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Publication Mail Agreement #40063170. Return postage guaranteed NEWCOM Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario M9W 5C4

MCEE 2013 Show Issue

Spring Air Conditioning High velocity solution for new sustainable homes

INSIDE ■ Influx of counterfeit refrigerants feared ■ Industry welcomes new federal restrictions ■ B.C. sales tax no joke for contractors ■ Quebec geothermal program in jeopardy

APRIL 2013

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■ Contents

Spring Air Conditioning

Departments Hot Seat .........................................5 Small gains

Industry News ..............................7 Counterfeit refrigerants threaten industry

MCEE 2013 ...................................49 Quebec’s largest mechanical show returns

People & Places ...........................51 Familiar faces purchase Toronto wholesaler

Calendar .......................................51 Busy year ahead

Shop Management......................53 Starting your own business

High velocity

Products & Technologies

Features

Sustainable HVAC for new homes in New Orleans flood area

Air Conditioning..........................12 HVAC Roundup ............................21 Refrigeration ...............................23 Heating ........................................25 ICI Mechanical..............................32 Pipes, Valves & Fittings ..............35 Faucets & Fixtures .......................41 Tools & Instruments ....................47

Troubleshooting compressors

23

Determining the real problem can be difficult

Cover: With a hot summer expected in most of Canada, contractors have many different options for air conditioning.

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Getting the lead out Low lead requirements have manufacturers scrambling

35

Winning formula

30

A successful approach to hydronic heating

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Hot Seat

April 2013 Volume 23, Number 3 ISSN 1919-0395

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819 mark@plumbingandhvac.ca

Small gains This industry has reached a stage where we are making small gains at great expense. We’ve talked about this before with gas furnaces and boilers, which have pretty much reached their efficiency peak with AFUE ratings in the high 90 percent range. But the plumbing industry is going through the same sort of thing. The drive to minimize lead content in plumbing products is a good example. As of next January, it is widely expected that maximum lead content on wetted surfaces will be reduced to a quarter of one percent from the current eight percent. It is relatively easy for the authorities to change the rules. It has been very difficult and very expensive for the industry to comply. The reduced lead content in brass fittings has required the development of new product designs and new manufacturing methods and equipment. Back before we understood the health effects of lead Canadian homes and buildings were built with lead pipes and lead solder. It is still a source of contamination in older areas where some homes are still served with lead pipes. But in 1975 the National Plumbing Code was amended to disallow lead pipe, followed by lead solder in 1986. And for a long time, most people thought that was good enough. Even Health Canada admits, plumbing is not a major contributor of lead in drinking water. However, effective January 2009, the State of California decided that wasn’t enough. The only other possible source of lead in plumbing systems, which the latest measures are designed to address, is the eight percent lead content in brass fittings. Among other

things, the lead in brass makes it easy to machine. Take the lead out, and it is not. So manufacturers have had to respond by adopting new manufacturing methods or redesigning products to incorporate other materials. Once again the industry had to go to considerable difficulty and expense for little if any gain. Will drinking water systems be safer? It’s doubtful. What is certain is that all this is going to cost the end user – the building owner – a lot of money. One manufacturer told us that the change to lead-free would result in a price increase as high as 40 percent on some products. Ouch! One has to wonder how far the authorities can go in their efforts to solve every health issue, no matter how minute, and maximize efficiency through changes in building mechanical specifications. I recently heard that some European countries are changing their plumbing codes to prevent stagnant water from sitting in pipes because a study showed that there might be a health benefit for doing so. Once again it means a massive effort in reconfiguring plumbing systems, designing new products, etc., etc. Will this increasingly expensive process ever end? When will authorities realize that mechanical systems are as safe and efficient as they can possibly make them? Not anytime soon I fear.

Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 simon@plumbingandhvac.ca Design and Production Tim Norton production@plumbingandhvac.ca Production Manager Lilianna Kantor (416) 614-5815 lily@newcom.ca Circulation Manager Pat Glionna Corporate Services Anthony Evangelista

PLUMBING & HVAC Magazine is published eight times annually by NEWCOM Business Media Inc. and is written for individuals who purchase/ specify/approve the selection of plumbing, piping, hot water heating, fire protection, warm air heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration, controls and related systems and products throughout Canada.

NEWCOM Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4 Tel: (416) 242-8088 • Fax (416) 614-8861

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We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage. A member of: Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating Canadian Circulation Audit Board Mechanical Contractors Assoc. of Canada Ontario Plumbing Inspectors Association American Society of Heating Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada Refrigeration Service Engineers Society of Canada

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■ Industry News

Counterfeit refrigerants Major problem in U.S. may come to Canada as R22 supply dwindles By Simon Blake ounterfeit refrigerants are becoming a significant problem in the U.S., to the point where the AirConditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) has issued a white paper on the subject designed to warn contractors about the dangers. It can make for scary reading. Counterfeit refrigerants are typically produced offshore and are often contaminated with other substances. Fake R134a, R22, R40a and R410a have been found in the field. As if the low quality isn’t bad enough, one of the most common contaminants is R40 (methyl chloride or chloromethane). R40 was once a commonly used refrigerant, but was discontinued due to toxicity and flammability. Mixed with other refrigerants, it can create an explosive mixture. AHRI warns contractors that “to

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Several container systems found to be contaminated with R40 have exploded at service facilities. avoid serious injury or death, special care must be taken when accessing the service ports to sample or work on systems that are not functioning properly or have been serviced by others.” R40 chemically reacts with aluminum inside HVAC/R systems to generate highly reactive and/or toxic compounds and exposure of the system’s contents to air and/or moisture could result in production of a strong acid and violent chemical reaction, the white paper states. Several container systems found to be contaminated with

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R40 have exploded at service facilities, it adds. The white paper can be found at www.ahri.org.

In Canada too? There is a key difference between the U.S. and Canadian systems for distributing refrigerants that makes it more difficult for unscrupulous suppliers to sell counterfeit refrigerants in this country, reported Warren Heeley, president of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). “One of the differences in Canada is that anything that is packaged as a refrigerant in Canada has to be in a refillable cylinder.” That’s not the case in the U.S. and counterfeit refrigerants tend to be distributed almost exclusively in non-refillable cylinders. Refillable cylinders cost four or five times more. “Once you go to that cost, you don’t typically find people that are trying to get around the law.” And those refillable containers are registered and can be traced. “Most of the offshore refrigerant that’s arriving here and in the U.S., as far as I know, are in non-refillable containers that can’t be traced and they are just being flogged to anybody that will import them and sell them.”

R22 phase-out There is one fear, however. As the supply of R22 is reduced while dryshipped R22 equipment continues to be widely available as “repair parts,” some contractors may look to illegal and counterfeit R22 in an effort to find a lower cost solution than the many R22 drop-in replacements now available. In 2009, Environment Canada officers seized 5,315 cylinders of illegally imported R22 from a firm in St. Jerome, Que. And on Oct. 29 a firm in Valleyfield, Quebec was fined $37,200 for illegally importing 600 cylinders of R22 from China. “I know that (counterfeit refrigerants) have become a problem in the U.S. simply because they are tightening the screws down on R22 and

the rest, which leads to more product being looked at from a blackmarket standpoint… If that happens in Canada we could have the same situation, but to date it just isn’t happening,” said Heeley. The key for contractors is to know their supplier. There isn’t a problem with reputable wholesalers selling refrigerants in approved refillable containers. On the other hand, somebody selling nonrefillable cylinders out of the back of a truck should create all kinds of red flags. “The industry is pretty savvy about the fact that you are dealing with a different type of cylinder and therefore everybody knows what is normal and when they see something that is odd, the questions start to arise about what that cylinder may contain,” said Heeley. ✚

In Canada, all refrigerants must be sold in refillable cylinders.

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â– Industry News

Industry welcomes anti-counterfeiting law he industry is cautiously welcoming new anti-counterfeiting measures by the federal government. “It’s welcome news, but like everything else the devil is in the details,� remarked Ralph Suppa, president of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH). He would like to see the new Combating Counterfeit Products Act, announced March 1, give inspectors the power to have counterfeit products removed from store shelves. Warren Heeley, the president of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), agrees. “The regulation itself is fine. I think it’s going to be the enforcement issue that a lot of people are looking for. The question is whether or not they can make the enforcement part of it work.� In the past border guards didn’t have the power to seize counterfeit products and, in most cases, wouldn’t know what they were looking at even if they could. Counterfeiters have expertly copied CSA and other regulatory markings. The new rules give the Canada Border Services

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Few reported cases In Canada, although there have been a few reported cases, counterfeiting hasn’t become a major problem in the mechanical industry because contractors deal through wholesalers that buy from established suppliers. “It’s when you get into retail that it becomes more complicated because these companies are buying from offshore and may not necessarily know what paperwork to look for,� said Suppa. “The proliferation of products bearing counterfeit marks is placing the public at direct risk. Counterfeit goods can kill, especially when it comes to certification marks being counterfeited. These products are untested and so are considered potentially unsafe,� he added. CIPH, along with the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, plans a “Day on the Hill� April 30

Agency (CBSA) the power to detain suspected counterfeit shipments at the border and contact the trademark/rights holders. There are new criminal offences for trademark counterfeiting along with the commercial possession, manufacture or trafficking of counterfeit goods. There is also a provision that enables Canadian businesses to file a “request for assistance� with CBSA where they are victims of counterfeiting.

Manufacturers are concerned about the potential burden on legitimate products crossing the border... However, manufacturers are concerned about the potential burden on legitimate products crossing the border and the delays that could be caused by border services with their products, said Heeley. HRAI will be carefully monitoring how this new legislation is enforced at the border, he added.

to meet with senior government officials in Ottawa to talk about how counterfeit products affect the mechanical industry. “Our goal is to be part of the next steps – to explain the issues relative to our industry and how we can help them out,� added Suppa. ✚

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â– Industry News

April fools? Return of provincial sales tax in B.C. is no joke for contractors By Ron Coleman April 1st was no April Fools’ Day for British Columbia contractors. The province abandoned the harmonized sales tax (HST) and returned to a two-tier tax system – provincial sales tax (PST) and goods and services tax (GST). What a disaster! Now that it is in place there are some things that contractors need to focus on: Inventory: Inventory held at March 31st is subject to self-assessment on PST when it is installed in a project, unless previously paid or for an exempt contract. Holdback on contracts: Here is an extract from a letter I received from the Canada Revenue Agency on holdback: Example 2 Contract price .................................................$90,000 Less 10% holdback .............................................9,000 Subtotal ..........................................................$81,000 HST @ 12%..........................................................9,720 Net payable ...................................................$90,720

“In Example 2, above, tax on the holdback of $9,000 will be payable at the time when the holdback is paid or becomes due. Therefore if the $9,000 is paid or becomes payable before April 1, the HST would apply. If the $9,000 is paid or becomes payable after March 31, then the GST would apply.� Transition contracts: Contracts that were quoted excluding PST will require PST to be paid on materials supplied subsequent to March 31. Contractors should seek change orders to cover this cost. There is no set formula for doing these calculations; it is by negotiation. Profit margins: Contractors who maintain their percentage markups will make a little more money because they will mark up costs including the seven percent PST on materials, equipment supplied and equipment rentals. However, overhead will increase a little. Exemptions: The same permanent exemptions as before are in place. All the temporary exemptions have been eliminated. The following are not PST exempt: Energy Star rated products such as window and household appliances, energy efficient residential furnaces, boilers, air-or ground source heat pumps and gas-fired water heaters and energy efficient commercial boilers. These are all now subject to PST. Products that prevent heat loss from buildings are PST exempt. Editor’s note: This is such complicated issue for B.C. contractors that our fearless Shop Management scribe has written a how-to book on it. The Return to PST is available from his website at www.ronaldcoleman.ca.

In Brief Quebec geothermal program in jeopardy The Quebec Energy Board (QEB) is encouraging Hydro Quebec to maintain its residential geothermal incentive program. The utility had planned to cancel it Dec. 31, but the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) convinced the board to safeguard the program until March 28 by presenting evidence that geothermal offers a sound solution to long-term energy needs. However, in its decision published March 13, the QEB said it couldn’t force the utility to continue the program; only the minister of the natural resources can. However, the CGC is hoping the utility will embrace the board’s recommendation.

HRAI battles utilities in Alberta The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) continues to push for tougher rules for utilities in Alberta designed to prevent them from competing in the HVAC market with private contractors. HRAI met with the opposition Wildrose Party on Feb. 2 to push for changes long promised by the government to the Utility Affiliate Relationships Code of Conduct. This initiative began as an effort to restrict a relationship between Atco Gas/Electric and Direct Energy, which, HRAI maintains, gives Direct Energy an unfair marketing advantage over other private HVAC contractors.

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April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Air Conditioning

Rebuilding New Orleans Little if anything could be salvaged from existing homes after Hurricane Katrina.

High velocity solution for worst hit neighborhood By Bruce Nagy n an era of photo-ops and public relations, actor Brad Pitt has done more than pose for the camera. He has helped build 90 of America’s most storm-resistant, flood-resistant and sustainably designed homes in the worst hit hurricane area in New Orleans. This summer it will be four years since the rebuilding started. Plumbing & HVAC visited the Lower Ninth Ward in the Big Easy to

I

review post-Katrina progress. At the beginning of the project, Pitt decided that if his Make It Right Foundation was going to challenge top architects to purpose-design homes for disaster conditions, why not ask them to tackle energy use too? He created a group of 21 architects, many known for sustainable approaches. The list included some of the leading lights on the planet, like Frank Gehry, Shigeru Ban, Hitoshi Abe and Thom Mayne.

Sustainable HVAC systems Affordable and green Unlike some green projects, front-end cost containment was critical. Pitt wanted to prove that low energy houses could be built without significantly increasing total

Treated lumber in the new homes is designed to resist water damage.

12

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

construction budgets. He succeeded. “Some materials cost more,” says Craig Turner, Make It Right construction director. “But innovative building systems saved in other areas and offset these costs. The homes are probably more expensive than what we previously had in the Lower Ninth Ward, but cost about the same as non-sustainable new homes being built elsewhere.” They are rated LEED Platinum.

The most logical renewable system for New Orleans is solar. Fortunately the cost of solar panels has significantly declined in recent years while building envelope science has advanced, reducing total energy draw. The new homes are all fitted with a four-kilowatt array of solar photovoltaic panels, connected to the grid. The small, tight envelopes, the ability to generate solar electricity and humid climate mean that a high velocity Unico heating/cooling system with its smaller, flexible duct system made sense. It eliminated the structure needed for large ductwork, contained labour costs and modifications and allowed for higher ceilings. Most of the homes are equipped with a two-ton unit, with a three-ton model in some larger structures. “The high velocity system also takes about 30 percent more humidity out of the air than a low velocity system, which is important in New Orleans,” said Turner. “Another problem here is air quality and we are able to use high standard filtering that rates MERV 11 or greater. It removes particulates as small as pollen or auto emissions, which helps with respiratory problems like asthma or allergies.”

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Brad Pitt’s presence drew considerable support for the project. The actor proved a stickler for keeping costs down.

A tight building envelope Many of the homes are less than 1,700 square feet. The envelopes are tight and highly insulated by New Orleans standards, using oriented strand board structural insulated panels (OSB SIP) with expanded polystyrene in the wall cavity (4.5”/R-17 and 6.5”/R-25) and the roof cavity (8.25”/R-33). Closed cell spray foam is also used between the floor joists under the subfloor (R-13), in the exterior walls between studs (R-13) and between rafters (R-30). Windows are low E double-pane and argon-filled. Thermal bridging is minimized. “These houses are so tight they only have about two air changes per hour,” says Turner. “Last summer Unico sent a couple engineers to study performance. It was a hot day and they set the thermostat at 69ºF (21ºC). The house cooled quickly and then the system shut off. They had to wait for about an hour before it came back on.” “It also happened after Hurricane Isaac (in 2012),” says Cesar Rodriguez, Make It Right procurement and construction services manager. Although many residents left, some people stayed in the houses during Isaac and said that the first night they lost power and the cooling systems shut down. “We came later and checked empty houses that had been without power for a couple of days. Outside it was in the 90s (32ºC+), but not a single house in the development was hotter than 75ºF (24ºC) inside.” Tests show the Make It Right homes score about 13 on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) scale, which

High velocity HVAC systems simplified construction and use little energy.

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This completed home features a green roof, solar panels and is elevated to resist flooding.

rates a standard new home at 100, older homes higher and net-zero homes at zero.

traditional concrete and far outlasts asphalt.

Wind protection Plumbing with PEX The development uses PEX for clean water supply lines because it is flexible and easy to install, running through I-Joists with pre-manufactured knockout holes. Because it has fewer joints than other piping, it also requires less maintenance, an important factor when building for low-income communities. All homes include low flow faucets and showerheads, and dual flush toilets. Original designs included a rainwater system for watering lawns and washing cars. The City of New Orleans opposed this due to health concerns.

Flood protection Despite numerous measures to reduce the chances of future flooding in New Orleans, homes must be built for the possibility. The new homes in the Make it Right project are all elevated five feet (1.5 metres) or eight feet (2.4 metres), depending on homeowner preference. The City now requires a minimum of three feet (0.9 metres) elevation. Construction materials were chosen so that if they are submerged in water at first impact, they will recover more quickly and better than materials used in the past. “Lumber is coated with a product called Eco Blue Shield,” says Rodriguez. “It protects the wood from moisture, mold, wood-rot and termites.” The Katrina wave that broke though the levee was reported at 14 feet (4.3 metres) high and was accompanied by rainfall of eight to 10 inches (20-25 cm) in most areas and 15 inches (38 cm) in the worst areas. “Levees are now taller, deeper, twice as thick,” said Turner. “They are T-shaped rather than I-shaped, which means more roll-off reaction, less soil erosion, less vulnerability to failure.” Hurricane Isaac brought flooding about seven feet (2.1 metres) higher than normal with an 11-foot (3.4 metre) surge in the worst hit areas. All the new levees held fast. To help with drainage, pervious (porous) concrete is used for sidewalks and driveways and is now being tested by the City of New Orleans for the roadways themselves. The life span of pervious concrete is similar to

Foundation work includes piles driven 40 feet (12.2 metres) into the ground, with the structural floor foundation attached directly to the piles. The new homes

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■ Air Conditioning

Building a better world Continued from page 13 are engineered to withstand 130 mph winds (209 km/h). When Katrina hit New Orleans it brought wind peaking at 125 mph (205 km/h). When Isaac hit it brought winds of about 60-85 mph (97137 km/h). All the new homes were fine after Hurricane Isaac. Flying debris causes a great deal of injury and damage. The new homes are designed to accommodate battening down the hatches and getting out of town for a few days. Each window and door is fitted with rivets and snap-on kevlar coverings.

The politics of celebrity

Noted architect Frank Gehry designed some of the homes in the colourful neighborhood.

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These new homes are important because they are green, affordable and disasterresistant, but also for political reasons. Brad Pitt is a celebrated Hollywood actor and Hurricane Katrina became as widely known when New Orleans, especially certain neighborhoods, were said to be forgotten by the White House in their hour of need and afterwards. Prior to Katrina, the Lower Ninth Ward was among the worst New Orleans neigh-

borhoods for crime, so cynics may have made cruel comments about its destruction. But Fats Domino, John Larroquette and thousands of others have lived their lives there, owned land and called it home. The new community is significantly less dense, has a homeowner’s association, parks and a much different feeling than it had before Katrina. Pitt is still an active hands-on board member and project catalyst. What has emerged as Make It Right works toward 150 homes is more than a building project. It may instead be a comment on how architecture and community planning can contribute to a kinder, gentler neighborhood, and perhaps even a better world. ✚

Bruce Nagy is a Toronto-based freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at bruce.nagy@rogers.com.

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Air Conditioning

Making the sale It’s not so easy these days! By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson alling yourself a qualiSize can matter fied sales person for the The sales person has a greater HVAC/R business and advantage when selling running around town equipment made by large may just not do it in the prescompanies with a recognized ent day and coming future. brand name and dealerships. One can get signatures with These companies will have high-pressure sales tactics, but marketing funds for in this day and age it has beprograms, advertising and come a matter of selling yourself-promotion with things self first; this increases A professional approach to sales such as clothing, hats and confidence for both the pur- backed by a profession installation accessories. chaser and the company the will result in a customer for life. The latter is also an sales person works for. excellent way to sell your And today the sale generally goes beyond simply company name. Funding, for example, in youth selling the equipment. The sales personnel (or sports is a win-win for both the sports team and a office staff) will generally arrange for any required real boost for the company’s name recognition. permits and job scheduling that may be needed Brand name dealers may have access to before a job or service can commence. It is unusual manufacturer’s co-op advertising. Available for an end user to provide these documents or marketing dollars are typically based on a added equipment. percentage of annual sales. A slight percentage of the total sale price is normal as a down payment. Depending on the The Internet factor total cost or length of time until completion, One must remember that, with unlimited access progress billing may be required to cover to the worldwide web, most prospective buyers will equipment or labour costs of work completed. have researched all of the equipment Financing, when required, may be arranged for the manufacturer’s web sites and in many cases have end user by the sales person before job questions that you as a sales person might not be commencement. On the other hand, purchasers prepared for. may decide to work with their own bank or Homeowners and business operators do their institution. If the sales proposal is approved by the homework not only on products, but also on any financial institution this will be set up to allow progress payments or a balance on completion. Please see ‘Avoiding’ on page 19

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Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

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â– Air Conditioning

HVAC & HYDRONICS

Avoiding warranty traps Continued from page 16 grants available, from provincial as well as federal initiatives and, let’s not forget, the manufacturers and local utility grants! You need to become an expert on what’s available to homeowners in your area as well.

Keep in mind when selling these warrantied products that there is a catch.

unless you as the contractor/vendor have written permission to complete the entry on your customer’s behalf. The equipment warranty is a binding contract on both the manufacturer and homeowner, so you may be breaking the laws without this permission. We suggest including on your quotation form a paragraph that references “warranty coverage as provided by the equipment manufacturer� and point out the fact that registration is mandatory for any coverage. (As well as annual maintenance, which is usually ignored!)

An upsell opportunity

For some budget minded customers, the manufacturer’s basic warranties are sufficient. Likewise, for many One point often missed by many in the field is that to contractors, standard warranties meet with their style of qualify for all of these “free dollars� the equipment sale. However, those looking to find a competitive edge provided must be matched and listed within the AHRI can turn to several outsource warranty companies. By Certification Directory (www.ahridirectory.org). This dealing with an insurance company, they can provide an listing number will be requested on the grant application. extended parts replacement program that is purchased Any system, for instance, if sold with a mismatched or at the same time or up to thirty days after purchase of off-brand coil will be refused. Your supplier might want the product from the wholesaler. This warranty can to sell you a larger coil that won’t fit provide an extension in the parts in the plenum, but it may not be just warranty and in some cases take it to to make more profit! fifteen years from a standard fiveyear program. Know the warranties We have all by now seen the TV It is important that the HVAC commercials about the negative salesman (or woman) understands things that door-knockers are up to and can explain the warranties on and what they can represent. But in the equipment they are selling. They some cases these are legitimate must discuss warranty options with agents hired by local companies to a customer during the sales At the end of the day, the unit boost their sales. This is a way for presentation. both small and large companies to must operate as the sales person Equipment purchased from the said it would. cover more ground. Reports usually wholesale counters may contain the (Photos courtesy of Brian Baker, show a return of investment spent in same warranties as dealership Custom Vac, Winnipeg) these types of programs and gains in products, but “entry level� products new customers and company may only be eligible for basic short-term coverage. Most awareness for the small guy. will cover failed parts and in some instances a DOA Whatever your choices to perform your sales this year labor warranty. There are set fees and times allotted to promote yourself, your company and know the change out parts that may have failed within a period warranties, good luck! ✚ from the installation date. Extended warranties have become a major selling feature, with most manufacturers adopting a ten-year or Bob Bettles more warranty program on parts and even some with HVAC author and trainer Robert labour programs included! Keep in mind when selling (Bob) Bettles is technical service these warrantied products that there is a catch. In most adviser and product trainer for cases the model and serial number must be registered to B&B Trade Distribution Centre. the owner complete with the address the equipment is He can be reached at servicing as well as the type of dwelling it is. Failure to bbettles@bandbtrade.com. complete the online registration may result in the loss of five years of the ten-year warranty along with the labour. Brian Guttormson In most cases the contracting company or the end HVAC author and trainer Brian user of the equipment can register online or mail in the Guttormson is technical service warranty registration documents, just as long as it gets advisor for Trent Metals Ltd. competed shortly after startup. (Supply). He can be reached at However, we recently received a note from one techsupport@tmlsupply.com. manufacturer stating that in some localities the registration must be done by the equipment owner only,

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WHEN THE COOLING QUITS, WE DON’T. When the unexpected happens, we know you feel it. That’s why we’ve put systems in place to get you up and running, fast. Systems like our After Hours Emergency Service. We carry a complete line of heating and cooling equipment for residential, commercial and specialty applications. And we’ll drop it wherever you need it, when you need it – at no charge! But that’s not all that sets us apart. We have one of the largest teams of JOIPVTFUFDIOJDBMTQFDJBMJTUTJOUIF industry. So if you’re looking to reduce your footprint or improve energy eďŹƒciencies, we can create custom solutions that’ll help you breathe a little easier.

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Zero or even below, the Woodford 65/67 series commercial wall hydrants will tolerate any temperatures without freezing. All drain automatically, even with a hose attached. The 67 models include an ASSE Standard 1052 approved backflow preventer connection…and all come with Woodford quality, durability, and the ability to tolerate anything Mother Nature can throw at them.

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â– HVAC Roundup

Product Profile

Light up the patio! As spring begins to gradually fight its way out after a long cold winter in many parts of Canada, patrons at pubs and restaurants across the country are longing to sit out on the patio. The owners of these establishments are trying to facilitate this by adding patio lighting and heating. And some homeowners are now adding heating to their own patios. Napoleon’s new Bellagio Patio Torch is designed to light up the party, providing cozy mood lighting from an attractive single, luminous four-foot flame. The unique design is a perfect accent for pools, decks and outdoor rooms that can be enjoyed 365 days of the year, says Napoleon’s David Coulson. “Up to a four foot natural flame with a 360-degree view is definitely

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For HVAC contractors offering fireplaces and barbecues, patio heating/lighting can offer another sales opportunity. an inspiring mix of art and design that brings your outdoor living space to life,� he added. The unit comes with battery operated push button ignition for ease of lighting, an easy access door for propane tank enclosure, safety tip switch and a protective screen. It is approved for use on wooden decks, stone or brick patios and concrete and ideal for both residential and commercial applications. An optional commercial side shelf/bar table creates a perfect space for holding drinks and snacks. Napoleon u www.napoleongrills.com

Wall mounted DHW

The new Elite Series EL296E from Lennox Residential is a 96 percent AFUE rated two-stage gas furnace designed to help users lower utility bills without sacrificing comfort. Top venting and combustion air connections, along with fulllength, factory-formed discharge flanges allow easy installation and superior system sealing. When paired with an electric heat pump, it creates a system that can use either gas or electricity to provide heat. Lennox residential u www.lennox.com

Lochinvar has introduced two new Armor wall-mounted DHW heaters. Available with inputs of 125,000 Btu/h and 199,999 Btu/h, these units offer up to 96 percent thermal efficiency with a 5:1 turndown and a compact, wall mounted design that fits the tightest installations. These units are designed to be installed with a separate storage tank. Because they heat the water and then deposit it in an unfired storage tank, lime scale buildup does not impair heat transfer efficiency, reports the manufacturer. Lochinvar u www.Lochinvar.com

Maintenance-free vacuum gauge

Plastic cooling towers

The new Testo 552 digital vacuum gauge confirms the evacuation of air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration systems without requiring cleaning, nor is it susceptible to contamination from oils, saving considerable time in the field. The absolute pressure sensor delivers accuracy to +/10 microns and a rugged housing is designed to withstand a six-foot drop. Battery life is 2400 hours. Testo Inc. u www.testo.com

Packaged heat pumps Coleman 2-5 ton Echelon dual-fuel packaged heat pumps feature a two-step Copeland UltraTech 2.0 compressor that quietly controls both two-stage

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Advanced cooling towers by Delta Cooling Towers feature a seamless plastic shell made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) that are virtually impermeable to corrosive elements, including water treatment chemicals such as chlorine, as well as UV rays. Variable-speed direct drive motors provide efficient operation and are designed to be maintenance free. These units carry a 15-year warranty. Delta Cooling Towers u www.deltacooling.com

cooling and heat pump operation. Two-stage gas heating operation provides economical warmth when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing. The heat pump achieves efficiencies of up to 14 SEER, 11.8 EER and 8.0 HPSF. Units come completely wired, charged with R410A refrigerant and tested prior to shipment. Coleman u www.colemanhvacdealer.com

PARTS AND PARTNERS. THEY JUST HAVE TO FIT. Standard and custom fabricated pipe, delivered straight to your location. From 1/4â€? to 24â€? in diameter, plain end, threaded or grooved, our indoor pipe facility in Concord carries them all – and delivers it. In fact, our boom trucks deliver large pipe and ďŹ tting orders at no charge. We carry a complete line of industrial PVF and MRO products to keep your business running smoothly. And you can count on us to provide 100% traceability for the products you use. Our team of in-house specialists are always ready to provide technical advice and source those hard-to-find products that will make your job easier. Because that’s exactly what a good partner does.

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■ Refrigeration

TROUBLESHOOTING COMPRESSORS

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Installed properly, compressors will operate trouble-free for years.

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Determining the real problem can be difficult By Greg Scrivener

compressor, of one description or another, is at the heart of almost every refrigeration system. These compressors generate flow by creating a pressure difference between the high and low sides of a system. Sometimes, in small absorption systems for example, we can use a natural process to generate the pumping effect instead of using a physical pump or compressor, but these situations are very specific. For the purpose of this article we are going to focus mainly on the typical reciprocating vapour compression compressor as they are by far the most common refrigerant compressors in use today. Recent information from a compressor manufacturer suggests that up to 40 percent of compressors returned for warranty have nothing wrong with them. (See page 7, P&HVAC, March, 2013) I don’t know how many of the remaining 60 percent failed as a result of installer or designer error and what percentage were actual manufacturing defects, but I doubt I’d be out of line if I suggested that installer and design error accounted for a majority of those failures. The bottom line is that there is an epidemic of compressor failures and supposed compressor failures in our industry and this shouldn’t be news to anyone. The compressor misdiagnoses and installation problem costs our industry millions of dollars every year. Every time a manufacturer spends money manufacturing, shipping, and examining warranty replacement compressors and every time a contractor makes a labour claim to a wholesaler or OEM or absorbs the labour costs themself, these costs invariably end up being passed onto the end user. I’m not going to try to quantify these costs here, nor am I going to do an economic analysis to find out how this affects end user spending, but suffice to say that this much warranty is bad for everyone. The biggest problem is that the vast majority of this warranty is completely preventable. Between misdiagnosis and installation and operating errors, these failures could be all but eliminated. So the question is, what can we do about it?

most important to understand what the compressor actually does. Compressors are only one component of the overall thermodynamic system; a change to the position of any valve, the condition of the condenser or evaporator, fan speeds, or pretty much any other system parameter will affect the compressor operation. This connectedness, coupled with the inability to actually see what’s going on inside, is what can make it extraordinarily difficult for a technician to troubleshoot a refrigeration system. The ability to reason through the system’s operation while under a great deal of pressure from both an employer and the equipment owner is a skill that is difficult to improve.

The ability to reason through the system’s operation while under a great deal of pressure from both an employer and the equipment owner is a skill that is difficult to improve. Add to this the ‘real world’ limitations that we don’t see when these problems are tackled on paper: the limited access to pressure and temperature readings, insulated receivers, electrical panels so small that use of a current meter is almost impossible, long distances between the evaporator and condenser, and freezing working conditions, to name just a few. I am really not at all surprised that most of us find it difficult to effectively troubleshoot problems with refrigeration systems. The answer, of course, is more practice, more education and better tools.

Simple, in theory

Only one component

A compressor is nothing but a pump. It takes relatively low pressure vapour and compresses it to a higher pressure. Once chosen, the typical non-unloading compressor has almost nothing to say about what these pressures will be. Cut open your discharge line and the discharge pressure from the compressor will be hardly any higher than the suction pressure. Close the discharge service valve and the cylinder pressure will very quickly reach the material limits of the compressor and it will almost certainly be damaged.

This series of articles will examine some compressor troubleshooting techniques and theory, but first it is

Please see ‘complicated’ on page 24

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

23


It’s complicated Continued from page 23

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The condenser, metering device and the position of any other high side controls, determines the discharge pressure of a system. In turn, the position of the metering device (with the exception of a hand expansion valve) is always determined one way or another by what’s happening in the evaporator. The conditions in the evaporator along with any low side controls determine the inlet pressure to the compressor. So effectively, the compression ratio and efficiency of a compressor are determined, not by the compressor itself, but by the operation of the controls and components in the refrigerating system. That’s why almost every compressor can operate with different refrigerants at different temperatures. It’s just a pump.

Complicated relationship

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Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

Unfortunately this complicated relationship is what makes it difficult to troubleshoot a compressor. We will talk about the electrical side of compressors some other time, but in general I find that there is not as much uncertainty in diagnosing a seized compressor drawing locked rotor amps or one with failed start components or burnt windings. When you really get down to it, catastrophic compressor failures aren’t very difficult to diagnose. They usually result in either a seized compressor or one that runs but won’t generate any pressure difference at all. It’s the failures in the middle of this spectrum, like the partial pumping compressor, that become very challenging to figure out. In all of these cases, the most difficult and most often neglected issue is to figure out why the compressor failed in the first place. You walk up to a system and you suspect a poor pumping compressor, so what kinds of things can you do to confirm your suspicion? What tools are at your disposal? What causes a compressor to be a poor pumper? I am an advocate of using the pressure enthalpy diagram to troubleshoot refrigeration systems and next issue we will take a look at precisely that. For now let’s try to think of some things that could cause a compressor to fail in the ‘poor pumper’ category as well as problems that could lead to a misdiagnosis. There are literally dozens of ways a

compressor can fail. Excluding the electrical failures (which can also be caused by mechanical failures), valves can be damaged by liquid or oil slugging, bearings can have their oil washed out by boiling liquid refrigerant, and physical damage can occur to any of the moving parts, just to name a few relatively common failures. A lot of these types of failures can cause serious physical damage and can easily result in a catastrophic failure. Interestingly, I have seen a number of compressors that had discharge valve failures on individual cylinders where the compressor was operating fine but wouldn’t ‘keep up’. How would you diagnose this problem?

No easy solutions One of the most common ways we cause compressor failures, which wasn’t mentioned in the previous list, is overheating. This is so common that it even becomes ingrained in the mentality of some service technicians. For example, a common reaction to ice on a compressor is to suspect liquid flooding even though this is often not the truth. Unfortunately it’s common practice to adjust the TX valve to help eliminate this ice. The side effects of the increased superheat can be disastrous. What does the ice really mean and how do you know if it’s a good thing or not? Compressor failure is complicated and it is very hard to figure out what happened after the fact, but by examining the theory it is possible to diagnose these failures efficiently and accurately. Even better, maybe we can eliminate a whole bunch of the failures in the first place. Starting in the next issue we’ll try to drill down into answering these kinds of questions and take a closer look at diagnosing failures. ✚ Greg Scrivener is project and design manager for Polar Refrigeration Service Ltd. in Saskatoon. He is a journeyman refrigeration mechanic, a licensed gas fitter, holds RSES CMS designation in commercial refrigeration and is a mechanical engineer in training. He can be reached at gscrivener@polarservices.ca.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca


■ Heating

Three very tall chimneys vent the new boilers. (All photos by Art Irwin)

From left, Master Warrant Officer Kevin McGrath (plant operations officer), project manager David Cottle (National Defence Construction Canada) and Major T.F. Crawley discuss the project in front of one of three new boilers.

were awarded to Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. The first, worth $1.8 billion, covered the acquisition of 28 CH-148 Cyclone helicopters and ship modifications. The second contract, valued at $3.2 billion, is for a 20-year in-service support contract whereby DND provides space within Shearwater’s infrastructure for Sikorsky to set up various support services for the helicopters.

Expansion and construction

FB Shearwater, one of the oldest military airfields in Canada, is getting a new $ 26.9 million steam heating plant. And a three-kilometer natural gas pipeline will provide the new heating plant with a new fuel, replacing No.6 bunker oil. The three new multi-fuel water tube boilers will each provide 35,000 lbs. of steam per hour at 150 PSI. The district heating plant will provide heat to 150 buildings. Three new 100-foot high chimneys will vent the boilers. Each has an outside diameter of 52 inches and an inside dimension of 40. The steam distribution system consists of approximately 9.3 kilometres of steam and condensate lines. The general contractor is Dora Construction of Dartmouth. Bacon Engineering of Toronto is the controls contractor.

C

Gas-fired steam plant installed at Nova Scotia military base By Art Irwin

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A long history CFB Shearwater has provided continuous service longer than any other Canadian Forces air base. First created as a U.S. naval air base in 1918, Shearwater subsequently became an air base for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy. In September, 1995, Shearwater officially became a heliport. In November 2004, under the Maritime Helicopter Project (MHP), two contracts

Several projects have been completed or are under development. As part of the MHP contract, the Maritime Helicopter Training Center was constructed and will accommodate air and ground crew training for the new Cyclone fleet, which has been delayed. A project was completed to provide the required water pressure to operate fire suppression systems in the new hangers that will house the new maritime helicopter fleet, as well as replace water and sewer lines. Defence Construction Canada (DCC) is responsible for the CFB Shearwater projects. The new hangers consist of 24,338 square metres of floor area, or about three Canadian football fields of space. In addition to hanger space, this includes offices, workshops and other rooms. With a clear span of 70 metres and a floor to roof height of just over 15 metres, the new hangers can accommodate up to six helicopters. There is a rainwater collection system for washing aircraft plus a unique fire suppression system known as Hi – Fog. The latter consists of stainless steel sprinkler heads installed in the floor that produce a fine water mist, combining the extinguishing characteristics of water and the penetrative quality of a gas. These hangers are the first in the world with the Hi-Fog system installed in the concrete floor. To date, there have been no announcements, but it is assumed that eventually many of the homes near the base will be converted to natural gas as well. ✚ Arthur A. Irwin operates Irwin Energy Consulting Services in Halifax. He can be reached at irwin.a@ns.sympatico.ca.

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Heating

Smooth operation Multiple condensing boiler plant maintenance – fire-side procedures By Roy Collver reventative maintenance programs can help save money and greatly extend the life of boiler equipment while increasing reliability, but how much is enough? As operational budgets tighten, building facilities managers are looking for ways to trim budgets and preventative maintenance (PM) is often scrutinized. I am a believer in the value of PM programs. Although much of the modern equipment today is designed to be “maintenance free”, is any equipment truly maintenance free? How can we assess what procedures and at what frequency are really needed? Firstly – what does the equipment manufacturer require and/or recommend? The answer to this question might well affect your boiler purchasing decisions. The manufacturer will advise as to what should be done – which components should be lubricated, which ones should be cleaned or changed, and how often. Some manufacturers are sticklers for frequent and extensive maintenance, citing failure to follow their schedule exactly as a warranty denial. Others take a somewhat more relaxed position, requiring regular inspection, but suggesting cleaning only when there is evidence that it is needed.

P

This boiler shows light fouling after one year, which is normal.

through building management systems on a regular basis, many building owners have in-house maintenance personnel available to do a basic boiler room “walk around” once every month or two. This quick procedure is Multiple gas boilers important and can be done in This article will focus on the Chemical contamination conjunction with frequent boiler rooms that are inmaintenance work on other creasingly using multiple is a different kettle of fish and appliances at the site. It serves gas-fired condensing applito check things like condensate can “take out” a boiler heat ances. Maintenance of these trap cleanliness, fluid fill, boilers is less intensive than exchanger in very short order – venting integrity and security, with oil-fired boilers, and chemical treatment and air much less painful than was even a stainless steel one. filtration. These checks can performed on the large high give facility managers valuable input gas boilers of the past. information as to when they Gone are the days of rolling up your sleeves, taking a might need to schedule more detailed and extensive deep breath, calling in all the troops, and shutting down inspection and cleaning. a heating plant for weeks in order to perform an annual “heavy” maintenance, re-build and inspection. Modern Setting a schedule gas-fired boilers (yes, even condensing appliances) are Pressure vessel fire-side inspection and cleaning can much easier to service, seldom require special normally be scheduled once a year and should be done equipment or tools and, in the case of multiple boilers, by licensed trades people, preferably after they have had can usually be serviced during the shoulder heating a brief manufacturer’s training session. One big benefit seasons without the need to shut down the whole of scheduled maintenance is that spare parts – filters, heating plant. gaskets and wear parts – can be ordered ahead of time so Even though boiler rooms are often monitored that maintenance is a relatively lightweight and stress-

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free affair wrapped up in a matter of hours or days, not weeks. After the first heating season, the fire-side of a new boiler should be inspected, as this initial inspection will quickly reveal any fouling or corrosion issues. For multiple boilers, where boiler running times are more or less equal, it may not be necessary to open all of them up every year. If inspection of one or two shows that cleaning is not required, cleaning frequency may be increased to two or three years. You should always consult with the boiler manufacturer to learn to identify what level of fouling is acceptable and at what point the boiler needs to be cleaned. Every time you open up a boiler combustion chamber for inspection, you run the risk of damaging gaskets, refractory, ignitors and other components. I have seen numerous sites where they tear down, inspect, clean and re-commission perfectly clean boilers – every single year – whether they need it or not. For each heating plant, I recommend checking at least one boiler every year; but unless that inspection reveals you are past the acceptable level of fouling – or will be before the next inspection is due – you can probably pass on cleaning the whole lot of them. Some sites may need annual cleaning, but not all of them. Please see ‘Preventing’ on page 28

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Heating

Preventing contamination Continued from page 27

Determining ‘normal’

brushing with a non-metallic brush, followed by a thorough rinse with a hose. Again, consult with the boiler manufacturer – aluminum boilers may require special treatment. Air supply contamination will vary widely depending on local conditions. Dust, dirt and fine particles can make their way right through the combustion fan and burner and end-up coating parts of the heat exchanger. Looking inside burners and combustion fan components can usually confirm the presence of these fine particles, as well as bigger stuff like leaves, tree fluff, insects, small rodents, etc. This junk must be cleaned out before damage to components or a boiler shut-down occurs. Intake air filtration is usually the best fix for these kinds of problems, unless you can remove the source of the contaminants.

What can you consider ‘normal’ when you open up a gas-fired condensing boiler and peer into the combustion chamber? The only way you can get ‘stuff ’ inside the combustion chamber is to carry it in through the gas supply or the combustion air supply. The gas supply is normally quite predictable by region, the main contaminant being various levels of sulphur. It usually looks like a yellowish coating – see photograph – or precipitates onto the heat exchanger surface as brownish particles that resemble coffee grounds. Condensing boilers with highgrade stainless steel heat exchangers have proven to be quite resistant to the corrosive effects of sulphur, but you do not want it to build up to the point where it might start to plug up flue passages. Most manufacturers This boiler is in dire need of recommend vacuuming and maintenance.

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Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

Chemical contamination Chemical contamination is a different kettle of fish and can “take out” a boiler heat exchanger

in very short order – even a stainless steel one. Beware of chemicals stored in boiler rooms, or activities that may produce corrosive fumes that can be ingested though the air intakes. The usual suspects are things like furniture stripper, dry cleaning chemicals, hairspray, etc. I once serviced a boiler that was completely destroyed because it was in the same strip-mall as five other businesses, one of which was a hairdresser. I saw the same thing happen to forced air equipment as well. If there are any signs of chemical contamination – the source must be eliminated – filtration will not help you. While you are looking inside the boiler, examine and replace or repair any damaged refractory, burners, ignitors, etc. If there are damaged components, always ask why? This is a fundamental reason for doing PM in the first place – looking for trouble and finding ways to stop it from happening again. After re-assembly, test the safety devices and check combustion values with a properly calibrated combustion analyzer. So what about water-side maintenance issues? Sorry, not enough space to talk about it this time. Look to a future issue where we can cover the topic in detail. ✚ Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Peachland, B.C. He can be reached at hoth2o@shaw.ca

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■ Heating

Winning formula Ontario contractor builds a business around hydronic floor heating By Rachel Wenger iss your cold feet goodbye. It’s the slogan that Paul McRoberts and his firm, iFH Designs and Installations, has used as a calling card since 1984. It’s a fitting expression because when Old Man Winter makes himself at home in their area for six months at a time, folks quickly experience the reality of cold feet. Most of Ontario lies in the lee of the Great Lakes, studded with rivers and watersheds. In these parts, frigid temperatures and abundant snow is only

K

Brent McRoberts, left, and Andrew Wilhelm make final adjustments on the system. the norm come wintertime. Paul’s solution to the freezing-feet problem that pushes itself into so many homes in the area: hydronic radiant floor heating. iFH, based in St. Mary’s, Ont., specializes in in-floor heating, which is how the name came to be. Their singular vision: to create a well run, professionally managed and staffed plumbing and floor heating company providing expert advice, workmanship and knowledge. McRoberts, a licensed master plumber, has built his team with great

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care. Though numbers shift seasonally, they’re typically a five-employee operation. He’s trained them well and, in doing so, he’s built an extended family.

Family tradition McRoberts grew up in a family of trade professionals. His father, a service and repair technician for pumps and water softeners, wanted his sons to get into a trade, knowing the constant demand for work would provide them with opportunities to make a living for themselves and their future families. Of the four McRoberts boys, Bob became a steamfitter, Glen pursued a career as a telephone technician, Gary followed a natural path toward automotive mechanics and Paul, the plumber, took a path similar to his father’s. In the beginning, iFH was conducted exclusively by Paul. Paul’s wife Jean was busy raising the children – Steven, Kristy, Karna, Paula, Andrea and Brent. Today, Jean runs the accounts and manages the office. Brent works in the trade and is currently a fourth-year plumbing apprentice, following in his fathers’ footsteps. By releasing some of

the daily responsibilities to Jean and Brent, Paul now focuses his attention on proposals and invoices, supervising all key facets of the operation. Also working for iFH are plumber Andrew Wilhelm and second-year plumbing apprentice Evan Thomson. iFH serves a largely rural territory. With a vast area of operation, it’s important that the coffee stays warm and the fuel lines, unfrozen. Typical jobs require McRoberts and crew to travel up to two hours away, and that’s with cooperative weather, while some customers may be much further down the road.

New construction a mainstay The new construction industry in Canada is still booming, with 75 percent of iFH projects being new homes. One of iFH’s most recent jobs was for a brand new, one-story, 2,300 sq. ft. bungalow. The home, located half an hour from the iFH shop, is on a 50-acre farm surrounded by blue spruce, maples and an apple orchard making it, as McRoberts describes it, “picture perfect.” His customers, the Brennans, decided

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Paul McRoberts, left, offers apprentice Evan Thompson a little helpful advice.

heat in remodeled attic spaces. Two 0013 pumps control supply water for the chiller. They also installed ¾-inch Taco 418 air vents for trouble-free operation of the upper manifolds for radiant supply and return. The same company’s SR506 expandable controls are used for thermostats and pump wiring. The circulators are wired directly into the controls. Two 24-volt zone valve controls are used for the radiant manifold actuators. Both the switching relay and zone valve controls are expandable, giving the ability to add more than one control to the first panel. The first panel will then act as the master controller while any additional controls will act as slaves.

customers’ needs,” said McRoberts. Currently, iFH operates from a 2,500 square foot building with 500 sq. ft. dedicated to office space. New blueprints reveal a substantial upgrade: a new shop, offices and showroom adding up to over 7,000 sq. ft. (all in-floor heated, of course) that will break ground this spring. “Every once in a while, the cobbler gets new shoes. Soon, we’ll have a chance to turn our attention to our own work environment – and the feet’ll be happy, by design,” says McRoberts. ✚

Rachel Wenger is a writer with Manheim, Pennsylvania-based Common Ground, a trade communications firm that focuses on the plumbing and mechanical, HVAC, geothermal, solar and radiant heat industries. She can be reached at cground3@ptd.net.

Warm feet for the cobbler’s shoes Specializing in hydronic in-floor heating is what makes iFH unique. They’re “obsessive-compulsive” about staying abreast of new product introductions and the steady training of all employees through the Canadian Hydronics Council. “We strive to go beyond

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Brent McRoberts, left, and Thompson talk shop. Sophisticated controls and adjustable valves ease fine-tuning of the system. to go with a fully floor-heated system with a lightweight concrete over-pour. A snowmelt system for the front porch and a radiantly heated garage were just icing on the cake. An 80-gallon Bradford White indirect water heater handles the domestic hot water need while 6,500 ft. of ½-inch PEX heats the bungalow and garage. In the mechanical room, McRoberts specified Taco controls. A Variable DeltaT (VDT) pump and several Zone Sentry zone valves, all governed by a switching relay, control the home’s five zones. A Watts expansion tank was installed as well and a Watts backflow pressure reducer protects domestic water lines.

It’s all about radiant “I think anyone who can tap in-floor heat as the main source of warmth in their home will win the age-old battle of man versus winter. Radiant heat delivers healthy heat, savings and extreme comfort,” McRoberts explained. A recent renovation project sent iFH technicians to a 5,000 sq. ft. farmhouse in London, Ontario. The home, having

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been in the Johnston family for three generations, was in dire need of remodel and renovation work, and was largely torn down. Only two walls were left standing. The Johnstons decided to go with radiant floor heating on all levels of the re-built home. McRoberts decided the best way to heat this farmhouse was to tackle the radiant challenge with three different infloor techniques. Basement heat was installed in the new slab. The main floor and second floor piping was installed in joist spaces, while the attic was equipped with an over-the-floor radiant system. When all was said and done, 9,000 feet of PEX divided among ten zones provided comfortable and efficient heat. An 80-gallon Bradford White indirect tank meets all domestic hot water needs. Also on the Johnston’s project are three Taco iSeries mixing valves, connected to VDT circulators to control the individual zones. Eight new three-speed/variable speed 0015 circulators control supply for the extensive joist space heating system, concrete slabs and over-the-floor radiant

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■ ICI Mechanical

AUTO DEALERSHIP UPGRADE, PART II

Comfortable service Designing for productivity in a busy service department By Michael McCartney, P.Eng n the last issue we looked at the way auto dealerships have evolved into comfortable environments for both customers and employees. We noted how the introduction of air conditioning to service departments has resulted in a dramatic improvement in productivity by employees. In this issue, we will continue in that vein with particular emphasis on some of the critical design and installation elements. For sizing the HVAC systems in a service department, we usually take the peak heating and cooling loads and make sure that we can deal with the peak heat loss plus a suitable oversize, and about two thirds of the cooling load. As far as air distribution goes, we want to keep ductwork to a minimum. We use short supply and return drops with double deflection grilles used to direct air downward at 45 degrees. This we do for air conditioners as well as air makeup units. Why run ducts all over the place when air movement through medium velocity will accomplish the same thing? Carbon monoxide (CO) extraction fans used for general ventilation get very short drops, down to roof deck level, as CO is a lighter-than-air gas and will hug the roof deck from where it is easily removed.

I

The employees in this comfortable work environment are happier and more productive.

tube heaters located five feet from demising (dividing) walls and beaming their rays over the hoods of the cars to accomplish this task. When a mechanic’s back is warm, he or she is warm. I seldom use tubes over 40 feet in length in order to give

The difference between dealerships that have elected to take on this additional expense versus others that have stuck with point source systems is evident once one enters the service area.

install, as well, a general ventilation system sized per code: 1,500 cfm per service bay for those that are not located alongside an openable outside door. This has resulted in our specifying and installing some pretty large general ventilation systems, but the payoff is in outstanding working conditions for the staff. The difference between dealerships that have elected to take on this additional expense versus others that have stuck with point source systems is evident once one enters the service area. The stink of exhaust fumes in areas without general ventilation is nauseating, whereas our projects are acceptable.

Extracting CO Infrared heating Remember where the technicians, who are the heart of any service department, spend the majority of their time: bent over the hood of the car. Therefore it is necessary to make them feel as comfortable as possible while doing their thing. We always use gas-fired infrared

32

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

good, even heat along the length of the tube. Fifty and 60 foot heaters are only good if doubled up in a ‘U’ fashion or if hung really high, like at the 24-foot level in a high bay. The Ontario Building Code (it may differ in other provinces) states that it is okay to have only point source for exhaust pickups installed in a garage, but we always

For CO-extracting general ventilation systems we use direct-fired makeup air units in conjunction with upblast roof-mounted fans and CO detectors set for the Occupation Health and Safety Act (OHSA) maximum eight-hour limit. On smaller service areas, say with six or fewer bays, we may use a downblast air intake fan with a 48x48 sheet

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must have hoses and pickups suitable for the application. For example, one would not want to use low temperature four-inch rubber hoses on diesel pickup truck exhausts. The volume of gases is too great and the high temperatures would result in the hoses burning away.

Accommodating specialized machines Brake grinding machines need to be kept in a room away from the main service area due to the volume of abrasive dust created by their operation. We usually have a separate roof-mounted backward inclined (BI) fan ducted to the grinding machine’s room in order to keep it at a negative pressure relative to the rest of the place. Compressors are noisy machines, as are high pressure wash systems, so we like to see them mounted inside separate rooms as well, usually in a service area mezzanine to keep the noise up and away from floor level. For compressor room cooling we use roof-mounted downblast air intake fans that will send a stream of filtered air to the room in response to a line voltage thermostat signal. For pressure relief we install a roof-mounted gooseneck with motorized damper connected to the thermostat. By sending outside air to the compressor room, summer and winter, you can guarantee adequate air movement and cooling for these machines, most of which are capable of operating in the 110 to 120ºF temperature range.

A few glitches Some of the glitches we encountered in dealership construction have been: We installed some 60-foot long tube heaters in a 16-foot high service shop and had to mount deflectors beneath the first ten feet of tube downstream of the burners due to the high heat felt by the guys underneath. A plumber on one project drove his sanitary drains’ support struts down and through the walls of our underground CO system, causing it to break and flood out and necessitating cutting the floor slab for a repair. A 12-foot high truck somehow managed to strike a 14 foot high supply duct. That incident was shrouded in mystery. Waste oil burning furnaces proved difficult. Using old motor oil for space heating is not a new idea, but it’s been banned, made legal and banned again and again here in Ontario. Even if they are made legal again, the environmental assessment that has to go along with their use is onerous and not worth the effort. Moreover, waste oil is very dirty

and has a high ash content, which means that heat exchangers will clog if frequent cleaning is not done. The automotive sector has been a fun and interesting aspect of our business. We have modernised older buildings, some dating back to the 1950s. We have participated in design-build projects on modern new car stores, and we have done dozens of smaller installations throughout Ontario. It is an industry that never sits still, with model changes yearly and cosmetic changes to the buildings that house the dealerships. We have a good name in the industry and are looking forward to many more years of work to come. ✚

Mike McCartney is a mechanical engineer and project manager with E. S. Fox Limited in Vaughan, Ont.He can be reached at MMcceng77@aol.com.

Body shop HVAC metal deflector mounted directly below the supply duct, thereby using unheated air for makeup. A simple ‘gooseneck’ with motorized damper will do in a pinch. NEVER use a sidewall-mounted fresh air intake louver and motorized damper on a wall adjacent to a service bay. Though such a setup will work well in theory, it’s hell on the poor guy working next to it in winter. We design and install sub-floor CO point-source systems, although we caution the users that unless technicians are trained to return hoses to their proper underground locations, broken hoses and cracked or damaged hatch covers can result. This will lead to water intake and a drop-off in performance. Overhead CO reels work well. However, like the ‘buried’ systems, they

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Some dealerships have body shops under the same roof as their service departments. We treat body shops, in general, as we would a service garage, i.e. heating with indirect fired equipment, partial cooling, and general ventilation in accordance with Ontario Building Code rules. Body shops require preparation stations, where body filler is applied along with prime coatings of paint. These go hand in hand with paint spray booths; both types of equipment requiring massive amounts of exhaust and matching incoming fresh air. Because the people who sell prep stations and spray booths also sell exhaust and makeup air systems, we let them deal directly with the owner, but we coordinate their equipment selections and locations with ours to avoid embarrassing conflicts during construction.

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

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■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings

GETTING THE LEAD OUT Canada expected to harmonize requirements with U.S. By Simon Blake Canada will likely introduce new rules governing the lead content in plumbing products within the coming year. The changes will have a dramatic impact on contractors, wholesalers and manufacturers. In fact manufacturers have already been dealing with this for several years since low lead requirements were introduced in California in January, 2009. “For the most part the (low lead) product is out there already,” reported Ralph Suppa, president of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH). “Most of the manufacturers are located in the U.S. anyway. They are not going to create two (product lines).” But manufacturers have had to make massive investments in new manufacturing processes and equipment along with new product designs, which is likely to result in price increases in many products. It is primarily brass products that are affected. One manufacturer told P&HVAC that the price increase could be as much as 40 percent on some products.

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The problem Canadian municipal water systems, except for the occasional notorious failure such as that in Walkerton, Ont. in May of 2000, have long been among the best in the world. People are living longer thanks in large part to clean drinking water. So what’s the problem? Health Canada reports that exposure to lead in even small amounts can be harmful to human health, “especially for young children, infants and pregnant women.” Children absorb lead more easily and are more susceptible to its harmful impacts. The health hazards are numerous – premature births, decreased mental ability and reduced growth. Lead primarily affects the nervous system and symptoms of lead poisoning can include forgetfulness, tiredness, headaches, mood swings, etc. There is a risk of kidney damage, hearing loss and cancer, reports Health Canada. Visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca/ waterquality and look for a white paper titled Minimizing

Manufacturers have had to change processes and designs to accommodate the new low lead requirements. (Photo courtesy of Conbraco)

Please see ‘Codes’ on page 37

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■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings

Codes will be updated Continued from page 35 Exposure to Lead from Drinking Water Distribution Systems for more details.

committee approves the changes, they would be published as an interim change to the National Plumbing Code (2010) in time for the provinces to adopt the changes prior to January, 2014.

How widespread is it? Lead is everywhere, reports Health Canada. Everyone is exposed to trace amounts through air, soil, household dust, food, drinking water and some consumer products. However, it adds: “Drinking water is not generally the most significant source of exposure to lead in Canada.” But lead does leach into the water system from corrosion and erosion. It is only recently that the health effects of lead have been fully understood. Many older homes have supply lines made of lead. The National Plumbing Code allowed lead piping until 1975 and lead in solder until 1986. As well, lead concentrations can vary depending on the chemistry of the water. Pipes and fittings are more likely to corrode if the water has a low pH (very acidic) or if the alkalinity (the ability of the water to stabilize PH) is too low. Lead levels also increase if the water stagnates.

Anti-dumping measures Harmonizing the implementation date with the U.S. has significant benefits for Canada, reports CIPH. It will avoid confusion, but more importantly it will prevent the “dumping” of leaded products into Canada and remove

the burden for manufacturers and wholesalers to stock leaded and unleaded products. “From our perspective, January 4th is the date, but then the question is always ‘when is it enforceable?’ You always want to work with the provinces and territories to at least give us some time to transition,” said Suppa. CIPH is urging Canadian manufacturers and distributors to evaluate their inventories to ensure that they are not overstocked on leaded products that they can’t sell after Jan. 4. In the next issue we will look at what manufacturers are doing to comply with the new requirements and what this means for plumbing contractors, engineers, and builders. ✚

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New regulations The upshot of this is that governments around the world are putting severe restrictions on the amount of lead used in plumbing products. On Feb. 17 CIPH issued a press release detailing the status of low lead requirements for potable plumbing products in Canada. Much hinges on the U.S., which is making significant changes to its Safe Drinking Water Act effective Jan. 4, 2014. It reduces the current allowable lead content, as permitted under NSF International Standard 372, from eight percent to no more that 0.25 percent on wetted surfaces in potable water systems. Canada is expected to implement similar requirements at the same time through amendments to provincial and territorial plumbing codes, reported Suppa. Various standards that apply to plumbing products are being updated with low lead requirements and these standards are referenced in the National Plumbing Code. A new ASME/CSA standard for plumbing fittings published on Dec. 15 indicates the requirements needed in order for plumbing fittings to meet the 0.25 percent weighted average lead content requirement. The CSA B125.3 standard for plumbing fittings specifies the test method in NSF 372 for low lead evaluation requirements. CSA has also advised that low lead requirements are being introduced into more standards, including those covering backflow valves, pressure pipes, drinking water treatment, flexible connectors and any other products that may come into contract with potable water. CIPH has contacted all accredited Canadian certification bodies and all have indicated they will require compliance with low lead standards effective Dec. 31. The Canadian Commission on Building and Fire Codes Standing Committee on Building and Plumbing Services has been reviewing the changes to these standards and will consider comments from the 2012 mid-cycle standards update public review, reported the National Research Council. If the www.plumbingandhvac.ca

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Johnson Controls has added a zoning product to its York Affinity communicating control line that is capable of achieving both temperature and humidity setpoints. The touch screen zone control can be used as a master and zoning sensor, providing up to six zones of control with a single zone panel. It offers a choice of three communicating sensors: a touch screen sensor with the ability to control temperature and humidity levels in all zones; a zone display that allows for temperature and fan adjustability; and a zone sensor. Johnson Controls u www.yorkhvacdealer.com

The US Energy Group recently introduced its USE Manager 6.2 building control which, among other things, provides automated, fully-integrated, realtime status and building control via the web. It also includes the ability to fully analyze electric and water meter data and the ability to precisely manage the staging of up to four steam boilers per building according to indoor heat demand. Additionally, several features of the system have been improved. For example, the new version provides more specific alerts, with the ignition failure and safety alerts now separated. US Energy Group u www.use-group.com

Sump pump coordination

Smart thermostat pioneer Ecobee, based in Toronto, is offering a line of smart commercial thermostats, designed to be a costeffective alternative to full scale building automation systems. They allow facility managers to manage heating and cooling across multiple locations in wide geographic areas via a web portal and smart phone applications. The company’s DataRhythm technology combines weather data, HVAC equipment run times and occupancy schedules to optimize performance. There are free remote software upgrades and no monthly/annual fees. Ecobee u www.ecobee.com

The redesigned Ultra Nator control system for duplex sump pump applications from SJE-Rhombus controls two, single phase, 120V, 15 Amp pumps using two receptacles for easy plug and play installation. In normal operation the pumps will alternate, equalizing pump wear. If a high water condition is sensed, the alarm will sound, the pump in use will turn off and the other pump will turn on. New features include alarm battery backup system, pump failure indicator, high water indicators and auxiliary contracts to interface with alarms, security systems, etc. SJE Rhombus u www.sjerhombus.com

Taco offers BIM, CAD content Taco continues to invest in BIM technology and digital modeling, offering engineers and contractors digital access to information they require for all Taco products when designing or assembling HVAC and hydronic systems. State-of-the-art modeling helps with designing and building sustainable mechanical systems. The company is partnering with CDS and CADworks in this initiative. Taco Canada u www.taco-hvac.com

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■ Faucets & Fixtures Wall-mount commercial faucet

Cutting edge technology The new Odin bath collection from Brizo – a premium brand from Delta Faucet – offers a modern, architectural approach to the bath combined with cutting edge technology. A good example of the latter is the SmartTouchPlus hands-free technology. All lavatory faucets in this collection meet WaterSense requirements and will be available this spring in Brilliance brushed nickel and polished chrome. Brizo u www.brizo.com.

The wall-mount BASYS faucet from Sloan is designed for restrooms in high-end commercial environments such as hotels, restaurants, resorts and spas. Part of the BASYS line of modular, sensor-activated faucets, it offers advanced, interchangeable features and selectable operational modes. There are three spray modules available and it can be battery powered or hard wired. The spout attaches to a valve box that is mounted inside the wall. Sloan products are distributed by Dobbin Sales in Canada. Dobbin Sales u www.dobbinsales.com

All-in-one solution The Advocate AV-Series Lavatory System from Bradley provides a sleek “all-in-one” sink, faucet and dual-sided hand dryer station with touchless operation for commercial washroom facilities. Features include Terreon or Terreon RE recycled solid surface construction, hands-free infrared 0.38 gpm faucet, highspeed, dual-sided hand dryer and a top-fill soap dispenser, all controlled by intelligent electronics. Bradley Corp. u www.bradleycorp.com

Modern collection Moen Canada has expanded its modern product portfolio with the new Rizon bathroom collection. Featuring square shapes and rounded corners, Rizon is available in chrome. Faucets are available in a single-handle as well as two-handle widespread platform and are WaterSense certified. Moen’s M-PACT valve system is available on the Rizon eight-inch widespread faucet, tub/shower and the three- or four-hole Roman tub faucets and the showers feature Moen’s Posi-Temp pressure-balancing valve. Moen Canada u www.moen.ca

Shower transformation

Clean design

Thermostatic shower panes from Pfister offer a quick and easy way to upgrade a shower. The shower head offers four different water outputs: a large shower head that creates a rainfall effect, a handheld showerhead for mobility and hard to reach places, swiveling massage water jets and a tub filling water spout on the bottom. Each panel has two knobs, one to control each function, and a master knob that controls water pressure and temperature. Pfister u www.pfisterfaucets.com

The new Compel single-handle lavatory faucet from Delta is inspired by the clean design and minimal details of an urban high-rise. The Compel bath collection includes a complete line of faucets and accessories. All faucets meet WaterSense efficiency standards, providing up to 32 percent water savings over a conventional faucet. Available colours are chrome and Delta’s Brilliance stainless finish. Delta Faucet u www.deltafaucet.ca

PROFIMAT 8” Self-cleaning back-wash water filter/strainers for cold water applications

Lower facility operating costs and LEED the green revolution with JUDO Water Treatment’s patented and self-cleaning water filtration technology.

For use in: Industrial, Commercial, Institutional Excellence in Quality and Engineering USA/Canada Toll-free: (866) 451-5836 In Toronto: (416) 441-1556 Products available in stock: info@judo-online.com EMCO Corporation, Toronto (Paul Zambri 416-748-4029) www.judo-online.com www.plumbingandhvac.ca

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

41


© 2012 Masco Canada Limited

READY WHEN YOU ARE. We’re committed to providing innovative solutions that can help you get the job done. That’s why Delta allows you to order and install a variety of electronic faucet roughs and trims separately. Our preassembled roughs are pre-plumbed and factory-tested to ensure quality and help save you installation time and hassle. And the trims can be ordered when you’re ready for them – no more worrying about storing or misplacing them during the project. For more information, visit deltacommercialfaucets.com or specselect.com.

590T1150

Pre-Plumbed Control Box Sensor, controller, power supply and solenoid shown are sold separately as part of trim kits.


■ Building Green

Taking advantage of Mother Nature’s stack effect Slashing heating costs in Canada’s coldest major city By Bruce Nagy anitoba Place is not like any other high-rise building in the country, and it probably outperforms them all. It incorporates numerous sustainable building features, with the most striking visible example being a massive solar chimney, rising 115 metres (377 ft.) up its northern face. The chimney is a key part of a remarkable integrated state-of-the-art HVAC system that combines advanced building technologies with the laws of nature to cut energy use by about 65 percent. Electricity usage is less than 85 kilowatt/hours per cubic metre, compared with a typical Canadian building of this size, which uses more than 400, reports John Peterson, an associate with KPMB Architects in Toronto.

M

It’s physics The stack effect, a natural thermodynamic phenomenon, is based on buoyancy and convection. In simple terms the stack effect means that heat rises. More precisely, it means that high-pressure masses of hot air trapped inside a stack-oriented structure will seek lower pressure, cooler environs, usually found above, usually by rising. In the case of Manitoba Place, engineers ensured that the stack effect would occur and that air would rise efficiently during the summer and shoulder seasons by superheating the top of their glass chimney using a passive solar array of tubes containing sand. Stack efficiency was critical because they also wanted to show that they could provide an abundance of fresh air in a high-rise building located in a climatically volatile location, and still contain energy use and energy costs. Therefore, “unlike most office buildings, the Manitoba Place ventilation system is completely separate from the heating and cooling system,” said Alex Knirsch, climate engineer with Transsolar Energietechnik GmbH in Stuttgart, Germany. “But the two work beautifully together.” Modern glass-dominated buildings seem to be in demand because they offer abundant healthy-feeling natural light and passive solar gain. But both of these must be managed, which has transformed large glass buildings into complex technological structures. With Manitoba Place, 100 percent fresh air and operable windows were added to the mix and to the complexity. In addition a 21-storey, 64,568 square metre (695,000 sq. ft.) office tower would be heated and cooled primarily by a low-velocity geothermal system.

How it works A southern atrium, or more exactly, three six-floor atria (and a smaller one) “act like lungs, bringing fresh air into the building through windows (or mechanical units in winter) and ‘preconditioning’ it before it enters the workspaces,” explained Knirsch. The air then exits through the solar chimney on the north side. The atria also house huge water features, such as a waterfall, located so that they naturally humidify or dehumidify the air entering the workspaces. More than

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

one third of the time (35 percent) the building is simply breathing in and exhausting out in this way, naturally. The airflow, which varies depending on height and weather, is then regulated by pressure difference sensors and dampers, not fans, as it is the stack effect which is responsible for the draw. “In a typical high-rise ventilation system the fan energy is costly with about eight air changes per hour or more,” says Knirsch. “Fan energy for a typical building (MNECB) of this size would have been 22 kWh/m²yr. We achieved 7.5 kWh/m²yr.” The envelope includes single and double-glazing separated by a partially conditioned one metre wide

energy buffer zone. “We inverted the standard buffer zone, putting the double-glaze outside, single glaze inside because it’s so cold and windy in Manitoba,” said Peterson. They also allowed occupants the ability to manually open windows on the inside skin.

The geothermal system The closed loop system consists of 280 boreholes, six inches in diameter, 400 feet deep, interspersed between foundation piles and caissons. Each borehole contains tubing filled with glycol encased in thermally enhanced

Please see ‘Stack’ on page 45

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

43


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■ Building Green

Stack effect cooling in Bangkok Continued from page 43 grout. The liquid passes through a series of heat pumps and exchangers to maximize heat energy or cooling efficiency. Water is circulated in tubes in the exposed ceiling slabs. About 75 percent radiates downward and about 25 percent radiates upward, said Knirsch. This is coupled with an underfloor displacement system. In summer the glycol extracts heat from the building, and returns it to the ground, providing 100 percent of the temperature conditioning. In cooler months the geothermal provides about 60 percent of the heating, with high-energy efficient condensing boilers and heat recovery ventilators providing the balance. “The geo system is running better than we modelled,” reported Peterson. “We’ve been tweaking during commissioning to improve performance.” “We found some installation anomalies and corrected them,” added Knirsch. “We also changed the pump pressure differential sequence and reduced the pressure set point. This dropped our pump kilowatts by half.”

energy in the most extreme climates. Winnipeg is one of the coldest cities in the world; Bangkok one of the warmest. In both cases it is amusing that even top HVAC engineers wanted to see the stack effect with their own eyes. Smoke tests were conducted, which dramatically demonstrated the principle in practice. These projects illustrate that as we move into the new energy age, the world will advance through improving technologies created by human ingenuity, plus perhaps a greater respect for harnessing the power of the natural laws of physics, like the stack effect. ✚

The solar chimney on the right substantially reduces energy consumption at Manitoba Place.

Potable Water Solutions for 2-8”/50-200mm systems

Visit us at MCEE Booth # 721

Another approach Manitoba Place shows how “Mother Nature’s stack effect” can be used in a cold climate. However, a different approach was needed for a huge airport building in Bangkok, Thailand. Again a glass structure was selected to optimize natural light, but in the very hot Thai climate, solar gain was not a goal. Most of the conditioning challenge related to cooling. One of the world’s largest radiant fields was installed at 101,000 square metres, including 600 km (373 miles) of polyethylene tubing. It was combined with light warm air being displaced by heavier cool air at a height of two to three metres. As a result, the air-conditioned zone extends to about 2.5 metres (8.2 ft.) above floor level. This lowers energy consumption while preserving a comfortable temperature of 24ºC (75ºF) for occupants, with 60 percent humidity. The key stack effect approach in this case was the recognition that the hotter air at higher levels, which is unoccupied, does not need to be conditioned, so long as it does not migrate down and mix with the occupied section.

Introducing the Victaulic Series 7A2 Butterfly Valve.

Extreme temperatures Given that climate change experts are predicting more extreme weather worldwide, it is interesting to reconsider HVAC technology as it works with the stack effect to save



2½ - 8”/65-200mm sizes rated from vacuum to 300psi



NSF-61-G certified



PPS coated for domestic water service

NSF-61-G

Victaulic offers a variety of couplings, valves and fittings suitable for use on Copper and Stainless Steel potable water piping systems.

This huge building under construction at Bangkok Airport also incorporates natural stack effect technology, but for cooling instead of heating.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

www.victaulic.com

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

45


top performer

Industry-leading Genetron® Performax™ LT refrigerant is the clear leader in its field. If your bottom line is a better bottom line, no other supermarket refrigerant comes close. From keeping fresh food fresher longer to energy savings to eco-friendly performance, the list of reasons to choose Genetron ® Performax™ LT over R-438A or R-407A refrigerants goes on and on. Genetron Performax LT offers industry-leading capacity, industry-leading efficiency and low GWP values versus other popular supermarket refrigerants. This saves money in new installations and in R-22 retrofit projects. Plus, a mass flow that identically matches R-22, eliminates expensive expansion valve changes and adjustments in retrofit applications while maintaining superheat performance which protects costly compressors. So go with the gold standard. Go with Genetron Performax LT. Maximize Performance with Performax LT.

Brenntag Canada Inc. Exclusive distributor of Genetron® refrigerants in Canada Ontario & Western Canada: Tel. No. (416) 243-9615 Fax: (416) 243-9731 Quebec & Maritime Provinces: Tel. No. (514) 636-9230 Fax: (514) 636-8229 To learn more, call 800-631-8138 or visit www.genetronperformaxlt.com. © 2010 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.


â&#x2013; Tools & Instruments

Product Profile

â&#x20AC;&#x153;X-ray visionâ&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s funny. One has to wonder where the rapid evolution of electronic technology is going to take us. Now plumbers and HVAC mechanics can quite literally see through walls.

DeWaltâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new radar scanner provides a clear picture of whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s behind the wall.

The new Hand-Held Radar Scanner from DeWalt uses radar-sensing technology to detect and identify wood, ferrous metal, non-ferrous metal, live electric wires and PVC behind multiple types of wall surfaces. â&#x20AC;&#x153;During researchâ&#x20AC;Ś we heard a number of frustrations from end users who work in buildings where there currently is no easy and reliable way to determine if pipes, studs or wiring are present behind a wall. As a result, we are launching what we think will be a game-changer in the industry,â&#x20AC;? said Scott Moore, vice-president of marketing. Part of the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 12 Volt MAX Lithium Ion tool line, the DCT418 radar scanner can â&#x20AC;&#x153;seeâ&#x20AC;? through multiple wall surfaces including drywall, plywood, concrete, marble and ceramic tile at a sensing depth of up to three inches. The

objects it detects are displayed on a 3.5-inch LCD color screen. A pre-scan mapping mode eliminates the need for the user to calibrate or choose between settings. The first pass over the wall surface maps all of the detected objects behind the surface. When the user reverses the direction of the DCT418 to scan, the objects detected behind the wall surface are displayed. Other innovative features include a tracking bar that counts the number of objects detected in an up to 9.8 foot section of a wall surface, and a confidence meter communicates the unitâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s signal strength. An ergonomic handle provides a comfortable grip for the user. DeWalt u www.dewalt.com

Quick pipe cutting

Easy rubber seal installation

Locking tape birthday

The new RIDGID FC-Cutters are simpleto-use and cleanly cut ABS and foam core PVC pipes. Available in two sizes (1-½â&#x20AC;? and 2â&#x20AC;? in diameter), they feature an extended handle for leverage and easy rotation. The cutters need only to be snapped on to a pipe and rotated once for a precise cut. Ridgid u www.ridgid.com

P-80 lubricants from International Products Corp. provide temporary lubrication that eases assembly of tight-fitting components such as o-rings, hoses, seals, grommets, bushings, grips and many other rubber parts. The environmentally friendly water-based lubricant dissolves once the part is installed. International Products Corp. u www.ipcol.com

There was a time when tape measures neither retracted automatically nor locked. What a pain that must have been! Stanley Tools is celebrating 50 years since it introduced the PowerLock Tape Rule in 1963 with the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first coilable spring and sliding lock, which continue to be the core of modern day designs. Stanley has introduced a commemorative model to mark the occasion. Stanley Tools u www.stanleytools.com

Perfect Match

in Perfect Form

FlexTM HRVs are specially designed for small applications such as homes, condominiums and apartment buildings. It is truly a perfect match for the ECO-Touch wall control. The ECO-TouchTM is a complete Touch Screen Control providing the contractors and homeowners with a higher level of control over indoor air quality.

Come see us at the MCEE expo at booth 633 XXXGBOUFDIOFUt

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

fantech April 2013 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Plumbing & HVAC

47


Water with the wave of a hand. MotionSense™, only from Moen. Wave over for a pot-filling stream. Reach under for a quick rinse. It’s water how you want it, when you want it.

moen.ca

To see it in motion, scan the code.

© 201

2 Moen

Incorpo rated.

Download reader at getscanlife.com


■ MCEE 2013

MCEE 2013 puts spotlight on innovation Sustainable technologies at forefront for Montreal show Quebec’s major show for the mechanical industry is returning to Montreal April 17 and 18. MCEE 2013 will put the spotlight on innovative designs, sustainable products, energy efficient technologies and renewable energies at Place Bonaventure. About 420 exhibitors from across Canada and the United States will display a huge range of products in plumbing, heating, hydronic heating, controls, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, water treatment, tools, kitchen and bath fixtures, fire prevention; pipes, valves, fittings and software. The show also includes the electrical industry displaying alarm systems, electrical equipment and lighting. With increased emphasis on water resources and energy efficiency, more products are being developed to manage what we put down the drain and how we control the air we breathe to make our buildings safer, healthy, cleaner and more efficient. The New Product Showcase and Contest at MCEE puts a spotlight on the ingenuity of manufacturers. Organized by the Corporation of Master Pipe Mechanics of Quebec (CMMTQ), products are judged by a panel of industry experts. There will be fifteen product categories with winners selected based on the following criteria:

innovation, energy efficiency, technical aspects (engineering), design and commercial potential.

Extensive seminar schedule Education is a major component of MCEE and once again a wide range of seminars has been announced: These include topics such as rainwater disposal systems, proposed plumbing code changes, building code energy efficiency requirements, steam system energy efficiency, avoiding noise problems in HVAC design, optimization of systems with wall ventilators, social media – tools for a profitable digital strategy and zoned HVAC system regulation – the benefits of an integrated approach. There will also be a number of seminars on lighting and other electrical subjects. MCEE (Mecanex/Climatex/Expolectriq/Eclairage), formerly known as Mecanex, is organized by four partners – CMMTQ, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), the Corporation des enterprises en traitement de l’air du froid (CETAF) and the Corporation of Master Electricians of Quebec (CMEQ). About 7,000 contractors and industry personnel are expected to attend this year’s event.

One of the big advantages of attending a trade show is the ability to examine products up close and talk directly to the manufacturer, as these tradesmen are doing at MCEE 2011. For more information or to register, please visit www.mcee.ca. MCEE is also on Twitter at Twitter@MCEE2013. ✚

Self-Generating Power Patent Pending

HydroVantage™ Hydro Generator Flush Valve System ZGEN6200EV Series • Ten-Year-Plus Battery Life • Ideal for LEED Application • Low Life-Cycle Cost • Water Conserving • Five-Year Warranty ZURN INDUSTRIES LIMITED Phone: 905/405-8272

Committed to you. Committed to the environment. www.plumbingandhvac.ca

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

49


■ MCEE 2013

MCEE Product Showcase With over 400 exhibitors displaying and demonstrating products at MCEE 2013 in Montreal April 17-18, visitors won’t be surprised to see some very innovative technology. Following is just a very small sample:

Potable water solutions Couplings, valves and fittings for potable water applications from Victaulic are designed to increase productivity and reduce rework by up to 15 percent. They are suitable for use on both grooved copper and stainless

steel piping systems. New for domestic water service is the Victaulic Series 7A2 Butterfly Valve. For use on NPS piping systems this NSF-61-G certified valve is PPS coated and available in 2½ to eight inch (65-200mm) sizes rated from vacuum to 300psi. Victaulic ◆ www.victaulic.com

Compact drain machine The Mini-Rooter Pro from General Pipe Cleaners features built-in wheels and a folding handle for easy transport, maneuverability and storage. An upgrade to the popular Mini-Rooter, the compact Mini-Rooter Pro clears drains from rooftop to basement, including kitchen, bath and laundry lines. The drum holds up to 75 feet of 3/8” or 1/2” Flexicore cable for 2”, 3” and most 4” lines. General Pipe Cleaners ◆ www.drainbrain.com

Reliable energy saving The ZIP Economizer from Belimo offers the fast route to reliable energy saving airside economizing with “ZIP code” set-up, fault messages, alarms, and superior troubleshooting capability. The ZIP Economizer provides plug-and-play, modular design, onboard help and a technical support team backed by a five-year warranty. Belimo ◆ www.belimo.ca Compact EB-45 PRV

INTRODUCING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SHARKBITE PUSH-TO-CONNECT TECHNOLOGY SharkBite has invested in world-class technology that combines the quality components of our pushto-connect cartridge with a rolled stainless steel cap. SharkBite Stainless Steel provides traditional plumbing products with push-to-connect science like never before.

Starting with Cash Acme’s Compact EB-45 PRV, SharkBite Stainless Steel will connect a range of products with the convenience and ease of a trusted push-to-connect system. Stay tuned for exciting new products connected by SharkBite Stainless Steel.

Made of 304 stainless steel, the cap has been engineered to seamlessly integrate push-to-connect cartridges into the bodies of conventional products. Creating the next generation of products powered with high-tech push-to-connect ends. Plumbing Solutions

Manufactured and Distributed by Reliance Worldwide

50

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2013

www.sharkbite.com

Efficient combo unit The new Q Premier boiler from Rinnai is designed as a one-appliance heating and water-heating solution. It combines a heating-only boiler coupled with a 24-gallon charged indirect tank. It can deliver 211 gallons of domestic hot water within the first hour. It has a small footprint is designed for a zeroclearance installation. Rinnai ◆ www.rinnai.us

Contact temperature meter The Contact Temp Meter from Milwaukee measures from 2,500 to -325°F (1372 to -200°C), covering the most common applications. A dual thermocouple input allows for simultaneous measurement of two temperatures. Using the data collected, the meter will also calculate the Delta T. Milwaukee Tool Co. ◆ www.milwaukeetool.com

www.plumbingandhvac.ca


■ People & Places

Industry veterans purchase Toronto wholesaler Two familiar names have returned to the wholesale plumbing business less than a year after leaving it. A new ownership group led by Michael Storfer has acquired the assets of Fulford Supply Ltd. effective March 1. Storfer and longtime friend and partner Brahm Swirsky were the driving force that created Noble Trade in the 1990s in Toronto and built it into a national company. Swirsky has joined Fulford Supply as vice president, procurement.

Both resigned from Noble, now owned by home improvement retailer Rona, during the past year. Fulford Supply, located at 55 Research Road in Toronto, has operated for 40 years with an emphasis on hydronic heating and plumbing supplies. The first priority for the new owners is to build a comprehensive branch network in the greater Toronto area, with additional inventory, logistic and information support for area contractors.

Redmond/Williams Distributing, Mississauga, Ont., has earned a 2012 Outstanding Growth Award from Goodman Manufacturing Company, Houston, Texas, for exceptional sales supplying Amana HVAC equipment in Canada. “Redmond/Williams, established in 2001, has experienced tremendous growth in a short time,” said David Swift, President/CEO of Goodman Global Group Inc. “Over the years, Redmond/Williams has demonstrated that staying with one manufacturer instead of offering competing brands has proven to be a successful business plan…” Established in 2001, Redmond/

Events

Calendar

At the awards presentation, from left, are Steve McAleese (Goodman), Tony Koopman (Redmond Williams), David Swift, Steve Saunders (Goodman Canada) and Mark Dolan (Goodman Global).

Fairview opens new warehouse

CIPH Annual Business Conference 2013, Marriot Halifax Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax. Call 1-800-639-2474 or visit www.ciph.com.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Viessmann Manufacturing Company Inc., Waterloo, Ont. has announced an agreement with geothermal firm Next Energy Inc., Elmira. Ont., to secure North American sales support, installation and service for its high temperature output KWT heat pumps. Trane HVAC Supply, Burnaby, B.C., is expanding into the residential HVAC market. The company has been appointed the exclusive Canadian distributor for Titan brand HVAC products.

Trust... is dealing with HRAI member wholesalers that take environment stewardship responsibilities seriously and maintains high standards, safety, efficiency and customer service. They sustain strict compliance with all laws, regulations and ordinances pertaining to the HVACR industry and business operations prescribed by federal, provincial and municipal governments. When dealing with HRAI Wholesalers, you can be confident that you are in good hands!

Fallsview Hilton Hotel, Niagara Falls, Ont. Visit www.rsesCanada.com for more information.

JUNE 16-18:

Companies

Wolseley Canada, Burlington, Ont. has appointed industry veteran Kevin Fullan as general manager, plumbing Kevin for Ontario and Atlantic. Veronica Yu is stepping Fullan down as president and CEO of the Canadian Oil Heating Association effective March 31. “I

Williams serves the Ontario HVAC market from a 50,000 square-foot distribution center.

68th Annual RSES Canada Educational Conference,

Canadian GeoExhange Conference and Trade Show, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Campus, Burnaby, B.C. Contact conference2013@geoexchangebc.co m or call (604) 800-9091.

The

People

APRIL 24-27:

MAY 2-3:

Chenier Michael Storfer, right, with Brahm Swirsky, leads a new ownership group at Fulford Supply.

The

Outstanding growth

thought it was a good time to take a break and move on” after a “life filled with COHA” for 22 years, she told P&HVAC. Group Ouellet Canada Inc., L’Islet, Que., announces the appointment of Marc Chenier to the position of general manager of Dettson Industries Inc., Sherbrooke, Que., one of its subMarc sidiaries.

Look for your nearest HRAI wholesaler member today! www.hrai.ca/wholesalers Fairview Fittings and Manufacturing Ltd., Toronto, has opened a new stocking warehouse at 6100 Kestral Road in Mississauga, Ont. The new location offers better access, improved sales, service and support for Ontario region customers, reports Jim Forbes, vice president of sales. The company will continue to maintain its large distribution facility in Toronto, supplying inventory to all other locations across Canada and the U.S.

Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada

HRAI... Setting the Standard

www.hrai.ca |

|

|

1.800.267.2231

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

51


MAKE ONE LESS LIST.

System 636® Flue Gas Venting System As a contractor, lists are a part of your day. Materials lists, ‘to do’ lists, requirements lists; in fact, the list of lists goes on and on. But when it comes to your flue gas venting requirements, we’ve made the list for you.  Options that cover Class IIA (PVC – 65ºC) and Class IIB (CPVC - 90ºC)  Robust Schedule 40 thickness pipe and fittings to resist impact and puncture  Permanent and leak free solvent weld jointsproviding the ultimate in pull out resistance and safety  Complete size range of long radius true 1/4" bends (90º)  Certified vent termination options  Flame and smoke listings for code compliant plenum and high rise installations  Listed fire-stop systems and products readily available  Low drainage grade for tight ceiling spaces (1/4" per foot)  Plain End pipe with reusable cutoffs to reduce jobsite waste  Minimal maintenance system that does not require an annual inspection  A System that is manufactured in Canada and available coast to coast  Sales support, technical assistance and field training  Added benefit: knowing products are backed by Canada’s leading plastic pipe manufacturer So when it comes to flue gas venting systems, there’s really only one product that will meet all your requirements – System 636® by IPEX. One less list for you to do. A little more time for you to, you know, enjoy your coffee.

S636

For more information visit www.ipexinc.com/system636

For Flue Gas Venting Applications Product manufactured by IPEX Inc. System 636® is a trademark of IPEX Branding Inc.

Call 1-866-473-9462 or visit www.ipexinc.com


Venting For High-Efficiency Condensing Appliances

Starting a business

Fast Lightweight and designed for quick and easy assembly.

Following a few basic rules will boost likelihood of success By Ron Coleman

A clean sheet One of the big advantages to starting a new business is that you are starting from a clean slate. Just like building a new house is easier than a renovation, there are fewer limiting factors. To get started, here are a few recommendations:

No sharp metal edges. At least 60 percent of your workload should come from very specific services. Also, staying within a small geographic area makes a huge difference. Look at all the potential clients within a 10 km radius of your business and target them. Your costs will go down and your profits up. Less travel time equals better customer service and greater productivity. Get rid of those outside your geographic sphere of influence. In major cities that 10kms might become five or in rural areas it might become 20kms. How many potential customers are you not servicing in your immediate areas?

®

A few years ago one of my HVAC service contractors went into new construction doing mechanical systems in a townhouse development. We went bankrupt within two years. He hadn’t realized that construction work is far hungrier on cash flow than service and retrofit. You don’t get deposits; your gross margin is around 15 percent and holdback is 10 percent (in B.C.). Thus he was running his projects on a negative cash flow until completion. He didn’t have the financial resources to finance the work and went broke about 80 percent through the project. He could have made profit but, as is often the case, cash flow (or the lack of it) bankrupts more businesses than lack of profit. As Oscar Wilde said, “The lack of money is the root of all evil.” In Part 1 of this article I explored the options of buying an existing business or starting a new one. I also said that I was heading to Australia for a month and wondered how my business would thrive without me. Well, both of my associates did great work and everything continued without a hiccup (well no serious ones anyway).

Safe

PolyPro

■ Shop Management

Clean No corrosion of metals or chlorides. No messy solvents or glues.

Sustainable Corrosive condensate resistant and 100% recyclable.

The Numbers: Tracking the numbers can be boring but it is the lifeblood of every business. You really need to know what your Critical Success Factors (CSFs) are and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are. Do you know and monitor your CSFS and KPIs on a regular basis? Whether you start your business or buy an existing one, you need to review these. Critical success factors The three Critical Success Factors that get overlooked most often are cash flow, gross profit per job (and I mean every job) and overhead in relation to total sales. In construction you need working capital of at least 10 percent of your annual sales. Subtract your current liabilities from your current assets and multiply the answer by 10 and that is the amount of sales you can manage from a financial perspective.

Bookkeeping: Hire a bookkeeper from day one. Get one who is experienced, preferably in the industry. Prepare the records for him/her and keep them focused on bookkeeping. Answering the phone, filing and bookkeeping should not be done by the same person. Use programs like Simply Accounting or Quick Books; don’t get into one of the fancy programs.

Cash: Make sure you understand the cash you will need to get set up and to operate your business. Get deposits where possible and invoice out promptly.

Cash flow In service and retrofit the amount of working capital is far less. The ways to minimize your working capital in service and retrofit are to: • Get deposits on all retrofit jobs • Use flat rate pricing • Get your billings out promptly (never later than five working days) • Put your prices up

Gross profit Pricing: For residential service I recommend flat rate pricing; otherwise keep your hourly rates high. If people come to you because of low prices they will leave when the next guy comes along with low prices. Promote value.

You should review the gross profit on every job as it is completed and you should monitor the hours paid to your technicians to the hours billed on service work and the hours estimated on quoted work.

Focus: Successful contractors tend to be very focused.

Overhead

The key people focus on the important few items and ignore the trivial many. Because most of the trade contractors are owner managed, the owners focus on the day-to-day operations and stick to their area of expertise.

Review your overhead and determine how much more work you can do without increasing it. Could you put

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Please see ‘Hire’ on page 54

800-835-4429 www.duravent.com © 2013

April 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC

53


â&#x2013; Shop Management

Hire the right people Continued from page 53

The right people

another truck on the road? Could you use another installation crew? If you can do this without adding any office or other overhead cost, such as a dispatch or warehouse person, then make that a goal for the coming year. On the other hand, if your overhead canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cope with your work volume put your prices up. Determine a sales volume that is consistent with your overhead structure.

Good team members will attract and retain good customers. Most companies have people who fall into the following categories: Twenty percent are great, sixty percent are okay and twenty percent need to â&#x20AC;&#x153;shape up or ship out.â&#x20AC;? Some companies spend too much time â&#x20AC;&#x153;managingâ&#x20AC;? the bottom 20 percent and totally ignoring their superstars. And thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s likely why you are considering setting up your own business. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fall into that trap; only hire the best people.

Ronald Coleman is a Vancouverbased accountant, management consultant, author and educator specializing in the construction industry. He can be reached by e-mail at ronald@ronaldcoleman.ca.

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INDEX to

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54

Plumbing & HVAC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; April 2013

They will attract the best customers. Your customers are also people and so are your suppliers, so focus on the best ones and look after them. Build your business on relationships. Maybe these three rules arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t guarantees for success, but without them you are decreasing your chances of success significantly. Approximately one trade contractor out of four does really well. I know that those are the contractors that follow the above rules. In part three of this article we will focus on infrastructure, marketing and how the advances in technology have revolutionized segments of the HVAC industry. â&#x153;&#x161;

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A.O. Smith .........................................................26 Arcoaire .............................................................24 Arkema Canada .................................................37 Belimo................................................................31 Bradford White Canada......................................35 Brant Radiant .....................................................33 Cash Acme.........................................................50 Daikin ................................................................55 Delta Faucet .......................................................42 Fantech ..............................................................47 Fujitsu ................................................................44 General Pipe Cleaners ........................................14 Giant Inc. ...........................................................39 Honeywell/Genetron Div. ...................................46 HRAI ..................................................................51 Imagewear ...........................................................8 IPEX .......................................................10, 38, 52 Judo Water Treatment ........................................41 Liberty Pumps.....................................................15 M&G DuraVent ..................................................53 Madok Mfg. ...................................................9, 11 Milwaukee Tools.................................................22 Mitsubishi Electric.................................................6 Mobilio ................................................................5 Moen .................................................................48 Napoleon ...........................................................18 Noble .....................................................17, 19, 21 RaptorCutting Tools............................................13 RIDGID ...............................................................56 Rinnai...................................................................4 Royal Pipe Systems .............................................34 Saniflo................................................................40 Taco Canada ........................................................2 Trane Co. ...........................................................28 Uponor ..............................................................29 Victaulic .............................................................45 Viega .................................................................36 WatcoMfg..........................................................54 Wiring Pro ............................................................7 Woodford Mfg. ..................................................20 Zoeller Co. .........................................................30 Zurn Industries ...................................................49

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Profile for Plumbing and HVAC

April 2013  

■ Influx of counterfeit refrigerants feared ■ Industry welcomes new federal restrictions ■ B.C. sales tax no joke for contractors ■ Quebec g...

April 2013  

■ Influx of counterfeit refrigerants feared ■ Industry welcomes new federal restrictions ■ B.C. sales tax no joke for contractors ■ Quebec g...