The three photos to the left and




ever operate a single-stage hermetic or semi-hermetic compressor in a vacuum as

motor damage is likely to occur at some point. This is due to the fact that ar cing may take place across the terminals inside the motor.

above show a semi-hermetic type screw compressor and were taken during a tear-down procedure. This compressor was operated in a vacuum during its final days. As you can plainly see, the vacuum conditions did not do it any favours. Generally speaking, it is recommended to design and operate open-drive type

Possible causes of low suction pressure

compressors at suction pressures

• Insufficient heat getting to the evaporator. • Metering device problems. • Low refrigerant charge.

above 0 psig due to the presence

continued on page 26


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REFRIGERATION continued from page 24

of a shaft seal. Over time, the shaft seal ma y leak. As a result, air, moisture and other contaminants may enter the system.

barrel is exposed to the inter-stage pressure. The actual inter-stage pressure varies by compressor model and manufacturer, but our

Although two-stage, internally-compounded compressors may be capable of operating at saturated suction temperatures (SST) of -90째F or so, the pressure within the motor barrel will be considerably higher than atmospheric pressure. The motor

formula (See sidebar on page 27) gi ves us a reasonable estimate to work with. This calculation also gives us a quick method of determining if our valve plates are performing their function correctly. At lower suction pressures and temperatures, oil return may become more of a c hallenge. Generally speaking, HFC refrigerants such as R404A, R407A and R507 are v ery miscible with POE oils. This helps minimize potential oil return issues with these lo w-temperature systems. The use of highly efficient oil separators, such as coalescing types, tends to minimize the oil film present in heatexchangers. This, of course, leads to higher heat transfer coefficients within the condenser,

Pressure v. SST FIGURE 1



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• Inter-stage pressure • Suction line sizing


nter-stage PRESSURE

At lower evaporating temperatures, each single

good point to keep in mind w hen

psi of pressure drop has a more noticeable

sizing and laying out suction lines.


he inter-stage pressure is simply the pressure that exists between the two stages of compression. In a compressor that has a highstage to low-stage compression ratio of 2:1, the formula to calculate the approximate inter-stage pressure is:

effect on system performance. Figure 1 illustrates the fact that decreasing pressures always result in lower saturated suction temperatures. FIGURE 3

Inter-Stage psia =

In addition to this fact, F igure 2 illustrates


Suction psia


Discharge psia


the effect of decreasing pressure with a * Note that the psia (pounds per squar e inch, absolute) unit of measure must be used for this calculation.

number of HFC/HCFC refrigerants used in low-temperature systems.

Using this calculation, a system that operates at a suction pressure of 17.6 inches of mer cury gauge pressure (which corresponds to -80°F SST @ dewpoint) and a discharge pressure of 252 psig (which corresponds to 105F SDT @ de wpoint) would be expected to have an interstage pressure of approximately 40.17 psia or 25.47 psig.

In Figure 3, we can see that pressure drop has varying effects on saturated suction temperatures depending on the refrigerant type used. In other w ords, some refrigerants experience a higher drop in saturated suction temperature given the same pressure drops. This is a

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with Roger Grochmal

Focus on what you do best It’s been a difficult couple of years for my business. I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I continue to be cautiously optimistic. Allan B., Brandon, Man. What are you doing to weather the storm? Roger Grochmal is the president 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@

As we celebrate the new year, I can’t help but be glad that 2010 is finally over. The Home Renovation Tax Credit wrapped up, we lost the very popular Federal ecoEnergy program and here in Ontario, we gained the Harmonized Sales Tax. I feel like a survivor. It was a heck of a roller coaster. 2011 can only be better. So what is a contractor to do?

Streamlined and focused

finding the new nomal? We find ourselves in the middle of what most experts believe will be a protracted recovery from a very deep recession. It could be five to seven years before we return to a normal level of economic activity, whatever that is. There is no wind in the economic sails. There won’t even be any inflation to provide growth. Depressing? Perhaps, but an essential corrective measure and, in my experience, the entrepreneur’s motivation to focus on running a better business.


Growth will come to those who can unleash the creative talents of their people to reduce costs, improve service and generate business while staying focused on their niche. All of us do something better than somebody. That’s why we got into business.

In our planning at AtlasCare, we decided to do a couple of things. Firstly, we recognize that if we are going to have to grow, it will have to be at the expense of our competitors. If we currently have a one per cent share of the market, then 20 per cent growth would increase my share to 1.2%. This would be a rounding error for some of my competitors, but it is significant to me. This is an achievable goal.

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Secondly, we will get there by focusing on our strengths and what we do best. Our brand resides in our people and the trusted service we provide to our residential customers, so we shed some marginal business activities that detracted from our residential focus and skill set. Lastly, we recognized that feeding at the government trough had turned us into a bunch of farmers harvesting the business coming at us. We now have to be hunters to go and get business from our competitors. I am excited going into 2011. We are focused on what we do best. We are making investments in marketing and business automation. And we are striving to be the best in our niche. So, now I get to turn the question back around to you: What are you doing to be stronger, smarter and more focused?

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F E AT U R E S 44RADIANT COOLING Design considerations for new commercial buildings Jerry Leyte


48ROAD WARRIOR Saskatoon’s Rod Gasmo Dave Bowden




In-floor All in for

Kingston Ontario’s Winston Churchill Public School Christopher Makarewicz



Getting a-head in HVAC Rod Brandon

Thermal mass and in-floor heating. Bob “Hot Rod” Rohr

58DESIGN FUNDAMENTALS Start at the beginning Lance MacNevin

60QUIZ Test your hydronics I.Q. David Hughes and Warren Hyde

A lesson in

ANATOMY 40 All about the

inner workings of a circulator. John Barba

P R O D U C T S 43,62,65Hydronics

D E PA R T M E N T S 34Welcome 50Find the Fix 63Tool Tip

On the cover: You might recognize Paul McRoberts, our Road Warrior from Nov/Dec of 2008. Since appearing on the cover of Mechanical Business, he frequently gets recognized by customers, peers and suppliers, and he’s used the profile to help grow his business. Photo Dave Chidley

Content Media Group Inc. 19 – 1525 Cornwall Road Oakville, Ontario L6J 0B2 CANADA Tel: 905.465.2919 Fax: 905.465.2913 Editor: Adam Freill, ext. 224 National Accounts Manager: Laura Goodwin, Ext. 221 Assistant Editor: David Janzen, ext. 225 Controller: Liz Mills 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)


Notice: Mechanical Business is published for owners, managers and decision makers with mechanical contracting fir ms and the sector's supply chain partners in Canada. While ever y 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 adver tised 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 reser ves the right to publish a printed correction in a subsequent issue for editorial errors, omissions and oversights.


Delivering on Comfort The gentleman on the cover of our WHAT supplement may be a familiar face to Mechanical Business subscribers. Paul McRoberts was our Road Warrior in November of 2008 (see page 48 for this edition’s Road Warrior), and was featured on the cover of that edition. His firm, iFH Designs and Installations (iFH), specializes in in-floor heating systems, and he’s not afraid to let potential customers know the benefits of such systems. What attracted us to him back in 2008 was his drive to sell the benefits of radiant to consumers. He’s active on the home show circuit in his part of the country, lends his expertise to a radio show, and sells the concept of comfort every chance he gets. He’s also a registered contractor with the Canadian Hydronics Council, and he even uses his appearance on our cover as a way to break the ice with prospective customers. “When customers see me on the cover of the magazine, it provides credibility in the skills and abilities that my company brings to the table,” he said during a recent interview. It has been a huge boon to his business. So why revisit someone like him? Well, Paul and his company are a single player in a market of single players, and his efforts are definitely to be commended, but we are on the verge of seeing the launch of something that should be a major shot in the arm to help foster the consumer awareness that he has been fighting for, sometimes single-handedly. So, with that said, flip the page to learn all about the launch of Beautiful Heat Inc. and, an industry led effort to bring the message of radiant comfort to the consumer level. Until next time,

© Copyright 2011. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without prior written permission of the publisher.

Adam Freill, Editor

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on the horizon By Adam Freill


ith statistics showing a heating marketshare loss of about a tenth of a per cent per year, and that marketshare hovering around six per cent in Canada, the marketing committee of the Canadian Hydronics Council (CHC) has finally received consensus on the launch of its long-term strategy designed to reverse that trend and to grow the hydronic market in Canada.

“A lot more new homes are being built without hydronics than with it. The purpose of this is to turn that decline around,” he says. “The best way we deemed, was as an industry campaign. Nobody individually could take it on. The only way to do it is as an industry.”

On the drawing board as a recommendation for more than three years (see Mechanical Business, December 2007, page 18), the Beautiful Heat marketing strategy has been brought forward through the ratification and formation of Beautiful Heat Incorporated, a stand-alone entity with its roots in CHC.

As such, in early January the CHC formally announced that 14 manufacturers of hydronic-related products had officially joined the Beautiful Heat campaign, pledging a percentage of their sales to support the marketing program. The plan is similar to the structure used in other industries, such as egg or cotton producers. When a product is purchased, an agreed upon percentage of the sale price is directed to a marketing board that uses the funding to support an advertising and awareness campaign aimed at driving future sales. “Fourteen companies have put a deposit in,” reports Goshulak. “Over three years, more than five million dollars is going to be available for this campaign.” Full details of the new corporation, and the launch of its website, are scheduled to be unveiled at a board meeting this month, with the first steps of the campaign hitting the street this May.

“The intent of this from day 1 has been to reach the consumer,” explains Beautiful Heat Inc. chairman John Goshulak. “The purpose of reaching that consumer is to defend our position in the market, in terms of marketshare, and to grow the business.” According to Goshulak, research gathered by CHC indicated that new home starts are a major factor in where the hydronic heating sector is losing consumers to other heating options, with many builders opting to go with forced-air systems.



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“Will Prices go up?” Not necessarily. How the individual partner decides to set aside their portion of the funding for the program is not dictated by Beautiful Heat Inc. BHI has left it up to each individual company to decide where and how their portion of the funding will be generated, so that could be a redirection of existing marketing funds, or some other arrangement decided upon by the management team of each individual partner.


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In-floor All in for

When talk turns to radiant heating many agree the floor is an ideal location for the installation. After all, every building has one! The most common application I generally find is a concrete slab infloor installation.

TUBE SPACING AFFECTS TEMPERATURE DELIVERY The chart below shows how the spacing changes the output-to-temperature equation.

On the surface, throwing a bunch of PEX in a slab seems like a simple no brainer, but like any component of a system, the devil is in the details. Thankfully, we now have a deep bench of experience to draw upon as far as how actual systems perform in the wild. Time and experiences, along with data logging and case studies, have provided us with facts to work from. There in no need to guesstimate an infloor design or installation anymore.

Thin slab over-pours are another common “wet” or high mass application. Usually 1-1/2” to two-inches of concrete or gypson-based products are installed over the tubing. Note that the thin slab will not move heat laterally as well as the thicker slabs would, so tighter spacing may work

Planning the design and installation on paper is still recommended, regardless of how small or simple the project seems. And design software packages can make life much simpler for the designer.

better for output and comfort levels. A good simulation program should show you this application.

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

The beauty of simulation software is the ability to run “what if” scenarios. Change the insulation thickness, thickness of the slab, tube spacing, supply temperatures, etc. Notice how the software changes the performance and output of the slab? Try that on paper and you’ll be running calculations for days. Tubing the slab is one area where more is better, in my experience. A tighter tube spacing can allow you to run the lowest possible temperatures. This plays nicely to slabs that may be supplemented with solar. Also, low-temperature condensing mod-con boilers like it cool, so if you can tighten the spacing, go for it. There is a plethora of installation products and tools available to you these days. Some insulation products offer triple-duty functions, providing the underslab insulation, vapour barrier and hold-down





by Bob ‘Hot Rod’ Rohr

Tube Management From thermal mass to finished floor

Concrete slabs have evolved to the point of being a much-desired finished floor product, as well as the structure and foundation for the building. Research some of the wild and durable concrete stains and pigments available – the options are seemingly endless.

Viega’s’ ProRadiant, and other similar products, offer tubing coils fastened to a hold-down bar, allowing an installer to lay down multiple runs of tubing at the same time. Simply roll out these products, connect them to the manifold, pressurize, take some pictures or video

functions all in one. Level the sub-base, flop down the panels and walk the tubing into place. And please, please, please don’t scrimp on underslab insulations. Two inches of foam, or the equivalent r-value, should be a minimum. For tighter heat-loss control, don’t be afraid to go to even six inches of foam under the slab. A botched or under-designed slab or infloor installation is not easily fixed. The additional cost to beef up the insulation or add some PEX to tighten the spacing before the pour is an investment that will return the favour for years, decades or more. If it is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. May your concrete finish flat and live crack free.

and call in the concrete. The labour savings with this

Computerized help The evolution of

type of product can be a huge factor in larger jobs.

radiant design software programs has provided us with simple, concise and user-friendly means to ensure you start down the right path. Search radiant product manufacturer websites for demo versions of software, and shop around or take a class or two to help learn the finer points of this crucial design step.

market for attaching the tube to the re-mesh or directly

And there are a number of tie-down tools on the to the foam. Any tool that eliminates the bending over, or working crouched over or on your knees, will be an excellent investment. Demo some of the products available before you buy. Another clever product is the Tube Caddy from Axiom. It ensures that your tubes exit the slab spaced and protected. Keeping a test manifold in your inventory can be a good idea. Chose a rugged, simple manifold to be used during the pour. After the building is erected and the walls completed replace the manifold with a clean, new, perhaps zone-able version. And don’t forget that manifold cabinets can dress up a manifold nicely, too.

THE GREAT COVER UP The floor covering used in infloor applications needs to be considered when designing the system. This should be done in the planning phase and should be documented and signed off by the interested parties. Adding wood, carpet or other resistive floor coverings after the initial design phase could have some serious side effects. Bare concrete is still my favourite finish, but I understand concrete, even coloured and cleverly scored or textured, is not for everyone.

direct contact with a warm concrete installation, and know your slab surface

Tile is a great option, engineered or laminated wood products can work well.

Once the system is in, leave a copy of the design on the job site, just in case

Vinyl, linoleum, rubber are other common choices.

someone opts to change the floor coverings at a later date. There may be

You need to know the r-value of the flooring product to see how it changes the floor’s output. Check that the manufacturer has approved the product for

temperatures under design conditions. Glues and adhesives need to be considered when adding a floor covering. I’m not a huge fan of carpet and pad over infloor, or any radiant surfaces. Depending on the thickness and material you could end up with an r-value of R-3 or more. That will be a game changer when heating season rolls around.

some fudge factor to accommodate a floor covering change, but maybe not. It is all know-able with a few mouse clicks though.






By John Barba

A lesson in

Things that affect the selection of a circulator include the shape of the volute; the size, shape and design of the impeller; and the power of the motor. Working together, they determine the characteristics and capabilities of any circulator.




circulator creates flow. It does this by using centrifugal force to create a pressure differential. A

circulator does not lift water. A pump lifts water. A circulator circulates water through a continuous loop system by creating a pressure differential. Water enters the circulator at a lower pressure, the circulator accelerates the water and sends it back out at a higher pressure.


n most circles, a course in anatomy is thought to be a rather ugly ordeal, but don’t worry, this lesson will be scalpel-less with no cadaver, toe tag or messy incision. We are going to do a bit of dissection along the way though, so feel free to don a lab coat and goggles. Why should we care about a circulator, or the details of how a particular circulator is designed and manufactured?

The circulator is the vital heart of any hydronic system. You can’t make a hydronic system work without a circulator. The circulator has one purpose; to move water in the system by creating flow. There are several different types of circulators, each with its own design and best application. Some are “wet rotor” and some are dry. Some need to be lubricated, others are self-lubricating. Some run fast, some run slow, while others can even vary their speed. For this discussion, we are going to focus on wet rotor circulators. continued on page 42

John Barba is the residential training/trade program manager with Taco and offers the Anatomy of a Circulator course as part of the company’s FloPro University e-learning self-study course for hydronic system installers. Check it out at



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continued from page 40

ANATOMICALLY CORRECT FOR THE APPLICATION A circulator’s design, and the influence of horsepo wer and impeller speed, factor into its performance curve. Flat-curve circulators are used in radiator and baseboar d applications which require higher flow rates but have lower overall head losses. With steep-curve circulators, small changes in flow rate will result in relatively large changes in head pressure. These can work well for fan coils, solar thermal systems, and for radiant floor heating.


CIRCULATOR COMPONENTS THE VOLUTE Designed to maintain a steady stream with as little turbulence as possible, the suction side (inlet side) of the volute is bigger around than the discharge side. This helps create the pressure differential. Arrows on the outside of the volute indicate the proper direction of water flow. THE IMPELLER The thickness, diameter and construction of the impeller all play a role in the performance of the circulator. The thickness of the impeller determines its flow capacity. The thicker the impeller, the greater the flow. If you have two circulators with the same horsepower, the one with the thicker impeller will generate more flow. The diameter determines the amount of speed that can be imparted into the fluid. The larger the diameter, the more velocity. More velocity means the greater the pressure differential, and the greater the amount of head (system resistance) that the circulator can overcome. Other factors affecting performance include the number of vanes, curvature of the vanes, the location of the vanes, and whether the impeller has open or closed vanes. Open-vaned impellers are used in circulators with high flow and relatively low head. This includes “flat-curve” circulators, which work well for radiator and baseboard applications.

The rotor is made up of an equal number of steel laminations fitted with evenly-spaced copper bars along the outside edge. This is a so-called “squirrel cage” rotor, for obvious reasons. During the manufacturing process, the rotor is mounted on a hollow ceramic shaft. The shaft spins on two carbon bearings positioned on either side of the rotor.

At the end of all this, you have a device that’s ready to work. Apply electrical power and the rotor spins in the magnetic field, turning the impeller. As we mentioned before, the size of the motor, its horsepower rating, directly affects its performance. A circulator with a more powerful motor will produce more pressure and more flow than a circulator with a smaller motor.

THE MOTOR A single-phase AC induction motor uses magnetism to operate. It has a stator (wire coils) on a spinning shaft.


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Once the system is filled and pressurized, small amounts of air must be purged by running the circ for a few minutes. But once the cartridge is full of water, the hollow ceramic shaft will act like a mini expansion tank, providing the exact amount of space needed for the water in the cartridge to expand and contract as it heats and cools.

The entire assembly is then slid into the stainless steel cartridge sleeve. Two rings are positioned over the cartridge sleeve to line up with the bearing supports and shaft. The top of the cartridge is capped off so water can only enter through the hollow shaft. Finally the impeller is mounted on the end of the shaft.

Closed-vaned impellers are used in higher head and medium-high flow circulators. Possible applications for this type of circulator include those used for geothermal, solar and radiant heating systems.


With water lubricated circulators, there’s always water in the cartridge. There’s no need for oil or grease. The system water lubricates the bearings inside the circulator cartridge just like having oil lubricate the engine pistons in your car.

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DIFFERENTIAL DIFFERENCES Just as it is with w eather fronts, a fluid must flow from an area of higher pressure to one of lower pressure. Water enters the casing and runs into the e ye of the impeller which spins it to outside with (you guessed it) centrifugal force. It’s this action that adds velocity to the water, creating higher pressure before leaving the circulator. Hydronic systems mimic Mother Nature: the greater the pressure differential, the greater the flow. Ah, there’s magic in the flow when an installer selects the right circulator, enabling appropriate flow through the system.

HYDRONIC Radiant flooring system The ProRadiant Climate Mat from Viega makes use of cross-linked high density polyethylene (PEX) barrier tubing in conjunction with stainless steel or copper manifolds, and electronic and non-electronic controls to deliver hydronic radiant heating and cooling. The stainless manifolds have one-inch NPT removable end caps and 1-1/4” union connections.

Pre-wired panels

Commerical boilers

Pre-wired Mechanical Room in a Box panels from HeatLink are available in a solar heat exchanger panel, a three-way mixing panel, an isolation heat exchanger panel, manifold pump and mixing panels, and tankless water heater mixing panels.

Featuring up to 96.2 per cent thermal efficiency, Sync condensing commercial boilers from Lochinvar offer 10:1 turndown and can be vented horizontally or vertically. Sized from one to 1.5 million BTUH, the units stand 58-3/4” tall and weigh between 786 lb. and 926 lb. A sidewall vent termination is included with each model.




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Radiant Cooling

by Jerry Leyte

Becoming FUTURE-READY When designing radiant heating into new commercial buildings, why not initially design the system to accommodate radiant cooling, even if heating is all that is currently planned for that building? If the owner is unsure about the add-on, or the budget doesn’t allow for a cooling plant, there are still advantages to designing the radiant heating system with future radiant cooling in mind. For example, having closer tubing spacing in the slab – a requirement for cooling – is significantly more cost effective during the original concrete pour, versus doing an over pour at a later date, or having to later add radiant cooling in the walls or ceiling. Keep in mind, a new commercial building has a long life cycle. What if, five years after the building is completed and occupied, the owner wishes that they could have included radiant cooling as well? With the building being radiant-cooling-ready, delivering on that option is a much easier exercise. Post-construction desire for radiant cooling could be triggered by higher energy costs, new technologies, the presence of a new district cooling system, increased architectural popularity and/or demands for improved comfort levels. And these are all good reasons to incorporate radiant cooling designs before the slab is poured. Adding radiant cooling as an afterthought is possible, but comes at an added cost and inconvenience that would likely make it prohibitive. Add to that the reality that future costs of energy are difficult to predict, but it would be prudent to be ready for any economic changes requiring energy conservation, and conservation efforts match well with with radiant cooling systems. more radiant cooling on page 46




Dehumidification to the rescue A relatively new wrinkle to the HVAC world is radiant cooling. While condensation was an early concern with these systems, technology has emerged to effectively solve the integration of radiant with dehumidification systems, as demonstrated by a growing inventory of world-class projects. A fantastic example is Thailand’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s International gateway to the world. Thailand regularly has RH levels well above 75 per cent, and despite this challenge, design engineers were able to successfully incorporate radiant cooling into the mechanical system for this large and impressive building. The inclusion of radiant cooling into the main floor of the airport led to a 40 per cent reduction in the size of the HVAC equipment needed to satisfy the total building cooling load. That reduction translated into a 30 per cent reduction in total energy on the cooling side. At 13° north of the equator, one would have

PRO TIP For all buildings integrating radiant cooling to address short and long wave energy (sensible loads), there is need for a dedicated air system to deal with latent and ventilation loads.


difficulty finding an equally hot and humid environment in Canada that would be comparable to the climate in Bangkok.

continued from page 44


Jerry Leyte, P.Eng., MASc., is the Canadian commercial sales engineer for radiant heating and cooling at Uponor. He can be reached at

Being “radiant cooling ready” also has immediate benefits on the heating side of a radiant system as well. Let’s assume you are building a 10,000 sq. ft. commercial building and are planning to include radiant heating as part of the mechanical system. The loop layout within that building would likely have 12” spacing in the slab. This design would produce approximately 30 BTUH per sq. ft. of heating at a supply water temperature (SWT) of approximately 41°C (106°F). If that same building was designed with radiant heating and cooling in mind, the design would likely require six-inch spacing instead of 12”. This does require double the amount of tubing, however the SWT for the heating would become approximately 34°C (94°F) to deliver the same 30 BTUH per sq. ft. as the original 12” spacing design for heating. This 7°C (12°F) reduction in heating fluid enables the boiler or heat pump to run more efficiently. Furthermore, the lower SWT could allow the building owner to capitalize on such alternatives as waste heat, district energy, cogen and renewable energy sources that are capable of providing low-temperature heating fluids.

Radiant Cooling Design Parameters:

• Loop Lengths: 90 to 105 m (300 to 350 ft) for 16 mm (5/8") tubing

Radiant heating installations are becoming more common in commercial buildings within North America and are in a growth pattern similar to that already experienced in Europe and Asia. Emerging from this trend is the hybrid “radiant plus HVAC system,” a combined system of radiant heating that incorporates forced air equipment as well. This setup offers a number of advantages, including improved indoor air quality, improved thermal comfort, less draft and noise, significant energy savings, and smaller HVAC equipment requirements.

• Design differential temperatures: 3 to 5°C (5 to 8°F)

Design fundamentals

• Minimum Surface Temperature: 19°C (66°F)

These efficiency improvements can be recognized immediately once the system becomes operational, even if incorporating radiant cooling is part of a future plan for that building.

• Average Supply Water Temperature: 13 – 14°C (55°F to 58°F)

This example is based on the assumption that the radiant system would be incorporated into the floor of the building, but if you are dealing with a multi-storey building and are considering using a thermally active building system (TABS), this same radiant heating/cooling design concept would apply.

• Spacing: 150 mm (6") on centre to a maximum of 225 mm (9") on centre


Maximum Capacity Supply Tube Supply Cooling Water Temp. Spacing Water Temp. Heating (in.) (°F) (BTU/ft2) (BTU/ft2) (°F) 15 12 9 6


111 106 100 94


30 30 30 30


Going radiant-plus

3 4 10 14


55-60 55-60 55-60 55-60

The key design factors to be considered when looking at radiant cooling are tube spacing, fluid temperature, slab sensor placement and controls. These factors need to work together to maintain: • accurate supply water temperature; • accurate surface temperature measurement for staying a few degrees above the dew point temperature of the surrounding air; and • reasonable response time at the radiant surface for changes to space conditions.

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What’s your favourite thing about the job? “Seeing people smile when it’s minus-30 and you fix their furnace or boiler.” What brought you to the trades? “A friend's dad actually introduced me to it. He gave me a job and I liked troubleshooting from the start.” Time behind the wheel per day: 2 hours Kilometres logged per day: 80 Service vehicles: “We have a 1993 diesel tool bus and a 2006 Dodge diesel 3/4-ton truck.” What’s the story behind the bus? “I bought a used 36-passenger school bus and it works great. All my stuff is inside, out of the rain and snow, and I can stand up in it to find ev erything on the shelves.” Any area you like to get dispatched to, and why? “I like to go up north because of the lakes and wildlife.” Fondest memory on the job: “Getting the furnace up and running for an elderly lady, who had just lost her husband and was scared of letting someone into her house.” Favourite tool in your toolbox: “Flash light and Leatherman on my belt.” Favourite performer: Terri Clark Best concert you ever attended? “Terri Clark and Brooks & Dunn when they played in Saskatoon in 1998.” 48

M e c h a n i c a l

Favourite movie: The original Star Wars trilogy Favourite sport: “Definitely hockey.” Favourite place to hang out: “In my garage. I like having a couple sodas with the other guys in the trade and talking work.” Favourite outdoor activity: “Lots, including camping, quading [riding four-wheelers], boating, sledding and hunting deer and moose.”

Call for a furnace or boiler technician in Saskatoon and don’t be surprised to see a school bus pull up to the front door. Rod Gasmo, owner of Future Plumbing & Heating, has been using the rather unique ride – his “Tool Bus” – for his business for a few years now, but that’s not the only fun vehicle you’ll catch him behind the wheel of. His ’69 Ford Mustang is still the favourite of his vehicles.

Favourite drivethru restaurant: “A&W, I like the Mozza burger.” Favourite local haunt for lunch: “The Shark Club. It’s a pub/sports bar.” Favourite cartoon as a kid: “Inspector Gadget – he had all the neat tools I wanted.” What do you like to do in your spare time? “Spend time with my family.” Biggest pet peeves: “Telemarketers.” My rule of thumb is... “Do the work as if it was your house.” If I had a million dollars... “I'd be rich!”

B u s i n e s s

Favourite car: My ‘69 Mustang

Name: Rod Gasmo Company: Future Plumbing & Heating Location: Saskatoon, Sask. Title: Owner Experience: 16 years Trade school: SIAST Kelsey Campus, Saskatoon, Sask. Born in: Prince Albert, Sask. Resides in: Saskatoon, Sask. Age: 39 Family: Wife, Bonnie-Ann; sons Colton, 17, and Riley, 11; daughter Larissa, 9.

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Photos: Chris Hendrickson Photography

What do you specialize in? “I do everything from plumbing to A/C, but boilers are what I like.”

By Dave Bowden


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This Month’s Quiz: THE PROBLEM INSTALLATION The thought process was sound. Replace an old cast iron boiler in the church with modern high-efficiency condensing modulating boilers. The two boilers in the new system would provide some redundancy and improve the turn down ratio to 10:1. By combining with outdoor resent, the efficiency could really be pushed to the maximum. The new boilers are designed to provide up to 399,000 BTUH each, and the boiler fittings are 1-1/4” for both supply and return. During the upgrade, an 80-gallon indirect was added for DHW purposes, and the old forced-air furnaces were replaced with new variable speed hot water air handlers. As the DHW and the air handlers required high temperature water, they were connected to the priority side of the boiler number 2. With relays, boiler 2 would also back-up boiler 1 for the main heating system. Two boilers at 50 per cent are more efficient than one boiler at 100 per cent. The two pumps on boiler 2 do not run at the same time. Although this system is providing heat and hot water, how could you simplify and improve the system? What would you do different and why?

Answer and win! EXPAND YOUR REPERTOIRE! Send us your solution to this month’s puzzle by March 18th and you could find yourself with one of the newest, and most coveted, tools on the hydronic jobsite – An M12 ProPEX Expander, courtesy of Milwaukee Electric Tool. Send your solution to

Save time and save money. That’s what HPSI hydronic manifolds do. We take the guess work and manifold fabrication time out of every job, leaving you time to get the system up and running smoothly ... and on to the next project. Every CSA-certified HPSI panel is predesigned, pre-assembled and fully tested to meet your specifications. Whether you choose one of our many standard-engineered stations, or a custom design, our panel systems give you professional looking results and no manifoldrelated call-backs to worry about.

Talk to us before your next project, and be sure to visit us online. HPSI – Hydronic Panel Systems Inc. 12A – 50 Paxman Rd. Toronto, ON M9C 1B7 Tel: (416) 845-2587 Fax: (416) 622-5127 50




The November/December Fix: THE PROBLEM: A simple retrofit to upgrade to high-efficiency modulating condensing boiler technology is a great way for building owners to save on utility costs and do their part for the environment. With outdoor reset and DHW priority, the tenants should be comfortable and have plenty of hot water. Although this recent upgrade is working, what can you suggest to improve the system?

THE FIX: Here is how our quizmaster, Jeff House, would set things up: Although the system was working, pump conflict is a very real possibility with this almost primary/secondary piping arrangement. The contractor followed the manufacturers install diagram to keep warranties intact, but the piping would work better if the piping loop had been oversized and the secondary loads balanced. It would also be beneficial to move the air separator to the hot side. A simpler way would be to use a hydraulic separator to keep the boiler loop and the system separate. A good hydraulic separator not only eliminates pump conflict, eliminates air, and allows dirt separation, it also allows an old system to work as it did before. This way if there are problems with the old system that you were not made aware of, you have not changed the characteristics of the system with the installation of the new high-efficiency boiler.

Jeff House is an experienced industry professional and hydronics trainer, and handles the Golden Horseshoe territory for Jess-Don Dunford, a manufacturersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; rep in Ontario. He can be reached at Next month the coffee could be on Mechanical Business!

Get your fix online

And, of course, you still have priority DHW and outdoor reset with the new setup.

For more puzzles from our archives, visit us on the web, WHAT




Case Study

By Christopher Makarewicz

Providing sustainable heating for students inston Churchill Public School (WCPS) is a single-storey school building located in the heart of Kingston, Ont. Built in the 1960s, WCPS serves 324 students in kindergarten through Grade 8. Part of the Limestone District, the governing school board encourages curriculum and practices that teach students about the importance of preserving natural resources for future generations to enjoy, and it also looks for environmentally preferable solutions to maintain its schools.

Christopher Makarewicz, Dipl.T, B. Eng, is an engineering advisor for Jaga Climate Systems. Jaga is a manufacturer of radiator systems. For more information about radiator technology, visit


In the 1980s, the school’s original oil-fired boiler was replaced with five small, modular natural gas-fired boilers. Designed to operate at lower boiler water temperatures, the benefits of the system were never fully realized because they were used in conjunction with traditional finned-tube radiators. These continuous finned-tube radiators required high boiler water temperatures to radiate heat effectively throughout the school’s offices, corridors and classrooms. In addition to not capturing the total energy efficiencies, the system did not offer optimal comfort for building occupants. If the room became excessively warm, windows were often opened to compensate, resulting in additional energy loss.

“We knew there had to be a more effective way of heating our building, but we needed a solution that could be used in conjunction with renewable energy sources,” said Glen Carson, facility services manager with the Limestone District School Board. “We needed a solution that would be effective for the students and teachers, while reducing our long-term costs.” In 2008, the school board approved a complete overhaul of the school’s heating system with the focus of reducing energy consumption. David W. Downey Engineering, Ltd. was hired to design a new system that would not only provide a sustainable solution, but one that was also cost-effective and safe for students. After receiving approval to relocate the boiler room from the basement to a small storage area beside the school gymnasium, David Downey developed plans to upgrade the system.

continued on page 54

Installation by rotation Throughout the six-month installation process, teachers experienced little disruption because classrooms were renovated on a rotating schedule. Since the new system has been up and running, administrators have received only favourable feedback from teachers and students about the increased comfort in the classrooms and ease of control of the thermostat. It is anticipated that the increased temperature control will lead to higher productivity in the classrooms.

Warmth and safety In addition to providing enhanced comfort and control, teachers have also noted the increased safety of the new radiators. Because they require low temperature outputs, the exterior casing of the radiators remain safe to the touch, making them a good solution for schools and other applications where users may come into direct contact with the heat emitters.







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continued from page 52

The radiators operate at lower water temperatures – 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit – thereby reducing the total amount of energy required to heat the building.



“By developing a system that could be used with multiple high-efficiency boilers, we were able to add solar panels as a renewable energy source to extend the life of the system,” said Downey. “The key was not only finding renewable energy sources, but radiators that could work in the system without reducing its energy efficiencies.”

RETURNS OF MANY KINDS As a result of the centralized digital control device and low-water temperature outputs, the school anticipates saving $20,000 in the first year, and a savings of $100,000 in the first five years.

o replace the original condensing boiler system, Downey worked with local manufacturer representatives from DisTech to obtain and install five Viessmann Vitodens highefficiency, natural gas-fired, wall-mounted condensing boilers. Each unit serves as a fully-modulating condensing boiler. Solar panels mounted on the roof provide an offloaded energy source from the new boiler plant.

Within each classroom, teachers can adjust individual thermostats to control the room temperature, so if students are more active, as in many kindergarten rooms, the temperature can be quickly reduced. By using radiators with built-in thermal mass the engineers were able to better control energy loss and maximize student comfort. A larger digital control network can be monitored by plant operators or other school administrators.

To maximize the energy efficiency of the condensing boilers, Downey replaced the finned tube radiators located throughout the school with 107 Maxi radiators from Jaga Climate Systems.

In addition to offering adjustable temperatures throughout the day, each radiator in the new system is also linked to a timed schedule which reduces temperatures when the school is closed.


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“I can’t take a leak.” “That’s why I only use Dahl valves.” Nothing makes my blood boil like going back on a job to replace a leaky valve that’s caused water damage. I just can’t stand it, and now I don’t have to because I’m using Dahl valves, covered by a 25-year warranty. With Dahl on our trucks, I sleep better at night. Want to know more? Call toll-free 1-855-423-4862. Josh, Gaylen or Thomas will answer your questions. Or visit us at

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Fluid dynamics – Part 3

By Rod Brandon

Getting a-head

IN HVAC reating flow and directing thermal energy in a system, in a controlled manner, requires knowledge of static and dynamic pressure, and how these variables exist within a system and impact performance and reliability. Read on…


Additional Reading In our first article in this series, Water, Water Everywhere… (Mechanical Business, January/February 2010,

Net Positive Suction Head The Net Positive Suction Head Available (N PSHA) must be above the Net Positive Suction

Dynamic Head

page 50), we learned

Dynamic head is the force imparted on fluid by mechanical means to produce the desired flow.

that there is no better

As we have previously learned, system resistance varies with flow, resulting in dynamic head loss. In the case of an open system, the static (elevation) head, as well as the dynamic head loss, must be overcome to achieve the prescribed flow. Whereas, in a closed loop system we only need to overcome the dynamic head loss to achieve the desired flow. This is why a potable water booster pump, for example, must produce a much higher head than a typical circulating pump, for the same building.

tion of thermal energy in

The dynamic head that a centrifugal pump produces is dictated by the motor speed and impeller diameter. For a given system resistance, the greater the speed and/or impeller diameter, the greater the head produced. Pump head can be also be increased by putting two or more pumps in series. For very high dynamic head requirements, it is common to use a multi-stage pump, where multiple impellers in series are driven with a single motor, thereby reducing the number of moving parts.

44), we learned that sys-

medium for the distribuan HVAC system, than simple tap water. In our second article, Resistance is Futile (Mechanical Business, July/August 2010, page tem resistance is based on the pipe run length, diameter, and the impact of all connected fittings and devices. Check the articles out at

Head Required (NPSHR) to avoid pump cavitation. Cavitation can occur when the pressure of the fluid at the impeller suction is below the liquid vapour pressure. This causes the fluid to boil producing gaseous bubbles. As the fluid moves toward the impeller outer diameter, the pressure increases above the vapour pressure, causing the gas bubbles to implode. These implosions, though very small, ar e sufficiently powerful and plentiful to erode and eventually destroy the impeller.

CATIVATION AVOIDANCE For all applications, keep NPSHA high by keeping the fluid temperature into the pump as low as practical and avoiding operating the pump with an inlet valve closed or thr ottled. (At 140ºF and less, the fluid vapour pressure is relatively low and cavitation is unlikely.)





WORKING WITH CLOSED LOOPS For closed loop circulating pumps, additional measures that help avoid cavitation include: • Locate the expansion tank near the suction side of the pump. • Ensure the expansion tank is charged to 12 psi or higher.

Rod Brandon is a technical marketing specialist with S.A. Armstrong Limited, a global supplier of HVAC and fluid flow equipment and solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications. He can be reached at

WORKING WITH OPEN SYSTEMS For open systems, if the supply fluid is not pressurized: • Locate the supply tank as high as possible. • Ensure the supply tank is vented to atmosphere without restriction. • Locate the pump at as low an elevation but yet as near the supply tank as possible.

Static head in an open system Static head is only an issue in open systems, such as cooling towers and potable water boosters. Basically, water in column produces a pressure on its own base, proportional to height. One foot of water column, produces one foot of head, or 0.43 psi. A height of 2.31 feet of water column produces 2.31 feet of head, or 1 psi, and so on. So for an open system, if we want to pump water up not only do we have to overcome the system resistance of the piping and fittings between the pump and discharge, we also need to overcome the static head – the downward pressure exerted by the weight of the water column itself. If we want to pump water from an open tank at the base of a 100-foot tall building to an open discharge at the top, we need a pump that can deliver 100 feet of head, just to get water up to the top of the pipe.

Static head in a closed system In a closed system, such as a hydronic heating or cooling system, the rules change. Now, we no longer have to overcome the static (elevation) pressure. Once the system is filled, very little force must be imparted on the fluid to make it circulate through the loop. Any amount of differential pressure (delta P) across the pump adds dynamic head to the fluid, resulting in flow from suction to discharge. As a liquid is not easily compressible, any movement of the liquid is transmitted through the entire loop, causing circulation. For a given system resistance, the higher the pump head, the higher the flowrate.





Design Fundamentals

By Lance MacNevin Lance MacNevin is a mechanical engineer, originally from P.E.I., and is responsible for REHAU Academy in Leesburg, Va. He can be reached at

Start at the

beginning R

adiant designers are often asked to make calculations without prior receipt of the most fundamental information for a job. To ensure a proper design, it is important for designers to be proactive in acquiring information, before calculations are done.

The Math: A.K.A. “The Easy Part”

Stay Tuned…

What’s being heated?

While radiant floors are usually the most efficient and comfortable panel choice for installation of a radiant system, this is not always a viable construction option. Therefore, it is vital to first confirm whether it’s the floor, walls, ceilings – or even a combination of these areas – into which the radiant system will be installed.

What installation technique will be used?

While important to the overall radiant design process, the heat loss, and the other values derived from it, don’t allow for much creativity. The real fun actually begins with picking the best piping layout for the job. This is where the impact of such factors as pipe size, pipe spacing and pipe circuit lengths comes into play. Be sure to pick up the March/April 2011 edition of Mechanical Business as Lance discusses these critical elements.

Many radiant installation techniques are used today, oftentimes in relation to building requirements and installer capabilities. Perhaps the PEX pipes will be encased in a poured thermal mass. How thick will that thermal mass be? Or, perhaps the pipes will be used with a dry panel system utilizing a highly thermally conductive material such as aluminum. How will that affect the design?

What floor coverings have been specified?

To accommodate the effects of heat on, for example, carpet versus hardwood floors, radiant designers must know what floor coverings have been chosen prior to providing any calculations.





Like all heating system designs, radiant heating design must always start with calculated heat loss of the space, on a roomby-room basis, according to established procedures. From the overall heat loss of the space, calculate the radiant panel heating requirement – how many BTUHs or Watts of energy are required per unit area of heated panel. Don’t forget to watch for obvious but sometimes overlooked obstructions that impede the panel area from contributing heat to the space – for example an island in the middle of a kitchen. Radiant panel heating requirement


Total Heat Loss Available Area

Take, for example, a 100,000 sq. ft. commercial building with a heat loss of 2,000,000 BTUH and 90,000 sq. ft. of floor available for installing radiant pipes. The radiant panel heating requirement is 2,000,000 BTUH divided by 90,000 sq. ft. of floor, or 22.2 BTUH per sq. ft. This is the average required output for the entire heated floor area at design conditions. The next step is to determine how warm the panel will need to be in order to sufficiently heat the space. Radiant Panel Operating Temperature



Radiant Panel Heating Requirement Radiant HTC*



Indoor Air Temperture**

Our commercial building had a radiant panel heating requirement of 22.2 BTUH per sq. ft., and the customer wants an indoor air temperature of 68°F (20°C). To find the radiant panel operating temperature, we take the 22.2 BTUH per sq. ft. and divide by our 2.0 HTC. Adding 68°F for the desired temperature gives us an operating temperature of 79.1°F (26.2°C). This represents the average floor temperature required to heat this building at design conditions. *Radiant HTC is the heat transfer coefficient, a value for predicting the combined radiant and convective output of a heated panel. For radiant floors, in most situations that value is 2.0. **Indoor Air Temperature is the desired air temperature for the space. Most radiant designs use 68°F (20°C) for this value, but this is based on customer needs.

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Test Your Hydronics IQ CHALLENGE QUESTIONS 1. Where is the “point of no pressure change” located in a hydronic system? a) b) c) d)

The first round of NCAA March Madness basketball tips-off on March 15 as 68 teams from across the U.S. vie for the most coveted trophy in college basketball. Facing elimination from the tournament each game, competitors either flourish or flop as momentum builds towards the final. Our hydronics tourney has a little different format, but the pressure is still on if you want bragging rights. So lace-up, warm-up, and take your best shot. It’s game time. The answers can be found on page 66.

at the outlet of the pressure reducing valve at the expansion tank at the inlet of the circulator at the pressure differential bypass valve

2. What is the purpose of installing “closely spaced tees” in a hydronic piping system? a) b) c) d)

to promote gravity circulation to promote a higher delta T to shorten the length of the primary loop to prevent gravity circulation

3. What does a spill switch detect? a) b) c) d)

a low-water situation in the boiler a zone valve that fails to close products of combustion a no flow situation across the boiler

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375XL 350XL

Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Assembly


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4. What is the heat output for a hydronic system that has a flow rate of 13.5 gpm and a delta T of 15 degrees?

10. What is the delta T required for a heating load of 28,000 BTUH when a flow rate of 3.75 gpm is used? (Choose the closest answer.)

a) b) c) d)

A. 10° B. 15° C. 20° D. 25°

101,250 BTUH 121,500 BTUH 150,000 BTUH 202,500 BTUH


5. What must happen with the flow rate in order to raise the heat output into a room? a) b) c) d)

So, are you a champ? 10 out of 10 – Way to score a last second buzzerbeater for the Championship! 8 or 9 correct – A Final Four Finish – not bad... 6 or 7 correct – Nearly made it to the Elite Eight... 5 or below – Bowing out in the first round, best crack open those textbooks.

decrease increase stay the same nothing, the delta T must be increased

6. Which type of boiler listed below would be classified as low mass? A. Steel fire tube boiler B. Horizontal cast iron sectional boiler C. Finned steel tube boiler D. Vertical cast iron sectional boiler

7. Which term below best describes the type of rating after stack and jacket losses have been deducted? A. Net input B. Gross input C. Net output D. Gross output

8. From the following features, which one helps convection heat transfer to the space from cast iron baseboards? A. An integral damper B. Fins cast into the backside C. Dark colour D. The large flat front surface

9. What effect will raising the return water temperature have on a condensing boiler? A. Increase condensation B. Reduce fuel consumption C. Reduce operating efficiency D. Increase modulation range of the gas valve

With thanks to Dave Hughes (far right), chair of the Plumber and Gasfitter Programs at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and Warren Hyde (right), a Plumbing and Hydronics professor at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont.







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HYDRONIC Balancing valve Low-flow Circuit Sentry balancing valves from Bell & Gossett feature adjustable flow rates between 0.25 and 3.8 gpm. The spring-loaded cartridge assembly allows fluid to flow between two and 60 psi. Made from brass, the valves are rated to a maximum working pressure of 400 psi and a maximum working temperature of 250°F (121°C).

Featuring a stainless steel heat exchanger and a 5:1 turndown ratio, XFyre condensing boilers from Raypak Canada, a division of Rheem Canada Ltd., are available in sizes from 300,000 to 850,000 BTUH. They offer 94 per cent thermal efficiency, have a 9.5 sq. ft. footprint, an LCD display and weigh between 410 lb. and 580 lb.

Available with or without sealed auxiliary end switches, two-way UP Zone Valves from Grundfos incorporate 14VAC, normally closed, motorized actuators that can deliver 20 psi of close-off force at a flow rate of 7.5 Cv. The valve bodies are constructed of forged brass, are rated at 300 psi, and are available in 1/2” to one-inch sizes with sweat connections. A 3/4” model with threaded (NPT) connections is also available.

In-floor canal Available in lengths ranging from 43” to 193” and heights as low as 3.5”, the Mini Canal in-floor heating system from Jaga Climate Systems is designed for use with condensing boilers, heat pumps or solar systems. Its radiator fin tubes can be customized to fit bends around corners. Grilles for the assembly come in a wide range of wood and aluminium offerings, as well as pebble and accordion designs.

Able to provide 100 per cent heating efficiency down to an ambient air temperature of -28.8 °C (-20 °F), Fulton’s Invictus A and AR series of gas-fired absorption heat pumps offer heating capacities up to 123,000 BTUH. The AR model offers a cooling capacity of 57,000 BTUH. Invictus W and WLB geothermal heat pumps provide heating capacity up to 132,000 BTUH and cooling capacity up to 54,600 BTUH.



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Getting a handle on hand tools Solar thermal system Viessmann’s Solar-Divicon-HX pumping and heat transfer station features a double-walled heat exchanger and includes a three-speed solar loop pump, a three-speed DHW pump and a solar controller. The pre-wired units offer flow rates from 0.1 to four gpm and zero to 320°F temperature gauges. For the solar loop, maximum allowable pressure is 87 psig and for the DHW tank loop, maximum pressure is 150 psig.

hen looking to buy a hand tool, contractors should be looking for a few key things. Durability is going to be really important, so look for rugged rubber over-moulding that is integrated into the handle of the tools that you are buying. These are going to be tossed into tool boxes, bags and buckets, and find themselves on the ground often enough, so you don’t want over-moulding that’s going to tear off easily.


Shafts of screwdrivers should be hardened steel. This all ties into reliability, and if you are not looking to frequently replace these sometimes overlooked, yet vital devices, it might be a good idea to look into the warranty offered on the hand tools you are buying. Some companies even offer a life-time warranty on hand tools, and in the long run, this might save you a few dollars, not to mention frustration on the job site.

Want to save a bit of time? Make sure that all component replacement functions, like changing blades and accessing blade storage, are tool-free.

Functionality is also a key concern. The tool should work in real life applications and speed up the contractor’s work. Multi-functionality can help this. Tools with integrated wire strippers, wire bending holes, jab saws with rasping holes built into them will increases a contractor’s productivity.

Ball valves Featuring two O-rings, the Dahl Brothers Canada mini-ball valves with cold expansion connections for PEX-A pipe are compatible with 3/8” to 3/4” tube sizes. They are rated to maximum working temperatures of 250°F and maximum working pressures of 250 psi. The quarter-turn, washerless valves can be ordered to accommodate screwdriver, Allen key or loose key adjustment.

Sponsored by Milwaukee Electric Tool – a proud partner with Mechanical Business. Look for video tips, tools and reviews at Be sure to visit for your chance to win valuable Milwaukee products and merchandise! W H A T

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HYDRONIC Radiant heating plates Pre-drilled Rauplate from Rehau accepts 1/2” Raupex oxygen barrier pipe, and is designed to be fixed to the joist space beneath a floor. Measuring 47” by 8.7”, the aluminum plates are 0.03” thick and allow two pipes per plate, offering eight-inch on-centre spacing. Spacing between plates is recommended at one-inch. They are available in boxes of 20.

Differential pressure controllers High-efficiency boilers Available in five different models, Weil-McLain Canada’s Ultra Series 3 gas-fired boilers are sized from 80,000 to 310,000 BTUH. Featuring cast aluminum heat exchangers, they offer a 5:1 turndown ratio and are rated up to 93.3 per cent AFUE efficient. The units have variable speed motors and require two-inch to four-inch venting pipes.

Victaulic’s 793 TA series of differential pressure controllers are designed to stabilize pressure and ensure proper flow rates in HVAC systems. The controllers come standard with a drain kit, measuring port, transition nipple and adjusting tool, and are available with a threaded end for 1/2” to two-inch sizes. They are capable of stabilizing differential pressure ranges of 1.5 to 8.7 psi, 2.9 to 11.6 psi and 5.8 to 23.3 psi, depending on configuration.

Condensing boiler The four heating-only models and three combi models in Rinnai’s E and Q Series wall-mounted condensing boiler lines feature maximum inputs ranging from 75,000 to 205,000 BTUH. They operate on either natural or LP gas and offer up to 96.5 per cent AFUE efficiency. All models have stainless steel heat exchangers, and include an outdoor reset function with a sensor. The units vary in weight from 86 lb. to 141 lb.

Zone valves Z-Series E-Z-Top White-Rodgers zone valves from Emerson Electric Co. are designed for two-way straight-through positioning with a return spring for hydronic systems. The 24 V electric motors on the brass valves provide 20 psi of close-off force. Available in 3/8” to 1/2” sizes, they are rated to a maximum pressure of 142 psi and maximum temperatures of 110 °C. W H A T

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HYDRONIC Balancing valves Caleffi’s Quicksetter 132 series of balancing valves with flow meters are designed for hot or cold water systems. The brass valves have a maximum working pressure of 150 psi, a maximum temperature range of -10 to 110°C (14 to 230°F), and are compatible with water and glycol solutions. Available in 1/2” to 1-1/2” sizes, they offer flow rates from 0.5 to 32 gpm. When activated, the flow rate is displayed on a flow meter housed in a bypass circuit on the valve body.

Air separator Designed to require no minimum inlet/outlet piping length for proper operation, the AS-MB micro-bubble air separator from Watts features forged brass body construction in flanged, 3/4”, 1" and 1-1/4” FPT sizes. It makes use of polyphenylsulfone coalescing media and can operate at temperatures up to 116°C (240°F).

Hydronic circulator Armstrong’s ArmFlo E series of circulators feature stainless steel shafts, permanently lubricated bearings, and a silicon carbide mechanical seal. Available in cast iron or bronze, they offer flow rates from 38 gpm to 143 gpm, and weigh from 11.5 lb. to 27.7 lb. The units are able to circulate fluids to a maximum temperature of 230°F (110°C), having motor speeds ranging from 3,250 rpm to 3,500 rpm.

High-efficiency boilers Offering heating capacities from 25,000 to 800,000 BTUH, Trinity Lx natural gas boilers from NTI are rated at 97 per cent AFUE efficient. Featuring modulation rates up to 8:1, the units have 1/2” to 1-inch NPT gas connections. Both vents are located on the top of the unit and they have a 5.7” touchscreen display.

Gas-fired boilers The DynaForce series of boilers from Camus weigh from 190 lb. to 1,350 lb. and offer a maximum allowable working pressure of 160 psig. The units are available for hydronic and domestic hot water heating, have an efficiency rating up to 99 per cent and can be fired with natural gas or propane. They are sized from 300,000 to 5 million BTUH, and offer return water temperatures down to 40˚F. 66


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Answers: 1b, 2d, 3c, 4a, 5b, 6c, 7d, 8b, 9c, 10b

Mike Miller, Business Development Manager

Simply Controls At Uponor, we believe that our controls offerings provide the most innovative solutions in the industry. This commitment is reinforced by the people who represent our product. People like Mike Miller, a controls expert who shares his extensive knowledge and experience with our customers. It’s that commitment to customers and innovation that helps to ensure we deliver results that exceed your expectations. That’s because at Uponor we offer Simply More.

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w w w. s i m e n o r t h a m e r i c a . c o m North American Distribution by: S U P P L Y

L T D.

101 Sharer Road, Woodbridge, Ontario L4L 8Z3 Tel: (905) 265-1527 Toll Free 1.877.836.7772 Fax: (905) 265-9739


By Denise Deveau


leet managers and dispatchers spend their days trying to keep tabs on personnel and equipment in order to run an efficient business, and that’s not always an easy task. But with the sophistication of today’s global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, staying on top of your company’s service activities can be a lot easier than you might think.


According to Vince Arone, general manager and vice-president of business development at PinPoint GPS Solutions, a provider of real-time fleet tracking services, GPS is gaining ground in the mechanical contracting world. “That’s because many in the industry are discovering that GPS systems can address a number of challenges.” Arone reports that two things have happened to bring GPS to the mainstream. For one, GPS has become a lot more affordable. “Generally the cost of tracking has come down in terms of hardware, software (most is web-hosted now) and air-time fees. It’s like the cell phone. You get your phone free with a three-year contract. Now you can have GPS capabilities for as little as $40 to $60 a month per unit, without any capital outlay.” Another important driver that is increasing the need to keep tabs on field activities is the growing use of service level agreements (SLAs). “In order to compete today, mechanical and plumbing companies are often providing customers with clearly defined SLAs that require service within a specified time frame,” Arone says. “GPS not only helps you locate the closest available driver, but you also have a means to measure their arrival times.” Given the benefits – and depending on a contractor’s needs and customer base – it is rapidly becoming a technology that operators are coming to realize they can’t afford to be without.

Contractor finds value in GPS Two years ago the folks at Lisi Mechanical Contractors Limited in Mississauga, Ont., were getting fed up with rising gas costs and t echnicians being “missing in action.” That’s when the plumbing ser vices company decided it was time to sign up for GPS tracking services for its trucks on the road in Toronto and B.C. According to Christina Franco, the company’s accounts and office manager, until GPS came along, she simply called driv ers when an emergency call came in. With five to 10 emergency calls a day, that wasn’t always easy. “GPS has given us the opportunity to log customer and supplier visits, monitor where our guys are, how much gas they’re using, and how close they are to customer sites. Now we’re not sending someone half-way across the city when someone is around the corner.” The GPS service subscription costs about $600 a month f or the tracking of all 15 of the compan y’s vehicles from a central location, and Franco reports that the return on investment was realized within about four months. “It has paid for itself over and over again. We had astronomical gas consumption, but once the GPS was in, it was easy to monitor that, as well as what our technicians were doing during the day.” An added bonus was tracking work-related versus personal travel. “By properly monitoring personal usage, we can charge the gas and mileage back t o the driver. It’s also helped with customer disputes, since we have a report of when they arrived at and left a site. Payroll is more accurate as well.” All in all, it’s been a good investment for the firm, she says. “It’s very efficient and has saved us a lot of time.”

Getting on the right track with GPS continues on page 70

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• Measuring the ROI • Where GPS can help

Where GPS can help • It’s 10 a.m. and your dispatcher has jus t received an emergency call. All your technicians are out on the r oad, so it takes half an hour or longer to call each and ev ery one to find out where they are, and if they’re available. • You need to find your top HVAC specialist to handle a par ticularly tricky service request, but they aren’t answering their phone, and you don’t know their current location. So the customer is left waiting until you find them. • Your fuel costs are rising steadily and you suspect that a dr iver is wasting time taking longer routes or performing unauthorized work during regular business hours.

A two-way communications street Depending on the GPS solution of choice, dispatchers can communicate with on-board devices to track a truck’s current location (information is fed back to the dispatch centre in real-time), as well as deliver messages and provide the destination address. If the driver is available, he or she can simply click on the message t o get a map showing the most efficient route. Drivers can also use the t erminals to input their status – for example, if they are on lunch or at a sit e – so that dispatchers immediately know if they need to find an alternative. Some systems will even provide a running tally of such statistics as speed, fuel consumption, acceleration, idling time and other data.

Measuring the ROI Whatever your investment, it’s always good to know what your payout will be in the end. Pinpoint GPS’s Vince Arone reports that, on average, users can see a return within a three-month time period if all advantages are factored for. When assessing the potential return on investment for a GPS tracking system, consider: Idling time – With the ability to track vehicles on the road, Arone estimat es that you can reduce idling time by 20 to 30 per cent overall, which translates into savings on fuel and vehicle wear and tear. Overtime – GPS enables better scheduling and utilization of resources on the road. Through route optimization, a company can easily save up to two hours per month of each driver’s time on the road.


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Vehicle maintenance – Less time on the road translates into fewer service appointments and more effective preventative maintenance. Driving habits – GPS systems can be programmed to record all sorts of bad driving practices, from sudden braking and rapid acceleration to excessive speed and distance. A driver “abstract” will pinpoint where drivers can adjust habits to drive more effectively and reduce costs. Theft protection – Alerts within the system allow you to track the location of the vehicle to inform police. (Note: some systems only provide notification that it’s stolen without providing location coordinates).

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Tracking work “on the side” – It is not uncommon for technicians to squeeze in a few jobs “on the side” during the course of a day. GPS allows managers to track any unauthorized stops. If the practice is allowed, it will help operators ensure that the extra work stays within agreed upon parameters (e.g. eight hours a week maximum outside of business hours). Reporting – Supervisors can check how much time is spent on sit es, service recalls and other details. The information can be used to adapt contracted rates to meet service demands.


* Figures provided without inducing obligation or liability and vary depending on application and energy provider. For an accurate account of savings, obtain an energy audit by a qualified professional.



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Cover Story

By Adam Freill


hen a career in plumbing proved to not be in the cards, Bill McCreary took a slightly different path – a refrigerated path that led him to the NHL. Now you won’t find his name on t he Stanley Cup or on any NHL scoring sheets, but he does have more than 1,700 regular season games, and almost 300 playoff games, under his belt – all as a ref eree in the National Hockey League.

Bill McCreary Age: 55 Hometown: Guelph, Ont. Family: Wife Mary Ann, daughter Melissa, and sons Michael and Ryan Position as hockey player: Left Winger Highest level reached as a player: Sr. Junior Shoots: Left Started as a referee: Age 23 Joined the NHL as a referee: September, 1982 First regular season game: November 3, 1984 Referee Number: 7

Photo: Lou Capozzola/Getty Images

Highly regarded for his work on the ice, McCreary comes across as a down to earth guy who even picked up a hammer and drill during the lockout season so that he could keep a steady paycheque coming in. Now the NHL’s senior official, McCreary is in the midst of what will be his final goround on the ice, winding up a career that started as a young referee in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association in his hometown of Guelph, Ont.

DID YOU KNOW? Bill McCreary made his NHL regular season debut refereeing a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals in Washington on Nov. 3, 1984.


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Q. How did you get your start as a referee? A. “In Guelph, we had a tremendous representation that was already working in the National Hockey League. When I joined, I was very fortunate to work with some people who had high skill sets. I was able to learn very quickly .” Q. Was it much like an apprenticeship? A. “I think it is very comparable, because you start of f in the minor leagues and you go and work your way through, what we had back then, the old Central Hockey League, and then the American Hockey League. We had some good coaches at the time. I had people like Matt Pavelich and John Ashley, Frank Udvari – he was pr obably the main person who helped me get through my career and helped teach and mentor me.” Q. Tell me about the demands of the job. What’s it like to be constantly on the road? A. “You have to have a very understanding and supportive family . We were calculating the other day, and I’ve stayed almost exclusively at Marriott’s five solid years of my life.” Q. How did you end up making cabinets? A. “During the lock-out year, we lost a full year’s salary. My neighbour who owns a cabinet-making company took me on, and I was part of the installation cr ew for about four months.” Q. Any plumbing experience? A. “When I was a young guy, a good friend of our family’s owned a plumbing business here in Guelph, and I worked with him as the grunt guy doing a little bit of plumbing, but I never really pursued it. It just didn’t seem to fit for me, or I didn’ t fit for him, whatever the case may be.” Q. What’s it like as a referee, being part of great moments in hockey history, but not walking away with a trophy? A. “We can’t win the cup so to be selected to work in the Stanley Cup game is the ultimate goal for any official each year when you start out. I’ve worked 15 of the past 16 years, so it has been a true honour.” Q. Do referees keep mementoes? A. “I think most of the guys do. I know I have... when I did my 1,500th game and my 1,600th game. The three Olympic gold medal games... I have a puck fr om each one of those. And they hold a special place.” Q. What’s your goal, when refereeing a game? A. “I keep it very simple. I have two wor ds that I try to work with all the time, and that’ s to keep the game ‘fair’ and ‘safe.’ If the players know you ar e keeping the game in a safe environment for them to play in, and you ar e keeping it fair for both sides, then that just enhances the product on the ice.” Q. How has the job of a referee changed over the years? A. “Years ago you were credited with your judgement on not calling penalties, what you might call ‘non-calls.’ Now we ar e charged with calling penalties, and I think it is a necessity that we do so to uphold the high standar d of play.” Q. Which NHL rink has the best ice? A. “Back in the ’80s, it was Edmonton and the old Minnesota ar enas. Over time, the new buildings have been built with new technology, and new ice-making equipment, and refrigeration equipment, and of course, people studying ice and how to make it, and how to make it better, so it is hard to single out one building now, but one building that does come to mind is Montreal. Montreal is a very active building, it has a lot of events that go on, and they still have a very consistent ice surface.” Q. Who was your favourite player when you were growing up? A. “I had two cousins who played in the NHL, so I always followed their car eers. But going back, I liked Johnny Bower and Bob Baun. And Dick Duf f was always a favourite of mine, and ironically, Dick Duff ended up coaching me in Windsor in junior.” Q. What about after retirement…any plans? A. “I would like to stay in the game in some capacity . I love the game. I’m a fan of the game, and if I can help some young of ficials along the way, that would be great to give back to the game in that way.”

M e c h a n i c a l

It wasn’t me! Q. Do you still get blamed for that open ice hit on Wayne Gretzky in 1981? A. “I did for a long time when I first broke in, especially with the Oilers. They finally let up on me when the truth came out that it wasn’t me – but it was a cousin of mine that did hit Gretzky, and it certainly was a big hit in Wayne’s career.”

Why number 7? “Years ago I was working a game in Boston and I made a couple of calls that the fans didn’t like. In the old Boston Gardens, it was almost a tradition that the fans would litter the ice with things when they were upset with your work, or lack thereof. It was an afternoon game, Hartford was playing against Boston, and it was late in the third period when I called a second penalty against their goaltender for knocking the puck over the glass. Somebody threw a pool ball on the ice at me. And in those days, we never wore helmets. The ball rolled down to Mike Liut, the Hartford goaltender, and he skated it up to me and said, ‘You may want to keep this.’ It was a number 7 ball off a pool table.”

Did you know? Bill McCreary has worked the Stanley Cup finals 15 times and has also refereed in three Olympics, including the gold-medal game in all three of those tournaments.

Who does Bill McCreary list as some of the most skilled players he has shared the ice with? • • • • • • • • •

Wayne Gretzky Mario Lemieux Mike Bossy Marcel Dionne Larry Robinson Guy Lafleur Sidney Crosby Alexander Ovechkin Steve Stamkos

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Marketing with DOUG MACMILLAN

ins outs



- PART 2

ast issue, we explored a broad snapshot of the web’s new frontier: social media. Much has been made in recent years of the need for businesses to jump on the social media bandwagon. Companies from every industry are running full steam ahead into the fray with varying degrees of success. There is no question that social media is pervasive and growing, but the big question is, “Can social media help mechanical contracting WHY BOTHER WITH SOCIAL MEDIA? companies increase revenue and grow their business?” BUILD CREDIBILITY. By cutting through the marketing clutter and communiMany companies are hesitant to take the plunge into social cating directly with current and potential clients, you can build cr edibility by media. Some don’t see a strong business case. Others fear that demonstrating your experience and expertise. Updating industry news and using social media puts their company’s privacy and intellectual new products, answering questions and sharing knowledge all show clients property at risk. that you are a company that’s informed, skilled and thinking about them as But, like anything, the rewards are there if you can harness the more than just a source of revenue. The name of the game is having r eal conpower of the tools at your disposal. versations that build strong relationships. Social media is like any other business development tool; time LET YOUR CUSTOMERS PROMOTE YOU. Social media tools allow satisfied and energy are required. Be prepared to allocate some dedicated customers to provide testimonials and recommendations for other potential time to keeping on top of your social media channels. customers. This kind of feedback has become an important tool for people Remember, a poorly maintained presence can be as bad, or researching the internet for contractors. Knowing that other customers have worse, as not having one at all. had a positive experience working with you can attract new customers in Users expect real, two-way conversations not canned ways that traditional marketing can’t. answers and marketing speak. Be honest, be timely MEET YOUR CUSTOMERS ON THEIR TURF. Social media isn’t a fad. The most and be responsive, even when the conversation popular social media sites have hundreds of millions of members. That’s a isn’t positive, and you’ll see your reputation, huge potential customer base already interacting with the people they and your business, grow. know, and companies they like. This pool of people r epresents a huge amount of potential business.


PROTECT YOUR REPUTATION. The dark side of social media

is the prevalence of negative, damaging and outright wr ong information posted online. By being actively engaged, you can be aware of these comments and address them as they occur. Dealing with comments posted online in a transpar ent way shows you’re open to criticism and willing to work with your customers to resolve their concerns. The result is a well protected and maintained online reputation. MONITORING THE CONVERSATION. If you’re not ready to engage, social media can still be a valuable tool in your marketing toolbox. You can use these tools to monitor what’s being said about your business, your customers and your competitors. There’s a lot of information out ther e and it can be valuable. By doing a quick sear ch of sites like Facebook and Twitter every few days, or on a weekly basis, you can stay awar e of what’s happening out there. THIS IS THE SECOND IN A THREE-PART LOOK AT SOCIAL MEDIA. Check out

Doug MacMillan is president of MacMillan Marketing Group in Guelph, Ont. To reach him, e-mail


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Social Media, A Primer (Mechanical Business, November/December 2010, page 42) for Part 1 in the series, and be sure to pick up the next edition of Mechanical Business for a look at some compelling industry examples of contractors who have managed to skate onto the social media rink... 0 2 . 1 1

ay! d o T g o l a t h Ca c e t x E 9 0 20 W E N e h t d g o l a t Downloa a c / m

o c . h c e t x e www. INNOVATION





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By Adam Freill

Connected and breathing W right hen it comes to the venting of combustion equipment, a significant amount of time, energy and resources have been devoted to navigating codes and local variances affecting the termination of vents for furnaces, boilers and water heaters on the exterior of structures, but don’t overlook proper venting practices inside the house. What is done inside is just as important as the connection with the outside. Equipment installers need to ensure that the selected vent materials are appropriate for the application, and that they are installed properly for the appliance in question. “The requirements of one manufacturer are not applicable to the appliance of another manufacturer,” warns Brian Carroll, venting and OEM product manager at Don Park, so it is up to the installer to refer to the installation instructions to determine what type of venting options are allowable by the manufacturer of the furnace, boiler or water heater. Typical options in the Canadian marketplace are ULC S636 PVC, ULC S636 CPVC and AL29-4C stainless steel.



“All venting material in Canada must be ULC S636 approved,” adds John Goshulak, vice-president of sales and marketing with Weil-McLain Canada. The selection of venting material is critical. While some products are approved for use with both ULC S636 PVC and ULC S636 CPVC, the application of the appliance may be what ultimately dictates material choice. PVC is rated to 149°F, so it can generally be used with low-temperature applications, but if the system is changed in the future, for example with the addition of an indirect DHW tank on a hydronic system, the vent material will no longer be appropriate, and CPVC or another approved vent material will need to be used. There are a few appliances that are approved for PVC and CPVC for all applications. These are designed so that the vent termination fittings on the appliance stay within the approved temperature range, regardless of application. “If the boiler has a stainless steel termination, rather than a plastic termination coming out the top of the appliance, it might be rated and approved for use with PVC, but check the installation instructions supplied with the unit before making any assumptions,” advises Goshulak. 76

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Venting instructions are found in every manual, in the venting section, right at the beginning are the guidelines to follow – the code requirements. There may be markings on the boiler or furnace as well, but generally those are only category markings.

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Keep it simple. Take the most direct route. Watch the slope. Generally speaking, slope back towards a condensing boiler, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the appliance you are installing. Support the vent pipe appropriately, and don’t expect the appliance to support the load. When working with ULC S636, the glue and the pipe need t o match appropriately. If they do not match, an approved transition piece might be necessary. If you do an appliance change-out , the venting may need to be changed too. There is no ULC S636 requirement in the U.S., so ensure that you are using the Canadian installation manual for the appliance you are installing.

HVAC/R Belimo’s GKBX24-MFT actuator uses a brushless DC motor and has a torque rating of 360 in-lbs. The actuator is designed for the HVAC market to provide operation of dampers with selectable, fail-safe positioning. It offers 95° of rotation and a visual indicator to show the position of the actuator. The actuator can operate in ambient temperatures ranging from -30°C to 50°C (-22°F to 122°F).

Go Ahead And Vent.

Modulating furnaces Luxaire’s Acclimate series of modulating gas-fired furnaces are available in sizes ranging from 60,000 to 120,000 BTUH, and offer up to 98 per cent AFUE efficiency. Featuring aluminized tubular heat exchangers, they are manufactured to accommodate upflow or horizontal applications, but can be converted to downflow orientation. All units use hot surface ignition and can be converted to propane (LP) gas operation.

We’ve got the answers. Now Available from Don Park Olympia Chimney Supply Inc. Products* Featuring Forever Flex the All Fuel Stainless Steel Chimney Lining System.

Fieldpiece Instruments’ SRL8 refrigerant leak detector comes standard with a hard case, a heated diode sensor, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, wall and car charging units, nine-inch flexible and rigid extension wands, 10 replacement filters, and five O-rings. Its sensor is designed to detect CFCs, HFCs, HCFCs and blends, and technicians have the option to switch to manual zeroing mode to help pinpoint leaks even in contaminated areas. t: 416-449-7275


*Eastern Canada


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Every Moment Deserves Coleman Comfort!

Variable speed drives S-Flex variable speed drives from Taco are designed to reduce energy consumption in HVAC pump applications. Models are available from one to 40 hp at 208 Vac and 230 Vac, and from one to 100 hp at 460 Vac. The units operate in ambient temperatures ranging from -10 to 40°C (14 to 104 °F).

Don Park’s galvanized steel filter frames are available in sizes ranging from 14” by 22” to 20” by 25” in one-inch thickness. Two frames are available in four-inch thick models, sized at 14” by 25” and 16” by 25”. The frames have fishlocks on the furnace side for installation purposes.

Echelon Furnace Highest Efficient Gas Furnace in Canada with up to 98% efficiency: • Fully modulating in 100 stages for the ultimate in home comfort • Multi position for any application • Only 33" high

Offering thermal efficiencies of up to 94 per cent, Superior Radiant Products’ Premier VS-VH vacuum radiant system can be custom-engineered to suit project requirements with long or short, and condensing or non-condensing options. Available models have firing rates from 20,000 to 120,000 BTUH, and radiant tube sizes range in lengths from 10 to 70 feet. The burners are compatible with the company’s modulating control system, enabling communication with energy management systems.

Rick Goosen, of Goosen Heating and Air Conditioning in Niagara Falls, Ontario, knows a thing or two about the HVAC industry. With 34 years in the business, he knows that when he educates his customers, he gains customers-for-life. And he also knows that being one of Canada’s premier Coleman dealers for the past 15 years has helped pave the way. As he puts it, “Coleman opens doors. Today, with industry-first products like the Echelon that is up to 98% efficient, with its installation and service-friendly 33” height, I see an even brighter future. Thanks, Coleman.”

Please visit us at, or call Toll Free:

1-800-668-2389 ext. 5486

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By W ayne Wilson

TESTING & SERVICING ARE ESSENTIAL ll backflow preventers will fail and become crossA connections themselves in time if not maintained and tested periodically. Maintenance is therefore a vital element of any successful backflow program. Without it, control would not be possible. The integrity of any testable backflow preventer is dependent on it being tested and serviced upon its initial installation and then annually thereafter.

Maintenance Tips • Before opening up a backflow preventer in need of repair, a good practice is to have a rubber parts kit on hand.

• Replacement parts must be from the original manufacturer of the valve.

If not, the repair will cause the loss of certification for the valve repaired, and any liability issues would fall squarely on the shoulders of the service contractor.

• Another good practice is to install wye strainers in front of backflow

preventers. The leading cause of valve failure is debris getting caught on the seats of the backflow preventer. One note of caution though, strainers cannot be used in a fire line without proper approval.

• Thermal expansion downstream of the backflow preventer can cause excessive pressure.

• Consideration must be given to the use of expansion tanks to avoid possible damage to the system or backflow preventer.

• And all testing and repair must be performed by a certified tester as outlined by CSA B64.10-07.

DOUBLE-CHECK VALVE ASSEMBLY (DCVA) In the case of double-check valv es, testing the valve is vital since it is the only way to determine if the valv e is working properly or not. There is no visual discharge of water from a DCVA.


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Wayne Wilson is the product manager for backflow preventers with Watts Industries (Canada) Inc. He can be reached at

Reduced Pressure (RP) When testing a reduced pressure principle backflow preventer, look for signs of water discharge from the relief port of the RP. Such nuisance discharges are common system problems and are not a valve problem. The likely cause of such a valve discharge is quick closing valves in the system, such as solenoid valves or flushometers that cause water hammer surges that come crashing back onto the RP’s number two check valve. Similar discharge can be caused by fluctuating supply line pressure that can fool the RP into responding to back syphonage, even though it’s a temporary line pressure fluctuation caused by supply line variables. The quick fix for both of these problems is to install a line-sized, springloaded soft-seated check valve between the backflow preventer and the cause of the system fluctuations. On the downstream side, the check closes and absorbs the pr essure before it hits the RP, preventing the discharge. On the supply line, the check closes keeping the higher line pressure trapped momentarily between the check and RP, keeping the RP closed – again eliminating the discharge . Surge arrestors can also be used to eliminate these pr oblems. Because RPs are designed to discharge to atmosphere, care must be given to the sizing of floor drains to ensur e adequate drainage is available in the case of a severe discharge occurrence.The air gap drains that mount under the RPs are designed to handle low to moderate discharge.They cannot capture all the discharge from a severe occurrence. If the RP is discharging continuously in a no-flow condition, the problem is most certainly a leaking first check. The volume of water being discharged is identical to the volume of water passing by the first check. Therefore, a large leak would be caused by a large piece of debris and a small leak would be caused by a corresponding smaller piece of debris.

Space it out Has enough room been given to test and repair the backflow preventer? Clearances from walls, ceiling and surrounding piping must be present.The installation should be clearly visible from within the room, and be free of clutter. According to code, backflow preventers cannot be installed more than 1,500 mm (five feet) above a centreline height above the floor.

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by Jon Sandomirsky


nstalling a new mid- or high-efficiency water heater in a hard water environment is much like washing your car on a rainy day – you normally lose the benefit pretty quickly. Not only are you doing a major disservice to your customers but also to your business. Protecting the functioning and efficiency of a client’s water heater, fixtures and other waterusing appliances by installing a water softener will save money and aggravation, while adding incremental revenue to an installation.

SOFTEN THE WATER TO SAVE ENERGY According to the findings of a study conducted by the Battelle Memorial Institute, an independent testing and r esearch facility dedicated to a pplied science and technology, water softeners can save significant amounts of energ y. The institute’s study tested de vices f ed with both softened and unsoftened water under contr olled laborator y conditions to quantify the eff ect on performance efficiency. Specific focus was directed at efficiency improvements in household water heaters from the use of softened water, and the subsequent effect on perf ormance of such fixtur es as lo w-flow sho werheads and faucets, as w ell as appliances, such as laundry washers and dishwashers. Testing was conducted on 10 storage-type gas water heaters, 10 storage-type electric water heaters and 10 instantaneous gas water heaters. Five of each type w ere tested without an y preconditioning of the water supply, which had a water hardness of 26 grains per gallon – similar to that found in cities lik e Kitchener, Ont., or Regina. The other five of each type w ere tested using a water softener to r emove hardness constituents from the water supply. In addition, 10 lo w-flow showerheads, six dishwashers and six laundr y washers w ere tested, with half on the hard water supply and half on the soft water suppl y.

With typical water softener installations taking only about an hour, the add-on can add significant revenue to each call, while doing the right thing for your customer.


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In general, the study f ound that the efficiency of gas storage and instantaneous water heaters remained constant o ver the lif e of the unit when w orking with tr eated soft water . In contrast, units on har d water had a noticeable decr ease in efficiency o ver the testing period, resulting in higher natural gas use . In ad dition, because of the need to ha ve the instantaneous water heater delimed or cleaned periodically, it was f ound that the cost r ecovery of the inclusion of a water softener could be as little as one y ear. The full r esults of the study , commissioned in 2009 b y the Water Quality Research Foundation, can be found by going to

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• Soften and save • A void scale

After seven days of testing with hard water (28 grains per gallon) only six of 45 spray nozzles were open in a showerhead included as part of the study.

85% Facial coverage % Better protection 20 than other eye/facewashes

Showerheads and Faucets According to a study at Battelle Memorial Institute: • Showerheads on hard water lost 75% of the flo w rate in less than 18 months due to scale collection on the strainers. • Faucets on softened water perf ormed nearly as well as the day they were installed.

Avoiding scale downstream In the Battelle study on har d and soft water, dishwashers and washing machines were operated for 30 days and 240 completed wash cycles. The units operating on soft water w ere almost completely free of any water scale build-up, whereas units using hard water showed the need for de-liming and cleaning due to the build-up of scale and deposits.

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â&#x20AC;˘ The Appliances continued from page 83

Electric water heaters Up to 30 pounds of calcium carbonate, or rocklike scale, can accumulate in electric water heaters over time, report the authors of the Battelle study on soft water. The study found that the expected life of the heating element can be shortened due to scale build-up, which increases the operating temperature of the element. Every five gpg of water hardness can cause 0.4 pounds of scale accumulation each year. On 30 gpg water that equates to 2.4 pounds of scale accumulation, in a single year.

Gas water heaters Hard water can lead to as much as a 48 per cent loss of efficiency in gas water heaters. In comparison, those operating on softened water were shown to maintain the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. For every five grains per gallon (gpg) of water hardness, a four per cent loss of efficiency was reported, along with a four per cent increase in operational costs for gas storage tank water heaters, when using 50 gallons of hot water per day. On 30 gpg hard water, that results in 48 per cent less efficiency than with softened water.

Tankless heaters The Battelle water softness study found that indoor instantaneous gas water heaters (tankless heaters) operating on softened water maintain the original factory efficiency rating over a 15-year lifetime. This contrasts greatly with the tankless water heaters in the study operating on 26 gpg har d water that failed to function because of scale plugging in the downstream plumbing after a simulated 1.6 years of equivalent hot water use. Furthermore, the study found that softened water saved 34 per cent of costs compar ed to operating on untreated 20 gpg water, and saves 47 per cent compared to operation on 30 gpg hard water.

Jon Sandomirsky is the executive vice-president of marketing with Novo W ater Conditioning/Canature North America Inc. He can be reached at


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PLUMBING The Marathon electric water heater from Rheem comes with a factory-installed vacuum relief valve and has 3/4” inlet and outlet connections. Available models come in 40, 50, 85 and 105 gallon sizes and have a maximum working pressure of 150 psi.

Featuring a screwless design, OS&B’s 7030 ABS waste and overflow system offers a slide-on faceplate and a spin-on tie plate. Compatible with five different drain-closure options, it’s available in 11 different finishes ranging from antique nickel to Venetian bronze. Various pipe lengths to install between the overflow and drain are available to accommodate tub design.

Novanni’s Elite series of stainless steel sinks are available in a wide array of models, including undermount and topmount designs in square- or D-bowl configurations for kitchen, laundry, utility or vanity applications. They feature rear-positioned drain holes, and all models with a 3 1/2” drain include an all-metal stainless steel strainer. Drop-in models feature Novanni’s SynkSeal, a factory-installed gasket.

Novo’s Speed Pro reverse osmosis drinking water system is available in 50- or 75-gallon models. Featuring a 3.8 gallon storage tank, its five micron pre-filter removes silt, sediment and other particulate, and its granularactivated carbon pre-filter traps such minerals and contaminants as chromium, copper, chlorine and mercury. A

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PLUMBING SharkBite’s contractor toilet and faucet kits from Cash Acme include push-fit chrome stops at 1/4” (3/8” OD) and toilet or faucet connectors. Available with either a natural brass or chrome-plated finish, the push fittings have a maximum working pressure of 200 psi and are rated for a maximum temperature of 200 °F (93 °C).

Free Living accessible roll-in showers from Mirolin offer low thresholds and are designed for easy entry and exit. They are available in 43”, 51” and 66” sizes and offer four shelves, an optional fold-up or moulded seat, and various arm configurations, catering to left- or righthanded individuals. The acrylic showers come in one-piece or multi-piece designs, weigh between 185 and 220 lb., and come standard with 3-1/4” chrome drains.

Featuring a custom-sized grooved spool installed between the backflow body and downstream shut-off valve which allows for customer-specified assembly lengths, 300 AR backflow preventers from Wilkins are available in four models. Sizes range from 2-1/2” to 10”, and they are designed to be lighter than flanged models. 86

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Featuring 90 per cent thermal efficiency, A.O. Smith’s Next Hybrid residential, condensing, gas-fired water heater can be vented vertically or horizontally. Offering 189 gal. of first-hour hot water, it requires no minimum flow rate for ignition. The 120 V, 60 Hz unit weighs 198 lb. and measures 47.38” tall.

Aquatherm’s Greenpipe is constructed from polypropylene-random (PP-R) plastic, and is designed for use in above ground residential and light-hazard fire sprinkler applications. It is available in 3/4” to four-inch diameters and is joined by heat fusion welding. Requiring no glue, cements or sealants, the pipe is resistant to freezing, impact and hard water.

Functioning similar to an air conditioning heat pump, the Accelera 300 water heater from Stiebel Eltron pumps heat into water stored in its 80 gallon tank, rather than emitting it to a conditioned space. Standing 74” tall, the unit weighs 287 lb., offers 3/4” water connections and operates at a maximum water pressure of 87 psi.

The Danika bathroom faucet from Moen can be installed in a single- or three-hole configuration, as an escutcheon plate is included. It is also available in a vessel configuration to accommodate vessel sink applications. For temperature control, the lever handle offers 100° of travel. Featuring a ceramic-disc cartridge, it allows water to flow up to 5.7 litres per minute (1.5 gpm), and is available in a chrome finish.

Croma E 100 Vario-Jet showerheads and handshowers from Hansgrohe are available in chrome or brushed nickel finishes. Offering 85 spray channels and a four-inch spray head, the Vario-Jet feature allows users to reduce the number of active nozzles, providing a more concentrated spray pattern. Flow rates are rated at two gpm.

Ready-to-tile Tile Redi shower bases are exclusively distributed in Canada by Maax. The moulded, onepiece preformed module includes a drain, splash walls, curbs and a 1/4” per foot pitch to the drain. The bases are designed to be leak-proof and do not require waterproofing when installing. M e c h a n i c a l

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2 0 1 1 ISH 2011 March 15-19, 2011 Frankfurt, Germany

CaGBC National Symposium April 13-14, 2011 Toronto, Ont.

CMCEF Middle Management Conference March 23-25, 2011 Saskatoon, Sask.

MCEE 2011 April 20-21, 2011 Montreal, Que.

F.A.S.T. 2011 April 6, 2011 Vaughan, Ont.

KBIS 2011 April 26-28, 2011 Las Vegas, Nev.

CIPH Ontario Region Business Meeting April 7, 2011 – Belleville, Ont. May 12, 2011 – Mississauga, Ont.

Oilheat June 21-22, 2011 Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

CIPH ABC June 26-29, 2011 Victoria, B.C.

GOT AN EVENT? SPREAD THE WORD! If your organization has a conference, trade show or other event coming up, send details to See it all online at

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HVAC/R High-efficiency furnaces Tempstar’s single-stage SmartComfort DLX 95 gas furnaces are rated 95 per cent AFUE efficient, and are sized from 60,000 to 100,000 BTUH. The furnaces have stainless steel primary and secondary heat exchangers and offer dual venting. Units range in weight from 153 lb. to 193 lb. and the cabinets stand 40” tall.

Remote sensor

Ecobee’s Remote Sensor Module is designed for commercial or residential applications and allows users to monitor indoor and outdoor air temperature, humidity, CO2, and discharge air temperature. The unit supports 10K NTC resistive temperature sensors and zero to five or zero to 10 V humidity or CO2 sensors. It also allows for up to four dry contact inputs to be connected to function as high/low temperature alerts.

Available in dual fuel or air handler split system configurations, Econar geothermal systems from GeoSystems offer heating capacities from 31,000 to 49,500 BTUH. Both the dual fuel and split system units use R410A refrigerant, provide air flows of 1,100 to 1,550 cfm and are rated from 3.6 to 4.1 COP. The air handler is available with an optional multi-speed ECM motor and is adjustable for vertical or horizontal installation.

Energy transfer pipe Insulpex piping from Rehau is designed to transfer hot or chilled water through buried pipelines. Available in one- and two-pipe configurations, ASTM carrier pipes range from one-inch to two-inch sizes with an oxygen barrier. In metric sizes, pipe is available from 63 mm to 160 mm with an oxygen barrier also available. The pipe is designed to handle fluid temperatures up to 93°C (200 °F).


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Variable-speed furnaces Weighing from 121 lb. to 170 lb., the GMVC95 series of two-stage, variablespeed gas furnaces from Goodman feature aluminized-steel, dual-diameter tubular heat exchangers and are rated up to 95 per cent AFUE efficient. Sized from 46,000 to 115,000 BTUH, the units offer sealed combustion allowing for either direct or nondirect venting applications.

Ventilation fans Featuring a built-in damper to prevent back draft, WhisperLite ventilation fans from Panasonic are designed to handle air volumes of 62 to 150 CFM. They feature a flush-mount grille incorporating a 32-watt Energy Star rated CFL light fixture and a four-watt night light. A condenser motor turns a Sirocco blower wheel, providing operating noise levels of one sone or less.

Zuba Central heat pump systems from Mitsubishi Electric offer a heating capacity up to 40,000 BTUH. The outdoor unit operates with sound levels as low as 52 dB and the system uses R-410A refrigerant. Measuring 13” deep, the outdoor unit stands 53-5/32” tall and is 37-12/32” wide.

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Cordless impact driver

Locking pliers

Dewalt’s 12 V Max Impact Driver Kit includes a cordless impact driver, two lithium ion battery packs with a charger, a belt-hook, a bit tip and a contractor bag. Weighing 2.3 lb., it measures 6-1/4” in length, provides 950 inch-pounds of torque and features three LED lights to provide workspace visibility. Its 1/4" hex-chuck accepts 1" bit tips.

Irwin’s vise-grip Curved Jaw locking pliers are designed to reduce slipping and stripping, and are available in “fast release” or original models. Featuring one-handed, trigerless release, the fast release model also offers Irwin’s antipinch, non-slip ProTouch grips, designed to reduce hand fatigue and discomfort due to vibration. Both models are constructed of heat-treated alloy steel.

Electrical dataloggers Readings from Extech Instrument’s single or dual-channel voltage and current dataloggers can be downloaded to a computer via USB cable for analysis. The handheld devices measure and log AC voltage to 600 V and current to 200 A at sampling rates of one per second to one per 24-hour period. The units include current clamps, test leads, a USB cable, Windows compatible software, a universal AC adaptor and a 3.6 V lithium battery.

Heated jacket Compatible with the batteries powering the entire line of M12 power tools, Milwaukee Electric Tool’s M12 Cordless Heated Jacket offers up to six hours of continuous heat from a single charge. Available in sizes ranging from medium to 2XL, the multi-layered soft shell jacket features three stitched-in carbon fibre heating zones and offers three heat settings. 92

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Featuring a seven-inch LCD colour monitor, the Gen-Eye X-Pod from General Pipe Cleaners offers a self-leveling camera, able to inspect three-inch to 10” lines up to 100 feet. Stored on a 24” frame, it comes with both AC and DC power cords, a three-inch trap skid, and offers LED dimmer control. It has a video-out connection for recording to an external device.



A day just for you Throughout the Asia Pacific, the public image of plumbing tends to be one that is often negatively stereotyped. I’m sure it’s no different in your region. Plumbers are often the butt of jokes when the media is describing the industry. The ire is worse when a customer – as usual – is forced to stay home waiting for a serviceman who is running late.

Jeff Patchell

Over this way, in Melbourne, Australia, our state regulator, the Plumbing Industry Commission (PIC) has a number of events planned to acknowledge the day. Leading up to World Plumbing Day, the PIC is hosting a virtual “Festival of Plumbing” which will incorporate a two-day national conference for the broad industry on regulation, licensing, sustainability and innovation. This is expected to attract around 500 delegates, with plumbers attending an accompanying exhibition.

These stereotypes suggest there is a clear lack of understanding about the broad scope of work undertaken by plumbers in their communities. However, the largest information gap is found in the lack of understanding between good plumbing and its link to health and safety.

The PIC is also running breakfast events for plumbers in major regional areas. World Plumbing Day offers plumbers the opportunity to make community presentations. If you are a member of a service club, why not get yourself nominated to speak to members about what you do, the latest technologies you use, and the link between plumbing and health and safety.

For many reasons, including those above, the World Plumbing Council launched its first World Plumbing Day on March 11 last year. The event was highly successful and despite being launched from a standing start, the WPC hopes to build this day into a tradition of global acceptance – on an annual basis. So, with a little momentum behind it, World Plumbing Day 2011 will again take place on March 11. After some substantial knowledge sharing about 2010’s event – undertaken by the many countries that became involved – even more regions and plumbers are expected to host activities this year. There is absolutely nothing wrong with commercializing the day for your own benefit. However, it is hoped that the day will also be used as an opportunity to close the knowledge gap and link good plumbing practice with health and safety. That should be a primary objective of the day.

SPEAKERS RESOURCES The World Plumbing Council offers ideas and tools to assist with speaking engagements. Look for the link Taking the plumbing message into schools, where you can download a PowerPoint presentation that can help

If you are more adventurous, perhaps you’d like to make a presentation or two at a local school about the role plumbing plays in health with young children. There are many personal, professional and industry benefits associated with improving the image of plumbing. Why not think about how you can help polish up the perceptions of our vital industry?

World Plumbing Day is on March 11. Get involved!

World Plumbing Day is a great way to get involved in your local community and reinforce your important role. Activities can include myriad things: • Associations/licensing organizations running major events. • Local plumbers communicating with their customer database to inform them that World Plumbing Day is taking place. • Offers of a special deal for services during that day or week.

Jeff Patchell is managing director of Connection Magazines Pty Ltd. He operates, an online plumbing industry knowledge bank. M e c h a n i c a l

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Compiled by Mechanical Business

1,000,000,000 Square footage of LEED certified building space on the planet.

BATHROOM SNOOPERS Which provincial residents are most likely to snoop through a dinner party host’s bathr oom cupboards and cabinets.

30% British Columbia ........................................28% Quebec ...................................................... 25% Alberta ....................................................... 25% Ontario ........................................................17% Atlantic Canada .......................................17% Saskatchewan and Manitoba .................

46 8' 6"


Size of the lar gest pipe valve installation without interruption of the flow of water.


Number of wooden toilet seats Kevin Shelley br oke using his head in one minute.

Every 60 seconds 126,000 seconds worth of video is uploaded to YouTube. That’s 35 hours!

Value of the global water technology sector . PM# 41536047 Postmaster: Please send all address changes or undeliverable copies to: Mechanical Business, 19 – 1525 Cornwall Road, Oakville, ON L6J 0B2


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Ceralux is an OS&B Partner Company

12" Wide Trench Drain Just Got a Whole Lot Easier

Introducing the New Dead Level DX 12" Trench Drain TM


ustomers who have used our unique Dead Level™ Trench Drain system call it the best trench drain ever. And understandably so. The Dead Level™ system cuts installation time by more than half, and makes floating, pinching, and misalignment things of the past. Now we’ve made a great product even better. Dead Level™ Trench Drain is now available 12” wide. With radiused bottoms and smooth interiors, the new DX channels generate maximum hydraulic flow. For additional information, click on over to

A Watts Water Technologies Company

January/February 2011  

One last lap with Bill McCreary; Thermal mass and tube spacing; Compressor short-cycling; Hard facts on soft water; GPS and fleet management...