July/August 2013

Page 1

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INSIDE ■ Ontario revises apprenticeship ratios ■ Emco buys Rona trade division ■ Ontario workers help in Calgary flood ■ DIY a risky business approach


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■ Contents

The Green Issue

Departments Hot Seat .........................................4 Industry News ..............................6 Helping out in the Calgary flood

Training ........................................49 ASHRAE publishes district cooling guide

People & Places............................51 Canadian apprentice wins gold at World Skills

Coming Events.............................53 CIPH announces cross-country trade show

Shop Management......................54 DIY may not be the best business approach

Products & Technologies Air Conditioning..........................19 Refrigeration ...............................25 Ventilation ...................................29 Heating ........................................30 Pipes, Valves & Fittings ...............35 Controls........................................41 Faucets & Fixtures .......................43 Tools & Instruments ....................47 Trucks for the Trade.....................48

Rooting around Drain cable technology and why it matters

Features Mid-season A/C maintenance 19 Keeping the customer cool and happy

Cover: Homes in back lanes are a growing trend in larger cities. Installing the plumbing and HVAC can be a challenge. Please see our story on page 14.


High water


Toronto plumbers pitch in during Calgary flood

Insulating PEX


Keep the heat where it’s needed

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Hot Seat

July/August 2013 Volume 23, Number 5 ISSN 1919-0395

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

Beyond the numbers This magazine is as guilty as any in urging contractors to run their businesses efficiently – to keep track of the numbers and make sure they add up. But every now and then we have to remind ourselves it’s not just about the numbers. I had an opportunity to attend the opening of a new lead-free foundry by Watts Water Technologies in Franklin, New Hampshire recently (Page 44). If you have read the articles on the switchover to lead-free plumbing in the past couple of issues, you will realize what a massive undertaking this has been for manufacturers and wholesalers. The new foundry is certainly part of that. But every time I attend a plant opening like this there’s an important back-story. And that is bringing jobs that had been shipped overseas back to North America. The U.S. has been through a terrible recession since 2007 and, while Canada didn’t suffer as much, it still hurt. And the recovery has been very slow. As everyone knows, the economic collapse was due to shenanigans on Wall Street. But the reason the recovery has been so slow and so difficult is that so many of our jobs in all sectors have been shipped overseas. That may have made sense, strictly according to the numbers, but it misses the big picture. If we are to continue to enjoy the standard of living that we have, people must be able to find jobs, preferably meaningful jobs. Labour costs can only be cut so far. In this industry we now typically have only one tradesman per truck without an apprentice/helper. In the railway industry, we have just seen the terrible tragedy at Lac-Megantic where labour

costs were reduced to the point of having one person in charge of five enormous railway locomotives and millions of dollars in hazardous cargo. How on earth does that make sense? But things are gradually starting to change. In the United States, sending jobs overseas is increasingly being seen as “un-American.” People are becoming more conscious of supporting “made-in-America” products. While there have been many problems with outsourcing, quality control being one of them, the biggest problem is what Henry Ford recognized years ago. If people don’t have jobs or are not paid a reasonable wage, they won’t buy your products. Manufacturing has been hard hit here in Canada too as many in the U.S. see us as part of the problem. U.S. corporations are “bringing those jobs home.” We have certainly seen that in the plumbing and HVAC industries over the past 20 years with the loss of so many manufacturing plants. However, as the U.S. recovers, there will be opportunities for Canadian manufacturing as well. We are starting to see some homegrown manufacturing. Ensuring that any employment a manufacturer creates goes to people that live within their target market is just plain good business.

NEWCOM Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4 Tel: (416) 242-8088 • Fax (416) 614-8861 POSTMASTER: Send all address changes and circulation inquiries to: Plumbing & HVAC Product News magazine, 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4. Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40063170. Postage paid at Toronto, ON. Annual Subscription Canada: $40.00 plus applicable taxes, single copy $5.00 plus applicable taxes. Annual Subscription United States: $60.00 U.S. Annual Subscription foreign: $90.00 U.S.

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Copyright 2013. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission of the Publisher.

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

As flood waters from the Elbow River rushed into the parking garage, workers helped a resident rescue his motorcycle.

By June 20 the Pipe Shield crew, working with RKS Plumbing & Mechanical of Calgary, were about 90 percent finished the rough-in. And then the flood hit.

Helping in an emergency

HIGH WATER Toronto workers shift gears to help in Calgary flood By Simon Blake


Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013

hen a Toronto contractor was asked to bring his crew out to Calgary to fix leaking piping in a condominium complex, he had no idea what they were getting into. On April 13 Ryan Hall, Charlie Sikora and Andrew Fuller of Bradley Mechanical Services in Mississauga, Ont. arrived in the Stampede city. They make up the crew that applies the company’s Pipe-Shield epoxy pipe lining system. Their job was to repair the leaky copper piping system in the eight-year-old Wedgewoods of Discovery Ridge condominium complex. Home to 1,500 residents in 570 units, it is made up of a five-storey condominium complex along with town homes, all with underground parking.

An initial notice to residents about 2 p.m. on June 20 said to expect some minor flooding in the underground parking garages, said Hall, the lead technician on the project. “About 20 minutes after they posted that, it was a full evacuation.” The Elbow River, 200 metres away, had flooded over its banks. In just over an hour the underground garages were completely full of water. About 40 cars were trapped underground. The Pipe-Shield crew managed to get their equipment to a safe place and then went back to help Despite a full evacuation order from the city, many residents were not leaving. Security personnel asked the plumbing crew to knock on doors and get everyone out. “We had been working in the building for so long that a lot of the residents knew us,” said Hall. Most residents were co-operative, but there were five stragglers “that we

Please see ‘Flood’ on page 8


After two days of pumping, workers found the underground garages “like something from a horror show.”


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■ Industry News

Flood recovery Continued from page 6 pretty much had to kick out.” The fire department had arrived and asked the mechanical crew to prevent residents from returning to their condos, “which was heartbreaking,” added Hall. By this time the garages were completely flooded and many suites suffered water damage as well. Underground transformers and services had been turned off. It was a long day for the crew from Toronto. They were staying at the condo complex, so had to be evacuated to a hotel, where they finally arrived exhausted.

The cleanup On Saturday, June 21, flood waters continued to rise, but on Sunday they were able to get back into the building and, with RKS, start planning the cleanup. They arrived on site at 7:30 a.m. Monday and checked the mechanical rooms for damage, finding none, so that was good news, said Hall. Water in the parking garages was still too deep to enter. RKS arrived with pumps and the crew started pumping out the garage. At midnight a vacuum truck arrived on the scene – the owner/operator volunteering

his time and equipment and allowing the mechanical crew to get a few hours of sleep. Another pumper truck was donated on Tuesday and stayed all day, which was a godsend to the cleanup crews. Finally, by day’s end, they had most of the water pumped out and could enter the garages and assess the damage. The scene in the largest garage was like a horror movie with a deep greasy mixture of mud and automobile fluids on the floor, said Hall. “It was pitch black with tires and debris floating around us and the smell of gas and oil… It was also deathly quiet, which added to the very weird feelings.” The Pipe-Shield crew continued with the cleanup efforts for the rest of the month, finally getting back to

Pumper truck operators who just showed up nd volunteered their time and equipment helped enormously.

In just over an hour the underground garages were completely full of water. their original project in the first week of July while still helping to get the buildings up and running. In the second week of July, as this is bring written, they started restoring water services. The building’s underground transformers were dried out and turned back on and 80 percent of the electrical service had been restored. “There’s no hot water yet,” said

Hall. He added that residents were expected to return within a week or two, while the pipe lining project will be completed in two months. It’s been difficult but it’s been a good experience, said Hall. And, on the bright side, the Bradley Mechanical crew missed the flood in Toronto July 8! ✚ Editor’s note: Sidney Manning, Alberta’s chief plumbing and gas inspector, will present a session titled Coping with the Alberta Flood – Lessons Learned at the CIPHEX Roadshow in Edmonton Oct. 10. Please visit www.ciphexroadshow.com for details.

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Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013


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■ Industry News

Ontario apprentice ratios to be reduced T

he Ontario College of Trades has announced that to one from three to one. it will reduce the required journeyperson to The Sheet Metal Review Panel went with a graduated apprentice ratio for plumbers, steamfitters, scale that would see one apprentice for the first refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics, journeyperson, an additional apprentice for each three residential air conditioning mechanics and sheet metal journeypersons to a maximum of seven journeypersons workers. and three apprentices, and then one apprentice for each Ontario has the highest journeyperson to apprentice further two journeypersons. ratios in the country. In all of the above The industry has long trades, small shops with argued that the ratio only one or two jourshould be one-to-one neypersons would be We are struck by the fact as in most parts of able to hire one apprenthat the journeyperson to apprentice North America, while tice. the unions have arThese were not easy ratio in this province is markedly gued that the status decisions. Each panel quo should be mainstruggled with widely higher than in any other province tained. different objectives from The College’s the employers, associaor territory in Canada. independent review tions, unions and other panels – made up of groups that made prerepresentatives from employers, employees, unions and sentations. But as the refrigeration panel said in its trade colleges – took a cautious step towards meeting conclusion: industry demands, reducing the ratio for plumbers and “We are struck by the fact that the journeyperson to steamfitters along with refrigeration mechanics to two apprentice ratio in this province is markedly higher than

in any other province or territory in Canada. We have no evidence before us that explains the basis on which the current ratio was established.”

Too cautious, says industry The cautious approach was a disappointment to the HVAC/R industry, said Martin Luymes, director of programs and relations for the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada. He noted that the overwhelming majority of presentations favoured switching to the North American norm. “The body of opinion was overwhelmingly in favour of going to oneto-one.” HRAI presented a survey of its members – which include union and non-union contractors – as evidence to the refrigeration panel. Conducted last November, survey responses were also overwhelmingly in favour of going to one-to-one. “None of that is reflected in the decision,” noted Luymes. And while there is no appeal process, the ratios come up for review again in five years and the industry will have another opportunity to make its case. The full decisions can be found at www.collegeoftrades.ca. ✚

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Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013


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■ Industry News

Emco to purchase Noble Companies will maintain separate identities anada’s largest wholesaler to the mechanical trades has announced that it will purchase one of its fastest growing competitors, subject to regulatory approvals. On June 20 home improvement retailer Rona, headquartered in Boucherville, Que., announced that it has agreed to sell its Commercial and Professional Market Division – Noble – to the Talisker Plumbing Corporation, a subsidiary of Emco Ltd., London, Ont., for $215 million. “Rona’s Commercial and Professional Market Division has become a strong and unique business through its culture of outstanding customer service. We are proud to welcome its valued employees, suppliers and customers into our family,” said Emco president


Rick Fantham in a press release. The federal Competition Bureau must still approve the sale, a process that could take several months. Rona purchased Noble in 2007. Founders, Michael Storfer and Brahm Swirsky continued to guide Noble under Rona ownership. Over the past 20 years Noble expanded from its roots in Toronto to become a

national wholesaler with branches from Quebec to the west coast. However, in recent years Rona was under considerable pressure from shareholders to focus on its core retail business. It stopped new acquisitions on the wholesale side in 2010. Both Storfer and Swirsky moved on. “I am very proud of what Noble was and is and believe the network of branches and the many talented people at Noble will make this a great acquisition for Emco,” said Storfer. Today he and Swirsky operate NEXT Supply (formerly Fulford Supply) in Toronto. ✚

In Brief Report urges consistent backwater valve rules A comprehensive study of the installation and use of backwater valves to prevent sewer backup found wide variations in how rules are interpreted and how units are installed across the country. The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction recommends that national and provincial code authorities cooperate to clarify and harmonize requirements for these devices. The full report – Urban Flooding in Canada – Lot Side Risk Reduction Through Voluntary Retrofit Programs, Code Interpretation and Bylaws – can be found at www.iclr.org.

Ride for Habitat A new date has been confirmed for the Fourth Annual Ride for Habitat, an industry motorcycle ride held annually in southern Ontario to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. This year’s event will take place on Sept. 14, with rides starting in Toronto (Vaughan), Kitchener/Waterloo, Hamilton/Milton and Belleville/Peterborough. After a ride through scenic countryside, the riders will congregate for lunch at Centennial Park near the town of Innisfil, Ont., just south of Barrie. Last year about 70 riders raised $18,000 for Habitat for Humanity. For more information or to register, visit www.rideforhabitat.com.

Industry sales up slightly in May Industry sales have been relatively flat this year according to numbers released by CIPH. Total sales for May were up one percent or $5.4 million compared to the same month in 2012. Total year-todate sales were up $13.2 million. All regions except for the Atlantic Region posted a slight increase in May. All product segments were relatively flat, except for pipes, valves and fittings, which was down.


July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Building Green

Small doesn’t mean “ugly little shack.” Today’s laneway homes are beautiful.

Sustainability in the

back lane A big city solution to urban sprawl By Bruce Nagy


Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013

ryn Davidson’s company has built a lot of small homes in Vancouver, but often not on streets. A few years ago he and his wife Kamala Rao decided they could design and build a livable condominium apartment in just 360 square feet of space. Bryn is an architect and Kamala is an urban planner. Together they created ‘The Pod,’ a beautiful and comfortable one-room home in Vancouver, with clever double-duty and storage solutions. Davidson recounts that the ideas tested in such a small space led to an interest in this configuration; and after a new city bylaw was enacted in 2009, Bryn partnered with sustainable construction specialist Matt Turner to establish Lanefab Design/Build. The company has since completed 25 sustainable homes between about 500 and 1,000 square feet, with their front doors facing laneways. Downsizing isn’t just an empty-nest, baby-boomer trend. More people are moving into cities, well-paying full-time employment is elusive, energy costs are going up, and world population is generally increasing. These trends help explain greater interest in smaller urban living spaces, such as condominiums and laneway housing. Small laneway houses are common in denser cities around the world, but have been resisted by urban planners in Canada. Both Toronto and Montreal so far



Laneway housing is all about using space wisely.

only approve laneway housing on a case-by-case, zoning-exception basis. Planners cite difficulties with parking, snow removal, providing emergency services, garbage pick-up and construction challenges related to sewers, water and natural gas lines. In addition, there are privacy discussions. The acronym NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) was probably first applied by a laneway house neighbor in a big Canadian city.

A solid strategy Although Toronto and Montreal prefer condos and townhouses, Vancouver has decided that laneway housing is also a good densification strategy, has made it legal, and has developed building guidelines. Since the policy was established about 1,000 permits have been approved, including some very attractive small homes that have captured awards and media attention for Lanefab, and even led to a design partnership with a firm in Australia.

Heating Ltd. He notes that many of Lanefab’s laneway houses can be heated and cooled using a two-ton Sky Air, air source heat pump from Daikin and a special hot water tank. The Sky Air was combined with a 60-gallon Eco

We’re lucky that the city council is progressive enough to permit laneway housing, but we have had plenty of resistance from building inspectors.

How it works Because the projects tend to be less than 1,000 square feet and because Laneway believes in superior building envelopes, mechanical systems can be quite simple. “The maximum heat loss with Vancouver’s climate is about 1200 BTU’s and for us, quite a bit less with triple glazed low E windows and super insulation,” says Andre Sikorski, owner of Supreme Plumbing &


Hybrid heat pump DHW tank for a project at Slocan and 19th Avenue. For a project on 57th Street, Supreme used a Daiken Altherma heat pump system and a 60gallon Rheem Solaraide with a high efficiency heating element and built-in heat exchanger. Both were supported by a Venmar 30-70 cfm heat recovery

ventilator (HRV). The system can also work with in-floor hydronic heating, as it does on East 57th Street in a net-zero energy house that benefits also from photovoltaic solar panels; or simply be combined with forced air, as on Slocan. The latter project is a stunner, featuring an indoor/outdoor hot tub that only subtracts from the floor area when the one-inch thick acrylic tub cover is removed for use. Laneway’s homes all feature low flow faucets and dual-flush toilets; with a percentage of owners also opting for rainwater collection systems for flushing. At press time, a few rainwater systems had been installed following a change in the provincial building code, but they can only be hooked up when a city bylaw is passed, which is expected soon. The 57th street project has achieved 88 points on the Energuide scale, one of the highest ratings reached anywhere. It has an upstairs bathroom, so a drain water heat recovery unit is used to recapture 50 to 60 percent of the energy used for heating bath and shower water. Like all of Lanefab’s laneway houses, the walls arrived on site as prefabricated sections of oriented strand board (OSB) sandwiching Styrofoam, which are made to custom spec by Insulspan in Delta,

Please see ‘Overcoming’ on page 17

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


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■ Building Green

Overcoming challenges Continued from page 15 British Columbia. Turner says that Laneway then goes further; creating a 2” x 4” inner wall that is also insulated. The 12” thick result is almost at Passivhaus (ultra low energy building) standard levels. Walls are R-40 and roofs R-48. Some of these small homes can be heated with an electric cable in the slab or ondemand DHW heaters.

Challenges When you are an innovator you win awards, but you also have more difficulties with city planning officials. “We’re lucky that the city council is progressive enough to permit laneway housing, but we have had plenty of resistance from building inspectors,” says Davidson. “Their job is to protect the city from liability and they don’t like things that are unfamiliar.” Laneway has had to fight for pre-fabricated sections and for not counting their 12-inch thick walls in square footage area. They have had difficulties with drain water heat recapture and rainwater systems. Parking requirements have added to design challenges on the small sites. Installing utilities for an added home on an existing lot can be expensive. Laneway digs their own trenches for sewer and water, but the hydro company must provide power lines. If designing for small spaces and fighting city officials isn’t enough, Bryn says laneway housing isn’t exactly a huge moneymaker either. “Same effort, smaller budget,” he says.

The designer combined the laundry and bathrooms to maximize the use of space.

The future Despite the challenges, Bryn and Matt won a 2013 Scotiabank EcoLiving Award for Business Leadership, and have received other recognition because they are committed to sustainability and to helping reverse urban sprawl. “A big part of that strategy is focusing on infill projects in walkable neighborhoods,” says Davidson. “Our broader goal is to couple net-zero new construction with upgrades to existing homes such that the overall project can be net-positive with respect to greenhouse gas. As urbanists we have to be concerned with the aggregated ‘fleet efficiency’ of all the buildings in our cities. This means our individual green projects can’t just be additive. They should replace or contribute to the repair of our older low performing buildings.” Energy prices are expected to increase dramatically in North America in the next 15 years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), from 2010-2020 natural gas prices will increase by 15 percent; then from 2020-2030 this is expected to jump by about 40 percent. For oil, the numbers are 70 percent in this decade and then 47 percent in the next. For electricity it will be 10 and then 24 percent. For homeowners, controlling the household budget will be as important as living lightly on the planet. And it might mean choosing a beautiful little laneway house in the city. ✚ Bruce Nagy is a Toronto-based freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at bruce.nagy@rogers.com.


Hydronic heating has proved ideal in some of these miniature homes.

The heavily insulated structure is pre-fabricated and delivered to the site.

One challenge is connecting to water and sewer lines across manicured lawns.

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


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■ Air Conditioning

Mid-season A/C maintenance Keep the customer cool and happy with a properly performing appliance By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson


fter our tumultuous spring with Mother Nature’s fickle mood swings and weather changes, hopefully in your area the air conditioning systems are all humming along with no problems! A sign I saw several years ago in an automotive facility still rings true: “Maintenance doesn’t cost, it pays!” A very simple statement, but so true! If you take a minute to think about it, the HVAC system is in use daily, cycling on and off and forgotten in the basement. Maintenance is usually only thought of on the hottest day of the summer or the coldest day of the winter. Most problems could be prevented with a seasonal inspection.

Warranty papers by all manufacturers’ state “Regular maintenance must be performed” and in some cases of an equipment failure claim, at the distribution level, the contractor will be asked for receipts or service logs of this service being done. If you ask your customer when he had the last oil change on the family car, they may tell you last week or last month, but they will remember. But ask when the air filter in the furnace was changed and it will be a “deer-in-the-headlights” look with a vague answer such as last fall, last spring, or “I don’t know”. Split system A/C service maintenance will take, on average, an hour to confirm pressures, temperatures, airflows, filters etc. Most work orders include the basic check to perform with a space to check off the completion with spaces for notes such as temperatures and pressures. Following are the key points:


• Turn off the breaker or disconnect power supply to outdoor unit. • Tag breaker with flag if out of sight of the unit. • Check and rinse outdoor coil with clear water,

• • • • •

straighten any bent fins. (Be very cautious if using a caustic coil cleaner, you may end up with copper tubes and no fins if the solution spray is not diluted correctly!) Check fan blade for any damage or missing rivets. Lubricate motor if not permanently lubricated. Check and tighten all electrical connections in control box. Inspect contactor contacts for pits and burns. Check capacitor for swelling or leakage.

Evaporator: And here are the key checks for the evaporator: Interrupt power supply to the air handler and tag switch. Check and replace furnace air filter with a high velocity filter. Check and clean if necessary blower wheel squirrel cage. If this is a condensing gas furnace, slide blower out to inspect and clean, if necessary, the finned condensing section of the furnace heat exchanger.

• • • • Chances are this condenser unit was installed before the deck. Real world realities can be a challenge.


Please see ‘tuneup’ on page 21

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC




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■ Air Conditioning

A/C tuneup Continued from page 19

• Inspect the underside of the plenum

• • •

A-coil for any build-up of debris. Dry lint and fluff will allow airflow in the heating season with some added resistance, but when wet with condensate it will restrict the airflow immensely and frosting will occur. Clean as necessary. Check for correct sealing within the plenum to prevent air bypassing the evaporator assembly. Check the condensate drain for flow and clear blockages if necessary. Clean the sump of the condensate pump and confirm operation of the float and safety switches. Check discharge tubing for kinks or breaks.

System operation:

A-coils tend to collect lint and other stuff, which doesn’t help efficiency. indoor unit is not a unit with thermal expansion valve (TXV) metering, the subcooling value will be redundant. Finally, confirm that superheat is within the manufacturer’s spec. If the indoor unit has a restrictor or capillary tube, the superheat must be referenced to an app in your phone or a spreadsheet referencing indoor wet and dry bulb temperatures as well as the outdoor ambient temperatures.

Restore power to both indoor and outdoor sections and start system operation. Confirm that the thermostat is operable in all modes. If a mercury switched control is still in use, remove cover and Remember, clear any dust from the mercury bulb(s) and check while some of these Establishing a control for level mounting. baseline Some low budget values and recordings Remember, while electronic thermostats above may appear to be some of these values require battery power for and recordings above operation. Check the a waste of time on a hot may appear to be a expiry dates on any and busy day, they will waste of time on a hot thermostats with batteries and busy day, they will and replace them if past provide you with a provide you with a their “best before date” on baseline of how the baseline… the battery. machine is performAllow 10 to 15 minutes ing and providing the of run time for the comfort levels to your refrigerant pressures and temperatures customer. to stabilize. Most, if not all of the systems in Check and record the wet and dry operation, experience a seasonal issue of bulb temperatures of the conditioned airflow balance. While onsite, this may be space and then: the time to ask your homeowner if they • Check the delta-T of the indoor have any rooms that may not be cool evaporator coil and record. enough or are too cold in the cooling • Check the delta-P of indoor coil and season. Most rooms in the basement record. levels may be like a mother-in-law at her • Check voltage and amp draw of the best! (Cold and nasty?) indoor unit and record. Take the time to explain how the • Check voltage and amp draw of distribution system has to work and compressor and condenser fan and provide a suggestion or two to help record. correct the flows by closing or reducing • Check refrigerant pressures in dampers in the lower areas to force the operation. conditioned air to the upper levels. As well, the technician must confirm I recently visited to a multi-level home that sub-cooling is within the manufacwith multiple glass exposures over the turer’s specifications. Remember, if the lakefront. This appeared to be a simple


bungalow until we got to the lakeside of the building! While confirming programming and adjusting the communicating wall control the lady of the house mentioned the lower area was too cold with the new system. We explained (myself and the contractor) the whims of Mother Nature and airflow balancing. As some of the lower diffusers did not have accessible adjustments the availability of the big box decorator magnetic stick up baffles screen printed to resemble registers came up! Her eyes lit up with this “easy fix” and we went on with our business. Next day I was several hours down the road to my next presentation when the dreaded cell call came: “We have another fault code on the screen!” As it turned out, the lady of the house had cornered the market of the decorator magnets and overnight the temperature dropped enough to fire up the 97 percent high efficient furnace! The safety controls did their job and shut down the system due to the excessive restriction imposed by the magnets! Authors’ note: The horizontal heat pump installation in the last article was

installed by Bray’s Fuels of Bradford Ont. The retrofit involved relocating the indoor sections 90 degrees to allow the homeowner access to the far side of the crawl space without performing the limbo under the original equipment. ✚ Bob Bettles HVAC author and trainer Robert (Bob) Bettles is technical service adviser and product trainer for B&B Trade Distribution Centre. He can be reached at bbettles@bandbtrade.com.

Brian Guttormson HVAC author and trainer Brian Guttormson is technical service advisor for Trent Metals Ltd. (Supply). He can be reached at techsupport@tmlsupply.com.

Makes the competition look soft. PEX-Flex may take a little more to put in the ground but the extra effort pays off in long lasting durability. High system compressive properties keep the carrier pipe(s) centered under shallow buried live loads and along even the shortest radius turns. The smooth wall outer casing does not ‘catch’ obstacles or debris during installation. The UV Stable PE Jacket, eco-friendly PUR insulation and PEX pipe(s) are mechanically bonded creating a completely watertight system.

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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


“Pressing black pipe saved more than 30 percent on labor when compared to threading.” Rick DeLuga, Commercial Division Manager, Atomatic Mechanical Services

Introducing the Viega MegaPress® Systems for Black Iron Pipe

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■ Air Conditioning Energy miser heat pump

TXV replacement kit

The 7 Series from WaterFurnace International is a variable capacity high efficiency residential geothermal unit that surpasses both 41 energy efficiency ratio (EER) and 5.3 coefficient of performance (COP), reports the manufacturer. It utilizes the company’s InfiniSpeed technology, a soft-start variable capacity compressor, in concert with a variable speed ECM blower and variable speed loop pump. The unit can ramp down to 20 percent of normal operation for ultra-efficient conditioning or up to 130 percent output in “SuperBoost” mode for periods when extra cooling is needed. WaterFurnace u www.waterfurnace.com

Emerson Climate Technologies has launched a new universal valve replacement kit designed to provide contractors with a quick and efficient way to service residential air conditioning and heat pump systems, regardless of manufacturer. The TXV Connect kit includes the company’s latest generation thermal expansion valves plus Chatleff and Aeroquip adapters. Individual adapters are also sold separately. R-410A and R-22 kits are available in multiple capacities. Emerson u www.emersonclimate.com

Custom air handlers Daikin McQuay is making it easier to design and build the ideal air handler for a particular facility by introducing its Custom Air Handler line, which allows units to be designed according to their specification for demanding applications in new or existing buildings. A wide selection of options and unique two-inch variable dimensioning, custom-built air handlers provide unlimited configurations. With the ability to attain a maximum of Class 6 leakage, the units can be customized for use in healthcare facilities, clean rooms or labs. Daikin McQuay u www.DaikinMcQuay.com

Updated AC/heat pump Compact and efficient The new Trane Series S CenTraVac chiller is designed to provide superior performance in a compact, easy-toinstall package for centrifugal chillers in the 180-390 tonnage range. Trane’s AdaptiSpeed technology integrates an all-new direct-drive compressor utilizing mixed-flow impellers and optimized specific speed; permanent magnet motor; and the third generation Trane Adaptive Frequency drive (AFD3). This allows it to precisely match load requirements and operating conditions across a wider range. Trane u www.trane.com/SeriesS

The new AirEase 4SCU13LB air conditioner and 4SHP13LB heat pump offer enhanced features including horizontal louvers for better coil protection, easier to remove panels for faster service and maintenance and a filter drier that ships loose, allowing contractors to install it where it best fits. These units offer 13 SEER efficiency rating and the heat pump also offers an HSPF rating of 7.7. Allied Air Enterprises u www.alliedair.com

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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


From far and wide… we’re Connecting Canadians From coast to beautiful coast, Uponor works with partners to provide innovative, efficient and trusted solutions. Whether a hotel in Toronto, a government building in Montreal, or a Condominium in Vancouver, the Uponor PEX-a Plumbing System, featuring Uponor AquaPEX tubing and ProPEX expansion fittings, consistently provides cost and labour savings, without compromising quality. At Uponor, we stand on guard for our partners. We work with you to find the right solution each and every time. • Most trusted, tested and listed in the industry • ULC S102.2 plenum listing* • Shape memory — kink reparable • Full-service design and technical support • Engineer’s resource portal: CAD, Specs, BIM, LEED®

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■ Refrigeration


Putting theory into practice Diagnosing a real-world commercial refrigeration system By Greg Scrivener

Throughout the last two articles we talked a lot about the thermodynamics of compression and how understanding the pressure enthalpy chart can help troubleshooting. The goal of this article is to tie all of that together and hopefully come up with some practical things we can do to make troubleshooting easier. It is difficult to separate the compressor from the rest of the system when troubleshooting and we really shouldn’t try because often a misdiagnosis of a system issue is the reason the compressor is replaced in the first place. In order to try to apply this knowledge we are going to work our way through a troubleshooting scenario. The situation is this: The owner of a walk-in freezer complains that the freezer is too warm; the freezer needs to maintain 0°F and is running at 15°F. After asking the owner the usual questions you determine that the freezer did in fact work properly in the past and that there haven’t been any significant changes to the load or load profile. The equipment is a single outdoor condensing unit with one hermetic compressor and a single electric defrost evaporator coil. The refrigerant is R404a. At this point there are a large number of things that could be wrong. A check of the controls systems concludes that both the controls and defrosts are working correctly, so we are left with the refrigeration cycle. When we connect our gauges and temperature probe to measure the system pressures and temperatures we get the following information: Suction Pressure: 33psig [0°F] Discharge Pressure: 205psig [90°F] Sight glass: 100% full

As noted in the last issue, ice build-up isn’t necessarily a bad thing.


Location Compressor Suction Compressor Discharge Condenser Outlet Outdoor Ambient

Temperature 25°F 180°F 85°F 80°F

The first thing I will point out is that not a single one of these measurements, when taken on its own, looks overly problematic. The discharge temperature is within limits, the needles on the gauges are in generally the normal place, there is sub-cooling, etc. Do any of these measurements jump out at you?

Deciphering the numbers If you look carefully at the measurements together there should be a couple of things that concern you (not including the fact that the box is too warm). The first and most obvious is that the discharge pressure is fairly low for a typical packaged outdoor condensing unit in this outdoor ambient condition. While it is completely possible and not all that uncommon to design field built-up systems with condenser TDs around 10°F (TD=Temperature difference between the condensing refrigerant and the outdoor air), it is very unusual for a typical factory-built unit to have a condenser TD this low. This by itself might simply indicate a purposely-designed high efficient machine but there are two other pieces of information here that make me question the low TD. The first is the discharge temperature; it seems quite high compared to the condensing temperature. The second is subtler and is more implicit in the problem than a simple measurement. What would you expect for a discharge pressure? If nothing was wrong and the freezer used to maintain 0°F and is now running at 15°F then the suction pressure should be higher (which it is) and the compressor will have more capacity. What happens when a compressor capacity is increased with no changes to the condenser? The discharge pressure increases. In this case we have a couple of clues pointing to the low discharge pressure as a potential symptom of the problem. Just Please see ‘Confirming’ on page 27

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC



Owner: Jim Brennan



DAIKIN’S PRODUCTS, TOOLS AND TRAINING ARE A BIG PART OF BRENNAN & COMPANY’S SUCCESS. It’s more than just a solid reputation that keeps Brennan & Company busy. It’s what they sell and how they sell it that helps them stand out. A big key to their growth is Daikin. “I used to install four or five furnaces a week. Now, I have switched almost all of my furnace business over to Daikin,” says Jim Brennan. He credits the Daikin line – along with training classes he runs for local architects, builders and employees – for the increase. “I do a lot of training on the

technology, and I show how we can solve any application challenge. And customers love the comfort and energy efficiency.” “We use single- and multi-split ductless systems, VRV and Daikin Altherma air-to-water heat pumps,” says Brennan, who says he has installed “every residential product Daikin makes.” The bottom line, though? “I have 50 Daikin projects with signed contracts. That’s just one of many reasons I say I am Likin’ Daikin.”


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■ Refrigeration

Confirming the diagnosis Continued from page 25 like how writing out all the measurements can give you a better perspective compared to measuring and evaluating things individually, using a ph diagram can step things up another notch altogether.

Using a PH diagram Figure 1 shows our system plotted on a pressure-enthalpy (PH) diagram. Does anything jump out as being unusual now? If you read the article last month you probably notice that the compression portion of the ph diagram is on a substantial angle and increasing in entropy. This is hard to interpret without figuring out the isentropic efficiency, which you normally wouldn’t do on the job site. To put it in perspective though, the isentropic efficiency in this case is 0.72, which is lower than should be expected and is a sign that something is wrong with the compressor. So far it looks like we have a compressor that is running a little hot and is, for some reason, generating a fairly low discharge pressure. What could these two symptoms point us to? Perhaps a poor pumping compressor, possibly a problem with the head pressure flooding valves but that often leads to a hot liquid line…. Come to think of it, we didn’t measure the liquid line temperature did we? What temperature measurement on the receiver outlet would start to concern us? If the refrigerant is leaving the condenser at 85°F it shouldn’t be much warmer than that. Inevitability when I say this, someone points out that because

a receiver has both liquid and vapour it is in a saturated state and the temperature should correspond to the PT chart. This is simply not true. The refrigerant shouldn’t be staying in the receiver long enough to reach equilibrium and while there will be a thin layer of refrigerant right at the vapour-liquid interface that is at equilibrium, the rest of the liquid will flow through with a minimal change in temperature and pressure. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking that the contents of a receiver in an operating refrigeration system must be at equilibrium and that the temperature needs to match the pressure on your PT chart. Notice that I did not say it couldn’t be at a saturated state in the receiver and of course it will be if there is no subcooling leaving the condenser.

Imagining the extremes Anyway, back to the point at hand. Given the information we have I would conclude that either the compressor is not pumping properly or that there is hot gas bypassing the condenser and instead

Ultimately it’s not hard to determine using temperatures whether refrigerant is bypassing the condenser or not. If it’s not, the evidence in this case points to the compressor. Confirming this diagnosis can be very difficult, however.

Refrigeration system troubleshooting can be a very challenging and the sheer number of variables and interactions make it almost impossible to get it right all of the time. condensing in the receiver and robbing the unit of its capacity. Coincidently, I have seen this happen before with almost these exact symptoms.

Fig. 1: Plotting the test numbers on a PH diagram reveals a problem. www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Many variables can make refrigeration system troubleshooting a challenge.

The way I approach it is to imagine extremes. If this was a two-cylinder compressor and one cylinder quit working with no other side effects in the compressor, what would happen? Well, the evaporator and condenser would both be too big. If half of the compressor had enough capacity to maintain box temperature this would lead only to a system that ran with a higher suction pressure and lower discharge pressure (and consequently lower TDs). This actually increases the capacity of the running cylinder so the problem might not be as pronounced as one might think and it almost certainly won’t cut the compressor capacity in half. The best way to confirm that the compressor is actually not pumping is to use the Amp draw and compare it to the performance tables (The RLA on most compressors doesn’t tell you much unless the compressor is fully loaded).

Another method is to see if you can increase the compression ratio by blocking the condenser, shutting off the condenser fan or by throttling the suction valve. This can often determine whether the compressor can perform at higher compression ratios. If it can, I would hesitate to say immediately that it’s a poor pumper without consulting the performance tables. Obviously we didn’t go through everything that could have caused these symptoms or everything we could have done to diagnose them, but I hope that you see the value in using as much information as you can to visualize what’s happening in the cycle. Refrigeration system troubleshooting can be a very challenging and the sheer number of variables and interactions make it almost impossible to get it right all of the time. Even if we just got this diagnosis right we are only half done… we still have to figure out why the compressor failed in the first place. ✚ 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.

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


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– Ventilation

Product Profile Boost air movement with a big fan

A ceiling fan can boost the efficiency of HVAC systems year round. There’s nothing like a Big Ass Fan to move the air in a home during those hot sultry days of summer, or so says the manufacturer. (Normally, we wouldn’t use language like that in this family rag, but that’s actually the brand name – ed.) The Haiku by Big Ass Fans is an efficient Energy Star certified ceiling fan. It requires only two watts to operate at its lowest speed and 30 at its highest – compared to more than 100 watts for a traditional ceiling fan, while moving air at four to five times the minimum Energy Star requirement. It features 10 speeds, including timer and sleep settings along with a silent motor and airfoils to produce less than 34 dBA of noise – that’s quieter than a deserted library. Ceiling fans enhance the effectiveness of HVAC systems in summer and winter by thoroughly mixing air throughout a space to create consistent temperatures from ceiling to floor and wall to wall. In the summer, fans provide an additional boost to air conditioning systems. Because the perceived cooling effect of air movement can make a person feel up to 5.5ÂşC (10°F) cooler, homeowners can raise their air conditioning set point and utilize energyefficient fans to make up the difference. “You will feel the same level of comfort while using far less energy,â€? says Big Ass Fans’ Sherrell Watson. In the winter, ceiling fans can be used to destratify heat by slowing moving warm air off the ceiling. The steady mixing of air creates a uniform temperature throughout the space, which can help the heater maintain the same thermostat set point with less effort, resulting in reduced heating bills.


UV calculator

Garage ventilation

Blue-Calc from Fresh-Aire UV uses custom-written, automated software with colour graphics and chart outputs to determine the required ultraviolet disinfection to reach indoor air quality goals in HVAC systems. The web service provides calculations of both airborne and cooling coil surface microbe disinfection efficiencies from UV-C light exposure and generates detailed color chart and graph image printouts for building owner presentations. Fresh-Aire UV u www.freshaireuv.com

The “Cool Breeze� garage fan from Tjernlund provides air circulation to dramatically reduce the temperature throughout the garage interior. Mounted between the ceiling joists, it pulls hot air from the garage ceiling and exhausts it into the garage attic space where it exits out the ridge, roof or gable vents. Outdoor air replaces the hot exhaust to lower air temperatures and reduce the thermal heat gain of the floor, structure and contents. Tjernlund products are distributed in Canada by Canadian General Filters. CGF Products u www.cgfproducts.com

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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Heating

INSULATING PEX Keep the heat where it’s needed in hydronic systems By Roy Collver

A common application for pre-insulated PEX is to run heating lines between buildings, from a home to a garage, for example.


Black pipe insulation covers the high temperature piping; grey insulating sleeves cover the lower temperature piping. Roy hasn’t been able to locate anything similar to the grey insulation in North America.


Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013

his article started as a response to questions regarding a piece I had written for the March, 2013 issue. I mentioned how the practice of routing uninsulated hot water heating distribution lines and radiant floor zone “tails” through common areas, either in (or under) slabs, has the potential to result in trouble. By putting heat where it isn’t needed or wanted, installers are wasting energy and could easily create uncomfortably hot floor surfaces and overheated rooms. The practice of insulating pipe and tubing has not traditionally been a high priority for most residential and light commercial installers and designers. An interesting phenomenon with a radiant heating slab is that, as the heat moves from the fluid through the pipe into the slab and the slab heats up, the rate of heat transfer starts to diminish. That means that when first heating up a slab, you will see a marked heat loss and a high delta-T, but the delta-T will decrease as the core of the slab heats up and the heat finally gets to the room it was intended to heat – it is what happens to the heat before it gets there that concerns us. If there is no insulation under the intervening slab area, the heat will just continue to drive downward into the ground, wasting energy. If the temperature above the slab is cold, or the slab is “looking” at a cold surface, the heat will continue to drive upward resulting in an overheated space. The old rule of thumb is a heat delivery of two Btu/h per square foot of floor surface for each degree Fahrenheit of temperature difference. So if you have six supply and return “tails” wandering down a three by 20foot hallway, you might easily see a floor surface temperature of 100°F or more, which can dump over 3,600 Btu/h into a 70°F space – a space that has almost no heat loss. Said space won’t stay at 70°F for long. If there is an insulating layer (carpet) over the slab, it


In this Italian project, the “tails” are heavily insulated to prevent overheating the floor.

can help contain the heat, but someone standing in the hallway will compress the carpet and under-pad and will soon get a hot foot. Hence my quest for a flexible tubing insulation you can just pull over the pipe as you install it – those six-foot split lengths are not very installer friendly for this kind of application.

Highly engineered When one researches this subject, it is discovered it can be complicated. These insulation products are highly engineered. We won’t discuss the correct design and installation of complex boiler room, high temperature pipe insulation systems – they are best done by experts and are beyond the scope of this article. Simple thermal insulation of under floor, or underground hydronic tubing, however, is a much easier affair if you partner with suppliers that can help you choose the correct product for your specific job. One thing I noticed in the Italian construction sites I visited a few years ago was the sheer variety of insulation types employed to cover tubing outside the boiler room. There were unique insulation materials for various applications – one size/type does not fit all. Their installers insulated just about everything to ensure that the heat went precisely where they wanted it to go. In response to readers’ requests for more information, I went on a quest to find in the North American market the kind of insulation I saw on distribution piping in Italy. The stuff I was hunting for was grey expanded polyethylene, had about a 3/8” wall


thickness and was of medium density with a clear vapour barrier coating. It was seamless, came in coils, and was pulled over the tubing on the job-site. It was used for insulating water lines to prevent condensation, and for domestic hot water lines and lower temperature heating lines like those found in radiant floor heating systems to reduce energy loss. It was fitted over tubing that was going to be subsequently covered in concrete or plaster. It looked very flexible and easy to handle and, so far, I have been unable to locate it here. You can see from the photos that the Italians used two types. The black stuff was used for the higher temperature heating supply and return lines and is similar to the standard elastomeric “Armaflex” or “KFlex” brands we are all familiar with – the grey stuff is what I am still looking for.

Available in Canada So what is available for us here and now? I had a good chat with Scott Crabb, product manager, flexible systems, for Urecon, a company that makes pre-insulated pipe and sells it all over North America. I received a thorough education from him on the flexible pipe insulation options that are readily available and found out that they, and other manufacturers, have been very, very busy developing solutions for many difficult applications. You want to run 30 gallons a minute of 180°F heating fluid 400 yards from a wood-fired boiler to a barn and house in a two foot deep trench in Northern Saskatchewan? No worries – you can get the stuff you need next week. Troll through some of the following web-sites (listed in reverse alphabetical order) and search for “pre-insulated” to see some of the offerings out there. I am sure there are others – sorry if I missed you – I went with the brands I know that have strong Canadian distribution. www.wattsradiant.com www.urecon.ca www.uponor.ca www.rehau.com www.heatlink.com

Things to consider Pre-insulated PEX is available from a number of manufacturers in several configurations. This is Urecon Pex-Flex.

When considering tubing insulation and what it should be made of, the following important aspects must be considered:

Please see ‘Choosing’ on page 33

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


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■ Heating

Choosing the right insulation Continued from page 31 First and foremost is to choose an insulation material that will last and not deteriorate over time. What environmental conditions will affect it? The material has to stand up to the temperature required of it – both on the inside and on the outside. The material may also have to be impervious to chemicals, ultraviolet light, vermin and varmint attack, and of course water. If exposed to water, it must maintain its insulating qualities when wet and if it is subject to mechanical stress, it has to be strong enough to maintain its own integrity and that of the tubing it contains.

with quite high water temperatures, thermal and mechanical stress and chemical attack. But I’ve been looking for something readily available at a more modest price point – insulation that can be buried in concrete and can deal with fluid temperatures and ambient temperatures no more than 180°F, and ambient temperatures (outside the insulation) of no less than 32°F. The normal maximum temperature difference between fluid temperature and ambient will likely never be more than 50°F, so it doesn’t have to have heavy duty R-value. That is where I have been having a bit of a problem trying to source an equivalent to the grey stuff I saw in


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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There were unique insulation materials for various applications – one size/type does not fit all.

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Meet the Vitocrossal 200, CM2 gas-fired condensing boiler – featuring the Viessmann technology you know and the performance and value you expect.

†Tested to AHRI Testing Standard Method to Determine Efficiency of Commercial Space Heating H B oile e BTS - 2000. Boilers,

You can see what I mean about these products being highly engineered. Buying the cheap split-foam pipe insulation may be appealing – but will it last, and will it do the job you need it to do? Every insulating material should have a documented thermal resistance value (R-value) and calculations have to be made based on: how hot the pipe is inside the insulation versus how cold the temperature will be outside the insulation and how long the pipe is versus the flow rate of fluid through the pipe. With this information, calculations can be made as to out how thick the insulation should be given a specific product’s R-value. You have to calculate how much heat will be lost on the journey from your heat source to where you need to use the heat and then come up with a cost-effective solution. Got a headache yet? When you start to look at insulation selection closely, you can see why I make the point that you should find a supplier who is: local (or at least on this side of the 49th parallel), has the documentation needed to prove that the material can stand up to its intended use and has the engineering expertise to assist you in the design process. High density, high temperature, elastomeric pipe insulation such as the aforementioned “Armaflex” or “KFlex” are fabulous products and, although they will do an excellent job, they were originally designed for more severe service conditions – higher temperatures, UV resistance, water and chemical resistance, etc. For radiant applications, the 3/8” wall thickness is just fine. The companies listed above, supply some pretty amazing pre-insulated products capable of being directly buried in the ground or slab and able to deal

Europe. Nobody I have talked to about this can point me in the right direction – although as soon as this is in print, I’m sure all kinds of suppliers will speak up. In the meantime, I will keep looking. ✚

Thermal efficiency of up to 97%† Ideal for large residential or commercial applications with inputs up to 2245 MBH (single)/8980 MBH (cascade) Generous heat transfer surface area/heat input ratio with 316Ti stainless steel heat exchanger to maximize heat extraction Extremely low NOx emissions and quiet operation from fully-modulating Viessmann pre-mix cylinder burner New! User-friendly operation with Vitotronic control - features graphical user interface Wide modulation turndown ratio of 5:1 precisely matches load Multiple venting possibilities with pre-installed air intake kit for direct or chimney venting (PP or stainless steel) up to 200 ft. Gas fuel flexibility (NG/LPG/LNG) with simple electronic conversion Low inlet gas pressure capability (NG) as low as 4 inches of water column Large water content extends burner run time and reduces cycling No dedicated boiler pump required due to extremely low pressure drop through heat exchanger Seamless integration of powerful Viessmann control technology and building management systems

Contact us to learn about our new Rent-to-Own program

www.viessmann.ca rent@viessmann.ca 1-800-387-7373

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC



2 1 0 1 8-

S ES D DE U U L L C C N I N I W OW N NO R R F F X X M M E E ” T 2” 1 S 12 ST Y & Y ® S & ® & S ” ” 0 0 & 1 1 , ” 5 , 8” 15 R8 M1 E OR FFO EM T T S S S S Y G Y S G N S I N R I L R L A P UP ULLA OU C PU CO OP L L PO A A C RP I C I UR N O N OU A HA CH TTM M M E EC M Y Y E E R R G M MJJ G ® ®


Atlantica Mechanical

Welln ess Cen tre

We mostly used the XFR product for speed. It’s especially ideal for smaller diameters where you would have to use copper with soldered joints. When you compare joining PVC to soldering, there’s no comparison.

System XFR & MJ Grey come from the same team who brings you Aquarise

The IPEX Teams are good to work with, and they do their best to address our needs.

For the full case study story visit www.ipexinc.com/mjgrey

PVC Drain, Waste & Vent for Non-Combustible Applications Product manufactured by/for IPEX Inc. System 15®, System XFR® and MJ GreyTM are trademarks of IPEX Branding Inc.

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

■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings Hydronic balancing

Solid support

Victaulic offers a complete line of hydronic balancing solutions that allow contractors and engineers to accurately control building temperatures and optimize energy efficiency. The systems are designed to maintain comfortable, stable temperatures throughout the building and reduce energy costs by operating pumps at the lowest possible loads, which also reduces the need for maintenance and extends equipment life. Victaulic u www.victaulic.com

The PEX-a Pipe Support from Uponor is a steel channel that provides continuous support of crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) tubing in suspended piping applications, enabling hanger spacing equal to that of copper. The support is available in nine-foot lengths for 1", 1¼", 1½" and 2" PEX-a pipe sizes and can be used in commercial plumbing as well as hydronic distribution systems. Uponor u www.uponor.ca

Larger “smart” connections Viega has introduced larger diameter fittings for the Viega PEX Press polymer fitting system. They are now available in sizes up to two inches and include the company’s innovative Smart Connect feature, which allows plumbers to instantly spot unpressed connections. They are suitable for potable water and radiant applications in residential and light commercial projects. Viega u www.viega.com

Precise Control Victaulic provides a complete line of balancing products that accurately control building temperature while optimizing energy efficiency.

Mobile pump control The Grundfos GO “app” provides intuitive wireless pump control. Technicians simply install the app and connect the mobile interface to an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Android smartphone. They can then copy profiles to new pumps, generate installation reports, request status data, adjust pump settings and receive alarms and warnings. It also provides a live data feed from the pumps, including duty points, historical data, power consumption, pump speed and temperature. Grundfos u ca.grundfos.com


Eliminate fluctuations in temperature.


Eliminate occupant complaints and costly remedies.


Reduce energy costs.

Space saving circulator The new Stratos GIGA, a highefficiency, single-stage inline centrifugal pump from Wilo, is designed for use in hot water heating systems, air conditioning, closed cooling circuits and industrial process systems. Redesigned hydraulics and a permanent magnet motor can achieve better than IE4 efficiencies, a reducing motor losses by over 50 percent compared to NEMA Premium Efficient (IE2)motor. It can flow up to 275 USGPM with heads to 167’. It is available in glanded construction, mechanical shaft seal and flanged connections. Wilo u www.wilo-Canada.com.


Victaulic is the exclusive North American representative for Tour and Andersson products. To learn more about the product line, visit:


July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC



© 2013 Masco Canada Limited

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.

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


Committed to Quality, Driven by Innovation

This commitment to quality parts manufactured to the highest standards in tolerance and finish, has earned us our reputation for excellence. Exceptionally durable, reliable products that are built for the long run. For more information, visit www.brasscraft.com.



© 2013 BrassCraft Manufacturing

Every product we make is quality checked to exacting standards.

■ Drain Tech Even a heavy-duty sectional machine like this Ridgid K-1500 is relatively compact these days.

ROOTING AROUND Drain cable technology and why it matters By Simon Blake

The General Speedrooter 92 all-purpose heavy-duty drum-type drain cleaning machine uses the company’s “Flexicore” wire rope centre core cable.

Compact and light, General’s Mini-Rooter Pro can use up to ½” cable for many smaller drain cleaning jobs.


The cable type motorized drain cleaning machine has been around since the 1930s and remains the workhorse of the drain cleaning industry. Just about every plumber has one. The machines have advanced considerably, but the contractor needs to keep in mind that the cable itself will make a big difference in how effective the machine is in the field.

Personal taste Cables come in different sizes and many different constructions. They are one piece or sectional, extremely flexible for going around tight bends to quite rigid for long runs. The largest sectional machines with a 1-1/4” cable can clear blockages as far as 90 meters (300 feet) from the machine. Maximum distance for a drum-type machine is typically about 150 to 200 feet. “If you’re just going to be using it for residential, that’s going to be more than enough unless the person has a huge yard with no cleanouts between the house and the road,” remarked Joe Schaeper, global marketing manager for the Ridge Tool Co., Elyria, Ohio. There are several factors in choosing the right cable. Obviously, the size of the pipe the contractor would typically clean will play a major role. Multiple bends are going to require a more flexible cable. But the more flexible it is the less cutting torque it can withstand. A ¼-inch cable is great for sink drains while a 3/8 or ½”

cable works well for residential stacks and drains. “A 3/8” cable is very flexible, but it’s not practical to go beyond 75 feet because you just can’t push that far. If you want to go farther, then you need to bump up to a larger size cable,” noted Marty Silverman, marking manager for General Pipe Cleaners, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Cables for drum type machines are not equivalent size for size to those used with sectional machines. For example, for traps and mainlines out to the street, with a drum machine the contractor would typically use a 5/8 or ¾-inch cable – something that can withstand the torque needed to cut through roots and heavy debris. In a sectional machine, a 1-1/4” cable would serve the same purpose. It’s important to keep in mind that cables for drum type machines are wound tightly while those for sectional machines have a gap between each spiral. As well, sectional cables are wound clockwise while continuous cables are wound counterclockwise. The looser winding of the sectional cable combined with the right-hand winding allows the cable to pull itself through the drain like a giant screw, making it relatively easy to go 300 feet. Drum machines have the advantage that they are selfcontained. On the other hand, a sectional machine is lighter and the technician need only carry enough sections to get the job done.

Different cables for different jobs The most flexible cable for a drum-type machine is hollow-core, which is basically just a big spring. Used in things like urinal augers, it can go around tight bends but is limited in length because it can’t

Please see ‘Compact’ on page 39

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


FOR THE THOUSANDS OF JOBS YOU DO, WE’VE GOT ONE. To get you what you need. When you need it. It’s our promise, and we’ve lived and breathed it every day for over 20 years. We know you’re busy, which is why we’ve created an incredibly efficient network to get you back on the job, fast. With a 98% fill-rate commitment, four distribution centres and over 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space, we offer the widest range of in-stock products in the business. Plus, our fleet of 200 delivery trucks and network of 50+ branches means you’re never far from us. Today, we’re uniquely equipped to provide solutions that support the entire lifecycle of a building, from the early stages of a design-build project through to maintenance and renovation. Still, our greatest asset isn’t inventory; it’s our people. They’re the backbone of our operations and the reason we’re able to look after yours. We know your business. It’s our job.


noble.ca | 1-800-529-9805

■ Drain Tech In some applications, a small and light machine is critical. And yet this Ridgid K-60 can clean up to four-inch lines.

Compact and maneuverable Continue from page 37 withstand a lot of torque. Next is the “inner-core” cable where a tube or cable is inserted into the spring/cable after it has been wound, stiffening it up considerably. The stiffest cable construction is the heavy-duty or “integral wound’ cable, where the spring is wrapped tightly around the inner wire core. Not only does this make a stronger cable, but if the cable breaks it can easily be pulled out because the wire core will remain intact. Sectional cables typically come in lengths from eight to 15 feet. Again, there are hollow cables and inner core cables. General offers a cable with a chain as the inner core, which provides more flexibility. Most contractors develop preferences over time and generally stick with one type of cable. While some like the stiffer cables, others “like the hollow core or inner core cables because you can feel the cable tighten down on itself better when you hit a blockage,” noted Schaeper. Some couplings allow the use of cables from other manufacturers or aftermarket sources. However, there may be a warranty issue on new machines with nonstandard cables.

Maintaining the cables Cables operate in water and rust quickly if put away wet. “I’ve seen cables that were ten years old but looked like they were brand new because someone maintained them. I also saw a cable that came back one month after it was purchased and it looked like it had been buried for 2,000 years – it was caked with rust because it wasn’t maintained,” remarked Silverman. The key is to clean and oil them after every use.


Manufactures offer special oils with rust inhibitors, disinfectants, deodorizers and other additives to make the cables last longer (and smell nice). However, light motor oil can also be used. Lubricating the cable on a drum machine is easy, just pour some oil into the drum and let it spin. On sectional machine, each cable has to be dried and oiled separately. However, some contractors put the cable into an old tire and use that to slosh the oil around. Lubricating the cable also protects the automatic feed on the machine, which can seize up with a dry cable. Silverman cautions against using a penetrating fluid like WD-40. Not only are they expensive, but these are also solvents, not lubricants. “You want something that’s really going to lubricate the cable.”

Lighter and more compact As we noted earlier, the machines themselves have become lighter and more compact. Ridgid has focused on two areas – reducing the weight and the footprint, reported Schaeper. Both are critical to the busy contractor who must carry the machine around in his van – if it takes up less space that helps – and then lug it up stairways. New motor technology has helped too. “You are able to get more power out of a smaller motor today,” he remarked. Ridgid has also put considerable effort into making machines easy to maintain by making them easy to take apart and reassemble when needed. General Pipe Cleaners has also focused on making machines more maneuverable. Simple things like bigger tires, adjustable handles and, on some machines, handles that fold, go a long way.

Adding wheels to the handle – General’s “truck loading wheels” – make it easier for one technician to load the machine. However, adds Silverman, there’s only so much a manufacturer can do to make the machines lighter – they are still very heavy. “To make something durable you need reinforced steel frames – guys drop these machines off the truck.” And 100 feet of cable in a drum machine typically weighs about 100 lbs. Ridgid uses a lighter polyurethane drum on its drum-type machines, while General uses a steel drum. “There’s a certain amount of weight there, but we feel metal is more durable and more professional,” said Silverman. Most machines today include an auto-feed that feeds out and retrieves the cable. However, cautions Schaeper: “I don’t recommend trying to fight through the blockage while using the auto-feed because you don’t have the feel for the way the torque is building up and it can be harder to gauge if the cable is getting bound up... “ Sectional machines don’t have auto-feed, “but you develop a rhythm where you feed it in, and then let off the clutch…” he added. Choosing the right machine along with the right cable and maintaining them will ensure reliable operation for many years. In the next issue we will look at some of the new cutting heads. ✚


Pipe Threading Machines Japanese Technology at Work B25 ( ½"-1"-Cap.)


Automatic Die Head

Asada Threader Features t ½"-2" Ridgid® Style Dies t Light Weight t Automatic Die Head t Built In Reamer t Through Head Oiling t Built in Pipe Cutter t 2 Year Warranty Roll Grooving Attachment

B50 ( ½"-2"-Cap.)

Internal Nipple Chucks Model B100 (½"- 4" Cap.) Model B80 (½"- 3" Cap.)

Pipe & HVAC Tools Contact us for a wholesaler near you.

Raptor Cutting Tools Inc. 1-877-727-2888 Email: sales@raptorcutting.com Web: www.raptorcutting.com Western Sales:Delaney & Associates Tel: 403-589-6565

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Controls Communicating thermostat The Comfort Sync Programmable Communicating WiFi thermostat from Armstrong Air is designed to simplify installation and expedite service calls. Technicians can easily select airflow, set points and other parameters. It also serves as an easy tool to help dealers sell service plans, increase profitability and stay connected to their customers, reports the manufacturer. Allied Air Enterprises u www.alliedair.com

Wireless data logger

Thermostat connectivity Honeywell’s free Total Connect Comfort cloud-based app allows homeowners to control their Prestige IAQ thermostat from anywhere in the world. As well, the new programmable thermostat is smaller and sleeker, “virtually programs itself,” controls to plus/minus one degree, monitors and tests the heating system and can be programmed to operate according to time-of-use utility rates. Honeywell u www.honeywell.com


The new EL-WIFI-T sensor from Lascar Electronics measures the ambient temperature of the environment in which it is situated. Data is transmitted wirelessly via a WIFI network to a host PC and viewed on screen showing the logger’s current status, a graph of all logs since the session was started or any alarm reached during the logging session. Multiple units can be set up on the same WiFi network, including other temperature and temperature/humidity variants of Lascar’s WiFi range, viewable at the same time on screen. Lascar Electronics u www.lascarelectronics.com

VFD control panels SJE-Rhombus is offering its new Endura line of VFD control panels for a number of applications. The PB (pressure booster) panel is designed for commercial applications using one to four VFDs. It includes the VFDC-4000 controller and one VFD for each pump. The Endura IR (irrigation) control panel is designed for irrigation pump applications up to 500 HP and is equipped with: a variable frequency drive (VFD), NEMA 3R enclosure with circuit breaker, VFDC1300 controller and a pressure transmitter. Both can be customized for specific application requirements. SJE-Rhombus u www.VFDpanels.com

T-stat monitoring app Venstar has also launched a new free mobile thermostat app that allows HVAC contractors and technicians to remotely monitor, control and troubleshoot their commercial clients’ ColorTouch thermostats from virtually anywhere they have Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G, or Internet connections via Skyport Cloud Services. Up to 100 locations can be monitored. Venstar u www.venstar.com

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Faucets & Fixtures

Product Profile

Water saving commercial shower system

Moen’s Eco-Performance showers offer water savings and heavy-duty construction for commercial use.

Expanded collection

New Eco-Performance shower systems from Moen Canada’s Commercial Division are certified to meet WaterSense criteria, offering a 40 percent water savings from the industry standard, without sacrificing performance. These commercial systems combine Moen’s Eco-Performance showerheads with the company’s Posi-Temp valve to reduce water consumption and eliminate shower shock due to fluctuations in water temperature and pressure. “Posi-Temp valves with graphite composite spools meet ASSE 1016 performance requirements for controlling temperature fluctuations when paired with Moen Commercial showerheads with flow rates as low as 5.7 litres per

Hotel shower package

Delta Faucet has added a complete line of bathroom fixtures and accessories to its Trinsic Collection to, among other things, help homeowners create a cohesive look throughout the home. The Trinsic lavatory faucet meets WaterSense requirements and uses Delta’s Diamond Seal valve with InnoFlex PEX waterways, meaning the valve requires no lubrication, eliminates wear on seals, ensuring “like new” operation for the life of the faucet. Delta Faucet u www.deltafaucet.ca

The T & S Brass B-3200 series hotel shower system is customizable to deliver a complete shower package with various combinations of products to meet specific needs, including a pressure balancing shower valve, 2.5 GPM shower head, solid brass tub spout, removable handheld spray with flow control adjustment (from 0.5 GPM to 2.0 GPM), and optional single-lever faucet with a tamper resistant handle, adjustable temperature limit stops, and 2.0 GPM aerators. It is ASSE 1016 listed and ADA compliant. T&S Brass u www.tsbrass.com

All-in-one lavatory

Funky, modern aesthetics

The Bradley all-inone AV-Series lavatory system for commercial washrooms provides a sink, soap, faucet and dual-sided hand dryer all in one sleek unit. Since all hand washing elements are close by, the user needn’t move from the station in search of soap, towels or a hand dryer. In addition to user convenience and functionality, this uniquely integrated design ensures that water goes down the drain. Bradley Corp. u www.bradleycorp.com


minute,” said Garry Scott, Moen Canada vice president, wholesale marketing. “These new systems ensure a safe experience for every user, every time, while helping to reduce overall operating costs. Plus, WaterSense certification assures that the showerheads have met strict independent testing requirements for water efficiency and performance.” Both wallmount and handheld models are available, along with a wallmount/handheld combination. Moen also offers a new ADAcompliant slide bar grab bar system. Options include a choice of 24” or 36” commercial grade 1 ½” diameter stainless steel grab bars, plus, choice of a metal or plastic hose.

All showerheads feature durable brass construction with a chrome finish, along with Moen’s “Easy Clean” nozzles. Despite the lower 5.7 litre per minute flow, spray patterns are optimized to preserve the showering experience that the end-user is accustomed to from traditional showerheads. The M•Dura Vandal-Resistant model features a brass showerhead specially angled so objects cannot be hung from it, preventing it from being pulled off the wall. It utilizes stainless steel Torx mounting screws and can be used with brick, tile or concrete surfaces, increasing installation options. Posi-Temp valves are designed to reduce installation and repair costs, with easily-accessible cartridges and internal stop valves. They allow two showers to be installed backto-back within the same wall. Moen Commercial u www.moen.ca

The HyTronic Edge electronic faucet from Chicago Faucets brings a modern look to commercial designs. A striking, angular spout that complements modern lavatory styles, the HyTronic platform includes a variety of styles, flow rates and power options along with above-deck electronics, vandal resistance features and simple, powerful programmability. This unit meets new lead-free requirements for 2014. Chicago Faucet products are distributed in Canada by Dobbin Sales. Dobbin Sales Ltd. u www.dobbinsales.com

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ How it’s Made New auto-pour furnaces are the heart of the lead-free foundry.

Watts opens lead-free foundry New facility will avoid cross-contamination and boost production efficiency By Simon Blake


Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013


t hasn’t been easy for manufacturers to convert brass and bronze products to the new lead-free alloys required for potable water systems beginning in January, 2014. Watt’s Water Technologies, headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, has made a major investment in lead-free with the construction of a new 30,000 sq. ft. dedicated foundry at its manufacturing facility in Franklin, New Hampshire. The new foundry represents “the final chapter in the switch to lead-free,” said Watts Water CEO and president David Coghlan, noting the process has been far from easy. Over half of the company’s products had to be transitioned. “We have moved mountains to educate ourselves (in lead-free technology),” he added. “The (new foundry) will enable us to be the safe choice for lead-free products since we can eliminate the possibility of cross contamination of materials. It will also enable us to provide efficient and timely availability of products.” Watts held an opening celebration at its 42-acre Franklin manufacturing “campus” on June 21. Plumbing and HVAC, with other media, dignitaries and former plant workers, was invited to tour the new facility, along with the existing foundry and the manufacturing plant where backflow preventers, valves, pressure regulators

and many other products are machined, assembled and packaged. The Franklin facility manufactures products for the Watts, Powers and FEBCO brands.

The lead-free foundry The new Watts lead-free foundry was built in less than a year, with the groundbreaking for the new building occurring last August. Traditional foundries, where molten metal is cast into various metal products, are hot and dirty places.

The new foundry represents “the final chapter in the switch to lead-free.” The new foundry is anything but. Not only is it clean as one would expect of a new facility, but despite the heat from the furnaces, not to mention a sweltering day outside, it was relatively cool thanks to a state-of-the-art ventilation system.


Smiles all round – Watts CEO and president David Coghlan, right front, and New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan cut the ribbon to open the foundry.

Machine operator Dennis Goguen explains the difference between standard and lead-free casting processes.

A casting from the new lead-free foundry, at left, is cleaner and the alloy is brighter than the same casting in traditional materials from the existing foundry, at right. About 25 employees work with computer controlled and heavily automated equipment, which includes such things as an automated sand muller and overhead conveyer belts. The heart of the foundry, just as in the old foundry, is heating the metal alloys to a liquid state and pouring them into sand-cast molds to make new castings. But this is now done with a computer controlled auto-pour furnace. New casting equipment and techniques mean that the castings coming out of the lead-free foundry are cleaner, and the lead-free alloy itself is a lighter colour than traditional brass or bronze.


Under the new regulations, lead-free products are those that contain a maximum of O.25 percent lead by weight on their wetted surfaces, while the current “standard” products can contain up to eight percent. While there was considerable contrast between the old foundry, built in 1977, and the new one, the indoor environment in the old foundry was also relatively cool as it has undergone a number of upgrades over the years and is also equipped with modern climate control equipment. It will continue to operate, producing products for non-potable applications.

Bringing jobs back A back-story at the Franklin plant was lauded by a number of local politicians at the opening. It’s part of a trend to bring back jobs to North America. The plant has been in continuous operation since 1959 and has undergone 16 expansions. The new foundry is part of a “rebirth mode” at Franklin, remarked plant manager Tyler Stone. Or, as one worker in the plant put it: “In 2005 these assembly lines were in China. We’re proud to bring them back.” The plant now employs about 500 people. The plant has been ISO-certified since 1994 and operates using lean manufacturing principles. Every process is under constant analysis by every employee to

eliminate waste both in time and materials. A worker compared the assembly procedure to changing tires in NASCAR stock car racing. “Right now we’re looking at minutes and seconds,” he said. The rates of production are staggering. For example, the plant produces 1,600 temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valves for water heaters per hour. And while these are not, at this point, required to be leadfree, Watts has already started offering them in lead-free alloy in anticipation of future regulation. Many departments – hydronics, for example – have adopted a “pull system” for production. Products are made as they are ordered. This requires a flexible manufacturing process that can switch from one product to another almost instantly along with crosstrained employees that move around the plant “like migratory birds” to where they are needed. Smart manufacturing processes like these diminish the need to ship production and jobs overseas and should go a long way to helping get the U.S. economy back on its feet. And, as Canadians know only too well, when the U.S. does well, we do well too; when they suffer, we suffer. Founded in 1874 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Watts Water Technologies now employs 6,000 people around the world. ✚

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Tools & Instruments

Product Profile Trailer-mounted jetter clears big drains

Vent pipe installation kits

McElroy spider

Raptor Cutting Tools has introduced a line of wood cutting hole saws specifically designed for HVAC and plumbing applications. They are available individually in sizes from 2-1/8” to 6-1/4” or in kits – one for 636 vent pipe, another for larger pipe and a third for plumbing. They feature an aggressive threetooth nail resistant design and use standard arbors. Raptor Cutting Toolsu www.raptorcutting.com

The Spider 125 from McElroy is designed for quick and accurate socket fusion field installations of 63mm to 125mm polypropylene-random (PP-R) pipe and fittings. It allows a single mechanical technician to properly align, heat, fuse and cool the pipe and fitting. Weighing 13 pounds, it is a compact tool for overhead, vertical and/or tight installations. McElroy u www.mcelroy.com

The Typhoon is designed for heavy duty drain cleaning applications. The JM-2512 Typhoon trailer-mounted water jet drain cleaning machine from General Pipe Cleaners is designed to clear blockages in big lines and long runs. It delivers 12 gallons a minute at 2500 psi to blast lines clean of grease, sediment and debris. A 200 gallon holding tank carries enough water to handle remote applications where access to water is limited. The Typhoon boasts electric brakes, safety strobe light, safety cones, rear fold-down stabilizer jacks, retractable hose guide arm, and antifreeze system as standard equipment. A 690 cc (24 hp) Honda engine with electric start and 10 gallon fuel tank provides extended operation. General’s on-demand Vibra-pulse technology helps slide the nozzle around tight bends, and propel the hose down long lines. Two hose reels – a jet hose reel with 400 ft. x 1/2” capacity featuring variable speed electric rewind and a water supply hose reel carrying 150 ft. x 3/4” hose – are mounted at the rear of the unit next to the pressure gauge and output valve. Engine controls, including an hour meter, are mounted within easy reach in the lockable tool box. A splash guard at the front protects the pump and engine from road debris. A tough epoxy finish protects the body. General Pipe Cleaners u www.drainbrain.com

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Compact press tool The new RIDGID RP200-B press tool is an inline design featuring a 270° rotating barrel, designed for pressing PEX tubing up to 1-1/2” in tight spaces. It is a lightweight (6.2 lbs.) cordless tool and can make connections in as few as 4-5 seconds. Lithium batteries produce more than 200 presses per charge. Larger capacity batteries for 400-plus presses per charge are also available. RIDGID u www.ridgid.com


cdm@torontohydro.com 416.542.3388 torontohydro.com/RTU

Subject to additional terms and conditions found at torontohydro.com/business. Subject to change without notice. Funded by the Ontario Power Authority and offered by Toronto Hydro. A mark of the Province of Ontario protected under Canadian trade-mark law. Used under sublicence. OMOfficial Mark of the Ontario Power Authority. Used under licence. The star design is a trade-mark of Toronto Hydro Corporation. Used under licence. ‘Toronto Hydro’ means Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited.

July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Trucks for the Trade

New GM pickups push fuel mileage envelope There seems to be a bit of a battle going on among major manufacturers for leadership in fuel mileage among fullsized pickup trucks. That can’t help but be a good thing for plumbing and HVAC/R contractors, given the many kilometres that these trucks must typically cover every year. General Motors has pushed the number of miles per gallon (mpg) to 23 (about 10 km per litre) with its newly redesigned Chev Silverado and GMC Sierra two-wheel drive pickups and a very respectable 22 mpg for the fourwheel-drive versions. It achieved these numbers with an engine that essentially runs as a four-cylinder engine much of the time.

New engines Of course that’s not new for GM, but the new EcoTech3 engines replace GM’s Vortec engines and take the technology

to a new level. The 5.3 litre EcoTech3 V8 is SAE certified to deliver 355 horsepower and 383 foot pounds of torque when needed. But under lighter loads the engine seamlessly switches to four-cylinder operation. It can do this thanks to direct fuel injection and various forms of computer and mechanical wizardry such as continuously variable valve timing and GM’s Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) system. Two other EcoTech3 engines are planned – a 4.3-litre V-6 and a 6.2-litre V-8. Both of those also shift seamlessly to four-cylinder operation. And the V-6 is designed from the ground up as a truck engine, rather than being a converted car engine, noted Jordan Lee, chief powertrain engineer. All three engines feature lightweight aluminum blocks and all operate through a six-speed automatic

New engines and aerodynamics will make the 2014 Silverado a mileage leader among full-sized pickups. transmission. A “cruise grade braking” feature downshifts the transmission when going downhill to reduce wear on the brakes. Four-wheel disc brakes feature GM’s Duralife rotors, which have hardened surfaces and are designed to last twice as long as conventional cast iron rotors.

steel box, reports GM. There are three models – regular cab, crew cab and a new double cab model with rear doors that are hinged at the front. It replaces the extended cab model. About 60 percent of all pickups that GM sells are the crew cab version and, in 2014, it will be available with two box

Considerable effort has gone into making the body more aerodynamic and lighter.

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Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013

The 2014 trucks also feature electric power steering. Using an electric motor instead of a hydraulic pump saves fuel and allows engineers to better fine-tune the steering for a crisper feel, says GM. There are also updates to the suspension and stronger rear axles.

lengths – the current 5’8” box and a new 6’6” version. The latter is also the standard box for the extended cab, with an eight-foot box available for the regular cab version. Corner steps on the bumper make it easier to climb into the box.

Built like a truck Better aerodynamics The substantial fuel mileage gains are not just a result of improved engine performance. Considerable effort has gone into making the body more aerodynamic and lighter. Updated mirrors reduce wind turbulence, triplesealed inlaid doors along with a new roof and tailgate design, “aerodynamic spats” in front of the rear wheels, better sealing around the headlights and between the box and the cab all help air flow smoothly over the truck. Lower weight helps too. An aluminum hood saves 17 lbs. over the previous steel version. A roll-formed box is lighter but stronger that the traditional stamped

While the interior is designed to be comfortable, GM designers were careful to ensure it still feels like a truck with an upright instrument panel and large knobs and buttons. The centre console features additional cup holders and discreet compartments for laptop computers. Optional Driver Alert Technology alerts the driver to imminent collision with a forward facing camera, which also lets the driver know if he/she is straying over the lane markings. These are all important features. But fuel mileage affects the bottom line of every contractor. Competition between manufacturers to be the mileage leader can’t help but be a good thing.✚


■ Training

ASHRAE publishes guide to district cooling systems The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has published a new design guide covering all major aspects of district cooling systems. The “District Cooling Guide” includes guidance on central chiller plants, chilled-water distribution systems and consumer interconnection. District cooling systems are commonly used to serve applications like cities, educational campuses, major medical facilities and other large building complexes. When properly planned and executed, they can offer many environmental, efficiency and economic advantages over other means of supplying heating and cooling services, reports Gary Phetteplace, lead author of the guide, which was overseen by ASHRAE’s technical committee on district energy. For district cooling systems to be

successful, their components must be designed to function as a properly integrated system. In addition, owing to the large capital investments involved, such systems must have long lifetimes

and they must be efficient and remain so over the long periods necessary to recover these substantial capital costs. “To achieve efficient operation and long life, proper design is essential,”

Viega partners with colleges Pipe fittings manufacturer Viega is offering a boost for trade training. The Viega Academy Partner Program will be offered to existing trades training institutions. Viega is currently establishing partnerships throughout Canada, with plans to begin registering prospective students in September. The new training will go beyond product demonstrations and seminars, said Jason McKinnon, Viega manager of training and technical support. “Now, with the Viega Academy Partner

Program, we are moving to a more academic model that provides a greater level of understanding of the function of systems as a whole.” “In our industry, most training focuses on fully qualified contractors already at work in the field,” added Mark Evans, director of sales for Viega in Canada. “The concept of the Viega Academy Partner Program was to create a new and different kind of partnership with trades training institutions and engage apprentices earlier in their career.”

Phetteplace said. The book also contains a chapter dedicated to planning, with additional information on system enhancements and the integration of thermal storage into a district cooling system. Guidance on operations and maintenance, including several case studies, is provided to help operators ensure that systems function as intended. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.

The program provides participating institutions with new curriculum resources that they can implement at their discretion to enhance their training, while still meeting the prescribed outcomes and the tight schedules that drive their programs. “We are excited to have the opportunity to expand the scope of our training to be able to offer a greater level of educational support for those future contractors who will shape our industry for years to come,” McKinnon said. For more information, contact Mark Evans at mark.evans@viega.com.

Energy Efficient Valves for Green Designs – Electronic Pressure Independent Valve (ePIV)

Power engineering grads Brian Baker, CMS, founder and instructor of Westech Energy Training Centre in Winnipeg, is pleased to announce the following graduates from the 88-hour Fifth Class Power Engineers course: They are, in the back row from left, Grant Holst, Andriy Bokhankovych, Mykhailo Stepanenko, Jordan Manchulenko and Trevor Day. In the middle row are Lorne Turner, John Zelinsky, Brent Taylor and Brian Baker. And in front are Richie Punla, Zhaohui Yang and Spencer Mackie. Students attended class on Saturday mornings. The next course starts Jan. 4. Brian Baker is a longtime HVACR contractor, operating Custom Vac. Ltd. in Winnipeg.


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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC



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■ People & Places

Canadian wins gold at World Skills A young Canadian apprentice proved the best in the world in the Heating & Refrigeration category at the World Skills competition held in Leipzig, Germany July 2-7. Michael Scheideman, 21, of Grand Prairie, Alberta took the Gold (Best of Nation) Medal for Canada in the heating and refrigeration skills category. Scheideman has just completed the fourth year of his refrigeration apprenticeship at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton and works for Albright Refrigeration Ltd. in Grand Prairie. He was one 27 members of Team Canada, representing one of the largest delegations Canada has ever sent to WorldSkills, with competitors entered in 32 of the 46 skills categories. In addition to the Gold in the Heating and


People The Ontario Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (ORAC), Mississauga, Ont., have announced the appointment of Mike Verge as managing director. An electrical engineer and MBA grad, Mike Verge Verge was previously with Marks Supply and Honeywell. The Canadian Hydronics Council, Mississauga, Ont., has honoured John Goshulak, vice president, sales and marketing, for Weil McLain Canada, Oakville, Ont., with its first CHC Award of Merit for his many activities in support of the hydronic heating industry including spearheading the Beautiful Heat campaign and a stint as CHC chairman. Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) chairman John Hammill, left, presents the group’s president, Ralph Suppa, with a plaque honouring his 25 years of service. Suppa joined CIPH on June 6, 1988, serving in a number of roles before being appointed president and general manager in 2002. Brad Arnold, president of Bradley Mechanical Services, Mississauga, Ont. has been designated a “Fellow OACETT”, the most significant designation offered by the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists, for, among other things, the development of the company’s Pipe Shield pipe lining technology and epoxy application software program. Aquatherm, Lindon, Utah, announces a number of appointments in the wake of the sudden and tragic death May 24 of Aquatherm president and CEO Steve Clark and his wife Susan when their motorhome went off a mountain road on a vacation trip. Clark’s son Adam will


Refrigeration category, Canadian competitors awarded 14 Medallions of Excellence. “Preparing for WorldSkills Leipzig 2013 has required months of training, hard work and dedication by the 35 young members who make up WorldSkills Team Canada 2013,” said Shaun Thorson, chief executive officer, Skills/Compétences Canada. “We are exceptionally proud of their outstanding performance and look forward to seeing their careers flourish. We are also grateful to our sponsors and partners for their ongoing support which is integral in building Canada’s skilled trade workforce.” Korea led the medal count at Leipzig with 23. WorldSkills is a biannual international event, which brings together the world’s most talented, young skilled trades and technology competitors. This year the event

assume the role of president and CEO. The company’s structure in Canada remains unchanged with Don Schneider as executive vice president of Canadian Sales.


Companies WWG Totaline has opened a new HVAC/R wholesale branch at 842 Fortune Crescent, Unit 1, in Kingston, Ont. Dale Berndt has been appointed branch manager. The company held a grand opening June 5. For more information, call (613) 384-0338 or visit www.wwgtotaline.ca. LIXIL Corporation, Tokyo Japan, has reached an agreement to acquire ASD Americas Holding Corp.,


ADVERTISERS Belimo .........................................................49 Bosch Thermotechnology.............................40 Bradford White Canada ...............................23 Brant Radiant...............................................43 Cash Acme ..................................................13 CIPH Road Show..........................................52 CMPX Show ................................................42 Cash Acme ..................................................13 Daikin ..........................................................26 Delta Faucet.................................................36 General Pipe Cleaners ..................................12 Hilmor ............................................5, 7, 9, 11 Honeywell/Genetron Div. ............................28 ICP...............................................................10 IPEX .................................................16, 34, 50 Liberty Pumps ..............................................41 Mitsubishi Electric ........................................32

Michael Scheideman competes. drew 1,000 competitors from 53 member countries and regions taking part, making it the largest competition of its kind. The next WorldSkills competition will be held in São Paulo, Brazil, in 2015.

the parent company of American Standard Brands, Piscataway, New Jersey. Bradley Mechanical, Mississauga, Ont., has been named to the Profit 500 List, which tracks Canada’s 500 quickest growing companies. Rinnai America Corp., Peachtree City, Georgia, has named Direct Air, Woodbridge, Ont. as the winner of its fourth annual Authorized Service Provider of the Year Award for the Canada. Emerson Swan, a manufacturers representative based in Randolph, Massachusetts, is expanding to Canada. Emerson Swan Canada ULC is based in Milton, Ont. and will represent products from Taco Commercial, Flow Design and Twin City Hose in the greater Toronto area (GTA). Allied Technical Services Inc. (ATS), Toronto, announces that Watts drainage products can now be specified across the Canadian Spec System, replacing existing J. R. Smith products for a consistent product offering in both the U.S. and Canada.

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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC



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■ Coming Events

CIPH announces cross-country trade show

As this photo from CIPHEX West 2010 in Calgary illustrates, trade shows offer an excellent opportunity to speak directly to manufacturers. The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) will host one-day plumbing and HVAC/R trade shows across the country this fall. The CIPHEX Roadshow series kicks off in Halifax Oct. 1, travels to Quebec City for Oct. 3, and then to Winnipeg Oct. 8 and wraps up in Edmonton Oct. 10. “We will have exhibitors from all sectors of the industry, including plumbing, hydronics, HVAC/R, water treatment, software, tools and equipment and more. The show hours are from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., making it convenient for visitors to take a couple of hours out of their day, during or after work, to attend,” reported CIPH Manitoba Region’s Dan Jones, (of Jones

Goodridge Inc., Winnipeg). Each trade show will include a seminar and the focus this year is on backflow. The Halifax event will take place at the Cunard Centre. Speaker Geno Pace, cross connection control instructor at Nova Scotia Community College, will present “Introduction to Backflow” from 3 to 4 p.m. He will cover the fundamentals of backflow devices, codes and the latest CSA standard. There are a number of other events around the show. On Sept. 30, CIPH Atlantic Region will host a golf tournament followed by an industry dinner featuring speakers Ted Ross, building code co-ordinator for Nova


Calendar AUG. 21-24:

OCT. 3:

HRAI Annual Meeting, The Westin Bayshore Hotel, Vancouver. Call Heather GrimoldbyCampbell at 1-800-267-2231, ext. 238 or visit www.hrai.ca for more information.

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Scotia and Sean Giberson (Taco), chairman of the Beautiful Heat hydronic heating campaign. As well, the Canadian Water Quality Association will hold a two-day Certified Practical Filtration and Membrane Technology Course Oct. 1-2. The Quebec City Roadshow will take place at Expocité on Oct. 3. Henri Bouchard, technical director for the Corporation of Master Pipe Mechanics of Quebec (CMMTQ) will present the “Introduction to Backflow” seminar in French from 3 to 4 p.m. From there, the Roadshow moves to the Winnipeg Convention Centre on Oct. 8, with Mike Zilinski, cross connection control inspector for the City of Winnipeg, hosting the backflow session from 3 to 4 p.m. CIPH Manitoba Region will hold an industry dinner the evening before the show. The Canadian Water Quality Association will hold a two-day course on Water Treatment Fundamentals Oct. 7-8. The final Roadshow for 2013 will take

place Oct. 10 at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Centre in Edmonton. The Introduction to Backflow seminar will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. However, a special second seminar is not to be missed! Sidney Manning, Alberta’s chief plumbing and gas inspector, will present a session titled Coping with the Alberta Flood – Lessons Learned, from 4 to 5 p.m. He will cover such topics as flooding and disaster relief, water re-use, water quality, uncertified equipment and compliance. CIPH Edmonton Region will hold a social media workshop Oct. 9 followed by an industry dinner. The Canadian Water Quality Association will again present its filtration and membrane technology course Oct. 9-10, also at the Ramada. Visit www.ciphexroadshow.com for more information and to register. Registration for the Roadshows is free and anyone registering before Sept. 15 is eligible for an early-bird draw for $50 Future Shop gift certificates. There will also be $1000 in prizes awarded at each Roadshow.


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July/August 2013 – Plumbing & HVAC


■ Shop Management

An explosive business situation DIY may not be the best approach for success by Ron Coleman In the May/June edition of this magazine, editor Simon Blake talked about “An explosive situation.” The article talked about amateurs doing the work of professionals in which the homeowner tries to save a few dollars with do-it-yourself (DIY) work on their air conditioning system. This got me thinking about this whole concept in another way. Do you remember the quote: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”? You see, I am seeing too many contractors taking very similar approaches to their own businesses. has a very strong trade/technical background. There are so many elements to running our Unfortunately the “wife” often doesn’t have the same businesses and in order to save money we either do them number of years in bookkeeping and administration. ourselves, get unqualified people to do them or we put And typically neither he nor the “wife” has experience them on the back burner. running a business. They are One of my current HVAC just like the homeowner who clients asked me to help him has no idea what it takes to understand why he isn’t Is your tech able to keep an air conditioning unit making enough money. The working. Trial and error seems company has six techs in make that call and put a quote to be the approach in each case. service and retrofit and a When the AC unit fails the construction division. For the (or even a budget quote) tohomeowner calls for help. past two months, I have been The question is, how long has asking him to give me a gether for the customer? that system been running proper breakdown of his inefficiently? The cost of the labour between the two inefficiency is huge. The life of the equipment is shorter, divisions. Each time that I get figures from him it is the operating costs higher and the homeowner is not patently obvious that they are wrong. getting the quality they should. Their accounting process seems to follow the adage It’s exactly the same when it comes to running your “garbage in; garbage out.” Who is at fault – the business. You buy Quick Books or Simply Accounting to bookkeeper that hasn’t really been trained in the process do your record keeping, and for many contractors that’s or the owner manager who isn’t sure exactly what he a good decision; the bad decision comes in trying to set wants or doesn’t know how to get it? it up without professional advice. You need to know Starting small what outcomes you want from the program before you Most HVAC businesses start small and the “wife” start using it. It needs to be set up to get you the desired becomes the bookkeeper/office manager while the outcome. How clear are you on what outcomes you need “husband” does the work. from your record keeping? A contractor can easily assess The husband is usually well trained in doing the work what size heating or cooling unit should go into a home, because that’s where he has spent his career. Likely he but can’t do the equivalent for their business.


Plumbing & HVAC – July/August 2013

Setting goals In last month’s article I talked about a variety of software programs to help you manage your business. I didn’t answer the question “which one is right for you?” because I don’t know specifically what you want. Do you? We also need to expand our thinking as owner/managers beyond these areas. We are in the business of making money (at least we are supposed to be). We do that by being HVAC/R or plumbing contractors. Are you looking at your business as a source of making money by providing valuable services to your customers? To do that, your techs need lots of training beyond the technical side of the business. They need to be trained in communicating with the customers. They need to be trained in sales in order to ensure that the customer is getting the right products and services for their needs. Equipment has a life cycle and needs to be replaced and upgraded. Is your tech able to make that call and put a quote (or even a budget quote) together for the customer? And when it comes to managing your people, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (www.hrai.ca) has an excellent human resources manual. So, if you do not have job descriptions for your people, if you do not have policies and procedures, if you do not do regular employee evaluations, what are you waiting for? An explosive situation? Running a business is far more involved than mastering the technical expertise. Go to conferences. Read your trade journals. Getting involved in business groups and your trade association and asking them for guidance and requesting education programs tailored to your needs is a great way to develop preventative maintenance for your business. After all, you do recommend preventative maintenance programs for your customers. Shouldn’t you be practicing what you preach? ✚ 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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