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New opportunities for contractors
Kitchen & Bath Issue Inside ■ CMX-CIPHEX show draws a crowd ■ Hydronic marketing program gets the word out ■ Industry sales off to a strong start ■ Grassroots contractor group celebrates milestone
A new level of efficiency and flexibility
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Kitchen & Bath Issue
Departments Hot Seat .........................................5 Logical planning
Industry News ..............................7 CMX-CIPHEX 2012 draws crowd
People & Places............................41 Grassroots contractor group celebrates
Coming Events.............................45 It’s annual conference time!
Shop Management......................46 What makes a good manager?
Products & Technologies Faucets & Fixtures .......................12
Pipes, Valves & Fittings ...............20
An old idea makes a comeback
Air Conditioning..........................27 Refrigeration ...............................32 Tools & Instruments ....................37
Water shortages drive new opportunities
Cover photo: Bath and kitchen renovation projects are a spring ritual for many Canadians.
Cheap and dirty The return of R22 air conditioning
Today’s flush valves conserve water May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
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■ Hot Seat
May/June 2012 Volume 22, Number 4 ISSN 1919-0395
A lonely life That old saying “it’s lonely at the top” could have been written for the typical mechanical contractor. When times are busy the business largely runs itself, but when things slow down life can get tough. It can be particularly difficult for new contractors. A lack of management experience isn’t that much of a hindrance as long as there’s plenty of work for everyone – although more than a few contractors have somehow gone bust in busy times. When business slows and contractors have to run as lean as possible, sharp business skills prove their worth. But if you haven’t developed those skills, if you haven’t been through a downturn before, where do you turn for help? Strangely, many contractors turn to their competitors. They do that by joining one of the associations that serve our industry, whether it’s a local contractors group or a national organization. The value of getting to know and share problems and ideas with others in the same business is immeasurable. There are many contractor organizations out there – the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, the Canadian Oil Heat Association, etc. There are also provincial organizations and local groups. They all offer the opportunity to meet and network with other contractors and most of them offer excellent business training programs. But – and here’s where some association leaders might disagree with me – I don’t think it really matters all that much which organization you join as long as you belong to one of them. You need to look at the different groups and decide which one best suits your needs and which offers the best opportunity to meet others that
operate a similar business. Obviously, if you are in a specialized business like oil heating it makes sense to join an organization that specializes in services for oil heating contractors. Each niche has its own special challenges. Larger centers may have local contractor associations; if you work out in a rural area joining one of the national associations is probably the best way to go. And while providing business training and networking opportunities is important, it’s not the only thing that associations do. They also give you an opportunity to influence codes, standards and laws that directly affect your business. The CSA F280 standard for sizing residential HVAC equipment was changed recently thanks to a handful of contractors. They brought the fact that F280 didn’t account for modern equipment or tightly insulated homes to a HRAI Contractors Division annual meeting a few years ago. The Contractors Division took the issue to the HRAI board, which took the issue to CSA and the changes were eventually made. It must be said, however, that while joining and attending meetings is a good first step, if you really want to get the maximum benefit it pays to become more involved by volunteering for the association’s boards, committees, etc. That gives you the opportunity to work on various projects and issues with other contractors who you will get to know better and, in some cases, develop lasting friendships with. It doesn‘t pay to be alone in this business.
Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819 firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 email@example.com Design and Production Tim Norton firstname.lastname@example.org Production Manager Lilianna Kantor (416) 614-5815 email@example.com 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 2012. 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
Canadian Business Press
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■ Industry News SHOW REPORT
CMX-CIPHEX draws a crowd slow first day gave organizers a bit of a scare at the recent CMX-CIPHEX 2012 trade show held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre March 22-24. But a 20 percent increase in Friday attendance combined with a relatively strong Saturday brought total registered attendance to 14,135, down slightly from the 14,400 at the 2010 event, reported show manager Patrick Shield. Beautiful weather in Toronto during the show didn’t help, he added. “How many stayed on the job site or went to the golf course?” The highest ever attendance was just under 19,000 in 1996. This year exhibit space was sold out with over 460 exhibitors. Seminars were also well attended, averaging about 75 people per session. Breakfast with hockey hero Paul Henderson drew 130 on Saturday morning. That was a last minute addition to the schedule and organizers were worried that attendance would be slim, remarked Shield. Learning Forum presentations can be downloaded at www.cmxciphexshow.com.
Smaller plumbing exhibits While HVAC manufacturers were well represented, several plumbing contractors mentioned to P&HVAC that there seemed to be less plumbing than usual. In particular, there were few large displays from major faucet and fixture manufacturers, although many were represented with smaller booths. That reflects a trade show calendar in Toronto that is becoming increasingly crowded, noted Shield. The National Home Show was occurring at the same time a few kilometers away. And some plumbing manufacturers are putting their focus on the Interior Design Show in January. A number of organizations held large offsite events during CMX-CIPHEX. Wolseley hosted a lunch for 450. Carrier held its national meetings. The Canadian Mechanical Contracting Education Foundation
RSES Canada’s Gary Struhar, left, and Nick Reggi, second left, found themselves busy at the RSES Canada booth. (CMCEF) held its Seventh Annual Middle Management Education Conference. One of the biggest events is always the Gala Evening in Support of Habitat for Humanity Canada, held at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel March 21. Over 320 industry members, spouses and guests attended the event, hosted by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) with support from the Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI), which coproduce the CMX-CIPHEX show. A silent auction raised $24,465 for Habitat, boosting the 2012/2013 fundraising campaign to $533,000 raised to date.
Andrew Portelli ended up going home with a gold medal in the Heating System Technician Skills Competition.
Once again, the heating technician Skills competitions were held at CMX-CIPHEX. In post secondary Heating System Technician Skills Competition for apprentices, Andrew Portelli, representing George Brown College in Toronto, took the gold medal, followed by Randall Kuehl of Algonquin College in Ottawa and W. Luke Olbach of Fanshawe College in Woodstock. Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls was well represented in the Secondary School Challenge with
Austin Chambers taking the gold and Robert Cutts the silver. Brandon Nickel of Elmira District Secondary School took the bronze.
That reflects a trade show calendar in Toronto that is becoming increasingly crowded. In the Master’s Challenge, Jason Kim took first, Layth Ramo was second and Gaston Minetti placed third. Once again one lucky show visitor went home with the grand door prize, a brand new van. Ron Whaling of Ron Whaling Plumbing Ltd. in St. Paul’s Station, Ont. won the 2012 Nissan NV cargo van fully outfitted by Farnbro Inc. of Mississauga, Ont. and equipped with a custom GPS package from PinPoint GPS, also in Mississauga. The next CMX-CIPHEX show will take place March 20-22, 2014. ✚
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ Industry News
Hydronics campaign gets the word out An ambitious national marketing campaign for hydronic heating is reporting initial success. The first year of the Beautiful Heat campaign was devoted to public relations, print ads and in building a comprehensive web site. Its mission is to create consumer demand so that homeowners, who are building new homes or updating older ones, heat their homes with hydronics. “The success of a public relations campaign is measured through its media reach, meaning the number of readers that are exposed to our stories. Our goal in year one was a reach of 13 to 15 million readers and, with one month still to go, Beautiful Heat’s media reach
has surpassed 39 million readers in over 300 individual publications from coast-to-coast,” reported John Goshulak, Beautiful Heat chair. As well, radio and television aired over 50 interviews and promotional stories on hot water heating. Most of those articles and features directed homeowners to the group’s website. In six months since it was launched, 16,000 consumers visited. A “find-a-contractor” tool directs them to contractors in their area. Over 700
contractors are listed on the site. The next big challenge for the group is monitoring those contacts and tracking sales. Eleven hydronic equipment manufacturers finance the Beautiful Heat campaign: S.A. Armstrong, Grundfos Canada, LAARS Heating Systems, Raypak, Taco Canada, tekmar Control Systems, Uponor Canada, Viessmann, Watts Water Technologies, Weil-McLain Canada and Xylem Inc. For more information visit www.beautifulheat.com. ✚
In Brief Healthy sales numbers If sales figures are any indication, the plumbing and HVAC/R industry is having a pretty good year. Sales at wholesalers were up 10.2 percent over April of last year and year-to-date are up 6.8 percent or $101.8 million, for a total of $1.6 billion, reports the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating. HVAC/R is up 10.3 percent, hydronic heating supplies are up 12.1 percent and pipes, valves and fittings are up 16.7 percent. All regions saw gains in 2012 with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, western Ontario (to Thunder Bay) and the Atlantic provinces all up more than 13 percent. Ontario and Quebec are up 4.7 and 3.9 percent respectively. B.C. is up 1.2 percent.
Impatience is a beautiful thing.
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DIY refrigerants targeted The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada is taking its campaign against hydrocarbon DIY refrigerant kits directly to home and building owners. “Anyone who has ever forgotten to lift the lid before lighting their propane barbecue knows how volatile, and highly flammable, this fuel source can be,” warned a recent press release. The big concern in the industry is that a technician might try to repair a system that, unknown to him, contains hydrocarbon refrigerants and an explosion or fire may result. As well, manufacturers have not tested their equipment with these refrigerants. HRAI has also been lobbying governments and approaching retailers in an effort to get them removed from the market.
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May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ Industry News Letters
The big picture A home inspector responds Dear Editor: In response to the “inspect the inspectors” column in the January/February issue: Many “home inspectors” like myself simply report on whether mechanical equipment responds to controls. Home inspectors are governed by standards of practice that forbid them from making judgments their training does not support. In my own case [gas C ticket course passed but do not “hold the
ticket”] , unless there is compelling documentation present to show me that service has been regular and comprehensive, I make it my goal to ensure that a qualified gas professional will be looking at the heating plant and all associated installation conditions before my client removes subjects to purchase. That means the specialist is nearly always recommended before I would have a chance to make
Rebates helped, but …
that people delay buying if there’s no rebate. Only nine contractors responded that they don’t believe their customers view the rebates as a significant incentive while another 14 say they don’t help and they cause their customers to delay purchasing decisions. These responses reflect the experience of HVAC wholesalers who have seen sales of high efficiency HVAC equipment drop like a stone since the federal government cancelled the ecoEnergy rebates without notice on Jan. 29, as Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson note in their HVAC column this issue. ✚
Like them or hate them, contractors believe that government rebate programs do give business a boost, according to a recent P&HVAC online survey. We received 93 responses when we posted the question at www.plumbingandhvac.ca: “Do government energy efficiency rebate programs help or hinder the industry?” Seventy of those responding believe the rebates do help sell more efficient equipment, with 24 noting
myself look stupid and/or presumptuous. That said, I see lots of installs where the basic appliance has been serviced many times but the peripherals, [things like air supply, venting, clearances, negative air pressure in furnace rooms etc.] have been ignored by service personnel time and time again. In my view we are all hopefully working towards public safety and gas contractors should put aside any qualms about being seen as upsellers when it comes to casting their eyeballs further than the appliance and telling the client they don’t like what they see in the big picture. David Riley, Vancouver
A. Yes, they help me sell more efficient HVAC equipment. B. No, my customers don’t view these rebates as a significant incentive. C. They help, but people delay buying if there’s no rebate. D. They don’t help and people delay buying if theres no rebate.
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Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
Left to right: Nuno D. (Stantec), Jerry L. (Uponor), Erik W. (Klimar), Brian M. (The Morgan Group), Kaveesh P. (HTS)
Both organizations stand as examples of companies which create progressive approaches to today’s building challenges. We strive to provide solutions to allow them to meet their goals, and combine this with local support through partners like Brian Morgan, The Morgan Group and Erik Walesiak, Klimar Agency together with members of our team like Jerry Leyte, Commercial Business Development Manager, we look
to enabling everyone to create better human environments, because at Uponor we provide Simply More.
The Future Is Enabling At Uponor “enabling the environments we will create” is one of our values and goals. It means that all our solutions provide you the flexibility, comfort and efficiency your clients deserve. We are proud that many of our partners within the marketplace share this ideal. Partners like Nuno Duarte Practice Leader, at Stantec, or Kaveesh Padiachy, Ottawa Controls Manager at HTS Engineering Ltd.
■ Kitchen & Bath
ELECTRONICS Today’s flush valves play key role in battle to conserve water By Simon Blake
American Standard makes both the china and the flush valves, like this Selectronic model.
Delta Commercial’s electronic flush valves sense duration and distance.
lectronic flush valve technology has come a long way in the 20-plus years that it has been available. There are more manufacturers today and early problems have largely been solved. And while hands-free equipment has long been marketed for its hygiene benefits – the toilet or urinal is always flushed – today water conservation and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards are accelerating the shift to electronic flush valve technology. “We see water savings being number one on just about everyone’s list of needs at the moment,” remarked Garry Scott, vice president, wholesale marketing and brand development for Moen Canada in Oakville, Ont. And many engineers are designing to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense standards. Ontario adopted WaterSense labeling in March.
Water conservation Manufacturers have dramatically reduced the amount of water per flush with electronic flush valves. Toilets flush as low as 3.8 litres while urinals are down to half a litre in some cases. Sophisticated electronics have also allowed the development of dual flush valves that can sense the duration and the distance the user is from the toilet to determine the appropriate flush. Most models work on duration, with a light flush if the user is in the
Better electronics Today’s sophisticated electronics and sensors pinpoint the proximity of the user more accurately, reported Peter Ashton, commercial manager for Masco Canada in Mississauga, Ont. Delta Faucet’s H2Optics, for example, use a form of triangulation to achieve this. Technology has also largely cured the problem of the “phantom flush” caused by reflections off various surfaces, reported Bryon Keats, western Canada area manager for Zurn Canada. “Our engineers have updated the technology of the circuit boards and the sensors and added high impact lenses so we’ve cut out the majority if not all of the reflection.” And self-adaptive sensors adapt to their own environment and reduce both installation time and errors, noted Dan Walker, installation and technical service manager for Dobbin Sales in Toronto, the master distributor for Sloan products in Canada.
Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
A built-in solar cell extends battery life to seven years in the Sloan Solis models.
Modern electronic urinal flush valves, like the Moen M-Power, flush just half a litre.
Hard-wired units like the Zurn 6000 AV-IS are popular for new construction.
stall less than 60 seconds and a full flush if they are in there longer. “Compared to a manual flush valve, with electronic dual flush valves there’s about a 37 percent savings on water without sacrificing one ounce of performance,” remarked Scott. But one has to be careful, remarked Ashton. The flush valve has to be matched to the fixture. “(In most cases), you would be better off to use a 4.8-litre valve on a 4.8litre fixture. In addition to better performance it’s actually less expensive.”
Installation and maintenance Today’s flush valves are easy to install and virtually maintenance free once in place. They have to be durable because of the sheer number of people that may pass through a public washroom over the course of a day. Moen flush valves were recently specified for washrooms at Humber College in Toronto. “We were looking at rooms where we saw 20,000 individuals pass through on a daily basis,” reported Scott. Flush valves today are diaphragm, piston and solenoid operated, with diaphragm models making up the majority. Traditionally, piston models were used in low water pressure situations. However, as technology progresses the distinction isn’t as clear – some diaphragm models can be used down to 15 psi or as high as 100 psi. They are precision mechanical devices and dirt or debris in the system may affect performance. Most diaphragm models have a single orifice that allows water in the top chamber to pressurize and if it gets plugged the flush valve will run continuously, noted Keats. Manufacturers typically build in some sort of filtration. While some, if not all, units have built in filter screens, it is critical to flush out the plumbing system, with diaphragms removed, prior to commissioning the flush valves. Manufacturers also recommend Y-strainers or some type of filtration on the main line(s) coming into the building.
Water pressure must be adequate. While some flush valves may work as low as five psi, manufacturers of vitreous china recommend at least 25 to 30 psi to properly evacuate the fixture. “(Adequate water pressure) is more critical to the bowl than it is to the valve,” noted Walker. “We find when we have issues with bowls that aren’t evacuating it’s because the pressure is falling well below 30 pounds.” Flush valves are typically pre-set at the factory. Some models can be adjusted for flow and the electronics can be adjusted for the size of the stall. In fact American Standard offers a remote control that the contractor or maintenance person can use to adjust range and functions, reported Nunzio DiCesare, product support manager for American Standard Brands, Mississauga, Ont. Obviously, however, cranking up the flow to compensate for plumbing deficiencies defeats the purpose of installing low flow equipment.
Wires or batteries Hard-wired versions still dominate the new construction market, but battery operated models have become reliable and maintenance free to the point where they tend to be the first choice in retrofits. “Battery operated seems to be the choice when they are updating from a manual unit but don’t have the required
They are precision mechanical devices and dirt or debris in the system may affect performance. power source there and the cost to put it in is deemed too high,” said Ashton. “Even in new construction today I am seeing battery operated being specified.” Today’s battery operated units can typically handle 4,000 flushes per month for three years. Some manufacturers extend that to four years with lithium ion batteries and Sloan gets seven years from batteries in its Solis models, which incorporate a photo voltaic solar cell that absorbs light from any source – ambient, light fixtures, etc. – and stores the resulting electricity in a capacitor. Zurn HydroVantage models have a built in hydro generator that uses the water flow to generate electricity and store it in a rechargeable energy cell. Battery life on those models is about 10 years.
When specifying flush valves, like anything, it’s critical to keep future maintenance and parts requirements in mind. Maintenance varies by the installation and depends largely on water quality. “If you have hard water conditions they tend to need more maintenance,” noted Walker. American Standard uses the same electronics “platform” across all models – faucets, flush valves, etc. – which simplifies installation and maintenance, reported DiCesare. “We make our own flush valves and our own china so we have control over quality and inventory levels.” Zurn and Sloan also make their own fixtures. Vandalism and wear and tear is always a concern in public washrooms. All manufacturers have gone to considerable effort to make their units tamper resistant. Some shut down after a certain time if a vandal puts chewing gum over the lens, for example. Delta, on the latest version of its flush valves, made the lens replaceable in case it gets scratched or broken.
Practicing sustainability While producing reliable products that conserve water is the key focus, manufacturers find themselves being asked what they, as a company, are doing for the environment. That takes sustainability beyond product performance into manufacturing processes, packaging and shipping. Those things help gain LEED points. “You preach it, but do you actually practice it – there’s a big difference,” said Walker. He noted that Sloan, for example, uses 100 percent renewable energy sources at its main plant along with recycled brass in its products. Electronic flush valves have advanced to the point that many in the industry wonder just how far the technology can go. Walker expects that future advances will be driven more by the needs of the installing contractor, building owner and end user rather than the manufacturer. That can only be good! ✚
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
© 2011 Masco Canada Limited.
THIS IS 0NE VERY RESPONSIVE FAUCET.
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■ Kitchen & Bath
Today’s consumer has a lot of choice, as this operating display in B.A. Robinson’s Calgary showroom illustrates. The onus is on the plumber to provide a professional installation.
Installing high end plumbing Special installation approach required with thousand dollar faucets By Mark P. Evans
hen my pocket vibrates I know that opportunity is knocking on my cell phone. Sometimes I hang up immediately because it’s just my annoying “captain” calling to explain how to claim the free trip I’ve just won but other times it’s a valued customer explaining details I must understand about jobs I have quoted on. That little gadget is the lifeline of my business and I have to be absolutely sure I understand the finer points of the call. When the display on my phone alerts me that a certain long-term customer of mine is calling, I stop what I’m doing and move to a quiet area because with Catherine the details she describes may be the only time in my life I that have heard such information. Over the many years we have worked together, she still surprises me. One example was the time she wanted to schedule a toilet seat installation that I ended up billing out as
time and material. Yes ... a toilet seat installation by the hour. She phoned to coordinate my on-site arrival with the electrician’s so that we could complete this job as efficiently as possible. I agreed to attend promptly but was a little curious as to the need of an electrician for this project. Catherine’s giggling reminded me that I should always expect the unexpected when she calls.
An unusual installation The first step to installing this particular toilet seat was to remove the toilet. You see the new “appliance” I was installing required power so an electrician was needed to wire up a ground fault protected circuit behind the fixture. When that was done I soldered a T into the existing water supply line then bolted the unit back in place. One branch of the T was used to hook
Please see ‘Working’ on page 16
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ Kitchen & Bath
Working with the customer Continued from page 15 up the toilet in the usual manner, the other branch was used to supply the seat. I plugged in its power cord and proceeded to test all the exciting functions this amazing saddle had to offer although not in the exact manner it was to be ultimately used. The options available to the lucky bowel mover perched upon this luxurious throne were many. With the remote handset, the user could select heated vibratory massage, choice of spray style, direction and temperature as well as several different drying settings. Surely the comfort level enjoyed with this new apparatus surpassed the Lazy Boy in the living room and elevated that toilet seat to the status of “best seat in the house.” The owner paid a thousand dollars for that pampering device, so this installation was far from average. The liability I faced doing this job was greater and of course the cost to perform the installation reflected that accountability. Because fixtures of this nature are rarely found in gas station rest rooms or at the boys hunt camp, everything about this type of high end job carries with it high end risk. A dab of touch up paint won’t be enough to repair a gouge to the imported cabinetry in the event of a mishandled tool box in this environment.
Increased liability Liability for me as a contractor in these types of installations is not just limited to the fixture or appliance that I am working on. Operating power tools or using an open flame is an obvious hazard at all times,
The effort put forth to install hand made porcelain verses mass produced faucets is vast and the liability to the contractor goes up as the fixture costs rise.
with it. Knowing this, I always work in a professional manner throughout the job and, when invoicing, I am sure to ask if the completed work is to the customer’s liking. However, the best approach to a stress-free finalising of the bill starts with an accurate quotation right at the beginning. If everyone involved is in complete understanding of the scope of the roughin quote, the results are more predictable at the end. If the customer intends to supply their own fixtures, I make extra effort to explain that the finishing cost requires a separate quote because who knows what piece of equipment will be chosen to complete the installation? The effort put forth to install hand made porcelain verses mass produced faucets is vast and the liability to the contractor goes up as the fixture costs rise. We as experienced tradesmen fully understand that a standard rough-in has absolutely no bearing on the grade of fixture that will eventually use that plumbing, but a new customer may not. Effective communication is the key to solving this problem and it all starts when my pocket vibrates. ✚
but when the technician is surrounded with such expensive appointments the cost of any accidental damage is also expensive. In the event of a malfunction of any part of the job, even if it turns out to be a manufacturing defect or caused by others, I expect to get a call back and the hostility I will face is directly proportional to the value of the item in question and my involvement
Mark P. Evans is a licensed plumber in Waterloo, Ont. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
Freezeless AND Anti-Rupture? What’s the difference? A freezeless faucet has the shut off mechanism well within the heated portion of the home – but what if a garden hose or other device is inadvertently left connected to a faucet during freezing temperatures? Water in the tube fails to drain, this water then begins to freeze and pressure in the tube is increased as ice forms and tries to compress the water trapped in the tube. The tube ruptures and the next time the faucet is used the wall fill with water. Woodford Model 19 Freezeless Faucets have a patented pressure relief valve which allows for expansion during freezing temperatures, saving the faucet and preventing a costly repair or call back. With Woodford’s Model 19, you’re protected – even from other people’s mistakes!
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■ Kitchen & Bath Spicing up the kitchen
Colour is making a comeback in the kitchen. The new Fuse Collection from Delta Faucet harnesses that emerging trend with its split-finish pull-down kitchen faucet, available in Delta’s Brilliance Stainless paired with Cracked Pepper, Chili Pepper or Snowflake White accent hues. It includes a number of practical functions including the company’s MagnaTite docking technology, which uses a powerful magnet to keep the spray head locked in position to keep the kitchen looking neat and orderly. Masco Canada u www.mascocanada.com
The Solna European style kitchen pull-down faucet from Brizo features a seamless hidden pull-down wand with both stream and spray settings, a magnetic docking system and an integrated ceramic valve cartridge with ceramic and diamondembedded ceramic discs. As the two discs move against each other, the diamondembedded disc constantly polishes the uncoated ceramic disc, removing calcium and mineral deposits. Available colours are chrome along with Brizo’s Brilliance Stainless and Brushed Bronze. Masco Canada u www.mascocanada.com
Back in black Moen has added a Matte Black finish to its faucets to complement black kitchen appliances and accessories. The new black Arbour high-arc pullout model is less than a foot tall – perfect for fitting under cabinets, or other applications where space is a concern. It is available in pulldown, pullout and bar/prep versions. Pulldown and pullout versions feature Moen’s Reflex pullout system for easy use and docking. An optional multi-function wand features aerated spray, stream and a pause feature. Moen Canada u www.moen.ca
Macerating toilet The Ascent II macerating toilet from Liberty Pumps allows installation of a bathroom in areas where no gravity sewer lines exist. The 1.28 gpf (4.8 lpf) toilet system macerates sewage waste and other debris with the company’s RazorCut technology and then discharges it through a small one-inch diameter line up to 25 feet (7.6 meters) high and 150 feet (46 meters) horizontally. Liberty Pumps u www.libertypumps.com
Luxury bathroom faucets The JADO Stoic Collection from American Standard Brands is designed for good looks, performance, ergonomics, reliability and water efficiency. Faucets include single-lever, widespread, vessel and wall-mount lavatory models, a deck-mount tub filler, a tub/shower set, a personal hand shower set, and matching accessories. There are four handle options along with three hand-buffed finishes – polished chrome, brushed nickel and platinum nickel. They are WaterSense certified with a maximum flow rate of 1.25gpm (5.7L/m). American Standard Brands u www.americanstandard.com
Minimalist styling The Edge Cross faucet from Franz Viegener features minimalist styling with a gracefully arched spout and crisp cross handles resting on square bases. This is one of several new designs the company is introducing to the North American decorative plumbing marketplace. Franz Viegener u www.franzviegener.us
Semi-recessed The Maris Suite semi-recessed vessel and undercounter lavatory designs from Toto are a reinterpretation of the architecture and designs for the period from 1940 to 1960, reports the manufacturer. The semirecessed vessel is a universal design measuring 19-1/2” x 15-3/16”. The undercounter model is available in two sizes — large (20-5/16” X 15-9/16”) and medium (17-5/8” X 14-9/16”). Available colours are Cotton White, Colonial White, Sedona Beige, Bone, and Ebony. Toto u www.totousa.com
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ Pipes, Valves & Fittings
Grey water re-use growing Expected water shortages drive new opportunities By Bruce Nagy t is probably wise to be skeptical about Canadian Municipalities. In addition, the next big thing. But sometimes it is hydro companies are studying ways to just common sense; like the coming reduce pumping costs. move toward more grey water Even in rural areas, weeping beds are not recycling, especially in cities. allowed in some places, according to Mike The news is that there is little doubt that Tiffe, President of TAB Mechanical Inc. in purple (grey water) piping will continue to Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario. He grow as a source of revenue. The technology is recently worked on a cottage being pretty straightforward and reliable. Selling it converted to a permanent residence where or adding it should be easy during the next a grey water recycling system helped few years. Canadian mechanical contractors alleviate holding tank pump-out concerns. are reporting increasing requests for grey water-ready rough-ins or complete grey water An elementary school recycling systems. application “Water bills are going up fast and a lot of The Brac water recovery system at St. builders are interested,” reported Andrew Cecilia Elementary School in Vaughan Atchison of Atchison Plumbing & Heating (north Toronto) is an integration of two Ltd. in London, Ontario. separate grey water recycling and rain water Grey water systems for toilet flushing and There are two pumping stations in the St. Cecilia system. The one on the harvesting systems, which together supply below grade irrigation are being added to left handles grey water and the other is for rainwater. toilet flushing and irrigation. Each system building codes across the country along with stores 6,600 litres. rainwater. Municipalities are taking a great Grey water guru Chris Thompson from interest in anything that controls potable water demand crumbling infrastructure costs big money. Water is no Project Innovations Inc. in Barrie, Ont. explains that and sewage treatment volumes. Builder and TV longer ‘free.’ grey water is collected from hand sinks and water personality John Bell talks about the addition of grey According to the Alberta Water Research Institute, our fountains and rainwater from the main roof section of water systems to some 50,000 Ontario homes over the urban water infrastructure is generally more than 100 the building. Wastewater from sinks and fountains next eight years, as well as seven schools, which have years old, leakage is about 25 percent, and repair budgets travels below the floor in the boiler room to a lift station. recently incorporated the technology. are far from keeping up. Cities have been forced to Dual pumps move the water through pressure filters, implement unpopular water rate increases as high as 10 then to a grey water storage tank buried outside. If the Infrastructure costs percent per year. This is expected to continue for some tank is full, the water is diverted to the sanitary sewer The United Nations says fresh water per capita is in steep time and still fall short of paying for needed upgrades. As through an actuated three-way valve. decline worldwide. In Canada we might think fresh our municipalities grow, they will need $31 billion to The controller uses pressure along with sensors in water is abundant, but we are the fastest growing G8 repair existing infrastructure and $57 billion to build the tank to monitor water levels and determine country and we increasingly live in cities where more according to a report from the Federation of required chlorination. A chlorination pump draws water through a foot valve in the tank and through a strainer on the pump station. This water is circulated through the chlorinator and then directed in sequence to two separate locations. First, the lift station receives freshly chlorinated water to maintain any new sitting water in the lift station and also to disinfect the pressure filters. Then, freshly chlorinated water is sent directly back to the tank to disinfect the stored water in the tank. When one of the connected toilets is flushed, the drop Water use was dramatically reduced at St. Cecilia Elementary School with a grey water recycling system. in pressure triggers the main pump, which draws water
Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
This analysis compares available grey water to non-potable water requirements at the Kanata (Ont.) Recreational Complex.
through the foot valve, through the strainer and then sends it to the toilets until the demand has been met. A pressure tank, when charged, buffers the pump and reduces the amount of “pump starts” required to meet demand. This results in an energy saving because most of the power drawn by a pump occurs in the first few seconds of operation. A dye dispenser injects incoming water with food grade blue dye to provide a visual indication that the water sent to the toilets is not suitable for drinking. It also provides visibility throughout the school when the source of available grey water is depleted. The system then calls for make-up rainwater to restore the tank to the preset level. The level will be monitored and adjusted over the first year to determine the most efficient level, depending on usage and supply patterns. If the system reaches a low level or in the case of equipment or power failure, a spring return valve activates to provide city water to the toilets in bypass mode. The rain water system is also used for irrigation
during summer months. Rainwater enters the boiler room, travels through a strainer and filter then flows out to the storage tanks outside. As with the grey water system, a float switch triggers when the tank is full and closes an actuator valve, pushing surplus rainwater to the storm drain. Chlorine is used with rainwater, but blue dye is not. Water counters are also installed on both systems for water in and out, so total water savings can be monitored.
Ottawa that will re-use lavatory and shower water to flush toilets. He has also been working on a Wal-Mart store that will collect 100,000 litres of rainwater from a 25,000 square foot area on its roof, store it in cisterns and use it for irrigation. In most regions irrigation with rainwater is fine, but grey water for irrigation must be below grade to avoid the potential for contamination. Systems by Brac are big in Canada, especially for residential systems, but Geostorm uses Wahaso systems, which are made in the U.S. and have been available in Canada for about one year. Whichever systems are used, there should be plenty of commercial and residential grey water and rainwater business available to contractors in the coming years. One could even say it’s the next big thing! ✚
Recreation centre application
Bruce Nagy is a Toronto-based freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Kent Frame, technical director for Geostorm Inc. in Gormley, Ont., describes a new recreational facility near
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Smart thermostats Pointing the way to a fundamental change in how we do business By Roy Collver his article started out as a simple technical discussion of so-called “smart” thermostats – but things began to change really fast as soon as I started digging into the topic. As I write this, I am sitting at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort in the East Kootenay region of B.C., right near the source of the mighty Columbia River and smack dab in the middle of the Rocky Mountain Trench. This is the exact location where I wrote my first article for Plumbing and HVAC Magazine (at the time Mechanical Buyer and Specifier Magazine – editor par excellence, Ron Shuker). I recall a harrowing four-day effort that eventually yielded a so-so article on the newly hatched Foothills Conference in Calgary. It was the start of a great experience in researching plumbing and HVAC issues and then communicating to the industry
my findings. I continually work at improving my efforts to this day. One of the most important things I’ve learned over the intervening years is that some seemingly straightforward and simple topics often morph into monster issues. As I compiled the information for this article, a few days of relaxation in one of the most pristine environments on the planet – combined with a provocative industry related conference – turned a simple technological discussion into a real beast! I came here to attend the MCA Alberta annual provincial conference – an event I have attended regularly for almost 20 years. What the heck has this all got to do with smart thermostats? Please bear with me – it will all come together soon.
In the smart business Roy suggests doing a little homework on these websites by some of the companies that produce smart thermostats: www.ecobee.com - A Canadian company, Ecobee has a product that will definitely interest anyone in the service business who is selling preventative maintenance packages and those who want to really pamper their customers. www.nest.com - Brought to you by one of the Apple designers that created the iPod, this device definitely has the cool factor down pat. It is their marketing and distribution behaviour that has many in our industry scratching their heads – but the track record these people have posted over the last decade in figuring out what consumers want is unquestionably amazing. www.yourhome.honeywell.com – The venerable thermostat maker has some very good new products and some are specifically designed as “professional” products only available from traditional wholesale channels – but your customer can buy a very sophisticated Honeywell at just about any hardware retail store. www.tekmarcontrols.com - An established player in the specialty HVAC and hydronic market and Canadian to boot – tekmar has some very sophisticated stuff that does much more than most people realize, but you sometimes have to really dig down to figure out just what they can do. www.white-rodgers.com - Another long-time thermostat manufacturer in North America; W-R seems to be staying a bit more exclusively with the traditional HVAC distribution chain. They have some really interesting new products that are worth a look.
Yesterday, I listened to a lecture by a certified “brainiac,” Dr. Perry Daneshgari. He is immersed in the world of supply-chain productivity and has pretty much seen it all. He showed us some current/future trends that scared the willies out of most of us there, and revealed that the smart people in our industry have to constantly review how we do business or become obsolete and insignificant (think about a 28-storey apartment building – pre-fabbed in China, shipped over in containers, built in Vancouver or Toronto using foreign “factory trained” technicians). So to bring these musings around the subject at hand, let’s look at thermostats and smart thermostats and how the way they are bought, sold, and marketed might portend some serious redesigning of the plumbing and HVAC industry – changing the way we have all been doing business.
The way it was There was a time – say 1980 – when a customer would have to make a decision on choosing a replacement thermostat because their existing one was broken. You, the contractor, would look up either the exact same model or an appropriate replacement. You would then get a price from the wholesaler, double it, add one hour of labour and give the customer a price. It would be a fair price, but the customer would almost always wail and moan, but eventually agree to the price because: (a) they really had nowhere else to go (thermostats were not available at the local hardware store) and (b) had nowhere to compare the price (except asking another contractor, who was likely to be within 10 percent of your price) or (c) had no way of knowing how to install one themselves even if they could find someone to sell them one. If you were progressive, you might try to get your well-heeled customers to buy one of the new-fangled night setback thermostats, but often the hassle wasn’t worth the extra effort. Batteries died in them, sometimes you had to run extra wires, your customer didn’t understand how to make them work – heck, admit it – you didn’t understand how to make them work. But
Please see ‘Smart’ on page 35
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
Remote Control. From the couch to across town, it’s the coolest app on the web.
Skyport Wi-Fi Key (Part # ACC0454) • Allows thermostat access over the Internet via Skyport Cloud Services • 802.11 b/g wireless LAN, Wi-Fi ready • Compatible with ColorTouch thermostat models T5800, T5900, T6800 and T6900 • Locking clip included for security • Easy setup and no monthly fees Manage Your Locations • Easily monitor and control comfort settings at your home, office or vacation home • iPhone, iPad or Android apps • Anywhere, anytime – control from the palm of your hand
Receive Alerts and Send Messages • Receive a text message when the space where the thermostat is located is too hot or cold • Configure automatic emails to your preferred HVAC provider when service is needed • Send text messages and receive service reminders on the ColorTouch thermostat’s display
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■ Hot Water
Venting tankless DHW systems Different manufacturers and different jurisdictions have different requirements By Steve Bagshaw n this edition, we’ll continue our either the manufacturer or the local discussion of the installation of codes, the maximum temperature you tankless water heaters by focusing expect to come out of the appliance’s flue on venting. Let’s start by stating: collar should determine your vent venting requirements vary material selection. Table 1 lists the significantly amongst manufacturers and temperature limits for each class of vent. amongst provinces: be sure to read the manufacturers’ instructions and to Water temp. and venting follow all local codes and directives. With regards to condensing tankless First, using the right venting materials (This applies to condensing boilers as is critical. All tankless water heaters in well!), here is the kicker that we all need Canada have to be vented with either a to be aware of: the same condensing proprietary vent system specified by the appliance can deliver various exhaust appliance manufacturer in their certified temperatures depending on various installation manual or with Type BH gas incoming water temperatures. It is the vent certified to ULC-S636. If using incoming water temperature (for the Type BH gas vent, there most part) that determines are four categories to the exhaust temperature, choose from. For nonnot the set temperature. condensing tankless, Type As the incoming water BH Class I venting is temperature rises, less required (stainless steel); condensing in the heat for condensing tankless, exchanger will occur. Type BH Class II A (PVC), Thus, for a condensing B (CPVC) or C appliance, the colder the (polypropylene) venting incoming water, the more is typically specified. The A poor vent terminal efficiently it will run and difference between Type location means dirt is the lower the exhaust BH Class II A, B and C sucked into the unit. temperature will be. This, vent is the temperature of the exhaust however, is the complete opposite of each pipe material is rated for. See table what has traditionally been done in the 1 for details: field with non-condensing boilers. So which should you use? Answer: With non-condensing boilers, it is follow the manufacturer’s certified important to keep the return water high instruction manual or your local to prevent condensing damage within directives. If there is no direction from the heat exchangers.
Same unit, different applications – one condenses and the other doesn’t
Different applications Let’s look at an example: let’s assume a condensing tankless water heater, set at 185°F is installed in a commercial application for plant washdown/cleaning
purposes (perhaps a meat processing facility or a dairy barn, etc.). Even though the set temperature is 185°F, if
Please see ‘Venting’ on page 35
“I can’t take a leak.” “That’s why I only use Dahl valves. valves””
“Dahl’s been on our trucks since we started this business in 1979. They use the best brass in the business, their service is second to none and their 25 year warranty is phenomenal. I’ve never seen a Dahl valve leak. A plumber’s biggest problem is callbacks to repair or replace defective products, and Dahl is a 100% sure-fire solution! Brian Arnold A.S.K. Mechanical Services Mississauga, Ontario
Turn to Quality. Turn to Dahl.™ Table 1: Using the right vent material for the application is critical.
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www.dahlvalve.com May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
S A Y S A E S A W O N S XFR I
2 1 0 1 8-
S ES D DE U U L L C C N I N I W OW N NO R R F F X X M M E E ” T 2” 1 S 12 ST Y & Y ® S & ® & S ” ” 0 0 & 1 1 , ” 5 , 8” 15 R8 M1 E OR FFO EM T T S S S S Y G Y S G N S I N R I L R L A P UP ULLA OU C PU CO OP L L PO A A C RP I C I UR N O N OU A HA CH TTM M M E EC M Y Y E E R R G M MJJ G ® ®
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■ Air Conditioning
Whoever did this took cheap and dirty to the extreme.
Cheap and dirty End of rebates sparks flood of dry charged R22 condensers components By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson
This ICP chart shows average annual cooling hours across Canada.
everal years ago scientists, naysayers and engineers decreed our need for cooling was disrupting the environment for the masses. Our wasteful lifestyles were causing a “hole” to form in the ozone layer! Change was decreed – the powers that be in various jurisdictions got together and created the “Montreal Protocol” to purify and control our emissions of the harmful CFC, HCFC and any cocktail combination refrigerants contained within the refrigeration systems of the day. Combined with these events was the need to improve the efficiency levels of the equipment to provide more reasonable operating costs for the masses. This combination has resulted in an increase in the capitol costs of products which in turn were subsidized through rebates by various government agencies as an inducement to homeowners to upgrade the inefficient older HCFC low SEER product with new high SEER HFC equipment. In Canada our cooling season, according to ASHRAE and NRCan documents, is an average of 333 hours per year, with a range of 72 hours in Fredericton, N.B. up to a high of 673 hours in Montreal. Meanwhile in the U.S. the number of cooling hours average 1,000 hours, ranging from 200 hours on the extreme west coast to 2,800 hours per year in south Florida. With our four months of cooling and maybe an additional week or two of dehumidification, the need for high SEER products is very hard to justify. The
Please see ‘Dry’ on page 29
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
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■ Air Conditioning
Dry shipped Continued from page 27 information highway of the internet did serve a good purpose with our customer base believing they would be saving the environment and also a load of money with the operation of their new high efficient products. While the loading of the distribution grids did decrease, the reduction of many hydro bills was offset by the increases in the time of use hydro costs! These new models, in order to qualify for the various subsidy dollars, were required to be an ARI listed and matched combination. Many complaints from the field were heard due to the large volume coil sizes for both indoor and outdoor products. The day after the grants ended the questions at the wholesale counters changed from “what SEER is it” to “is that the best price?” and “do you have anything smaller?” The high quality, high dollar mentality went down the road and cheap and dirty returned!
added costs to companies, mechanics, apprentices etc… and it starts with new equipment, tools and training. In this economy most contractors and technicians were very verbal about their added costs to install, service and maintain the new R410A equipment. Then there were the older mechanics that, at their age or with limited time left in the trade, did just not want to go to R410A or to deal with higher operating pressures.
Restrictive warranty policies
Another issue now coming to light is restrictive warranties on R22 dry shipped equipment. Use of an alternative refrigerant other than R22 is not covered. Therefore, the question is do manufacturers consider a change of heart or does the unit and the ability to service it fade away with the soon coming deadline for the end of the virgin R22 refrigerant. The cost will continue to rise for reclaimed R22 and if all goes right R410A will, we all hope, The day after A loophole emerges eventually cost us less. This will the grants ended the While all of this was going on, a bring us back to the market of one legal beagle read between the choice in air conditioning questions at the lines and determined that the refrigerant unless a new alternative EPA legislation allowed the is made to replace R410A. wholesale counters manufacturing of dry charged Dry shipped product is not new. changed from “what air conditioning components Evaporator coils have for the past for repair of existing few years have been “dry charged” SEER is it” to “is that equipment! As such the and shipped with either R22 or complete condenser could be R410A metering devises. As such, the best price?” built and shipped if it did not with a metering change an R410A contain R22 refrigerant, the shipped evaporator coil may be used idea being that a failed for the service of these R22 systems. condenser could be evacuated and it would be used as a In most cases this duplication was more of an replacement with the “recovered” R22 from the “failed” inconvenience, resulting in the handling of many more component. It was a good thought and of course we sku numbers than the wholesalers would liked. know these dry charged components are all used for A simple change out from the R410A device to R22 repair purposes only! device can be done, but is normally not dealt with at the Carrier petitioned the EPA in February of this year to wholesale levels due to the coil having a dry charge of revise the wording of the act to fill this loophole but as nitrogen to maintain an uncontaminated coil. And yet they have not responded. The following is an internet losing that charge is not usually acceptable to the link to the petition: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/ servicing mechanic or installer as everyone feels better downloads/carrierpetition.pdf. hearing the poof of the charge coming out after pulling Looking back in time just a few years now since the the plugs out of the coils before the install and welding. reinstating of these dry shipped units the With the industry moving forward in time and manufacturers must have felt there was a missing looking ahead a bit you have to ask the question: is there market that was not covered with R410A systems and, going to be room for the old and the new and possibly with this in mind, the development and manufacturing even something newer coming down the pipe from what began. Once the cat was out of the bag other the scientists are working on behind closed doors? manufacturers followed suit, just in case there was It’s surprising that R22 dry ship units did make such something to it and they started building their own a comeback and that they have been so strong out in the R22 products. Remember it only takes two to tango and marketplace. Not all manufacturers are hiding their sales others will come to the dance. numbers. A few even can brag about it in these hard We all know how changes in our trade can bring out times, but it is still to be written whether this return to
manufacturing R22 dry ships has been a good experience for all. ✚
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Brian Guttormson HVAC author and trainer Brian Guttormson is technical service advisor for Trent Metals Ltd. (Supply). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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www.raptorcutting.com May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
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.
Brenntag Canada Inc. Exclusive distributor of Genetron® refrigerants in Canada Ontario & Western Canada: Tel. No. (416) 243-9615 Fax: (416) 243-9731 Quebec & Maritime Provinces: Tel. No. (514) 636-9230 Fax: (514) 636-8229 To learn more, visit www.genetron.com. © 2012 Honeywell International Inc. All rights reserved.
■ Air Conditioning
Training rig Troy LeBlanc, left, and Tom Boutette of B&B Trade Distribution Centre in London, Ont. displayed this fully functioning training rig at the recent CMXCIPHEX trade show in Toronto. Designed by Bob Bettles, the company’s technical service adviser and product trainer (and P&HVAC writer), it includes all the HVAC equipment that would be found in a 1,500 sq. ft. home and can be easily transported by truck to different branches for training sessions.
Wi-Fi thermostat Venstar has introduced a Skyport Wi-Fi key for the company’s ColorTouch residential thermostat. It connects to Venstar Skyport Cloud Services which, when used with the company’s new mobile application, allows users to remotely monitor and control their home thermostats. Users can control their energy usage and reduce energy costs from any location, at any time. This mobile phone “app” can control up to 10 thermostats. Venstar u www.venstar.com
Luxaire adds 1.5 ton models Johnson Controls has expanded its Luxaire line of LX and Climasure 14.5 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency rating) air conditioners and heat pumps with 1.5-ton condensing units. Features include easy power and control wiring connections, fully exposed refrigerant connections and a single panel covering the electrical controls for easy access. The coil is aluminum micro channel tubing with enhanced aluminum fins that increase energy efficiency and offer a compact footprint. Luxaire u www.joinluxaire.com
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
refrigeration “New” cooling medium has a long history By Greg Scrivener
hen you start talking about CO2 as a “new” refrigerant a lot of people will point out that it isn’t actually new and they are correct. CO2 was proposed as a refrigerant as far back as 1850 in a British patent and the first compression system using CO2 was constructed in 1881. The use of CO2 as a refrigerant for both commercial and industrial applications continued
Flanagan Foodservice uses an ammonia/CO2 cascade style system at their warehouse in Ontario. (Flanagan photo)
to grow in both Europe and North America until its use peaked in the 1920s just prior to the invention of the chlorinated fluorocarbon R12. Other than specialty applications, the use of CO2 as a refrigerant was dormant until a resurgence of research and commercial interest in the mid 1990s. This resurgence was due to both the increasing awareness of the environmental hazards of the CFC refrigerants and their HFC replacements and the desire to reduce energy consumption.
A few disadvantages What is the big deal about CO2? Before we discuss the benefits of using CO2 as a refrigerant, let’s go over a couple of the disadvantages. The first and probably the most notable disadvantage is that CO2 has a critical temperature of about 88°F. This means a system can’t condense the refrigerant if the fluid is warmer than 88°F. Figure 1 shows a phase diagram for CO2 (data for the phase diagram was obtained using the NIST REFPROP version 9.0 software). For this reason the majority of CO2 refrigeration systems in operation today are cascaded in some fashion with a different refrigerant in the high side system. In supermarkets, the high side refrigerant is often R404a and in industrial applications, ammonia is the preferred choice. From an energy efficiency perspective the additional heat transfer is not ideal. CO2 also runs at substantially higher pressures than all of the other refrigerants; this necessitates different components and accessory design. This is not an insurmountable challenge, but it does require manufacturers to redesign pressure vessels and
Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
accessories. Some systems even require a small refrigeration unit that runs on a back-up generator in order to keep the static CO2 pressure below the design pressure in the event of a power outage. Another potential disadvantage to CO2 is that it has a triple point (the point at which liquid, solid, and vapour can exist in equilibrium) above atmospheric pressure. Its triple point is at approximately 75psia and -70°F. In a refrigeration system it is definitely possible to have conditions that would create solid CO2 and this would obviously be a problem. There is also a potential that CO2 slowly leaking through a relief device could generate enough solid CO2 to plug the relief valve.
supercritical fluid goes through the gas cooler where the fluid is cooled. It then goes through a high pressure gas expansion device where it is expanded to an intermediate pressure and the fluid turns into a liquid again. Supercritical fluids are very interesting; unfortunately they are also very hard to explain. A supercritical fluid acts a bit like both a vapour and liquid. For example it has a density of about half that of the liquid, but it is compressible like a gas. There are a lot of very neat demonstration videos available online to observe fluids transitioning into and out of the critical region.
Special training needed Some significant advantages All of that being said, there are a number of advantages to CO2. The most obvious one is that CO2 doesn’t have any Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) and essentially no Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to other refrigerants. However, probably the most important technical advantage that CO2 has is its higher latent heat of vaporization and a higher volumetric capacity. CO2 has a latent heat of vaporization of 247 BTU/lb compared to R404a which has a latent heat of vaporization of 86 BTU/lb and this means that a lot less refrigerant has to be moved in order to accomplish the same amount of cooling. Consequently, compressors, piping and accessories can order to all be physically smaller and in pumping applications, considerable pump energy can be saved. CO2 is also abundant and relatively inexpensive.
A CO2 rack system ready for installation. (CSC – SMARTREF photo)
Fig. 1: A phase diagram for CO2 refrigeration.
One of the major barriers for the adoption of CO2 is the lack of trained technicians. Because of the differences Practical systems between CO2 and other refrigerants it’s necessary that The two main types of refrigeration systems using CO2 training be available. The higher pressures and most are sub-critical and trans-critical. A sub critical system importantly the ability of some systems to go above their operates in the same region on a pressure-enthalpy design pressure can be a safety concern. The fact that diagram as a standard refrigeration system does. In venting CO2 can create solid CO2 which in turn can order for this type of system to work, the condensing plug hoses and manifolds means that some basic temperature has to be below 88ºF. Since this is almost training in charging and venting is required. Hopefully impossible in air-cooled applications another more training opportunities become available in the near future and I think that as small appliance manufacturers switch to CO2 refrigerants, like the CO2 vending A lot less refrigerant has to be moved in machine that Sanyo recently manufactured for Coke, the availability accomplish the same amount of cooling. of training will have to increase. CO2 is a great refrigerant and it is used in applications ranging from refrigeration system is often used to ensure a low enough automotive air conditioning to industrial condensing temperature. refrigeration. There are some challenges implementing Flanagan Foodservice Inc. was the first company in it as a refrigerant but these challenges are relatively Canada to use an ammonia/CO2 cascade style system easy to surmount. CO2 already has a very strong for their warehouse in Kitchener, Ont. They have an foothold in the supermarket applications in Europe ammonia plant located on the roof and the ammonia and even in parts of North America. It is most is used to condense the CO2 at a low temperature. definitely here to stay. This arrangement allowed them to eliminate the In the next article we will discuss the types of CO2 potential of an ammonia leak in the facility and refrigeration systems in more detail. ✚ conserve energy. In today’s safety conscious workplace, CO2 is a good fit. There are many different ways to configure a subGreg Scrivener is project and critical refrigeration system: direct expansion, volatile design manager for Polar secondary, cascade, combination direct expansion and Refrigeration Service Ltd. in Saskatoon. He is a journeyman volatile secondary. In a future article we will go through refrigeration mechanic, a licensed some of the different arrangements in detail but suffice gas fitter, holds RSES CMS it to say that there can be significant energy savings in designation in commercial using VFD pumps in volatile secondary systems. refrigeration and is a mechanical engineer in training. Trans-critical systems don’t use a condenser, so to He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. speak. They use a gas cooler. Once the CO2 is above the critical point, it becomes a supercritical fluid. The
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
RioLogic Riobel is proud to introduce the new pressure balance concept from its Riobel Pro Series.
« Pro » is a reference to both professionals and their projects. This modern series includes two faucet collections, Njoy and Kubik, catering to all tastes and styles.
A single rough-in that fits 2 trims!
With its new Riobel Pro Series, Riobel will offer a universal rough-in featuring a test plug. The cartridge will come with the Kubic and Njoy valve trims. Once again, Riobel is working to ensure that its products are user-friendly for professionals like you!
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Venting on demand Continued from page 25 supplying 40°F ground water directly into the condensing tankless, the unit will condense significantly as that cold ground water will draw most of the heat out of the exhaust. Most manufacturers would likely recommend PVC as an acceptable vent material in this situation (see Figure A), although please consult their manuals for recommendations. If, however, that same condensing tankless water heater with the same demand criteria of 185°F is installed in the same commercial application but this time tied in with a storage tank whereby all the cold water goes directly into the tank instead of the tankless, the exhaust temperatures from the condensing tankless will surely rise (see Figure B).
The same condensing appliance can deliver various exhaust temperatures depending on various incoming water temperatures.
When designing a system, if using a new condensing appliance as a replacement of an older, noncondensing appliance, understand the new appliance will not be condensing and be sure to select the vent material accordingly. For all Type BH Gas Vent, the approved class and temperature rating is required on each piece, so look for the stamp or attached label to confirm. The Type BH Special Gas vent is only required on the exhaust vent of the water heater. The air intake will not be subject to any heat nor to the acidic condensate. Thus, to reduce your installation costs, in most jurisdictions the use of ABS on the air intake is permitted (although never on the exhaust in Canada). Venting is critically important to the safe and proper operation of the appliance although it is a variable that is left to you the contractor as it is constructed completely onsite. If unsure, call the manufacturer and err on the side of safety. In the next issue, we will get into the nuts and bolts of venting. Happy installing! ✚
Smart opportunities Continued from page 23
In the first scenario (Figure A), 40°F ground water is going directly into the tankless, ensuring full condensing. In this second scenario, however, (Figure B), the water temperature coming into the tankless from the tank will likely be significantly above the dew point of the exhaust such that the condensing tankless will unfortunately not be condensing; the unit won’t be achieving its rated efficiency and the exhaust temperature will go up. CPVC or polypropylene would be better choices of vent materials in this example but again, always consult the appliance manufacturer for their advice and recommendation. This would be the same if using a condensing tankless water heater to do combination domestic hot water/space heating. If doing in-slab radiant heating where the return water from the floor is 85 to 95°F (for example), the water heater should be condensing continuously and thus the exhaust temperatures will be relatively low. Using that same appliance on a high temperature baseboard system where the return water from the baseboards is 165 to 175°, there would be no condensing and thus the exhaust temperature would be relatively high. The examples above demonstrate how the same appliance, installed differently in the field, would cause different exhaust temperatures thus requiring different venting materials. Generally speaking, if the incoming water is above 135°F, very little condensing is likely occurring, thus the exhaust temperature will rise.
when you sold one – you could make some good coin, and make yourself look modern and smart because you were up on the latest technology. Fast-forward 30 years, to 2010. There are very few basic, everyday thermostats anymore. “Smart” thermostats are all the rage. They are easy to program, the price has come down so they are actually cheaper than the old standbys. And you can buy them over the counter at your local hardware store. Did I say you can buy them? I meant your customer can buy them. List prices for all to see. They can put one in the basket and pay cash at the register. They come on a blister pack that clearly states “Easy to program – easy to install.” Where does that leave the contractor and his traditional mark-up? Not in a happy place, and it gets worse.
Queasy feeling Fast-forward two more years to today – 2012. Many, if not most consumers, are still decidedly queasy about messing with their heating systems. The difficulties encountered by installing DIY thermostats cause homeowners to break out in a cold sweat, and many are unwilling to tackle this job, so they are still calling you – BUT – there is that retail price out there now, and thermostats are even into the big box stores, and worse – the internet. So… • How do you price given this change in distribution?
This unit was vented too close to grade so the installer got creative and dug a hole – not a recommended practice!
Steve Bagshaw is based in Vancouver and has worked extensively with tankless water heaters in the Canadian market for the last nine years. He can be reached at email@example.com.
• How do you justify your mark-up and margin? • Who carries the warranty? • Does your customer know more about these new geewhizz thermostats than you do? • Do you know what they are even talking about given some of the hottest new technology in thermostats is being marketed directly by non-traditional players? This is not a total disaster, but it does present some challenges. The more nimble ones among you will embrace these challenges and figure out a way to profit from them and enhance your businesses. Nobody ever got rich installing thermostats, but if you deal with this the right way, you may be able to make more money, enhance your reputation, and build a more secure customer base. In the next issue I will discuss the ins and outs of some of the more unique offerings in the thermostat world, and in preparation, you can do a little homework on your own. Fire up the old computer, iPad or smart phone, and check out the web sites in the sidebar to this article. Pay particular attention to how these products are going to market, and look hard at some of the really cool new features such as wireless connectivity and connectivity to the internet. And ask yourself – “if I were a homeowner, which of these features would interest me, and how much would I be willing to pay for them?” Stay tuned! ✚ Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Peachland, B.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
Don’t got it? Don’t sweat it. That’s our job. *1 ÊUÊ6 ÊUÊ9 ," -ÊUÊ 1-/,Ê Why do so many contractors bring their business to Noble? It’s more than just our incredible selection of leading brands and over 1.5 million square feet of warehouse space. It’s more than just our growing branch network, 50+ so far, and our expanding `iÛiÀÞÊÃiÀÛVi°ÊÌ½ÃÊiÛiÊÀiÊÌ >ÊÕÀÊn¯ÊwÊÀ>Ìi°Ê ÕÃÌiÀÃÊV ÃiÊÕÃÊLiV>ÕÃiÊÌ iÞÊÜo Noble will do what it takes – whatever it takes – to get our customers the parts, equipment and supplies they need. That’s the Noble difference.
You need it? We got it. www.noble.ca 1-800-529-9805 OR 905-760-6800 BARRIE BELLEVILLE BOUCHERVILLE BRAMPTON BROCKVILLE COQUITLAM CORNWALL GRAVENHURST GUELPH HAMILTON LAVAL LONGUEUIL MAPLE RIDGE MARKHAM MILTON MISSION MISSISSAUGA NEWMARKET KINGSTON KITCHENER LANGLEY LONDON MONTRÉAL OAKVILLE OSHAWA OTTAWA PETERBOROUGH SECHELT ST. CATHARINES TORONTO VANCOUVER WINDSOR
■ Tools & Instruments Demolition hammer
The new Hilti TE 700AVR demolition hammer is geared towards heavy jobs like removing masonry, breaking out penetrations in concrete and enlarging openings in walls, as well as removing tiles and plaster, all with the comfort of the operator in mind. It features 15 percent more power than the previous model, requires reduced contact pressure and includes a dust removal system. It weighs just over 17 lbs. and includes Hilti’s Active Vibration Reduction system. Hilti u www.hilti.ca
The new CrossBow Ratchet Tube Bender from Uniweld creates precision bends of up to 90 degrees on soft copper and aluminum tubing. The low friction mandrels and rotating side bending blocks are designed to produce smooth, accurate bending in restricted spaces. Minimum distortion bends are achieved for optimal flow and repeated alternate angled bends can be produced. A large 1-1/8” O.D. mandrel and five additional interchangeable mandrels, (3/4”, 1/2”, 5/8”, 3/4”, & 7/8”) are included. Uniweld u www.uniweld.com
Rugged thermal imagers Three new thermal imagers from Fluke are aimed at industrial/commercial, building diagnostic and general purpose applications. They include Fluke’s IR Optiflex Focus System – automatic focus with a manual focus option for close-ups. IR-Fusion technology blends digital and infra-red views into a single image to precisely document problem areas. Other features include multi-mode video recording and SmartView infra red viewing and analysis software. Fluke Electronics u www.fluke.com
Get Cookin’ with a complete system of Radiant Heating Tools from Malco.
Fast, Easy, One Handed, One Stroke
Stapling Power! Now one stapler efﬁciently secures PEX Tubing to either a wooden sub-ﬂoor base, or a base of foamboard, faster than any other layout method! Operating from a comfortable standing position, the PWS1 employs fast one-handed stapling in a single stroke.
Designed with a lightweight, one-piece polymer slide for easy loading and deploying strips of 25 exclusive Wood or Foamboard staples.
Exclusive Staple Designs
Scan with Smart Phone to see video
No. PWS2 Pex to Wood Staples • No. PWS2 secures 3/8, 1/2, 5/8-in (9.5, 12.7 or 15.9 mm) PEX layouts to a 3/4-in (19.1 mm) wooden sub-ﬂoor. • No. PWSK1 is available for converting your existing No. FBS / FBSN stapler to work with PWS2 staples in wood sub-ﬂoor.
No. FBSN1 / FBSN2 Foamboard Staples
Borescope image sharing The BRD10 Wireless USB Video Receiver from Extech allows the company’s borescope cameras to behave like a wireless webcam for real-time inspection video that can be streamed over the internet with web-based services like Skype, WebEx, and UStream. This allows a manager back at the shop or a customer to watch the inspection as it occurs. Extech Instruments u www.extech.com
Tough bits SpeedHammer power masonry drill bits from Irwin Tools are designed to quickly drill through rebar-reinforced concrete, and yet they have twice the life of traditional masonry bits, reports the manufacturer. The high-performance tip is manufactured with two times more carbide than traditional masonry bits. The flute is designed for fast dust removal and a speciallyengineered groove design minimizes friction. Irwin Tools u www.irwin.com
No. PWS2 1-1/16” (27 mm)
• Staples are compatible with most brands of Foamboard stapling systems. • Use No. FBSN1 1-1/2-in (38.1 mm) staples for 3/8, 1/2, 5/8” (9.5, 12.7 or 15.9 mm) PEX to 1” (25.4 mm) foamboard. • Use No. FBSN2 2-1/2-in (63.5 mm) staples for 3/8, 1/2, 5/8” (9.5, 12.7 or 15.99 mm)) PEXX to 2” 2 (50.8 ( 8 mm)) foamboard.
1-1/2” (38.1 mm) 2-1/2” (63.5 mm)
PEX Tubing Uncoiler
PEX to Wire Tool
The ultimate organizational tool for taming large rolls of PEX Tubing.
The lowest cost per connection tiion for laying out a PEX in-ﬂoor radiant rad a ia ant heating system on a wire grid! id!
Accommodates all types of PEX tubing: 1000 ft. (305 m) of 3/8” to 1/2” (9.5 to 12.7 mm) 500 ft. (152 m) of 5/8” to 1” (15.9 to 25.4 mm)
Fast Set-Up, Easy Loading and Dispensing.
Trouble FREE tool operation and secure clip connecton. on. Easy-loading magazine with 25 clip capacity won’t slow down. low o you down wn. 12-gauge (2.5 mm) clips will not jam, break or damage g PEX. ge Clip connection allows some PEX movement to avoid abrasio abrasion. sion.
For use on all on ons PEX to wire applications and all brands of PEX tubing from 3/8” (10 mm) to 5/8” (16 mm) No. PC1diameters. 25 Non-Jamming Mag. Clips
See a video demonstration of the PEX Uncoiler, PEX to Wire Tool and Original Foamboard Stapler. Malco Products, Inc. | Annandale, Minnesota, U.S.A. | www.malcotools.com | ©2012
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
Reinventing apprenticeship Blended learning at SAIT keeps workers on the job site new approach to apprenticeship training by SAIT Polytechnic in Calgary is designed to allow apprentices to keep working during much of the in-school portion of their apprenticeship. Plumbing, welding and electrical apprentices can do the theory part of the program online at home and while scheduling the in-class labs around their work activities. Thatâ€™s something third-year plumbing apprentice Roger Milton says is an enormous benefit. â€œYouâ€™re not losing at least 50 per cent of your wage because youâ€™re on E.I. Taking this program has enabled me to keep a full pay cheque coming home. It was nice to still be able to take my kids to the zoo and do other family outings.â€?
backwards to go through things again. It really helps the information sink in.â€? A basic knowledge of computers and an internet connection is all thatâ€™s required, he added. â€œItâ€™s very userfriendly. (You can) point and click your way around the site very easily.â€?
Good self-discipline is, however, also a must. There is nobody looking over the apprenticeâ€™s shoulder. As a result, the blended learning program is open only to second and third-year apprentices who have scored 80 percent or better in previous training. For more information, visit www.sait.ca. âœš
Install the wrong bath waste system, and your beautiful bathroom could go down the drain. Announcing the Watco Innovator CableÂŽ bath waste system: fully repairable from inside the tub.
Apprentices can schedule their in-school training around their work activities. And Miltonâ€™s employer John Swan, owner of Triple J Mechanical in Calgary, says itâ€™s been a blessing to keep his apprentice on the job. â€œTime is valuable,â€? says the journeyman plumber, who has mentored at least a dozen apprentices over his career. â€œI own a busy, successful business and having my apprentice in the blended learning program means I lose him for less time,â€? he reported. â€œI had a job in Drumheller that required a security check. I only had myself and my apprentice approved. If I would have lost him for two months to do his schooling, I would have had to do the job myself,â€? he added. Online study resources at SAIT have come a long way from a standard textbook. Interactive graphics, animations and videos complement reading modules to help make theory easier to understand. Online practice questions prepare apprentices for their training quality standard exams. â€œThe multimedia in the blended program was a nice feature to have,â€? said Milton. â€œIf you missed or didnâ€™t understand something you could easily rewind or skip
Rarely does a Watco bath waste system need repair. But if it ever should, with our new Innovator CableÂŽ youâ€™ll never have to cut through thousands of dollars of custom tile or install an unsightly access panel.
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Watcoâ€™s new Innovator CableÂŽ was created speciďŹ cally to complement the ďŹ nest baths. It operates smoothly and reliably. It drains ďŹ‚awlessly in todayâ€™s Chrome Brushed (CB) deeper tubs. Its overďŹ‚ow drain rate exceeds all other cable drains. And, with Watco QuickTrimÂŽ, you can change to special ďŹ nishes without removing the drainâ€™s strainer body. With Watco behind the wall, bathrooms stay beautiful.
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May/June 2012 â€“ Plumbing & HVAC
1. Concentric Termination Kits (PVC & CPVC) 2", 3" & NEW 4" diameters
2. Wall Termination Kits (PVC) 2", 2-1/2" & 3" diameters
3. Low Profile Termination Kits (PVC) Molded Cap with socket allows for vent screens and extensions. Cap can be mechanically fastened, allowing for quick removal and easy cleaning.
Integral Fins prevent the cap from sitting flush to the wall, ensuring proper spacing needed for air flow.
We added a 4" Kit to expand your options.
Pipe-in-pipe Design allows for single wall penetration resulting in fewer holes to core & seal.
Short Branch on the Wye makes for a stronger fitting which can be installed in tighter spaces.
System 636® Flue Gas Venting System has added a NEW 4" Concentric Kit to it’s versatile line-up of Termination Kits. Gas fired appliances are changing rapidly as they meet higher demands for energy efficiency. In its commitment to service the industry and its ever evolving needs, IPEX has added a new 4" Concentric Kit to our Termination Kit line-up in both PVC & CPVC. This, along with our complete line of pipe, fittings & cements, makes System 636® a truly complete package.
Fresh Air Exhaust
For more information visit www.ipexinc.com/system636
For Flue Gas Venting Applications Product manufactured by IPEX Inc. System 636® is a trademark of IPEX Branding Inc.
Call 1-866-473-9462 or visit www.ipexinc.com
■ People & Places
A co-operative effort Grass roots contractor group celebrates 20 years By Simon Blake t can be lonely as a contractor. If the economy is cooking along and everyone is making money, contractors who may have jumped from working the tools to running their own shop can get by despite a lack of business knowledge and experience. When times get tough they can find themselves without the experience to keep the business going and with nobody to turn to for help. When the Ontario economy tanked 20 years ago a small group of contractors came together and formed a co-operative to help each other. What would soon become the ClimateCare group was born. Peter LaPosta, president of Woodbridge GTA Climatecare in the north end of Toronto, was one of the original six members. Like many small HVAC contractors, he’d had a good run in the 80s. “All of a sudden, everyone wanted air conditioning. It was not a luxury anymore,” he recalls. Busy times meant a move to a more spacious shop and a beautiful new showroom, which he opened just as the economy was slowing down. HVAC contractors were in for some lean years.
Sewing the seeds The seeds for ClimateCare had been sewn a few years earlier. LaPosta and a dozen others formed a user’s group under the leadership of contractor Clarence Boonstra to learn a new computerized business system created by Elephant Data Systems. Some became fairly close during the 12 weeks and began to meet socially. Business became more competitive as contractors fought over fewer sales. “We realized we had to work smarter,” said LaPosta. “We were trades people. Most of us recognized that we needed help on the accounting side. We wanted to learn how to read the financials.” They hired business consultant Don Crosley who set up eight weeks of intensive training in London, Ont. in early 1991. Contractors and staff gave up
Peter LaPosta opened his beautiful new showroom … just as the economy tanked. weekends and drove long distances in atrocious weather to attend.
A new organization Some participants wanted to keep the group going. That led to the birth of the Heating and Air Contractors Executive Organization – or CEO Group. The six contractors held their first official meeting at the Kempenfelt Conference Centre in Barrie, Ont. in 1992. Gearld Inch, of Roy Inch and Sons in St. Thomas, Ont., was elected president. They sought more professional input. They established rules and qualifications for membership as more contractors heard about the group and wanted to join. Members had to
Mario Bernardi has seen the organization stabilize.
operate their businesses in a certain way, attend training, attend meetings and pay bills promptly. “This really helped me become a business person,” said LaPosta. “Doing certain things wasn’t easy. To be successful you sometimes have to fire people and fire customers.” In 1995 they created a product buying program. Things like group benefits and insurance were organized.
The right name Members started thinking about creating a brand name to market themselves as qualified, reliable HVAC contractors. It had to reflect a business philosophy that focused not only on good business and trade practices, but also on building long-term relationships with customers. “ClimateCare” was created. There were about 35 members at the time and the goal – something ClimateCare has never achieved – has been to reach 50. In fact the number has fluctuated as member contractors have proven attractive to buyers. In 1999 Lennox Service Experts bought out the core group and membership dropped to less than 20. In 2000 the group formally changed it’s name to the ClimateCare CoOperative Corporation, a for profit co-operative with share capital. Membership rebounded to 29 members. In 2002 the group hired its first full-time employee, executive director Mario
Bernardi and in 2003 found permanent office space in Burlington, Ont. Membership climbed to 32.
Sharing information Members meet at each other’s locations and analyze each other’s strengths and
To be successful you sometimes have to fire people and fire customers. weaknesses with the goal of making all members strong in all areas, explains Bernardi. However, one of the biggest advantages remains the opportunity to get together with other contractors and talk about the issues that invariably arise in running a small independent contracting business. Today the buying group helps fund the operation. ClimateCare has its own line of HVAC equipment manufactured by York. Membership has grown by four or five contractors per year thanks to a one-year trial membership program. “You get to try us out and we get to try you out,” laughs Bernardi. After 35 years in business, LaPosta has no regrets. “We really felt that ClimateCare was critical in turning us around back then,” he says. ✚
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ People & Places
HVAC veterans honoured The Canadian HVACR Heritage Centre honoured two industry veterans during the CMX-CIPHEX Luncheon in Toronto March 22. Garth Denison and Dan Sorochan were inducted into the group’s HVACR Hall of Fame. Denison is well known in the industry after 50 years with Carrier, Dupont and Sporlan Valve. He is an author of several refrigeration books, taught refrigeration at Humber College in Toronto and is a former president of the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society. He is also know for his sense of humour. “I’m living proof that refrigerants are preservatives,” he joked during his acceptance speech. Sorochan, president and general manager of Sinclair Supply in Edmonton, joined the industry at age 20 in 1947 and remains active today 65 years later. He managed the company as it expanded through much of western Canada, a process that continued with the opening of a Winnipeg branch on April 1, remarked Heritage Centre secretary treasurer David Tayler.
Garth Denison, right, receives his Hall of Fame plaque from Dave Tayler.
Dan Sorochan, right, is still active after 65 years in the industry.
“It’s been a terrific education,” said Sorochan. “A lot of fine folks have worked for the company over the years.” Please visit www.hvacrheritagecentre.ca for more information.
Grundfos celebrates 20 years
Grundfos Canada employees celebrated 20 years of growth in the Canadian pump industry.
Pump manufacturer Grundfos celebrated 20 years in Canada with a gala evening March 27 in Oakville, Ont. at the St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre. The Danish company opened its Canadian headquarters on May 1, 1992. “With roots in Denmark, Grundfos continues to show itself as a well established Canadian company that has shown great success in applying its energy saving products to the advantage of society, the environment and the bottom line,” remarked Erik Vilstrup Lorenzen, Danish ambassador to Canada. Grundfos Canada president Simon Feddema reflected on the roots of the company and spoke of the accomplishments and trials that the Canadian division has experienced over the past two decades.
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Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
Wholesaler marks 50 years with a move into Toronto market Marks Supply, headquartered in Kitchener, Ont., is celebrating 50 years. And business is good for the independent wholesaler. The company operates seven plumbing and HVAC/R wholesale branches across Southwestern Ontario and is opening a new location to serve the greater Toronto area (GTA) in Mississauga, Ont. “We’re celebrating 50 years in business because we understand the customers’ needs from the contractors to the builders to the interior designers,” said Robin Todd,
president & CEO. “The relationships between our vendors, customers and employees means there’s a bigger and better future for all of us. We’re excited to grow as a company and our customers have more choice.” The new branch will open this summer with plumbing, PVF, HVAC and hydronics under one roof. This branch will also feature a unique format designed to provide speedier service. Contractors will see a hybrid between big box retail outlets and traditional wholesale counters giving them the choice between self-service and counter pick up.
The company also operates three luxury showrooms under the Watermarks Kitchen & Bath Boutique banner (www.watermarksboutique.com) in Kitchener, Burlington and Etobicoke. Mike Verge, vice president of operations, credits Marks’ staff for the company’s success. “Their dedication to building relationships with our customers and suppliers has allowed us to go beyond customer service and build a strong following of loyal partnerships.” For more information, visit www.marksupply.net.
People Anton Wolmarans has joined Mits Airconditioning Inc., Mississauga, Ont., where he will continue to expand the Mitsubishi Electric business. Wolmarans was previously general Anton manager of Mitsubishi Electric Sales Wolmarans Canada Inc., Markham, Ont. Sas Sundaralingam has been named product manager, commercial products division, for the drainage division of Watts Canada, Burlington, Ont. Rod Andrew, senior manager for Noble, Vaughan, Ont. and former co-owner of MPH Supply, Coquitlam, B.C., has announced that he will retire Sas effective June 1. Noble bought MPH Sundaralingam Supply in November, 2010 from Andrew and partner Peter Austen. Zurn Canada, Mississauga, Ont., has named Jim Fessler director of sales and marketing. As well, Bryon Keats will be the area manager for the Western Region – British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan. Mark Barwood will service the Central Region – Ontario and Manitoba. Rolf Fischer will handle the responsibilities in the Eastern Region – Quebec and Atlantic provinces. Bill Harris has been named HVAC sales director for Wolf Bill Harris Mike Scott Steel Ltd., Barrie, Ont. Cantin Russel The company has also appointed Mike Cantin as Canadian regional sales manager and Scott Russel as account manager. GeoSmart Energy, Cambridge, Ont., has named Colin Aves as western territory manager (B.C. and Alberta). Royal Building Products, Woodbridge, Ont., has named Allex Chin as director of operations, Colin Aves pipe and fittings solutions. Morden National Sales and Marketing Inc., Wallaceburg, Ont. has ap- Allex Chin pointed Dave Vallieres & Associates Inc. as its new agent for Quebec and the Ottawa region.
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May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
Western Canada’s largest and most important expo for
Plumbing, Hydronics, HVACR and Water Treatment
● More than 250 Exhibitors ● Free Seminars ● Technical Workshops ● New Products ● Emerging Technologies ● Solutions for a Sustainable Tomorrow
CIPHEX West 2012
Wednesday, November 7- 10 am to 5 pm Vancouver Convention Centre Thursday, November 8 - 10 am to 5 pm
FREE ADVANCE REGISTRATION SAVE $20 PER PERSON Register online at: www.ciphexwest.ca
■ Coming Events
CIPH will meet in Quebec The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) will hold its Annual Business Conference at the beautiful Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Montebello, Quebec, 80 kilometres east of Ottawa, June 24-27. Educational sessions include speakers such as the Globe and Mail’s Jeffrey Simpson, Dr. Linda Duxbury, a professor at Carlton University’s Sprott School of Business and wheelchair athlete Chantal Petitclerc. The Hydronics Luncheon on June 26 will feature a presentation on the Beautiful Heat marketing campaign. However, it’s not all serious business. Other activities include everything from a scavenger hunt in Land Rovers to an evening of entertainment with the Pinchaud Family – a huge hit at previous CIPH conferences for their rock and roll hits played on violins, saws and just about anything one could imagine – and the first annual Edward Hardison Memorial Golf Tournament in memory of the longtime CIPH general manager. For more information, visit www.ciph.com.
Allpriser ...................................................................................19 Bradford White Canada ...........................................................42 Carrier Canada ..............................................................4, 28, 47 Cash Acme ..............................................................................31 CIPHEX West ...........................................................................44 Dahl Bros.................................................................................25 Delta Faucet ............................................................................14 Emerson Climate Technologies...................................................9 General Pipe Cleaners................................................................8 HRAI........................................................................................38 Honeywell/Genetron Div. ........................................................30 IPEX.............................................................................18, 26, 40 Judo Water Treatment .............................................................21
Madok Mfg. ............................................................................22 Malco Products Inc. .................................................................37 Mobilio......................................................................................5 Noble ......................................................................................36 RaptorCutting Tools .................................................................29 RIDGID ....................................................................................48 Rinnai ........................................................................................6 Riobel ......................................................................................34 SAIT Polytechnic ......................................................................45 Saniflo .....................................................................................10 Taco Canada..............................................................................2 Trane Canada ..........................................................................24 Uponor Ltd. .............................................................................11 Venstar ....................................................................................24 WatcoMfg. ..............................................................................39 Watts Industries ......................................................................43 Woodford Mfg. .......................................................................17 Zurn Industries.........................................................................16
HRAI heads east The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) will hold its 44th Annual General Meeting and Conference Aug. 23-25 at the waterfront Halifax Marriott Harbourfront Hotel. The keynote speaker will be Pete Luckett, greengrocer, owner of Pete’s Frootique and television personality. There are numerous business sessions including: plastic vent pipe installation, residential zoning – energy savings opportunity, promoting and managing service contracts, changing codes and new opportunities, and radiant heating and cooling for commercial buildings – reducing energy consumption while improving indoor environmental quality. Between all that, HRAI plans a number of fun events including an evening at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, golf at the Glen Arbour Golf Course and a tour of Lunenberg and Mahone Bay for non-golfers. For more information, visit www.hrai.ca.
Calendar JUNE 24-27: Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH) Annual Business Conference, Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, Montebello, Que. Call 1-800-639-2474 or visit www.ciph.com.
AUG. 23-25: Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) Annual Meeting, Halifax Marriott Harbourfront, Halifax. Call 1-800267-2231 or visit www.hrai.ca.
NOV. 7-8: CIPHEX West, Vancouver Convention Centre, Vancouver. Visit www.ciphexwest.ca or call Elizabeth McCullough at 1-800-639-2474.
May/June 2012 – Plumbing & HVAC
■ Shop Management
6. Crisis management. We all get into situations that need a cool head. We need to think before we act. This is also something successful managers are good at. 7. Motivation/team work. We all need encouragement and direction. Good managers provide that every day. 8. Broad based. The more senior you are in a business the more hats you wear. You need to have the skills of a business person. You are not in the plumbing and/or HVAC business; you are in the money-making business and you need a broad base of skills to make it work.
What makes a good manager?
What to do When you get the score for yourself ask others to comment on it, then when you feel you have a good assessment of your own management skills start looking for people to support your weaknesses and learn how to turn your weaknesses into strengths. Focus on your strengths to grow your business. Do the same exercise with your key managers. Review the outcomes with them. Help them work on their weaknesses and leverage their strengths. Pair people together who have complementary strengths so that they can support each other. Identify what processes you could put in place to upgrade your team’s management capacity.
Perhaps it’s time to evaluate your own skills
By Ron Coleman
Try this exercise first with yourself and then with some of the key people you deal with, your boss, the people anager: “I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I who report to you, even a few key customers. Score out am going to blame you.” of five on each component, with five being best, and see People are neither good nor bad; they just do how close to 40 you can get: good and bad things. Likewise, managers are neither 1. Making decisions. Making the right decisions is good nor bad; they just do things critical for every manager. Evaluating that have good and bad options and coming up with the consequences. To understand the right directions is a process that we Management, concept of management you need to need to have. break it down into measurable 2. Entrepreneurship and value. components. By dealing with each like a furnace, is made We are in business to make money. component separately you can up of components and The successful manager understands improve your own management skills the importance of every job making and of those within your sphere of each component has money and of doing sufficient work influence. to pay the overhead and have a profit Are you a good manager? How be to evaluated left over. The profit should be well in would you rate yourself? How would separately excess of five percent of sales. you rate your key people? If you are 3. Ethics. Our customers are smart. having difficulty coming up with a They know whether or not they are clear answer maybe it’s because being treated fairly. If you or your management, like a furnace, is made up of team is not ethical then you have no right to stay in components and each component has to be evaluated business. separately but each component must also work with 4. Prudence. It amazes me to see how many businesses the other components. do stupid things. They jump into situations without You don’t fix a furnace – you fix the component that’s evaluating them. Use your common sense. broken, but if the system is not fixable you replace it. It’s 5. Planning for the future. Staying ahead of the pack the same with your management team. You need to is critical. Good managers are not worrying about now; determine if each person’s component parts are up to they are planning for what has to be done tomorrow, standard and if they work well together. next week and next year.
Plumbing & HVAC – May/June 2012
There is a difference between leadership and management. Leadership means taking a big picture view of your business and the industry. It is essential for the leader of the business to have his/her pulse on the industry. You need to know what the latest trends are. Becoming active in one of the industry associations can help this. For example, the ClimateCare Cooperative has been an effective source of leadership for residential HVAC contractors in Ontario. (Please see Page 41) The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) offers a number of management programs. Some of the more progressive leaders in the industry have joined the HRAI Peer Exchange Program (PEP). Likewise, the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada, the Canadian Oil Heat Association, and other groups all offer programs to help contractors improve their business skills. Even the smallest of contractors needs to hone their management skills. Just like you do a diagnostic on the equipment you service and sell you need to do a “management diagnostic” on the people who work for you. Use these techniques to become more successful and to minimize the stresses you face every day. Work on each employee using each of the elements that are identified above. Fix one piece at a time. ✚ Ronald Coleman is a Vancouverbased accountant, management consultant, author and educator specializing in the construction industry. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
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