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

Maritime innovation

Extreme solar project in Lunenburg Spring Air Conditioning Issue

INSIDE ◆ Drain heat recovery ignored in green code ◆ Engineers association does some soul searching ◆ Educating public on plumbing critical ◆ Western wholesaler marks 100 years APRIL 2012

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■ Contents

MEET 2012 Show Issue

Departments Hot Seat .........................................5 Treading lightly

Industry News ..............................6 Uproar over drain heat recovery

Coming Events.............................45 Oilheat heads to Quebec

People & Places ...........................46 Western wholesaler marks 100 years

Shop Management......................49 Keeping on the straight and narrow

Products & Technologies Air Conditioning..........................13 Heating ........................................19 Controls........................................23 Refrigeration ...............................25

Harnessing the sun’s power

Extreme solar at Nova Scotia foundry

Features

Pipes, Valves & Fittings ...............29 Plumbing ......................................35 Faucets & Fixtures .......................39 Trucks for the Trade.....................40 Tools & Instruments ....................43

Practical applications

25

Refrigeration from heat in the real world

Little wonder

40

Ford’s tiny van gains converts

Cover photo: Atlantic Canada’s premier mechanical show, MEET 2012, will take place in Moncton May 2-3.

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Computer room conditioning

Keeping things cool year round

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

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A: Carrier

Comfort and innovation to the

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• Extra-Consistent Comfort The Infinity® series air conditioners with two-stage scroll compressor run on low-stage up to 80% of the time to maintain consistent comfort. Two-stage operation also contributes to reduced energy usage, helping achieve up to 21.0 SEER cooling efficiency. • Environmentally Sound Refrigerant Carrier® led the industry by incorporating non-ozonedepleting Puron® refrigerant into air conditioners back in 1996. Millions of Puron refrigerant units in operation today are a testament to the reliability, durability and enduring quality of these products. • Maximum Comfort and Peace of Mind By combining the intuitive Infinity control with the Infinity control board in the air conditioner itself, Carrier puts maximum comfort at your fingertips. Visit www.carrier.ca for more information.

th

degree.


■ Hot Seat

April 2012 Volume 22, Number 3 ISSN 1919-0395

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

Treading lightly Most of us try to do our part for the environment. And a lot of times it’s not just because it’s the right thing to do; it also makes sense from a business standpoint. Such is the case with Ford’s tiny Transit Connect cargo van. When it was introduced to the market three years ago many contractors were skeptical. It was darned small compared to a full-sized cargo van or even the GM Astro/Safari vans that had long been this industry’s “standard” small van. But with few other options a number of contractors purchased them and their technicians found a way to make them work. It required discipline in truck inventory and it meant relying more on the wholesaler to get larger pieces of equipment to the job site. And, surprise, surprise, when this truck was introduced the first thought was that it might work for busy downtown contractors. But the substantially improved fuel mileage has created fans among rural contractors too. One could say it’s all about reducing expenses. But it’s also about treading lightly on this planet – being able to go about one’s business with minimal impact. And it’s very much a shift that, while not enthusiastically embraced at first, it forced contractors to take a hard look at how their service techs were doing things and come up with a better way. Or in other words, did they really need to carry all that stuff around in their ¾ and one-ton vans? Every contractor is worried about the way fuel prices have increased so dramatically in recent months. In a still fragile economy and with a slow heating season due

to warm winter temperatures just behind us, it doesn’t help. (I sometimes wonder if this isn’t a chicken and egg situation. Are the analysts correct when they predict rapidly increasing fuel prices, or do the oil companies raise the prices because the analysts have already spread the bad news and there’s an opportunity?) Rapidly increasing fuel prices could easily plunge the economy into turmoil. Every contractor has to keep expenses under control. And when it comes to replacing trucks, a lower purchase price combined with lower operating costs might require a hard look at smaller vans. Manufacturers are betting on it – apparently a number of other small trade van models are in the works. On the other hand, in some cases it just won’t work. If you work up North, where wholesalers are few and far between and you have to deal with snow and mud, the heavy-duty van or truck may be the only ticket. But just as we try to sell our customers on making their buildings more efficient, we need to take a hard look at our own businesses to see if we couldn’t go about our work more efficiently. If we do something for the environment in the process, that’s a bonus!

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

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

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

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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. Copyright 2011. 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 (CPF) for our publishing activities. 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

Member

Canadian Business Press


■ Industry News

Drain water heat recovery ignored? Manufacturers want code recognition in Ontario By Simon Blake anufacturers are protesting after drain water heat recovery (DWHR) devices were left out of a “recipe book” for green residential construction by the Ontario government. Effective Jan. 1, the Ontario Building Code requires new homes to meet new energy conservation levels. The code’s Supplementary Standard SB-12 Compliance Path Tables provide builders with a relatively easy procedure to comply. Drain water heat recovery is not mentioned in those tables despite being Energy Star approved, tested by the National Research Council in Ottawa and already installed in about 20 percent of new homes in Ontario, according to manufacturers, who held a press conference March 1 in Kitchener, Ont. And they say that there is no clear process for getting products approved for inclusion in SB-12. “I thought that green manufacturing jobs were important to our government,” remarked Gerald Van Decker, president and CEO of Renewability Energy Inc. He said that he along with other manufacturers have been working with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for over a year to have the devices included. “We just get excuses as to why they are not in SB-12.” The guide was revised twice in the past year and “we were ignored both times,” he added. “Our industry is being put off stride by poor management of our building codes and standards,” added Dara Bowser, president of Bowser Technical Services, Kitchener, Ont. “Builders will follow SB-12 rather than the more difficult provisions in the Ontario Building Code… It adds a step in the critical timeline between purchase and construction.” “It’s an Ontario-grown technology,” said Derek Satnik, an engineer and managing director of Mindscape Innovations, Kitchener, Ont. “It’s tragic that drain water heat recovery is exporte to Europe, but not

M

approved in Ontario.” Decker expects the Ontario move will have a dramatic effect on sales and will require his company to reduce the 23-person workforce at its Kitchener plant.

Alternative paths However, in a written response to P&HVAC, Ministry officials noted that there are number of paths that homebuilders can take to comply with the new energy efficiency requirements. They would be in full compliance if they built their homes under the Energy Star or EnerGuide programs, both of which include drain water heat recovery. Ideally, the Ministry adds, any technologies specified in the SB-12 tables should have a CSA standard. And CSA will soon have a standard for drain water heat recovery devices. The public comment period for CSA Standard B55 closed on Dec. 25 and the standard is expected to be published by the end of 2012, reported CSA project manager Lauro Pilla, P.Eng. The Ministry has advised the manufacturer that once the CSA standard is published, it would consider adding the prescriptive tables to SB-12.

I thought that green manufacturing jobs were important to our government.

6

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2012

Tests carried out Six production drain water heat recovery devices were tested at The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology in Ottawa during 2005 and 2006. The tests found a benefit in homes where the shower is in regular use and developed an online energy savings calculator from those results, at www.ceatech.ca/calculator. “The performance of comparable units can vary widely based on the way in which the soft copper tube is shaped and then wrapped around the drainpipe section,” added officials for the Centre, which is jointly operated by Natural Resources Canada, the National Research Council and the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation. ✚

In Brief Ontario adopts WaterSense Ontario has adopted an established U.S. water efficiency labeling program. Products that earn the WaterSense label are certified to be at least 20 per cent more water efficient without sacrificing performance. Ontario-based manufacturers can now get their water efficient products certified and promoted under the program, which was created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Residential ventilation code updated CSA will publish a new version of the CSA F280-12 Standard for Sizing of Residential Heating and Cooling Systems, reports the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). Contractors had long complained that the existing standard was outdated because it didn’t account for today’s tighter homes and high efficiency equipment.

Apprenticeship ratio review Beginning in April, the Ontario College of Trades is reviewing apprenticeship ratios. This has long been a sore point with Ontario contractors as some mechanical trades require up to four journeymen for each apprentice. A three-person review panel for each trade will make the decision. For more information, visit www.collegeoftrades.ca or call 1-855-299-0028 toll free.

Oil code changes planned The CSA B139 Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment is being revised to include fuel oil storage tanks of all sizes, reports HRAI. In the late ’90s Ontario developed its own oil code and Quebec is considering doing the same because some tank sizes are not covered in the current version. This change means increasing the scope of the code to cover residential and commercial buildings along with oil-fired generators. The next version of the B139 code will be published in 2014.

New hydronic code It would be fair to say that things have been busy over at CSA. In January the standards organization published the 2012 version of the B214 Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems. This code was first published in 2001 and then substantially revised for 2007.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca


ASHRAE rebrands as building technology evolves ne of the industry’s oldest organizations has grown beyond the narrow confines of HVAC/R engineering and rebranded itself to reflect the change. And just saying “The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers” can be a mouthful, admitted ASHRAE president and staff scientist, Ron Jarnagin. So, from now on, the organization will simply be known by its acronym – ASHRAE, he announced recently. And that comes with a new slogan – Shaping Tomorrow’s Built Environment Today, along with a new logo. Getting to that point took considerable effort, said ASHRAE president elect for 2012-2013, Tom Watson, chief engineer for McQuay International in Staunton, Virginia. “We spent a lot of time surveying the membership,” he added, noting that over 3,000 people were consulted. At one point the ASHRAE committee even looked at dropping the “A” because the organization has become truly international. However, besides the fact that “SHRAE” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, “there was a strong desire, particularly from Asia, to keep the ‘A,’” said Watson.

O

The brand needed to evolve because ASHRAE is not just about HVAC/R systems anymore, said Jarnagin. “If you walk around ASHRAE today, people talk about the whole building.” As well, the membership has expanded beyond engineers to include building management personnel, contractors, designers, etc. “Just as integrated design is the cornerstone of sustainable buildings, ASHRAE members create an integrated body of knowledge to make buildings as high performing as possible,” said Jarnagin. This includes things like commissioning, building automation, indoor environmental quality for buildings and aircraft, energy efficiency and the smart grid initiative. ASHRAE is also working on a standard for smart buildings; a key step in the development of sustainable building technology. “We will not have a truly smart grid until we have smart buildings,” he noted Probably the most visible change will be the new logo, which incorporates the slogan. It replaces the “ice crystal” logo that was created when the American Society of Refrigerating Engineers and American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers merged to form ASHRAE in 1959. ✚

World Plumbing Day was celebrated across Canada March 11. In Vancouver, CIPH B.C. Region’s Tim Main (Xylem), left, receives the World Plumbing Day Proclamation from Mayor Gregor Robertson at a city council meeting.

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■ Letters

Educating the public critical Editor’s Note: Plumbing columnist Mark Evans received the following letter in response to his World Plumbing Day article in the March issue. Dear Mark, I wanted to take a brief moment to commend you on your recent, heartfelt article, “Sober thoughts on World Plumbing Day.” Not only did you manage to effectively relay your genuine passion for the trade, but you tidily brought to light the numerous pet peeves I’ve long carried with me with respect to the general public’s mislead perceptions about the essential service that is plumbing. Having my father as a well-respected master plumber back when I was still in diapers has provided me with exposure to most every facet of the plumbing & mechanical trade, but new construction was always the bread and butter of his company’s revenue stream. Although he would delve in occasional service work, his general mantra was “we don’t do service.” In a nutshell, once we tackled the project requirements, we were – for all intents and purposes – “out of there”…with minimal end-user feedback about their knowledge of what really goes on behind those walls where the water magically comes out.

Now that I’m on my own, I’ve been dipping my toe in residential service. Although I’ve long been aware of the general negative stereotypes and public perception of the “lowly” plumber, it’s not until recently that I experienced a shocking revelation: The general public really doesn’t have a clue as to how intricate and essential plumbing can

It’s not until recently that I experienced a shocking revelation: The general public really doesn’t have a clue as to how intricate and essential plumbing can be. be. And I can’t count how many strange, disbelieving looks I’ve accumulated since trying to explain that proper plumbing is a matter of health and safety; that poor or incorrect connections or configuration could actually prove to be deadly. I had recently gotten into a conversation with a

customer, explaining what it means to be a “licensed plumber,” the thousands of necessary apprenticeship hours, months of schooling, and grueling written examination necessary to earn such an official badge. The gentleman was dumbfounded and in disbelief. His initial perception of my “certification” was the result of a night school course that I had taken! Back to your article: I think these sort of enlightenments typical to the facts and ideas you’re conveying are essential to expose to the general public…and it’s got nothing to do with egostroking. Rather, it’s to inform and educate how critical proper plumbing truly is, and that in many circumstances, the end user should seek the services of an experienced, licensed, and insured plumbing professional. It’s up to us to show them that “Home Depot’s” over-emphasized chant: “You can do it, we can help” does not always ring true, and could ultimately encourage some pretty ugly consequences. All the best, Frank Spatone Excel Plumbing & Mechanical Solutions Toronto

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April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

9


■ Building Green

Harnessing the

sun’s power

unenburg, Nova Scotia, a U N E S C O World Heritage community, is well known for its beautiful historic homes, a history of shipbuilding and of course, the famous Bluenose, the fastest sailing ship of its type in the world. In 1888, there were nearly 5,000 fishermen that called Lunenburg County home. There were 191 bankers (schooners) that caught millions of pounds of fish annually. If that introduction creates a bit of confusion, rest assured that I will continue to focus on the subject of heating. In fact, I am going to begin with the name of a manufacturer – Lunenburg Industrial Foundry & Engineering Ltd. – that developed its reputation beginning in 1891 by manufacturing cast iron wood stoves for houses, boats and camps, one of which was the well known “Sardine”. Their pattern makers also created many elegant kitchen and parlor stoves. Thousands of their Lunenburg one-lunger single cylinder makeand-break marine engines were sold to fishermen far and wide. A reputation for quality has allowed Lunenburg Foundry to survive two world wars and become successful in manufacturing products that have served local and world wide marine and industrial markets.

L

Nova Scotia foundry develops extreme solar application By Art Irwin

basement. The massive warm air furnace was either Gurney by American Standard, Anthes Imperial or Lunenburg Foundry. The Lunenburg product had a much heavier heat exchanger than many manufacturers. Throughout the years, the popularity

Pioneer heating manufacturer My first exposure to the Lunenburg Foundry name, after I graduated from heating school back in the days of yesteryear, occurred whenever I walked into a church or school

10

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2012

Mirrors reflect and amplify heat from the sun.

of these furnaces diminished with the introduction of more options in the hot water heating marketplace. But Lunenburg Foundry had no problem competing with the nationals and multinationals. The Kinley name has had a long association with the Foundry. J. J. Kinley was president in 1912. He later became town mayor and was elected to the provincial legislature in 1916. In 1935, he was elected to the House of Commons and appointed to the Senate in 1945. His son J. James Kinley, Jr. then became president of Lunenburg Foundry and later lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia. His son Peter is now president and CEO of the company. Like their father, Peter and his brother Edward are professional engineers. Today, Lunenburg Foundry is ISO 9001:2008 registered and continues to be very busy with ship repairs. It specializes in propulsion systems, manufacturing propellers, machining and casting services, steering systems and marine engine sales and service and casting brass items large and small.

A new idea Known for their “never sitting idle” reputation, Peter Kinley thrives on challenges. Diversity and flexibility are deeply embedded in the culture of the business. And a simple thought has become a scientific breakthrough in the world of solar. One evening while Kinley and his wife were watching the opening of the Turin, Italy Winter Olympics on television, the lighting of the ceremonial flame gave

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Which melts the metal in the crucible. (Photos by Art Irwin)

Peter Kinley displays some of the foundry’s products.

him an inspiration. All of the flames were fired from one torch on Mount Olympus. The thought process began to evolve. He wondered if they can raise something like that to ignition temperature, why couldn’t he use that to melt metal? With the high cost of fuel oil, he wanted to find a renewable source of energy for the foundry to reduce his energy costs. There were several solar projects in the works, but the temperatures fell short of those needed to melt metal in a foundry. They built their first prototype – Alpha – in 2006, using polished stainless steel sheets as mirrors to amplify the sun’s rays. On their first attempt they hit 407 degrees Celsius and melted babbitt, a metal made from lead and zinc that is used as a bearing surface. Kinley then contacted the National Research Council to see if others were involved in similar research, but it appeared that his organization was the only one worldwide. He then realized his findings had a great potential.

When heating water, a wet receiver is used which is a metal manifold – a metal block or heat exchanger with internal passageways – and is placed in the same location. The water is heated as it passes through the manifold. As they continue to fine-tune their progress, project staff have been working with Dalhousie University in Halifax to create a computer model of the temperatures that the current system, Gamma II, has generated. It has reached recorded temperatures of 1,800C, but it is felt the temperatures actually get much higher. This has not been proven because the platinum thermocouples used to measure the temperature can only withstand temperatures up to 1,755C after which they melt. There were signs of vaporization when the Gamma II melted iron recently, and that happens at 2,800C. They are now looking at the potential to commercialize the Gamma II by making it more automated and to provide solar heat in houses by heating water for hydronic systems. Kinley and project engineer Garrett Dooley are also working with the Faculty of Engineering at Dalhousie University on a method to optimize the curvature of the mirrors to achieve a tighter focal point – resulting in increased temperatures. They are also working with the National Research Council, the University of New

Dual mirror system The project has been named Prometheus, for the Greek mythological character that stole fire from Zeus and gave it to people. The name was adopted as a code word for the project for patent protection. In 2008, Peter Kinley was granted a

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patent for Prometheus’s ‘Kinley Dual Mirror System.’ The simple two-stage method captures the sun’s energy on a large primary mirror and reflects the sun’s rays into a smaller or secondary parallel mirror. From there, the light is reflected back into a solar concentrator device. The mirrors are multi-positional and each can be moved with a microelectric logic controller with a touch

A simple thought has become a scientific breakthrough in the world of solar. screen. By widening the focus, this can control the spread of incident light, which enables them to increase or decrease its intensity. The Foundry’s project team has also developed a water heating system that can be plugged into the concentrator platform and produces super heated steam. When casting metal, the raw metal is placed in a crucible sitting on the concentrator platform and heated to the melting temperature and poured from the crucible into a mold.

Brunswick and Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (formerly Alberta Research Council), which has partnered with Lunenburg Foundry to test and verify the company’s findings, as well as provide a demonstration location for potential investors. A fourth stakeholder from India purchased the first production model, which was shipped to them in February this year.

Powerful solar generator The Solar 4600 model will generate 4,600 watts of thermal energy. It features a .75 square metre primary mirror and an advanced microelectronic logic controller with touch screen controls so it can easily run independent of the power grid. The system automatically follows the sun and can be mounted on a fixed base or a mobile trailer. It is expected to list for about $15,000, which makes it competitive with some other types of ‘green’ heating. Over a 100 years and counting, the sharply honed intellect of Lunenburgers continues to create innovative heating solutions. ✚ Arthur A. Irwin operates Irwin Energy Consulting Services in Halifax. He can be reached at irwin.a@ns.sympatico.ca.

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

11


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■ Air Conditioning Ductless mini-splits have become popular for computer rooms. This unit worked fine on cloudy days, but it appears the salesman didn’t notice the skylights.

Computer room

conditioning

Or how to keep things cool, even in winter

By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson

W This chart shows the basic design points the contractor needs to keep in mind.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

hen the computer age arrived in a big way in the early 80’s there was an almost immediate necessity for temperature control of computer rooms. As times moved forward and mainframe designs became smaller, equipment could be stacked on racks, which produced even more heat, pushing the room temperature well over the computer manufacturers’ maximum recommended temperature of 27ºC (80ºF). The choice for computer room cooling over the years has gone from large dedicated roof equipment package systems, to water cooled splits on city water or cooling towers (these are still used widely but have higher installation and maintenance costs), to the lower cost of residential style split systems. Recently ductless mini-split systems have become a popular choice. This is largely due to the ability to locate equipment in small areas, lower noise levels and a lower cost of installation and operation. Adding winter controls to these systems, if they were not provided from

the factory, enables the equipment to run exterior to the building in cold conditions. Some creative techs have installed the condenser section of these units in the return air space of the

What you save up front will be spent several times over in “fix-itagain” operations! building’s suspended ceiling. The heat rejected from the computer room is then distributed through the main distribution system for “free” heat in the winter. Remember though, some units may not have any residual memory to restart if there is a power failure!

Lower operating costs More business owners are looking for lower operating expenses. These energy

Please see ‘economizer’ on page 15

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

13


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■ Air Conditioning

Cooling with an economizer Continued from page 13

for the returned building air. The enthalpy controls will monitor humidity levels and if the outdoor air, while cool, is too humid the mechanical cooling will then be brought on line. Some building codes also require a carbon dioxide (CO2) monitor to read the air quality in the building space and override the modulating economizer to provide fresh air into the space as well.

costs are looked at regularly when going over the monthly expenses. The cost of their server rooms are talked about in general, along with the expenses and stress they endured in repairs to their equipment in the past year. If a company has aging equipment they may well be in the market to replace a system with more efficient equipment that also has a reduced annual cost and less maintenance. Design factors One such way in a dedicated application is to use an Computer server rooms should operate at 70ºF to 74ºF economizer as it brings cool or cold (21-23ºC) at 45 to 48 percent air from outside into the building, relative humidity. Air conditioning mixes it with the conditioned air controls should be selected that from the interior and then ducts it work with a plus/minus one into the computer room. In the degree maximum temperature Canadian and northern U.S. states swing. In these systems it must be temperatures in the early fall until stated to refrain from the cheapest late spring are cool enough to temper product available. What you save off the heat within a computer room up front will be spent several times if we can bring it into the building over in “fix-it-again” operations! filtered. We can provide this cold air Cooling towers are widely used in Computer room cooling is made at almost no cost in comfort level this application. up of sensible, not latent, cooling into the computer room, providing (Baltimore Aircoil photo) load. Sensible heat is said to be the economic gains. transfer of thermal energy to or To control this type system it will need to have two from a substance resulting in a change in temperature. enthalpy controllers, one for the outdoor air and one Latent heat is thermal energy absorbed or evolved in a

process other than a change in temperature. Too much humidity will cause paper to not feed properly in machines, discomfort for occupants, condensation, etc. On the other hand, too low of a relative humidity can cause static, the shock from which can damage computers. Humidity and temperature should be monitored and alarms, with an outside power source, should be installed to alert users if there is a problem. Remember the accessories cut out of the project at the beginning to get the job may just be the weak link at the end! In these systems low ball pricing will hurt both you and your soon to be ex-customer. ✚

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.

TM

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

15


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■ Air Conditioning High-Efficiency HVAC The Multi V Mini from LG is a zoned single phase ductless split system that will provide home owners with the benefits of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology. These include lower operating costs, minimal or no ductwork and superior comfort with room zoning. This twopipe heat pump system is available in capacities of three, four and 4.4 tons with up to 9 zones. LG Electronics u www.lg.com/ca

electric), cooling options (packaged DX, chilled water or split DX) and an optional energy wheel. It flows up to 9,500 cfm. Greenheck u www.greenheck.com

chiller’s refrigerant charge by as much as 30 percent compared to conventional designs. Johnson Controls u www.johnsoncontrols.com

Variable-speed screw chiller The York YVWA water-cooled screw chiller from Johnson Controls is designed to cut energy costs and carbon emissions by as much as 30 percent. The variable-speed drive saves energy during the 99 percent of operating hours spent at off-design conditions, when building loads and/or tower-water temperatures are lower. It uses HFC-134a refrigerant and Johnson Controls proprietary falling-film evaporator reduces the

Efficient condensing unit The Rheem Prestige Series 18-SEER condensing unit has been named to the first ever Energy Star Most Efficient Products list. With innovative communicating technology and premium features, this product achieves efficiencies up to 19.5-SEER and 14-EER. It also offers Rheem’s Comfort Control2 System (CC2S) as a standard feature. This allows the unit to be matched with a Rheem CC2S-equipped furnace and 500 Series thermostat to optimize energy efficiency. Rheem Canada u www.rheem.com

Mini-split drain sensor The AquaGuard AG-9300-U universal mini-split drain sensor from Resource Conservation Technologies is specifically developed to be compatible with all major m a nu f a c t u re r s’ mini-split systems currently on the market. The compact control box and probe are designed to fit inside the indoor mini-split unit and are powered by a long life lithium battery, which can last up to the life of the mini-split unit, reports the manufacturer. Resource Conservation Tech. u www.rctus.com.

Packaged rooftop ventilator The RV/RVE rooftop ventilator from Greenheck is designed to fully condition and control any mixture of outdoor and return air. The pre-engineered system features two-inch double-wall construction, direct-drive plenum fans, heating options (indirect gas furnace, hot water or

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When it comes to refrigerants, Arkema has everything you need. … Need R-22? In an uncertain market, we’re positioned to meet our customers’ needs. … Need R-22 retrofits? We have great retrofits for AC and refrigeration. … Need to source product globally? We produce on a global scale. … Have a complicated technical challenge or a question from the field? Our Technical Services staff is ready to help. So make Arkema’s Forane® “shop” a must stop the next time you need refrigerant. It’s the only stop you’ll need to make! For more information call 416-614-3610 or 1-800-567-5726 or visit us on the web at www.forane-us.com

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■ Heating

AVOIDING CONFLICT

Keep it simple – best practices for hydronic heating design By Roy Collver

Control work for boilers and hot water heating systems used to be pretty easy in the days when the boiler was designed to run continually at high temperatures along with the heating terminal units. These two main components were married by the common water temperature requirements where the boiler manufacturer wanted to see the boiler run continually at 180°F and the heating designer sized the baseboard to operate at that temperature in the cold weather. To make matters even easier – when DHW was required, they just popped a tankless coil into the boiler and left it running at 180°F – forever. You had one of two choices: have the thermostat fire the boiler (no tankless coil), or have the thermostat turn on the circulator (tankless coil), as in Fig. 1. Then everything changed. The “fancy people” decided to add zones to the system because they wanted more comfort. Still not satisfied, they decided to use an indirect tank because it was supposed to be more efficient. So now you had a whole bunch of pumps or zone valves instead of just one pump and you had thermostats all over the house. Somehow you had to explain to the electrician how to wire it up when you didn’t have a clue yourself. Sometimes the result was less than satisfactory, as in Fig. 2.

A learning experience Slowly, the plumber/gasfitter/steamfitter trades came to the realization that they had better learn how to do this stuff themselves. Technical training courses started to take place;

Fig 2: Try explaining this to an electrician! offered by unions, trade schools and controls manufacturers. I was part of that early effort and it has really paid off – we have come a long way. Over the last 20 to 30 years, we have learned how to use some valuable electrician’s tools to help us keep things organized and clear. Perhaps the single most valuable tool is the wiring diagram. My early background in the trades was heavy into HVAC, commercial boilers and industrial combustion. I was fortunate to have some of the best teachers (Barry Bowman, Al McLean, Union Gas). I learned the “language” of electrical schematics earlier than most, and I have been fortunate over the years to be able to pass that knowledge on to those eager to learn. Those unwilling to learn have fallen far behind. Fig. 3 shows a very basic wiring diagram – you should be able to figure out how this system works at a glance. With a bit more study you should be able to

figure out the two very simple wiring changes necessary to give the system DHW priority. After that, it gets a bit more challenging. If you want to turn the boiler on and off on a call for heat, there are a number of choices – try to come up with some. I’m not suggesting that you are going to do the wiring yourself unless your trades license allows you to, but it is essential that you understand how the system works so you can troubleshoot AND explain it to the electrician. If you can sketch out a wiring diagram like this, then you can avoid many headaches. The bonus is that it helps you fully understand the sequence of operation – something that has now become absolutely necessary. Over the years the industry has come up with some really clever ways to deal with increasing system

Please see ‘Communication’ on page 21

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■ Heating complicated when the boiler people inevitably salivate over what they perceive to be “easy money” in making their own controls and decide to go it alone. This is going to take many years to sort out. Meanwhile, more than ever, you will have to educate yourself on each product’s capabilities and determine how to design your system around those capabilities. Clearly understand what comes “on board” with each product and don’t fall prey to the “over-build” scenario where you end up with overlapping and conflicting controls from different appliances. Look for a manufacturer that can offer a complete system solution. We need a common industry “cross platform” control protocol if we want to continue to have the freedom to select system components from multiple manufacturers and suppliers, and I don’t think I will see it in my lifetime. ✚

Fig. 4

Communication breakdown Continued from page 19 complexity. Drawing the wiring diagram in Fig. 3 can be used to choose one of the many pre-built relay boxes that are on the market. These devices have clearly marked terminals and detailed wiring instructions that allow you to hook up a system like this very quickly in a neat and tidy way. They have been a big help to many of us over the years. But the HVAC world is being turned upside down yet

again and this time the adjustment isn’t quite so easy.

A modern system

Let’s have a look at a modern hydronic system designed to give us optimum energy efficiency and maximum comfort. The system in Fig. 4 is really quite simple if you have a capable central controller, but who gets control? Just about every boiler today (certainly the modulating boilers) come equipped with a microprocessor control, but increasingly boiler manufacturers are expanding the system control functionality of their products. Built-in outdoor reset, DHW priority, staging, load pump switching, multi-temperature control – it goes on and on. Meanwhile, other equipment manufacturers are doing the same – the fan coil people, the DHW tank people, humidifier people – AND you have the traditional DDC people going downscale, while players like tekmar, Uponor and others are moving upscale to supply mini building management systems. This is all good news and gives us amazing choices, but if you don’t watch what you are doing you can find yourself in Fig. 3 A basic wiring diagram is the first step a real mess. Back to school once more. in understanding the controls.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Peachland, B.C. He can be reached at hoth2o@shaw.ca

I think that boiler manufacturers are going to have to work out how to best play well with others, but right now this seems like too big a challenge. Some control manufacturers have anticipated this and have offered to collaborate – and sell their controls to the boiler people – but it gets

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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e even ven e exchange xchange

Ho Honeywell neywell h has as ssolutions olutions tto o rreplace eplace R R-22. -22. The pressure is on to phase out R-22. Now is the per fect time to switch to a Honeywell Genetron non - ozone - depleting alternative for your A / C or refrigeration applic ation. For A / C, c onsider Genetron ® 407C or 422D. For Refrigeration, c onsider Genetron ® Per formax™ LT, Genetron 422D, 404A or 507. Talk to your Honeywell distributor today to understand your options and hand-pick the R-22 replacements that will work for you.

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Get smart Ecobee unveiled the latest version of its residential smart thermostat Jan. 23 at the AHR Expo in Chicago. The Smart Si thermostat offers such high This smart thermostat saves tech stuff as remote connectivity energy without the need for the anytime from anywhere via computer, iPhone, smart phone or tablet and homeowner to program it. includes a high resolution color display, an intuitive user interface and sleek buttons. It is Wi-Fi enabled, so the homeowner can make adjustments on the go, if they really want that kind of involvement with their HVAC system. The built-in live weather function along with advanced algorithms allows the homeowner to see that they are saving the maximum possible amount of energy. And this being a smart thermostat, it does that on its own without the need for the homeowner to program it. An intuitive user interface makes it easy to quickly set a personalized program, make adjustments or create new vacation events. Automatic alerts and reminders notify the homeowner, and/or contractor, when the HVAC equipment is due for service. Ecobee u www.ecobee.com

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Chiller control The new USE Controller â&#x20AC;&#x201C; AC from US Energy Group is designed to provide precise monitoring and control of steam-driven chiller functions. It uses the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Building Energy Management System (BEMS) and draws upon indoor and outdoor temperatures to control a central chiller plant to match designated set-points, increasing efficiency and reducing the fuel needed to provide air conditioning throughout the building. US Energy Group u www.use-group.com

Reduce wiring woes The Add-A-Wire thermostat accessory from Venstar allows the easy addition of extra wiring to virtually any 24-volt thermostat in applications where additional wiring otherwise cannot be added. Much easier than running new wires, it is designed to allow 24-volt five-wire residential and commercial thermostats to work with only four wires and allows five wires to work like six wires. In fact, adding a second unit allows five wires to work like seven wires. Venstar u www.venstar.com

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■ Refrigeration REFRIGERATION FROM HEAT, PART III

Practical applications Need for new efficiencies will drive technology

By Greg Scrivener

W

e’ve spent the last couple of articles going over the basic theory behind some of the heat powered refrigeration cycles. This part of the industry is growing and will continue to grow because energy efficiency requirements are driving innovation in heat recovery and alternative energy applications. Where do we see these technologies being used today and where might they show up in the future? The most common application is probably still the conventional fuel fired absorption chillers. However, this technology seems often ignored, I suspect, mainly due to the low electrical utility rates we have enjoyed throughout most of North America. There has also been a lack of knowledge and skilled technicians available to maintain and repair the machines. Most people in the industry will tell you unequivocally that absorption and adsorption systems cost more to operate than their vapour compression counterparts.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

refrigeration equipment is prohibitively expensive. A good example of this is at Golden Town Apple Products in Thornbury, Ont. To deal with a new process load, they installed the eight five-ton Robur natural gas absorption units. D-B Cooling Systems of Barrie, Ont. did the equipment selection and coupled these chillers with a fluid cooler in order to realize a four-month payback on the absorption system compared to the equivalent vapour compression chiller. Opportunities such as this exist in many places and absorption units are often overlooked. Similarly, many farms and rural businesses do not often have access to three-phase power. This really limits the available sizes of individual refrigeration systems. In some applications, a combination of vapour compression and natural gas absorption systems would work very well to meet the refrigeration demand while staying within the confines of the services that are available on site. Let’s take a look. The table in Fig. 1 on page 27 shows a rough comparison between a one-ton vapour compression machine and a one-ton absorption machine burning natural gas. Surprisingly, it shows absorption being slightly less expensive to operate. However, there are obviously dozens of assumptions we could make that would change the results in this table. We could change the COPs (coefficient of performance), assume higher priced natural gas and/or cheaper electricity, or we could be more accurate with the energy required for ancillary systems, to name a few. The point isn’t to say that absorption systems are better and less expensive to operate; often they are not. The point is that before we discount heat powered refrigeration technology, we should do our homework and examine the particular case we are interested in.

Limited electricity One case where there is often a good opportunity to install absorption chillers is where getting the electrical service upgraded for additional

Adding solar The connection of hot water solar collectors to an adsorption or absorption chiller is another relatively common application. This type of system usually works well in comfort cooling applications since changes in the capacity of the system, which are dictated by the amount of solar energy the collectors can absorb, mimics the cooling load of a building. More sun equals a higher load and more capacity. This is, of course, an oversimplification; in actual fact the peak load on a building’s cooling system is delayed because of the thermal mass of the building and the time it takes for the heat transfer to occur. It’s not uncommon to see a building with a peak cooling load occurring in the early evening. Nonetheless, compared to a refrigeration application whose peak cooling requirements could occur when it’s dark out and could occur in the winter, it’s a pretty good fit. These systems are mostly popping up in European and Asian

Please see ‘Alternate’ on page 27

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

25


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■ Refrigeration Fig. 1: This table compares vapour compression with natural gas fired absorption, using utility costs and CO2 data from Saskatchewan.

Alternate heat refrigeration strategies Continued from page 25 increases the net refrigerating effect of a system and thereby decreases the power requirements of the compressors. A grocery store in New York State has installed a CHP system such as this with an estimated payback of under 10 years. In England, results as high as 20 percent reductions in primary energy consumption have been published.

countries that have a significant number of cooling days. At least one manufacturer is building adsorption chillers almost exclusively for this application. In a number of jurisdictions there are grants and energy rebates for operating combined heat and power systems (CHP). These systems use a natural gas or diesel engine to generate both power and heat. Alternate paths The theory is that the costs associated with the There are many different ways that these heat distribution losses in the power grid are negated by powered refrigeration technologies can be generating power on site and recovering the heat. implemented. Now that we’ve discussed using heat We are not going to go through the merits of the to power an absorption (or adsorption) cycle to CHP systems here, except to note subcool liquid in a CHP application, they are often of limited use in what’s stopping us from moving forward applications that do not require the and using the chilled water generated in a heat. To take advantage of this heat, a solar refrigeration system to do the same? number of supermarkets are piloting Consider an outdoor air cooled tri-generation systems. This means refrigeration system. In most places in that a CHP system is running Canada they are designed to operate in at (typically on natural gas) and least a 95°F ambient. This results in a generating power, hot water, and cold These solar collectors design condensing temperature of 110°F water. The cold water is generated by are used for a solar or higher. using a portion of the heat to power adsorption plant inOne of the problems I deal with an absorption chiller. frequently is the imbalance of condensing stallation in Japan. One of the most common ways to (Mayekawa photo) unit capacity and evaporator capacity for utilize the resulting cold water is to use outdoor condensing units that serve a it to subcool the liquid refrigerant in the main small number of loads. The condensing unit must refrigeration plant. Subcooling liquid refrigerant be sized to provide the design load on the hottest day,

but it almost never runs at those conditions. Consequently, the unit can be grossly oversized for winter operations. If we were able to implement a solar refrigeration system to provide subcooling on the very hot days, we might be able to get a much better load balance and decrease the size of our equipment. There are more heat recovery and energy savings applications for heat generated refrigerating systems than could possibly be mentioned here. Are we at a point where a contractor can order anything they can dream up and install it next week? We’re not. Right now there are not a lot of options for mass produced components and systems, particularly for small applications, but that will change. When it does, I think it would be prudent for all of us to brush of on our adsorption and absorption refrigeration skills. We are going to need them. ✚

Greg Scrivener is project and design manager for a 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.

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■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings Insulation doesn’t have to be ugly, as this installation at Wheaton College illustrates.

Pipe insulation

operation and would go on to save a total of $987,000 over the ensuing 20 years. Not only is this story concerning in terms of best practices with mechanical systems, it should give pause to any of us who pay taxes.

An easy path to significant energy savings?

Value engineering

By Bruce Nagy

A stainless steel jacket protects the pipe and insulation from the elements in this rooftop air supply system.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

hey’re the Rodney Dangerfields and Homer Simpsons among the trades. They don’t get a lot of respect. But being a ‘mouldie’ has come a long way from slapping a jacket around a pipe or duct, then sending a bill. Today’s mechanical insulation technicians are helping companies achieve heroic energy savings through comprehensive building audits. They are clever detectives using sophisticated equipment like the forensics that the glamour cops on television crime shows use. And lest you consider this last comparison inappropriate, a few of the cases of wasted energy in plumbing and HVAC infrastructure are seen by some as bordering on criminal. For example, a hospital that shall remain unnamed completed construction during 2011 and chose shortterm savings over long-term economics. Few will be shocked by this; we’ve all seen it before. But the dollar amounts involved should be a wakeup call. In this case the brand new hospital, costing millions to build, decided to leave its pipes un-insulated to save about $75,000 up front. It did this despite a detailed analysis that established with near zero doubt that through energy savings it would recoup the $75,000 within the first 19 months of

T

Are these numbers a lot of hype? Not in the modern age of so-called ‘value engineering.’ Like most of the building trades, mechanical insulators are required to undertake precise audits. Denis Beaudin, director of service techniques at Quebec’s Glass-Cell Isofab uses an infrared thermographic camera to pinpoint system vulnerabilities around valves, strainers, cleanouts, couplings, tanks, pipes, and ducts. Into an audit software program he feeds the temperature leak data, piping material, boiler efficiency, energy costs, hours of operation, ambient temperatures, types of insulation if present, and other information. The program provides detailed breakdowns on what should be added or replaced including materials, thicknesses, locations, costs, energy savings in BTUs, dollars, CO2 reduction, NOx reduction, carbon equivalent reduction and payback in months. The last item deserves note. We’re not talking about payback in decades here. “Payback on insulation is 3-12 months,” says Mike MacDonald, vice-president of InsulEnergy in Sackville, Nova Scotia. “Even in the worst case on a few big jobs, payback is less than three years. Meanwhile we have governments creating programs to buy thousands of light bulbs and give them away, saving people five dollars. I say get a grip and insulate your pipes.”

Please see ‘Robust’ on page 31

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

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Robust demand for insulators Continued from page 29 Practitioners contacted throughout North America for this article and officials at both the Thermal Insulation Association of Canada (TIAC) and the National Insulation Association (NIA) confirmed the estimates. NIA president Alec Rexroat of M&O Insulation Co. in Homewood, Illinois says: “Last fall we did an outdoor steam line with mineral wool plus an aluminum jacket and the owner wrote a cheque for the job 70 days later. He said the cash was already 100 percent covered by his energy savings…In another case we did a tank farm of 129 tanks in a petrochemical facility. It was using three high-pressure boilers. After we insulated they took two of them out.”

Audit tells the tale Most insulation survives over time as long as the building survives, but if it is damaged, removed and not replaced, or just plain ancient, then problems occur. In 2010 Beaudin brought his Fluke Ti 55 thermal imaging camera and his 3E+ computer app and conducted an audit of the 80-year-old Canada Life building on

We have governments creating programs to buy thousands of light bulbs and give them away, saving people five dollars. I say get a grip and insulate your pipes.

University Avenue in Toronto. His analysis showed that a lot of mechanical system components were uninsulated and that the insulated sections were mostly performing at between 17 percent and 50 percent efficiency. Many other older buildings suffer from similar deficiencies. “For example there are thousands of un-insulated valves in thousands of buildings. Just one 149ºC six-

along with pre-insulated piping. Manufacturers have been publishing case studies that try to show that some of the new tank insulation materials save more than enough labour to justify their added cost. Pre-insulated pipes have been judged by many in the industry as a little on the expensive side as well, and in a few cases efficiency claims have been challenged.

inch low-pressure steam valve at Canada Life had been left un-insulated for seven years. The ambient temperature was 27ºC and the heat loss was about 26 million Btu’s per year. Adding one inch of insulation would reduce heat loss by 88 percent to about three million Btu’s, two inches would drop this to 1.77 million Btu’s.” Beaudin’s team added or replaced thousands of linear feet of insulation with 1.5” to 3.5” mineral fiberglass plus .015 PVC jacketing, increasing the efficiency of pipes, valves, flanges, strainers, bonnets, tanks, and booster pumps. Removable micro-flex covers were used as needed so maintenance personnel could access equipment and replace insulation easily. The improvements save 526 million Btu’s each year or just over $14,000. Because This valve in the Canada Life building was left uninsulated after a repair and the total cost of the job became a major source of energy loss. was about $27,000, payback was 23 months. “For underground work pre-insulated pipes make a lot of sense,” said Guy Belisle, president of Belform Unsung but uncomplaining Insulation in London, Ontario. His company does work Although the business of mechanical insulation seems for the large petrochemical operations near Sarnia and a little underappreciated, business is pretty robust. helped re-build Chapman’s Ice Cream near Business on the Prairies and in the Maritimes is Collingwood, Ontario after a recent fire. booming due to the health of their oil, gas and mining Ron Milich, training co-ordinator for the Skills industries. Ontario, Quebec and B.C. are Canada Training Trust Fund of Alberta, says strengthening too. insulators are using the new tapes and coatings to get “Up in the oil sands projects you can go to a site and into tight areas where thicker insulation won’t fit. He see 800 insulation technicians,” reported Steve Clayman, praises the broad temperature ranges offered as well a mechanical insulation consultant with Nor-Rep as outdoor durability and different new choices like Agencies Inc. in Toronto, who is heavily involved with stucco finish. TIAC’s industry promotion strategy. When young people come to his skills competition or “We could be doing more to promote the industry. for training, Milich says they are receptive to the growing We developed a plan a few years ago and we’re field of mechanical insulation. “We’re the original targeting three main industries at the moment – conservation experts even if sometimes we’re the district energy facilities, forgotten trade,” he says. “We have a lot of work to do, educational institutions and but the industry is sort of getting the message. Some of health care facilities.” the young people are getting involved. Some day soon we’ll get the respect we deserve.” ✚

Insulation innovation

A thermal imaging camera shows the heat loss at this T fitting.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

Products change slowly in the mechanical insulation business, so the big news right now is auditing software; but there are a few product advances as well. A handful of special materials, tapes and coatings have been introduced,

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

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

31


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■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings Drain tempering valve Advanced groove system

Therm-Omega-Tech has introduced a larger one-inch version of its drain tempering valve (DTV) with twice the flow capacity. It is used where large amounts of effluent over 140ºF must be tempered, such as in boiler blow down, commercial dishwashers, laundries, autoclaves, etc. “With our DTV valve these issues can be solved in an economical way that ensures plumbing codes are met,” remarked Nick Tallos, vice president of engineering. Therm-Omega-Tech u www.thermomegatech.com

Victaulic now offers its Advanced Groove System (AGS) couplings, fittings and accessories for pipe systems from 14 to 60 inches in diameter. Two-piece housing segments offer contractors quicker assembly over couplings featuring multi-segment housings. A patented wedge-shaped groove handles higher end loads and a higher pressure rating of up to 350 psi/2,400 kPa, depending on pipe size and wall thickness, reports the manufacturer. Victaulic u www.victaulic.com

Quiet submersible pump check Flomatic has introduced a submersible pump check valve for use with variablefrequency drive (VFD) control submersible pumps. The Model 80DI VFD valve is designed to minimize flow losses and hydraulic shocks in the pumping system. A stainless steel guided poppet system ensures that the valve automatically adjusts noiselessly from high to very low flow rates. Flomatic Corp. u www.flomatic.com

Lead-free POU valve

Golf course pumping

Bradley has expanded its line of point of use/source valves with the addition of the S59-4016 Series lead-free thermostatic mixing valves (TMV) to its Navigator line. It is designed for easy set-up and start-up with a single valve able to accommodate multiple fixtures, fewer connections and universal mounting capability. Connections are ½ or ¾inch with flow rates up to 15 gpm. Bradley Corp. u www.bradleycorp.com

The Flowtronex Silent Storm Express (SSE) variable speed pumping system from Xylem is designed to advance remote pump control with variable frequency drive (VFD) and programmable pumping stations. Simple touchscreen controls and accurate flow meter technology further improve water use efficiency. Xylem u www.flowtronex.com

Eco-Friendly Solutions for Restaurants from Bradford White® Bradford White® is proud to have earned the endorsement of the Green Restaurant Association for both the Ultra- Efficient eF Series® of commercial water heaters and the energy-saving line of EverHot® tankless water Heaters. The Green Restaurant Association endorses products that exemplify environmental leadership in their category and meet the GRA Product Endorsement Standards. GRA’s environmental consultants work hand in hand with manufacturers to assess their products and give them GRA’s endorsement stamp of approval. Since 1990, The GRA has been helping restaurants cut energy, water and waste costs. The GRA has been instrumental in helping restaurants realize that environmental responsibility can equal fiscal gain. Some Certified Green Restaurants® save thousands of dollars each year, and through the help of the GRA’s consultants, are able to access rebates, incentives and other money saving programs. Bradford White’s commitment to green innovation and environmental responsibility is evident in many of the products currently available from Bradford White wholesalers. Talk to your Bradford White representative about all of Bradford White’s Eco-Friendly water heating solutions.

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INSTALL CONFIDENCE. INSTALL RINNAI. Between energy efficiency, durability and an industry-leading warranty*, when you install Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters, you can rest assured your customers’ investment will be quick to pay off. Just a few more reasons why industry professionals have made Rinnai #1.

www.rinnai.ca * Rinnai offers to extend its 5 year labour warranty when the unit is installed in a residential application and 2 year labour warranty when the unit is installed in a commercial application if registered with Rinnai within 30 days of purchase. Product registration is not required for the extended term in Quebec or other jurisdictions that prohibit warranty benefits conditioned on registration. For complete warranty details, visit www.rinnai.ca/warranty or call 1-800-621-9419.


■ Plumbing

The

good ol’ “They sure don’t build them like they used to” ... and that’s a good thing

Structural integrity wasn’t a big concern when the plumbers installed this piping. What does that galvanized evestrough pipe in the back do? Nobody knows.

By Mark P. Evans uring the removal phase of many renovation projects, I am baffled that the builders of yore considered lath and plaster to be structurally equivalent to the original framework that was chopped out to rough-in the plumbing. I mean no disrespect to my fellow tradesmen, but I regularly uncover piping systems that look like they were hacked into place with an axe and then covered up and forgotten. The workmanship on the systems themselves is usually very good but the structure is often compromised and left unrepaired. A recent under-the-floor discovery showed two eightfoot span joists cut completely off to accommodate the four-inch lead bend into cast iron from the toilet. All other joists in the room were severely gouged out for the

D

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

days

bathtub and basin waste pipes. Before plywood was available, the sub-floor was a series of boards nailed diagonally across the space and even they got cut apart during the plumbing installation, leaving little in the way of support. It seems like the tile-work was expected to be somewhat load-bearing as well. Over time, the floors sagged under the weight of the massive porcelain water-closet, cast iron radiator and cast iron bathtub, resulting in popped tiles above and cracked ceilings below. The shift affected the lead bathtub waste pipe too, creating unsolvable drainage problems. Catastrophe awaits the serviceman that would dare to snake that bathtub drain. The risk of tearing a hole in the soft metal conduit is high and the action won’t cure the collapsed pipe issue anyway. If the original work had been properly inspected before the overburdened ceiling and floor coverings were applied, the situation could have been corrected. The homeowner wouldn’t have had to use so much chemical drain cleaner over the years and the heroic service personnel wouldn’t have risked toxic exposure to that horrible stuff.

Inspected and rejected Today’s regulations are designed to guard against such collateral damage. The assessment of the system installation includes its impact on the building as a whole. A strict inspector is an asset to the building owner and the contractor in that they both receive a comprehensive, by the book evaluation of the work, and the book is good. Canada’s National Plumbing Code, if adhered to, will ensure a high quality installation. Pride in one’s workmanship makes a big difference and is immediately obvious to all who might gaze upon such tubular masterpieces. Might I suggest glass panels instead of drywall for future wall coverings so as not to hide the mechanical compositions, rather to display and

celebrate their splendour. In a perfect world, the plumbing would never be concealed and the piping would be clear, but unfortunately not everyone looks at plumbing as a work of art! Amendments to the code have advanced our trade in many ways. My personal favourite is the rule restricting the use of concrete laundry tubs. I’ve never had the displeasure of installing a cement sink but I have taken out many. Only once did I remove the dreaded double compartment model in one piece, the rest received the sledge hammer mass reduction process. While banging away, I would hearken back to a bygone era when those ridiculous fixtures were state of the art. What an ordeal it must have been to install those back-breakers before the plastic fantastic age. I think back to a time when a journeyman plumber and his helper were expected to make six cast-iron connections in an average 1950’s workday. The men would snap cut the heavy pipe and caulk it into massive fittings with two layers of oakum packed in watertight. Then two layers of lead were poured into the remaining space and packed in tight as well using specialized chisels uniquely designed for inside arc or outside arc tamping. Vertical connections were difficult to make,

Please see ‘Renovation’ on page 37

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■ Plumbing

In the old days even residential applications involved heavy pipe, sealed with lead.

Renovation plumbing Continued from page 35 horizontal connections were next to impossible. Great skill was required to pour the lead into the receiving hub and keep it there long enough to solidify. The molten metal was contained by an asbestos rope which had to be wrapped around the pipe then snugged up tight to the fitting. When the metal was just cool enough, the plumber would remove the rope and hammer the layers of lead into place to complete the connection. The labour was strenuous but the men were tough.

No more lead The materials and tools we use to build mechanical systems have changed dramatically since the days when the plumber was referred to as the worker of lead. A recent project has me installing acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) atop a fibreglass ladder to replace the original lead and cast iron system done from a wooden ladder. Acrylic tubs replaced cast iron tubs. Plastic water supply tubing spooled off large coils and snipped to length is used instead of heavy galvanized iron pipe cut and threaded by hand then cranked together with a wrench – a pipe wrench. Current building codes limit the number and location of holes we make in the framework of the structure, but still I use my modern electric angle drill and reciprocal saw sparingly, choosing to re-route rather than cut out. It’s easier and it’s better for the building. Ancestral technicians opted instead to use their brace and bit drills, manually

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operated ratchet drills, handsaws, and chopping tools to dig in deep. Their actions were labour intensive and caused extensive structural damage, yet the buildings still functioned. However, lath and plaster construction is rare these days and it is no longer considered an acceptable alternative to real framing by any building code in this country.

I regularly uncover piping systems that look like they were hacked into place with an axe and then covered up and forgotten. Modern building and associated code requirements protect unwitting owners from improper, sometimes hazardous installations they would have otherwise been unaware of. Compulsory inspections through all stages of construction ensures compliance with the codes, making these the “good ol’ days.” ✚

Mark P. Evans is a licensed plumber in Waterloo, Ont. He can be reached at mark.evans@live.ca

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■ Faucets & Fixtures

Product Profile Drinking water solution In an effort to protect the environment, many institutions like schools, hospitals and fitness clubs have banned employees, clients and students from using disposable plastic drinking water bottles. And yet refilling a re-usable drinking water bottles from a traditional fountain or cooler can be awkward and slow. Elkay recently came up with a solution in the

form of its EXH20 drinking water bottle filling stations that can be used either as stand-alone units or in combination with a water cooler/drinking fountain. Distributed in Canada by Novanni Stainless Inc., the three primary EXH20 models are the Retrofit kit that can be attached to an existing Elkay water cooler, the Combination kit that includes a water cooler and bottle filler and the In-Wall design for new construction, which can be used alone or with a drinking fountain/cooler. The bottle filler fills a water bottle three times as quickly as a water cooler. An electronic sensor

provides hands free operation. Integrated silver ion antimicrobial protects against mold and mildew growth. Elkay’s Water Sentry filter is included with all models. Novanni Stainless u www.novanni.ca

An Elkay bottle filler provides a green drinking water solution.

Instant hot water The Indulge Modern instant hot water dispenser from InSinkErator blends efficiency and style into a gallery-worthy work of art for the kitchen. The dual-function handle can be pushed down and back for near-boiling 93°C (200°F) filtered water and pulled down and forward for cool, filtered water. It features an automatic shut-off, is backed by a five-year inhome warranty and is available in chrome or satin nickel finishes. InSinkErator u www.insinkerator.ca

Janitorial faucet The Chicago Faucets 445-VBRRCF janitorial service faucet has been designed with built-in safety features and comprehensive code compliance to help protect the potable water supply in commercial buildings. Designed for use on non-pressurized systems, the spout incorporates an atmospheric vacuum breaker that is closed by the ambient air pressure when the water flow is off, preventing back-siphonage. Chicago Faucets/Dobbin Sales u www.dobbinsales.com

Roll-in shower The new1603BFSB Accessible Shower from Aquatic is designed to be installed with little or no floor modification. Installation can be as easy as nailing the unit into the floor and studs. It features a pre-leveled base to ensure a level and solid installation without the use of foundation materials or adhesives. It comes in a smooth finish in standard gelcoat colors of white, linen, biscuit, bone, almond and Sterling silver. Aquatic u www.aquaticbath.com

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

39


■ Trucks for the Trade

Outfitters can help with under-floor storage, like this unit from Action Truck.

Little wonder W Ford’s tiny van gains favour with service contractors

By Simon Blake

Gust finds the Transit requires careful truck inventory control.

hen Ford introduced its small Transit Connect service van in 2009, many contractors looked at it but thought it too small for their needs. Three years later, that’s changing. There was some skepticism from technicians at first too but they’ve adapted and enjoy the creature comforts, remarked Paul Greco, office manager for Schomberg Sheet Metal in Schomberg, Ont. “You get the odd technician that tries to carry everything, which I don’t recommend anyways,” he added. “Most of the guys like it. They say it drives like a car.” In fact, “it handles like a sports car,” reported Ron Gust, service manager for Design Air Climatecare in North Toronto, who averages 60,000 kilometres a year on his Transit. At the same time, “this always feels like a little truck,” he adds, noting that it uses commercial light truck tires just like the full-sized cargo vans. David Weishuhn, general manager of Blue Flame Heating & Air Conditioning in Toronto, was one of the doubters at first. However, with no obvious option to replace the discontinued GM Astro and Safari vans, he bought his first Transit Connect in 2009. “We could never find another vehicle to match the Safari in downtown Toronto and the guys didn’t want to go up to the (full-sized) vans...”

Growing acceptance Sales figures at Ford of Canada also reflect growing acceptance for the little van. “I think it took a while for people to understand what it was because it was so new to the market segment,” said David Shuttleworth, commercial marketing plans manager. Introduced in 2009 as a 2010 model, Ford sold just over 800 that first year. In 2010 the number jumped to more than 3,100 and in 2011 Ford sold over 4,700. That amounts to 18 percent of the total cargo/passenger van market in Canada. Designed from the ground up as a work truck rather than converted from a passenger vehicle like some other small van offerings, the Transit Connect was

40

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2012

originally introduced in Europe in 2003. It offers cargo van style rear doors that swing open up to 255 degrees along with a sliding door on either side. Payload is 1589 lbs. (720 kg). A tight 39-foot turning radius and a low roof height that allows it to get into most underground parking garages make it work well for contractors in busy cities.

Economical operation Rural contractors like Greco are finding advantages with the Transit Connect as well. Located an hour north of Toronto, Schomberg Sheet Metal bought its first Transit Connect in March of 2010 and now has four. “The big thing with them is fuel consumption,” he says. “Compared to our (Ford) E-150s, we’re saving an average of $5,000 a year.” Both equipped with rooftop ladder racks, the company’s E-150s average 16 litres of fuel per 100 kilometers versus 10 litres per 100k for the Transit. For those that want even better fuel economy, Ford offers a natural gas conversion prep package and even an electric version. So far, the electric version hasn’t won many converts in this industry. “The Transit Connect went from $25,000 to $75,000 to be battery operated, so you really have to love the environment,” laughs Weishuhn, who actually owns an electric car as a personal vehicle. As well, he found the range too low and expressed concern over the cost of a replacement battery. Greco has found the cost of maintenance about the same as with the larger vans. There have been no serious issues, although he does find the Transit Connects go through brake pads about every 50,000 kilometres compared to 80,000 for the E-Series.

Outfitting a small space Outfitting a Transit Connect takes a different approach than a full-sized van. Greco takes a minimalist approach, with only one shelf either on the right or left side of the van and refrigerant, nitrogen, etc. bottles strapped to the bulkhead behind the driver. “We have the left or right sides wide open if you want to put in a compressor or

www.plumbingandhvac.ca


Technicians don’t want to go back to a conventional van after sampling the spacious cockpit.

Ron Gust says his Transit handles like a sports car but still feels like a little truck.

whatnot. You won’t be putting any full condensers in there; that’s for sure,” he added. There is a compartment for catalogues, etc. over the windshield and ample space to store clothing, boots, etc. between the seats and the partition. Inventory control becomes more critical with a small van, notes Gust. He changes the inventory depending on whether it’s air conditioning or heating season. “In my old truck, I wasn’t all that disciplined. (The Transit Connect) forces you to be clean and tidy.” Gust uses the Google Docs program to keep track of parts. Professional van outfitters had packages for the Transit Connect even before it hit dealer showrooms and those can be customized to meet the contractor’s needs. “Flexibility is the key,” remarked Ross Coneybeare, director of business development for Action Car & Truck Accessories in Barrie, Ont. In fact, full length shelving that can be accessed from either side or the back has proven one of the most popular options, reports Chris Coombs, president of Treadwell Van & Truck Outfitters in Markham, Ont. “If you take the aisle out and you fill the whole cube with parts and equipment, you’d probably have storage equal to a Safari,” remarked Weishuhn. Gust has done just that with his Transit Connect. Outfitted initially with a basic shelving package, he added his own plywood shelves to make all the space useable and all easily accessible from one of the three doors. Another popular option is a raised metal floor with a heavy-duty drawer system underneath for small parts. Toolboxes and heavier items can be placed on top. Ladder racks, obviously, can be mounted on top of the van. However, where height is an issue, Malley Industries in Dieppe, New Brunswick offers an interior ladder rack that attaches to the ceiling, while

Treadwell has built under-floor ladder storage. The contractor is limited to short six-foot stepladders or short extension and folding ladders like the Little Giant models. “The ladder is inside the van, (the subfloor) protects it from flying around in the event of a sudden stop or accident, but you still have the area on top of the floor to put what you are carrying,” remarked Coombs. If you really need more space in a Transit Connect, Malley Industries is authorized by Ford to lower the floor by seven inches and install a lightweight ramp that allows heavier equipment to be rolled into the van.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

A number of outfitters are approved Ford shipthrough partners, allowing the contractor to order the van fully outfitted at their dealer. Ford is careful about who it partners with, added Shuttleworth. While it doesn’t test every product offered, “we do test their processes and procedures.” Given its success, Ford isn’t planning any major changes, although improvement to the basic package is ongoing, reported Shuttleworth. Small vans like the Transit Connect are the way of the future, added Coneybeare, noting that other manufacturers have similar models in the works. ✚

Schomberg’s BLR (before ladder racks) Transit is a rolling advertisement.

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

41


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■ Tools & Instruments

Product Profile

Game changer New technology dramatically improves cordless tool performance Last November Milwaukee Tools announced its new FUEL cordless tool technology. Few details

Milwaukee’s Keith Potts demonstrated the new technology at CMX-CIPHEX 2012 in Toronto.

were available when we reported it in that same month’s issue of P&HVAC. The performance numbers seemed, well, incredible. In 18-volt tools that are also smaller and lighter than previous generation models, Milwaukee promised 10 times longer lifespan, 25 percent more power and 50 percent more run time for the professional tradesman. How is this possible? In a nutshell, a brushless motor and sophisticated electronics along with the company’s REDLITHIUM battery technology, when combined, give a significant improvement over older generation battery and motor technology. Milwaukee has launched this new technology in two cordless drills – the M18 FUEL ½” drill/driver and the M18 FUEL ½” hammer drill/driver. Rather than a conventional motor with brushes, these drills use Milwaukee’s REDLINK Plus electronics to transfer and control power from the company’s REDLITHIUM battery to the

The new M18 units are available in drill and hammer drill versions. armature of the POWERSTATE brushless motor, which is made by Milwaukee. The 725 in-lbs of torque make these the most powerful 18-volt drills currently on the market, reports the manufacturer. At the same time, they operate cooler and work in temperatures down to -18C with no loss in power. REDLINK PLUS “smart” technology integrates full-circle communication between the tool, battery and charger, and constantly monitors this internal network to maintain the tool in peak operating condition. “With advancements in the battery, electronics and motor, the new M18 FUEL products represent game-changing innovation for our entire lithium ecosystem that will provide unprecedented improvements in productivity for the user,” said Steven Richman, president of Milwaukee Tool. Milwaukee Tool u www.milwaukeetool.com/fuel

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■ Coming Events

Oilheat returns to Quebec The Canadian Oil Heat Association (COHA) will hold its annual conference in Mont Tremblant, Que. June 12-13. Cleaner Heat 2012 will take place at the Fairmont Hotel, Mont Tremblant and is once again loaded with education sessions and other activities for those in the oil heating industry. Keynote speaker Dave Neely will talk about how to counter the gas industry’s anti-oil marketing and become more proactive in fighting back. “Times have changed and it is time for COHA members to step up to the reality that we are not at a real disadvantage anymore,” he says. Neely will conduct a second business session on June 13 titled “Marketing to the new generation,” which will talk about how the oil heating industry can better reach out to younger oil heating customers. HVAC contractor and business management specialist Barry Burnett will present two sessions on “Turning service into a profitable venture.”

Events

Calendar

The supper speaker on June 12 will be Daniel Chiasson, director of wholesale and development for Co-op Energy in Moncton, N.B. COHA technical committee members Bob Parsons and Steve Hazell will present a session on some of the oil heating industry’s environmental programs like Retire Your Tank and COHA GreenTECH certification. There will be an oil heat only trade show on June 13.

Members who have made a special contribution to the industry will be honoured at the Delivering the Goods Luncheon on the same day. The popular golf tournament, where members battle it out for the COHA Cup, has been moved to the first day of the conference and will take place at the beautiful Le Geant Golf Course. For more information, visit www.coha.ca or call (905) 946-0264.

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JUNE 12-13: Oilheat 2012, the Canadian Oil Heat Association, Fairmont Mont Tremblant, Mont Tremblant, Que. Call (905) 946-0264, e-mail oilheat@coha.ca, or visit www.coha.ca.

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Annual Meeting & Educational Seminar, Ont. Plumbing Inspectors Association, Holiday Inn, Sarnia, Ont. Visit www.opia.info

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AUG. 23-25:

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April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

45


■ People & Places

Western wholesaler celebrates 100 years Company credits loyal customers and dedicated employees his April, plumbing and heating wholesaler Cronkhite Supply reaches a major milestone that few other companies have achieved. Founded in 1912 by German immigrant Norman Cronkhite in Winnipeg, Cronkhite Supply is turning 100. “One hundred years is an amazing milestone in this day and age,” remarked Lee Hetherington, branch manager in Surrey, B.C. and a Cronkhite Supply

T

employee since 1975. “I think the number one reason is the relationships – between our customers, suppliers and employees. I enjoy the job and the people. It’s a great company to work for.” Cronkhite Supply was a family-run business until it was purchased by Edmonton’s Muttart Lumber in 1950. In 1956, the company’s manager and several employees purchased the business and moved the head office to Calgary. Then, in 1989, Cronkhite Supply expanded into the fire protection business with its purchase of Nicholson Sales, a wholesaler of fire sprinkler systems. Acquired by Wolseley Canada (then Westburne Inc.) in 1996, today Cronkhite Supply operates four branches

located in Langley and Surrey, British Columbia along with Calgary and Edmonton. “In reaching this important milestone, there is a great deal of thanks that needs to be given to our valued customers. I’d also like to extend appreciation to our talented employees, both past and present,” said Keith VanderVennet, Wolseley Canada senior vice-president. “Without these key individuals, the success and longevity that Cronkhite Supply has achieved would not have been possible. We will continue into our next century dedicated to providing the best products and honouring the customer service ideals that have been in place since the company was founded in 1912.”

Kitchener, Ont. plumbing showroom opens Desco Plumbing & Heating Supply Inc., Toronto, has opened its latest luxury plumbing showroom. On March 15 the company held a grand opening

celebration at The Water Closet – Kitchener, located at 241 Shoemaker Street in that city. The 3,200 square foot facility was built to support Desco’s trade customers in southwestern Ontario. All of the showroom’s clients are by referral from customers that cater to the custom home build, renovation and upgrade markets, reported company vice president and general manager Jon Leeson. Branch manager Melanie Peet-Winkfield and showroom manager Stephanie Willan run the new showroom. It carries most major brands including American Desco staff welcomed customers and suppliers at the new Water Closet Standard, Maax, Moen, Delta, Brizo, Hansgrohe and Axor. showroom in Kitchener March 15.

Australian plumbing company opens Canadian headquarters

From left, Reliance Worldwide Canada president David Succurro, Vaughan Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua, global president and CEO Michael Williams, Councilor Rosanna Defrancesca and deputy mayor Gino Rosati cut the ribbon.

46

Plumbing & HVAC – April 2012

After ten years of growth in the Canadian market an Australian plumbing supplies manufacturer has opened a permanent Canadian head office. Reliance Worldwide Canada celebrated the official opening of its Canadian division on Feb. 15 with a gala evening at its new facility. The new corporate office, at 74 Alex Avenue in Vaughan, Ont. (north Toronto), houses customer service and sales support, a training facility and a distribution warehouse. Better known in Canada for its Cash Acme and Sharkbite brands, Reliance Worldwide was founded in 1949 in Brisbane, Australia and specialized in the manufacture of valves for the control of pressure, temperature and flow. Today Reliance has operations around the world.

Fourth from left, DisTech’s Tom O’Grady accepts the MAX award from Viessmann’s Ken Webster, Hans-Joachim Pez, Sean Dempsey, Harald Prell and Armin Fleck.

Viessmann recognizes top sellers Viessmann Manufacturing Company Inc. of Waterloo, Ont. has announced the winners of its “MAX” Sales Awards for 2011. The MAX (Marketing, Accomplishment and Excellence) Awards are presented annually to the top two Viessmann sales representatives in Canada. At a ceremony held during the company’s annual meeting in Waterloo March 23, company officials presented DisTech Inc. of Brockville, Ont. with the first place MAX award while Dynamic Agencies (2000) Ltd. of Saskatoon was honored with second place. “Our annual meeting gives us the opportunity to acknowledge our outstanding team of sales representatives and to recognize our MAX Award winners for their exceptional performance and commitment to our company,” said Ken Webster, director of sales and marketing. Viessmann Canada’s sales representative network is made up of 17 sales territories encompassing every Canadian province and territory.

www.plumbingandhvac.ca


The

The

Companies

People Schneider Electric Canada, Toronto, has appointed Daniel Peloquin as president, replacing Gary Abrams, who has been appointed transformation leader for Schneider Electric North America. Paul McDonald Bradford White Canada Inc., Mississauga, Ont. has promoted Paul McDonald to the position of general manager and named Dan Milroy Canadian sales manager. Watts Water Technologies (Canada) Inc., Dan Milroy Burlington, Ont., has hired Craig McNab and appointed him to the position of man- Craig McNab ager, commercial products.

GeoSmart Energy, Cambridge, Ont., has appointed Robert J. Longphee to oversee national business development. Robert Serge He will also retain his Longphee Daoust role as director of communications and public relations. GeoSmart has also appointed Serge Daoust as territory manager for Southwestern Ontario. WaterGroup, Regina, Sask., has announced that Jamie Buczynski has been promoted to Southwestern Ontario district sales manager.

International Comfort Products (ICP), Lewisburg, Tennessee, has honoured three of its Canadian distributors for outstanding sales last year: Bardon Supplies, Belleville, Ont. won the Arcoaire Distributor of the Year award for double-digit sales growth. Source Atlantic, Saint John, N.B., was named Tempstar Distributor of the Year for its “focus on dealers and forward thinking in its product lines. National Energy Equipment Inc., Mississauga, Ont., took the award for KeepRite Distributor of the Year due to expansion of the company’s strong sales team, creation of effective multi-media advertising programs, and development of a new multi-tier travel incentive program that retained loyalty with current customers.

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ADVERTISERS Action Car & Truck.......................................38 Arkema Canada Ltd. ....................................17 Bradford White ............................................33 Carrier Canada 4, 28, 51 ................................. Cash Acme ..................................................39 Dahl Bros. ....................................................32 Delta Faucet.................................................36 Forbest Products ..........................................19 Fujitsu..........................................................18 General Pipe Cleaners ....................................8 Giant Inc........................................................7 Honeywell/Genetron Div. ............................22 ICP – KeepRite .............................................23 Invensys ......................................................15 IPEX .............................................................30 Judo Water Treatment..................................27 Madok Mfg. ................................................44 MEET Show .................................................50 Milwaukee Tool Co. .....................................12 Mitsubishi Electric ........................................16 Mobilio ..........................................................5 Napoleon.....................................................24 Noble...........................................................42 P&HVAC ......................................................48 Raptor Cutting Tools ....................................35 Rheem Canada ............................................20 RIDGID.........................................................52 Rinnai ..........................................................34 Saniflo .........................................................43 Taco Canada ..................................................2 Uponor Ltd. .................................................14 Urecon.........................................................21 Victaulic.......................................................45 Viega ...........................................................32 WatcoMfg. ..................................................37 Watts Industries ..........................................47 Woodford Mfg. ...........................................26 Zurn Industries...............................................9 www.plumbingandhvac.ca

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Congratulations to all the winners from Plumbing and HVAC’s CMX/Ciphex Show Guide!

Plumbing & HVAC Grand Prize Winner: Hamed Nasari

Empyre • David Weppler

Cash Acme (Sharkbite) • Calvin Ische

Redmond Williams • John Nezan

Biddle • Brent Leclerc

Taco • Michael Bergeron

Action Car & Truck • Allan Wong

Morden National • Monique Longlade

Woodford & Watco • Larry Keats

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Aqua-Tech • Tom Dlugosz

Giant • Florence Kwong

Invensys • James Clarke

Belimo • Hillary Correa

Filbitron Systems • Joel Anderson

Arkema • Vibert Fedee

ZoneFirst • Eric Harder

Bryant • Gary O’Connor

Modern Air Filter • Reza Kouhi Habibi

Honeywell • Kevin Smith

Madok • Chetanlal Solanki • Daniel Baker

Carrier • Curt Minor • Tom Riddlel BRANT RADIANT HEATERS LTD.

Bosch • Brian Piper

Napoleon • Shawn Brammer

Mitsubishi Electric • Paul Oliveira

Brant Radiant • Roy Verheul

Watts • Michael Rosenbutt

Broan NuTone • Brad Serena

Dahl • Tony Fangeat

Milwaukee • Jim Ciacelli

Fairview Fittings • Murray Kirkland

Williams • Maria Gallo

S&P • Mathieu Leclerc

TSI • Peter Stanton

Simply the Best WWG Totaline • Vince Mattina

Stiebel Eltron • Jeff Hornby

VanEE • Kevin Smith

Panasonic • Alan Ho

Zurn • Ninoslav Raic

Fantech • Kevin Hooper

AO Smith & John Wood • Paul Beauchamp

Raptor • Raffy Kidikian


■ Shop Management

Implementing controls Keeping your business, and employees, on the straight and narrow By Ron Coleman n part one of this article I explored the background to white-collar fraud and how to control your bank account. In the second part I focused on a variety of small but serious areas that could bleed a company dry over a few years. In this final installment I will explore some other key concerns and how to approach implementing better controls. In my first job in Ireland the chief estimator was quoting jobs for the company we both worked for and then quoting the same jobs lower for the company he was just starting. It’s easier to start your own contracting business when you can start with some work on hand. He was fired, but never charged with fraud. I have seen this process repeated time and time again across Canada. Maybe a few people reading this article will blush. Another one that may make a few contractors blush goes like this: A sub-trade gets into financial difficulty and is forced to abandon a job. His contractor overstates the cost to complete and pays the sub-trade far less than he should. The sub-trade goes bankrupt and the bonding company steps in, if there is one, and completes the job and back charges the sub-trade. If there is no bonding company, it means the owner has to provide more money to meet statutory and other liabilities that he has guaranteed and is often forced into bankruptcy. I remember sitting in the offices of one of my sub-trades who was going through this and be broke down and cried and said: “What a shitty way to spend my fiftieth birthday.”

I

www.plumbingandhvac.ca

He was working for one of our most successful contractors here in B.C. who held back excessive amounts on several jobs. The sub-trade, who refused to file a personal bankruptcy, eventually made good to all his suppliers, getting stuck for far more than he should have. A variation on this is where you hire a new project manager who purposefully overestimates the cost to complete on jobs that he will be running to show how great he is and to earn bonuses that he is not entitled to. These are all frauds!

If I have been your bookkeeper or project manager and when I retire the whole place falls apart, is that because I was good or bad at my job?

The moonlighting employee About three years ago I noticed that one of my roofing clients was replacing the roof on the house next door to mine. I phoned the owner of the company and said: “I didn’t know you guys did single family re-roofs, especially on a Saturday.” They didn’t! Are your technicians moonlighting? Are they using your materials, equipment and vehicles on their own time? Worse still, are they doing this on your time as well? Are you using a GPS system to track your vehicles? Time sheets are open to a variety of frauds. Many employees round up the time they spend on jobs that are billed by the hour so that they get paid more. The company bills the client and does not see that this as fraud. On fixed contract jobs the company suffers the loss. Companies that do not control the hours on time and materials (T&M) jobs are doing themselves, their employees and their customers a disservice. By not ensuring your employees are strict with their time sheets, or worse, still letting them pad their time sheets because

Please see ‘positive’ on page 50

April 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC

49


â&#x2013; Shop Management

A positive legacy Continued from page 49 you can pass the cost on to the customer, you are setting the example that it is okay to cheat and as the old adage goes: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If they will steal for you they will steal from you.â&#x20AC;? Also, you can end up paying employees for time they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t work. Time sheets always get rounded up, never down. There are now some computer/smart phone applications that can control this problem easily. One of my clients tells me that his payroll hours have reduced by 30 minutes per day per man since he introduced such a system, without any loss of productivity. Small contracting businesses are the most susceptible to employee fraud because the owner often has a trade background and does not really understand the business processes himself and is too small to have the correct checks and balances in place.

Treading carefully If you go into your office and start putting procedures in place you will likely offend some of your key people. But if you have a good reliable bookkeeper, office administrator, project manager or estimator, you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t

want them thinking that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t trust them. If your key people quit you may end up hiring one those previously involved in fraud. First of all, give a copy of this article to your key people. Make sure they understand why it is important to make the changes. We need to keep personalities out of the mix as much as possible. We need to rely on processes and systems and less on specific people. When people go on vacation the company still has to operate. When people retire we have to replace them. And with an aging population that is going to be happening a lot more often. When companies have good systems that rely on process and less on people those companies have more value, make more profit and are easier to sell. It is just common sense to put processes and systems in place and to monitor them.

A good legacy If I have been your bookkeeper or project manager and when I retire the whole place falls apart, is that because I was good or bad at my job? Was I so good that we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need systems or so bad that I left the company in a horrible mess? Your legacy, no matter what your position in the company is, should be to leave the company in a better position that it was before you joined it. To do this you need to become a teacher and teach others to do what you do. You are leaving your mark on people; you are creating a legacy. Every teacher will tell you that you need a syllabus. You have to write the syllabus for your job and teach it to others. You have to develop the checks and balances

that will make it effective. You will have to ensure that the checks and balances are followed. Unless you are prepared to take on this responsibility you cannot do your job properly. Do you remember the Globe and Mail article that I quoted at the beginning of this series. It said organizations lose about five percent of their revenues to fraud â&#x20AC;&#x201C; this was likely understated â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and that small businesses suffered greater losses? Since the average HVAC contractor in Canada made 6.3 percent operating profit in 2011 (HRAI survey that I conducted) it would be easy for many companies to more than double their profits by taking this topic seriously. Are any of your employees apparently living beyond their means? Fancy cars, exotic vacations, expensive toys or homes they canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t afford? Do any have gambling, alcohol, drug or other addictions that might impact their judgment? These are some red flags to watch for. Peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s motivation for fraud is very varied. Remember the old cowboy movies where the good guys wore the white hats and the bad guys the black ones. I wish it were that easy in real life! â&#x153;&#x161;

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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Profile for Plumbing and HVAC

April 2012  

■ Drain heat recovery ignored in green code ■ Engineers association does some soul searching ■ Educating public on plumbing critical ■ Weste...

April 2012  

■ Drain heat recovery ignored in green code ■ Engineers association does some soul searching ■ Educating public on plumbing critical ■ Weste...