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

Up-front costs versus long-term savings

INSIDE Q Ont. College of Trades meets with hydronic industry Q Housing Housing starts for fifth fifth straight straight month month QHousing starts decline decline for Q Significant QSignificant Significant changes changes in in new new oil oil heating heating code code Q Taking QTaking Taking the the excitement excitement out out of of business business to to boost boost profit profit

APRIL 2015


...You decide!


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Q Contents

Spring Air Conditioning

Departments Hot Seat .........................................5 The plight of the apprentice

Industry News ..............................7 College receives earful on hydronics

People & Places ...........................43 Industry veteran remembered

Shop Management .....................45 Avoiding excitement to make money

Coming Events ............................46 June conferences announced

Products & Technologies Air Conditioning..........................15

New air curtain applications

Strong economics, energy savings boost market


Hot Water Heating ......................20 Heating ........................................27 Refrigeration ...............................32 Plumbing......................................35 Tools & Instruments ....................39

Sizing TX valves


Precise refrigerant control critical

Cover: Selling smart pumps in a market driven by up-front cost can be difficult. Please see our article on page 35.


Oil heat code update Substantial changes for new technologies


Hydronic rehab


Sometimes it’s better to start over

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Hot Seat

April 2015 Volume 25, Number 3 ISSN 1919-0395

The plight of the long-term apprentice At a recent meeting between the Canadian Hydronics Council and the Ontario College of Trades Bob Onyschuk, director of compliance and enforcement for the College, said: “I came from an organization that opened my eyes when I came across my first ninth year first-year apprentice.” He went on to say his team of enforcement officers come across the problem on job sites across Ontario every day. I was touched. As a young welder/steel fitter in Alberta in the 70s and 80s I was one of those apprentices. It took over a year to get signed up for apprenticeship. After four years and twice the hours needed for my journeyman ticket, I finally went to school for first year. A year later I was set to go for second year at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) when the oil industry collapsed and we were all put out of work. This the first time in all these years that I have heard someone in a position of authority actually acknowledge the problem and, what’s more, want to do something about it. We work so hard to encourage young people to go into the trades, but the reality is that many will not succeed and it’s not entirely their fault. I don’t want to paint all contractors with the same brush because some are very good with apprentices. But there are others that string would-be apprentices along with promises that they will sign them up, but do so reluctantly if at all. They tell the apprentice they don’t think they are ready. But were that really the case, they wouldn’t keep them. The employer knows within a day or two whether a new employee has the mechanical aptitude to do the

job. If they do, within six months that employee will be doing many of the same tasks as a journeyman and working on their own a lot. To have it any other way would not make financial sense for the company. Employers know they will have to pay more as the employee moves through each apprenticeship level. They also know that they will likely lose them once they receive their journeyman ticket unless they give them a substantial pay increase. Some contractors just want to get as many years as possible out of the employee at the lowest cost they can get away with. People sometimes question long-term apprentices as to why they don’t challenge the exam if they have so many hours. But that’s not easy to do because the apprentice doesn’t have experience with many of the things that are on the exam. As a welder I worked on oil rigs and they are made of steel. I did not work with aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron and all the other materials and welding methods you had to know to pass the exam. In the plumbing and HVAC/R trades, the technology is even more complicated. Apprentices go to trade school to learn all the things their employer doesn’t do. Tackling this issue isn’t going to make the already controversial College of Trades popular with some contractors. But I suspect long-term apprentices will be quietly cheering.

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819 mark@plumbingandhvac.ca Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 simon@plumbingandhvac.ca Design and Production Tim Norton/Janet Popadiuk production@plumbingandhvac.ca Production Manager Lilianna Kantor (416) 614-5815 lily@newcom.ca Circulation Manager Pat Glionna Corporate Services Anthony Evangelista

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

NEWCOM Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4 Tel: (416) 614-2200 • 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 2015. The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without the prior written permission of the Publisher.

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


Canadian Business Press

Q Industry News

Ont. hydronic contractors may catch a break Issues brought to forefront as Hydronics Council hosts meeting with College of Trades By Simon Blake Efforts by the Canadian Hydronics Council to have its hydronic heating training recognized by the Ontario College of Trades received a major boost during a meeting March 5. “The work you perform crosses trades. Let’s face that head on and talk about it,” remarked Bob Onyschuk, director of compliance and enforcement for the College. There were a number of contractors at the meeting, held March 5 at the Mississauga Convention Centre, Mississauga, Ont., who expressed frustration that hydronic heating is part of plumbing or steam-fitting, but just a small part of those trades. “Most of the guys doing in-floor (radiant) are heating contractors, not plumbers,” remarked Craig Stewart, president of Garthside Ltd., Penetanguishene, Ont. It’s a growing and technical industry and most tradesmen receive the bulk of their hydronic training from manufacturers, he added. “They are not just throwing it in and hoping it works.” Contractor Ron Robinson, AtlasCare, Oakville, Ont., noted that Ontario now has a residential HVAC trade and that something similar needs to be developed for residential and small commercial hydronics. “We need to reward those that are doing a good job of it,” he added. In an interview following the meeting, Canadian Hydronics council program manager Matt Wiesenfeld told P&HVAC that the immediate goal is to have CHC training recognized by the College of Trades so that those currently doing hydronic heating installation can continue to do so.


to check qualifications, that is causing problems for legitimate contractors too as trades and technologies have evolved and trade certifications don’t always align with the work that the trades are actually doing. “The world has changed an awful lot in the past 20 to 30 years,” remarked D av i d Tsu b o u ch i , registrar and CEO of David the College of Trades. Tsubouchi “We cannot have training standards that were developed 30-40 years ago. We have to adapt.”

Focus on employer

The College of Trades is looking out for apprentices. The Canadian Hydronics Council is currently working with the College to create a task group to come up with a solution. In addition to College and CHC officials, it is expected to include contractors, wholesalers, manufacturers and training personnel. Onyschuk said he’s asked his enforcement officers – 70 percent of whom are tradesmen themselves but not necessarily in the mechanical trades – to Bob Onyschuk “back off a little bit” when dealing with hydronic heating. “We need to find a way to accommodate your work without upsetting the system too much.”

“underground fly-by-night” unlicensed contractors. But with over 40 College of Trades officers now visiting job sites

Onyschuk said enforcement officers are reluctant to stop work or issue fines and try to work out the problem with the contractor, except when the issue is blatant or a repeat violation. Fines for doing something outside of the tradesmen’s qualifications are $195 for the individual or $295 for the employer. Fines almost always go

Please see ‘College’ on page 8

Working on solutions The March 5 meeting was the second hosted by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating and the CHC with the College of Trades and once again it was packed with contractors, wholesalers and manufacturers trying to come to grips with the new College of Trades, which is responsible for trade certification and enforcement in Ontario. Industry financed and directed, it manages 156 trades and operates in a similar way as other professional associations like the College of Physicians or the College of Teachers. Contractors have long asked for enforcement to control the

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Industry News

College of Trades Continued from page 7

violator – a non-licensed electrical contractor – was recently sent to jail for 30 days and fined $28,000.

to the contractor because “it is usually the employer that’s causing the individual to do the nasty deed,” he added. However, employers typically tell the employee to pay the fine or lose their job. “We keep an eye on that.” And from there the fines can go into the thousands of dollars depending on the infraction. One repeat

Revising the ratios In Ontario the journeyman to apprentice ratios have traditionally been high and may require as many as four journeymen for every apprentice. One of the key initiatives of the College has been make ratios more realistic for contractors, noted Tsubouchi.

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However, the process currently run by the Labour Relations Board needs to change, he added. “It’s as if one side says the moon is made of green cheese while the other says it’s made of blue cheese, but (they don’t

We need to find a way to accommodate your work without upsetting the system too much. get that) it’s not made of cheese.” Likewise, he noted that only 18 percent of businesses that could sign up apprentices actually do. Part of the problem is that the current process through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities is complicated and time consuming. “You need a PhD to figure this out.” He said he expects that eventually apprenticeship will be transferred to the College and one of the first priorities will be to simplify the process.

The ninth year first year apprentice The College of Trades is cracking down in one area that will be welcome news to apprentices everywhere. “I came from an organization that opened my eyes when I came across my first ninth year first year apprentice,” said Onyschuk. “His contractor didn’t want to move him forward, so he ended up moving from contractor to contractor.” Today his enforcement officers come across similar situations every day. It’s illegal and the College will do whatever it takes to help the apprentice get their certificate of qualification. “One officer took eight years to get his Red Seal carpenters ticket, so there’s compassion.”

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Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

Consumer protection The College of Trades has also taken steps to protect consumers from un-licensed trades. Consumers can go to the College of Trades website and look up individual trades people and see if they are qualified. Onyschuk suggested members of the audience do just that. “I challenge you – you will be surprised at who’s fixing your car.”

Scope of trades The College is also working to review and update the scope of trades. “There are so many new technologies. Who heard of LEED buildings 15 years ago?” said Tsubouchi. Trade boards made up of contractors and other industry personnel review each trade. One struggle for the College is getting people to volunteer for these boards. “We need more people coming forward. A lot of training needs to be updated.” For more information, visit the College website at www.collegeoftrades.ca and the Canadian Hydronics Council at www.ciph.com\hydronics. 


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Q Industry News

Housing starts continue decline New housing starts continued to decline in February, reports the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation in Ottawa. “The trend in housing starts decreased for a fifth consecutive month in February and reflects a decreasing trend in multiple starts,” said Bob Dugan, chief economist at the CMHC Market Analysis Centre. “The declining trend in multiple starts is helping to gradually erode the inventory of completed and unsold

units, which is high compared to historical levels.” The standalone monthly seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) was 156,276 units in February, down from 187,025 units in January. In cities, urban starts decreased to 140,722 in February from 171,950 in January. The decrease in February reflects broad based declines in eight of the ten provinces. The trend measure – a six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates of housing

starts – was 182,137 units in February compared to 188,761 in January. The heaviest decreases were seen in multiple urban starts, which reached 86,214 units in February, down from 115,123 in January. Single-detached urban starts decreased to 54,508 units in February from 56,827 the previous month. Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 15,554 units.

In Brief Solid month in the West Many wholesalers in the West enjoyed a relatively solid month in February. Total product sales were up $15.1 million dollars or up 4.2 percent compared to February, 2014, reported the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH). B.C. enjoyed a major boost thanks primarily to waterworks sales, which recovered to 2013 levels. Overall monthly sales were also up in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, while they dropped significantly in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. The unusual colder and snowy weather in these regions most likely had an influence on sales, reports CIPH. Total year-to-date product sales were up 3.2 percent or $24 million from the prior year for a total of $782.4 million.

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HRAI opposes new Vancouver bylaw. The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) has written a letter to the City of Vancouver protesting a new bylaw that puts restrictions on sidewall venting. HRAI officials say the new requirements will hurt the sales of high efficiency furnaces. The restriction was imposed because of condensation-laden exhaust and/or noise at the exhaust outlet. (HRAI is not aware of any documented evidence of noise issues.)

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ASHRAE revises ground-source design book When ASHRAE’s original book on ground source heat pumps was published 17 years ago, such systems were used mainly in residential settings and designers who used them were seen as risk takers. Today, the technology is much more widely used. The lessons learned during that time are incorporated in a new book from ASHRAE titled “Geothermal Heating and Cooling: Design of Ground-Source Heat Pump Systems (GSHP).” Originally published in 1997, the latest edition provides benchmarks, design strategies and information necessary for engineers to configure the most efficient and cost effective systems and avoid problems such as inefficient pumping, high cost ground loop designs, inadequate outside air provisions, unnecessarily complex control schemes and other common design errors. For more information, visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.



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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Building Green

Strong economics and energy savings boost market By Bruce Nagy


air curtains


In the summer, an air curtain keeps the conditioned air in and the heat out when customers enter this Oregon grocery store.

avourable winds are blowing toward air curtain technologies. For example their energy saving ability is being recognized more than ever within building codes, although the process is moving slowly. Air curtains are basically fans in a box with a linear nozzle mounted above big warehouse shipping doors, front doors for retailers, institutions, and drive-thru windows. They blow a stream of heated or unheated air down in front of the opening, creating an insulating effect between the outside air mass and the air inside.

mean significant construction savings for owners. Like everything, air curtains are becoming more sophisticated, but they are basically electric fans requiring something around 220-amp three-phase power and should be easy to install. Still, the experts have some stories about installers that have really ‘blown it.’ “In one case they installed the curtain inside the building three feet from the warehouse door it was

Quick payback

Still, the experts have some stories about installers that have really ‘blown it.’

In general, air curtains offer strong economics that should make them easy to sell. In most cases they pay for themselves through energy savings in less than two years. “The whole point of an air curtain is to save energy. They need to be sized right, to maintain separation between the air spaces,” says Sarah Grandinetti, application engineer at Aqua Air Systems in Edmonton. “Creating a proper seal is all about the right velocity and volume for the situation…or, for cold storage you might consider heat. Heated curtains can help prevent energy from moving across the barrier.” Manufacturers state that air curtains are 70 to 80 percent efficient at separating two environments. They also keep out car fumes, insects, dust and humidity and they are slowly replacing the plastic curtains between warehouse areas due, in part, to safety concerns.

Vestibule alternative ANSI/AMCA tested air curtains are now being seen as acceptable alternatives to vestibules by both the International Energy Conservation Code and the International Green Construction Code. This could


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

supposed to be blocking,” says Michael Coscarelli, national sales manager for Berner International in New Castle, Pennsylvania. “They asked me why it wasn’t saving on heating and cooling, and they were serious!”

Precise installation required “If they’re installed correctly, air curtains don’t actually blow straight down,” reported Leon Wasser, president of Wasser Resources of Toronto. “They’re designed to angle the air stream by five degrees towards the outside so they can resist the wind. So if they’re installed backwards, they blow slightly inward and the wind comes in around the sides of the curtain.” He explains that efficiency is about being precise. “Bigger is not better with air curtains.” “You want to get them as close to the top of the door

as possible; but in some projects they are recessed into the ceiling,” says Berner sales manager (northeast) Steve Benes. “In that case, they need to be sized according to the height from the floor, not for the size of the opening.” He despairs that this kind of mistake happens often and describes other sizing errors. “Right now I’m replacing some curtains because the manufacturer exaggerated the CFM that would be pumped out by a ½ hp motor. It’s important to choose products that are ANSI/AMCA-certified.” “In the last few years a lot of building owners are paying more attention to neutralizing pressures and avoiding outside air being pulled in,” reported Alex Ivanov, account manager for Heat Saving Systems, also in Toronto. “In some restaurants big range hoods in the kitchen are drawing air out of the building and if they don’t have decent make-up air units, that has to be considered.” The most sophisticated air curtains are used for pedestrian entrances to retail establishments and institutions. Controls turn fans on when the door slides

Building a “wall of air” is simple in principle, but the components have to be precisely located for it to work effectively.


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Sealing large overhead shipping doors that are constantly opening and closing is one of the key roles for air curtains.

In a Belleville, Ont. shopping mall, air curtains were hung on rods to put them precisely in the right position.

open, but because it may be opening and closing five times every minute, they use a shut-off delay to protect the motor from frenetic cycling. There are numerous models for different conditions; some that work with hydronic heating systems, some with special heating roles, VRFs, and designs with beautiful architectural finishes. “We have an HLS model for hazardous locations,” says Benes. “We installed it in a project where they were using compressed natural gas because it has spark-proof construction and explosion-proof motors.”

hurry; making vestibules less effective. The building’s designers were seeking LEED Silver designation. They invested in high efficiency boilers with variable frequency drives, chillers, rooftop DX systems, special glass, passive solar design, and so on. But a lot of this might have been wasted with 11 different entranceways continuously opening and closing. So they integrated air curtains and vestibules into the HVAC plan. The energy saving has been estimated at 18 percent, or up to $500,000 on utility bills in some years.

Saving energy and retail space

Expanding market

The vestibule versus air curtain question already has a case study in Oregon where an eight-store organic grocery chain called Market of Choice has installed air curtains to save energy, save space and keep flying insects at bay. They are activated by a limit switch, triggered when the door opens, and deactivated on a five-second delay. The units draw interior air from inside the store and discharge it through adjustable (+/20 degree) linear nozzles. Velocities range from 1,000 to 3,000 ft/min. Store managers have been trained by the electrical contractor to clean reusable filters and adjust the 10-speed fan for various weather conditions. Studies that led to the vestibule exception in building codes used computational fluid dynamics to establish that an air curtain/auto-door combination is 60 percent more effective for environmental separation than a conventional two-door vestibule. Vestibules also cost up to 75 percent more to construct than air curtains, and they can subtract hundreds of square feet of valuable retail floor space.

The biggest and fastest growing opportunity for air curtains is the retail market including small shops, restaurants, banks, grocery stores, auto dealerships and drive-through windows. Experts say there is a huge undeveloped market in North American drivethroughs in particular. The biggest ticket installations are usually shipping doors because the openings are much larger, requiring more expensive models. Shipping door curtains are usually unheated because fewer employees and customers work near them or have comfort expectations in those areas. Wasser describes a significant installation inside the vestibule of a Belleville, Ont. shopping mall entrance. Because of the architectural design, units had to be suspended from rods mounted on a high ceiling to be both aesthetically appealing and effective. Whatever the challenges of a particular project, it shouldn’t be that difficult to do a bit of homework on air curtains, size them right, install them right, take some pictures and capitalize on an expanding market. 

Multiple roles Some air curtains are installed in addition to a vestibule. Some are designed to change fan speed, switching roles and becoming part of the heating system when the door is closed. Such is the case with the new medical centre at the University of Pittsburg. Medical buildings are notoriously difficult to design for energy savings because they generally have numerous doors, high traffic, and everyone is in a


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Bruce Nagy is a Toronto-based freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at bruce.nagy@ rogers.com. 800-835-4429 www.duravent.com Member of M&G Group M&G DuraVent ©2015

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC



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QAir Conditioning

Air conditioning


Diagnosing compressors and related issues By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson As the season changes, we are looking forward to a profitable year in the air conditioning market. For most, the past few seasons have not been kind. With cooler temperatures, the sales for replacement equipment have been down and many have suffered. Meanwhile, technology marches forward. Airconditioning systems will change once again. We will see the end of R-22 refrigerant systems. We first saw pre-charged systems become dry shipped units, without R-22, and will see the end of those by the year’s end from most manufacturers. The next transition will see the end of the 13 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio) systems, with 14 SEER becoming the lowest available. Older residential units that fail will require a complete system replacement. With rising energy expenses and numerous marketing plans for rebates and discounts, we will continue to see homeowners asking for high SEER replacements.

Three-phase compressors On the commercial side, with three-phase packaged equipment, a compressor change-out may be the fix. This equipment may not be easy to access and it is always important to confirm that the compressor is actually the problem. It can be a lot of work to perform a change-out and later find it’s still not starting. During the service call the tech needs to confirm whether the compressor is suffering an electrical or a mechanical problem. If the compressor is still runnable, there is also value to confirming its rotation. Threephase compressors can run in reverse and this can happen if others have been involved in the building’s maintenance or service. Many units may have single-phase blower and condenser fans with a three-phase compressor. We have seen many issues where the electrician, when connecting the units, will only check the fans for correct rotation and presume they have the phases correct. If this has occurred the wires at the unit disconnect switch must be reversed to put the unit into the correct phase. With the disconnect switch in the ‘Off ’ position, check all three wires to ground as well as L1 > L2 > L3 to confirm all three legs of the switch are open. Personal experience has found many switches that had one leg not break the


Typical Resistance Values Copeland Compressors Model



Winding Resistances Run Start































(Copeland Handbook, 2008-2009 edition.)

Fig. 1: Compressor values need to be checked against the manufacturer’s specifications.

line. Reversing any pair will put the phases in step and the compressor will have the correct rotation. To confirm the rotation further, observe the system suction and discharge pressures. If the compressor is in the wrong rotation it will result in an elevated noise level during operation and a reduced current draw will be present. (Check the compressor’s label for the amp draw.) If left operating for long periods the internal protection will trip off the compressor motor’s run cycle as a safety. This can save the compressor, but if left unattended can result in weakening or failure of the internal protector. These internal protectors are used in both hermetic and scroll compressor systems.

Still not working What next if the compressor tries to start and fails on its overload protector? We start by measuring the line voltages at the unit inlet terminals at start-up. The voltage must range within the rating plate specifications. If it’s lower than the minimum required voltage, confirm that the wires are secure at connections and corrosion free. Also check wire size to the unit and confirm breaker size. Next, a check of the run capacitor (single phase) must be done with your “cappy tester” to verify correct microfarad (MFD) values. The capacitor should be replaced if they are off by more than five percent. Also,

if a start capacitor and a start relay are used, they must be checked as well. It should be noted that if there are no starting components in the system, a hard start device could be used. If the compressor now starts, this component can be left in place, but confirm that it is of the correct size for the compressor. Do not oversize! If the compressor does not start, but blows the fuse or trips the breaker, remove the wires at the contactor to the compressor. DO NOT REMOVE THE WIRES AT THE COMPRESSOR. If the compressor has had too many hard starts, it is possible when attempting to remove the connector from the Fusite fitting to have a terminal come loose with the unit, venting refrigerant and oil to the atmosphere and likely covering your hands and face in the process. Check for shorts between each of the terminals to the compressor housing and tube connections. There should be no continuity on any of these checks.

Check for continuity The next test for single-phase units is to check for continuity with your meter set for OHMs (Ω) between the common (C) and the run (R) terminal and then to the start (S) terminal. If either check reveals any continuity and the others do not, this means one of the motor windings is in the open position. If neither shows continuity and if between the run (R) terminal and the start (S) does show continuity, this will confirm both of the motor windings are good but the internal overload is in fact open. If the compressor’s steel housing is cool to touch by hand, normally the overload protector is closed if not damaged. When reading these values: [C R] + [C  S] = [R S].

Three-phase compressors can run in reverse and this can happen if others have been involved in the building’s maintenance or service. The testing of three-phase units is the same procedure except all three combinations should show the same resistance values. Depending on the compressor model, it may have three internal overloads or it may have an external motor protector with solid-state thermistors sensing the operating parameters. Testing of these internal thermistors must be verified using the manufacturer’s procedures; in some instances, an induced voltage from your multi-meter might damage the thermistor. (Please see Fig. 1)

Making the repair At this point, it is important to make findings as opposed to guesses as to what type of failure occurred. If it’s a mechanical failure, costly cleanup may not be

Please see ‘Removing’ on page 17

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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QAir Conditioning

Removing the guesswork from repairs Continued from page 15 n e e d e d . Howe ve r, if the compressor failure is due to an electrical burnout, the technician will need to determine the mag nitude of work and materials required to change out the compressor and If the capacitor readings clean up the acid filled are off by more than five system. percent, it should Start by removing be replaced. t h e con t a m i n a te d refrigerant with an approved recovery machine. It should be noted that the old compressor and other bad components should be cut out of the system. Do not use your torch to ‘un-weld’ the components as this will spread more contaminates into the work area. Wear eye safety and neoprene gloves to protect your skin from acidic oils and slug from the system that may splash around. After the compressor is removed, check the discharge line and suction line interior piping for any carbon or oil slug. If none is apparent, then the burnout occurred while the compressor was not rotating. If this is the situation, then the mess will be mainly contained within the compressor. A light clean up can then be performed with the addition of a liquid line and suction line dryer. It is always best to use an oversized set for the system. Any materials, debris or oil slug found out in the tubing will require cleaning up. This will also prove that the compressor was in operation at the time of the burnout. Slug and acids will have been pumped out into the system. Acid capturing dryers will need to be installed and multiple changes will be needed to complete the cleanup. Before the new compressor and dryers are installed, a cleansing of the internal piping will be needed. Check with the manufacturer for approved processes and any chemical cleanup cleaners or flushes. There are many types available through your local wholesaler.

Due diligence Metering devices such as thermal expansion valves or slide piston types must be removed and, in some cases, replaced due to debris that may have entered into that end of the system. Failure to preform due diligence could result in a second compressor failure. If debris stops the flow of refrigerant, the system will back up and cause the compressor to overload and eventually fail. Fixed distributor metering devices such as a capillary tube or a brass fixed body distributors will also

need to be changed out or back-flushed to protect the compressor and its warranty. After all new components are put into place and proper welding procedures are followed, including the use of nitrogen flowing during the welding of each joint, the system must then be evacuated to 500 microns using standard procedures. The system is then recharged with fresh refrigerant, using a proper refrigerant scale for the correct charge and optimal operation. Consult the rating plate on the system for charges required and any added refrigerant if needed. Lines are measured again to check for accuracy. 

Bob Bettles HVAC author and trainer Robert (Bob) Bettles is technical service adviser and product trainer for B&B Trade Distribution Centre. He can be reached at bbettles@ bandbtrade.com. Brian Guttormson HVAC author and trainer Brian Guttormson is technical service advisor for Trent Metals Ltd. (Supply). He can be reached at techsupport@tmlsupply.com.


April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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QAir Conditioning Advanced heat pump technology

Efficiency boost

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R h e e m Pre s t i g e S e r i e s a i r conditioners deliver a minimum of 20-SEER performance and heat pumps deliver a minimum of 13HSPF heating efficiencies. A number of features make service easier. Service valve space is now three to five inches. A 15-inch wide control box reveals the unit’s internal components simply by removing two corner fasteners. The units also feature single-fastener, quick-

R-22 is best for R-22 equipment. If you need to change,

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New Lennox VRF system The new Lennox VRF (variable refrigerant flow) systems are designed to require less space, energy and structural modification. VRF technology is expected to show double-digit growth rates over the next five years. It offers localized comfort with independent temperature control, making customization easy and efficient. Due to its ability to spread the load throughout the entire building structure, VRF can provide considerable energy savings. Lennox ‹www.lennox.com


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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Hot Water Heating


REHAB Stuart McMillan, left, and Corey Gillan built the entire system on an adjacent wall and transferred it in one piece to its final location once the old system had been removed.

Sometimes it’s better to start over By Simon Blake


he last thing any contractor wants to do is fix somebody else’s mess. But if a good client insists, it can be hard to say no. About two years ago MJR Mechanical Services Inc. in Ottawa – a small two-man heating and air conditioning shop – installed a Mitsubishi mini-split heat pump system in an old home in downtown Ottawa that was being converted into offices. Another contractor installed the hydronic heating system. That’s when the trouble began. That hydronic system didn’t work properly. In the winter the heat pumps, installed primarily for air conditioning, were running all the time in heating mode. When the hydronic system failed to meet the heating needs, the building’s owner asked MJR’s president Stuart McMillan, a licensed gas fitter and refrigeration mechanic with over 20 years in the business, to take a look. It would be fair to say he was horrified by what he saw and wanted nothing to do with it. He didn’t want to patch together a faulty installation and he didn’t want his company’s name associated with it. But, at the same time, he didn’t want to turn his back on his customer.

result, the loops furthest from the boiler got cold water. There were leaks. The automatic water feeder wasn’t functioning. Two circulators were installed side by side but pumping in opposite directions. Piping was neither routed correctly nor supported properly. There was no external expansion tank and there were no air vents. “I think most of the system was air-locked,” remarked gas fitter Corey Gillan. There were three methods of radiant heating requiring different temperatures – radiant tubing in the basement slab, staple-up for the main floor and fin-tube radiators on the second floor – but no mixing valves. The staple-up was poorly laid out and stapled directly to the underside of the floor without transfer plates or insulation. The entire system was running as a high mass system. The boiler could not run on outdoor reset because the outdoor sensor had not been installed. The boiler itself had numerous scratches and dents, reported Gillan. “It was in really rough shape. It looked like it had been used somewhere else.”

A sub-standard installation The problems were numerous. The original system was a single loop with the other loops branching off. As a


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

They began with a sheet of plywood, which they painted for a professional appearance.


pumps are sized right... everything’s done to an actual drawing and we laid out our piping from there,” said Gillan. The new system was designed around a primary/secondary loop to ensure that all loops receive water at the same temperature. A purge tee was used to separate the primary and secondary loop with supply and return headers. Mixing valves separate the three temperature zones.

Building the new system

The original system did not meet the owner’s expectations. Nothing was labeled and the wiring was a rat’s nest, and on and on it went. Yikes, thought McMillan. He had to advise the customer that the only solution was to start over. It took some time for the customer to make a decision and Gillan visited the site almost weekly to pressurize the system.

Mid winter change-out Half way through the 2014/2015 heating season, the client decided he had no choice. McMillan and Gillan made the change-out over a two-week period in February – one of the coldest Februaries on record in Ontario. Shutting down the existing system during the conversion was not an option. The Mitsubishi heat pumps provided heat down to -24ºC, but they weren’t sized to carry the entire heating load. So, McMillan decided the best approach, one he’s used before, would be to build the new system on an adjacent wall and then, when it was complete, take out the old system and put the new system in it’s place. A good hydronic system always starts with planning and a good design. For that McMillan turned to Dave Digel of Digel Air HVAC Supply in Nepean, Ont., which also supplied the new equipment. “All the piping’s sized right, all the


McMillan and Gillan built the new system on a plywood panel on the adjacent wall. Because the completed system would then be transferred in one piece to the wall where the old system had been, it was critical to get it right. “It took precise measuring and planning so that when we were done it would match up to the existing plumbing,” said Gillan. “Everything has a specific spot to go in. The boiler had to be placed on the plywood so that it would line up with the existing vent hole. The manifold for the staple-up actually had to be bumped out from the board so that the tubing would directly line up for a clean install. “The zone valve loops had to be piped to the right side because of where all the existing pipes from the house came into the mechanical room. Everything on the board had a reason for where it was put. We had to be one step ahead on this job.” They used a Bosch Greenstar Combi (space heating and DHW) boiler with outdoor reset. There was no attempt to salvage the existing equipment. “(McMillan) just wanted to make sure everything was brand new so that there was not going to be any issues down the line,” said Gillan. However, because the main and second floor offices were fully finished and occupied, McMillan had to go with the existing terminal units. He would have liked to remove the staple-up and gone with either an over-pour or radiant floor panels for the main and second floors. But the renovation had to be confined to the as yet not completed basement, so they ended up tidying up the staple-up system and installing heat transfer plates. Insulation will be added when the basement ceiling is done. On the second floor, the low cost fin-tube baseboard radiators originally installed may still be updated to more efficient panel radiators, said Gillan.

it was going to be a long day. They decommissioned and removed the old system at 6:30 a.m. However, there had been a problem with the original wall so they had to wait while the general contractor removed it and framed, insulated and dry-walled a 10-foot section of new wall. That was completed about noon.

The next two days were devoted to tidying up – connecting the remaining loops, doing the low voltage wiring and balancing the system. Commissioning was straightforward because the boiler has a plug-in control module. Digel used his laptop to program the heating curves and temperatures to suit the building

He didn’t want to patch together a faulty installation and he didn’t want his company’s name associated with it. McMillan and Gillan, along with two others brought in to help, unscrewed the board from the adjacent wall and transferred the entire system in one piece to the new wall, working through the rest of the day and into the night to reconnect the piping, venting and wiring to get the heat back on. They concentrated on getting the gas and venting done and connecting as many loops as they could so the building would have heat, closing valves for those loops that weren’t completed when they finally put down their tools at 9:30 p.m.

requirements and Ottawa climate. From there, it was a simple matter to plug it into the boiler and check to make sure everything functioned as expected, which it did. At the end of the day, is the customer happy? In a job like this there’s always going to be a yes and no answer. Undoubtedly, he’s not happy about having to pay to have the job done twice. But in the end he has a carefully designed and properly installed hydronic system that will function well for many years. The financial pain will diminish over time. 

Changeover day When the time came to make the changeover, McMillan and Gillan knew

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Hot Water Heating Boiler Sizing Part III

boiler short cycling at minimum fire? Flow through boiler is too low to remove sufficient heat. • Boiler heat exchanger fouling (either surface) stifles heat transfer. • Flow through heat terminal is too low to remove enough of the heat. • Heat terminal fouling (either surface) stifles heat transfer. • ΔT between heat terminal and heated medium is too low – return water comes back too warm. • Operating (room) thermostat short-cycles. As discussed in last month’s article, hydronic heating I could go on. To properly troubleshoot, you need systems will suffer from boiler short-cycling for a large to understand the hydronics cycle AND have accurate part of the season when serving solitary micro-loads instruments with which to measure all the variable of (towel warmers, small floor warming areas and the like) flow and temperature as well as boiler input. Checking or as a result of reduced seasonal heating requirements. for sufficient flow is critical. One of the most useful What tricks do we have up our sleeve to help tame this additions to the hydronician’s toolbox in the last twenty ugly beast? If you fully understand years is the hydraulic separator (low-loss the relationship the next paragraph header). These devices make it simple describes, you are on your way towards to guarantee flow through the boiler, mastering hydronics – seriously – this is leaving you to focus on the variables of what it is all about. the system side flow. Not all short cycling is a result Matching the boiler minimum of reduced heating load conditions. output to the system minimum heat Insufficient flow can contribute or be requirement is a big challenge when the sole cause, as well as heat exchanger using a single boiler in a heating fouling. You need to go back to basics. application. High turndown burner The hydronic cycle is all about the A low loss header makes it modulation certainly helps, but can balance between heat input and heat simple to guarantee flow only get us so far. In many cases we output. The heating appliance (boiler) through the boiler. This one is can add thermal mass, but that might output has to be in balance with the done in polypropylene piping. lead to other problems. Outdoor reset ability of the heat transfer medium control strategies are useful if they are (water) to remove the heat from the boiler’s wetted applied properly with total system operation in mind, (secondary) heat exchanger surface – a function of flow but they too can make things worse. Let’s look at a typical rate versus Delta-T (ΔT). problem system and examine where the problems lurk. Delta-T is developed when the heat terminal unit’s wetted (primary) heat exchanger surface removes heat Typical problems from the water as it flows through. The ability of the The three pictures in Fig. 1 show the same system heat terminal unit to remove heat from the fluid flow through the seasonal spectrum. It is clear that in depends on the ΔT between its secondary heat exchanger warmer weather the boiler’s minimum firing rate just surface and the medium it is heating (air in the case of can’t reach down far enough and we will be dealing space heating). When a boiler is at its minimum output with constant short cycling. Since we can’t downsize the and the fluid is incapable of removing all of the heat boiler without coming up short during the cold weather, produced by the fuel – the boiler will overheat and shut we can try to spin the problem around and increase the down. That’s it – simple. minimum load when it’s warmer. The easiest way to do this is usually by consolidating small zones into fewer,

Operating on the minimum Taming short cycling in condensing boiler systems

By Roy Collver

Delta-T imbalance What are the main types of ΔT imbalance that cause

Please see ‘Controls’ on page 25

Fig. 2: Basic zone synchronization.

Fig. 1: These three illustrations show the same hydronic system through a typical heating season.


April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Hot Water Heating

Controls providing new solutions Continued from page 23 but larger ones. We then add flow control / balancing to individual heat terminal units to trim heat delivery within the larger zone. You have to look closely at the structure and its uses when you do this, dividing the sunny side of the building versus shaded side for instance, or normally occupied versus unoccupied zones. It is often a successful strategy if the end users aren’t completely hung up on a thermostat in every room. I’ve heard of some “trophy” houses where the owner wanted each walk-in closet to have its own thermostat – just ’cuz they could.

a bunch of fuel into a bunch of heat, then stick it in the warehouse so you don’t have to start up the assembly line every time someone wants something. Look to where you can put the warehouse. High mass radiant floor heating is a method of storing heat out in each branch – buffer tanks and high mass boilers are a way of building a central distribution warehouse – buffer tanks for specific sub-systems (baseboard zones only, for instance) are like having a regional warehouse. The important point in all this is that you have to

understand the basic heat input versus heat output balance of a system. If the system is not able to use all of the heat the boiler produces at minimum output – it is best to deal with it in the planning phase of the mechanical or control design process rather than in the field.  Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Parksville, B.C. He can be reached at hoth2o@shaw.ca

Zone synchronization The use of microprocessors and clever software in all areas of the HVAC industry is helping to solve many “old” problems. Scattered zone operation is just one of them. Zone synchronization has had some success. Don Gibbs and his engineering team at tekmar Control Systems in Vernon, B.C. developed the strategy some 20 years ago. It is simple in theory – the “brain” in the boiler has to know what is going on out in the zones to modify its own behaviour along with system component operation for maximum efficiency and comfort. When a boiler feeds many zones that are being controlled by standalone thermostats, it never really “knows” when a zone is going to need heat until it “sees” the thermostat call for heat – and it doesn’t know how long the call for heat will last until it disappears. Like an orchestra of deaf people trying to play a symphony without a conductor to keep time – it is pretty much chaos. Using microprocessor controls can substitute thermostat on-off switches with temperature sensors, so the conductor knows how many zones there are, what the temperature of each one is and, therefore, how much heat needs to be delivered to each one. The conductor then divides time into discreet cycles and operates the zones together in harmony – bringing some on all at once, maybe keeping some off for awhile then turning them on to keep the boiler running. It is more complicated than that, so ask control manufacturers what strategies they might have to ease short-cycling woes. Advances in control technology are going to outstrip advances in mechanical technology for the foreseeable future.

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Other strategies When a building’s total load drops below the boiler minimum, then you can only work with differential or add thermal mass to reduce cycling (Please see Fig. 2). Wider differential can do the job sometimes if you delay bringing heat on to the system (cooling the boiler down) and also delay turning it off (letting the boiler get hotter) – the boiler will run longer. This strategy will increase temperature swings in the affected zones, so it may not be appropriate in many applications. Thermal mass is historically the favourite way to tame short-cycling as it allows you to reduce the differential swing of the boiler by “parking” heat for later use. It is kind of like bulk manufacturing and distribution – turn


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Q Heating



Tools HVACR Professionals Trust

Latest version reflects dramatic changes in technology By Art Irwin SMAN460 SMA SM AN46 460 60

Wireless W ir l Manifold

There are a number of major updates in the new Canadian Standards Association B139 – 15, Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment. This is the ninth edition. There have been many changes and improvements with oil fired equipment throughout the years and it is most important that the codes be changed to comply with the changes in oil heat technology – and that contractors have the latest version reflecting these changes. Improperly installed fuel-burning appliances are a leading cause of residential and industrial fires. The B139 Installation Code provides the minimum requirements for installing oil-burning appliances, equipment and components to help keep people and property safe. The code applies to the installation of: stationary and portable oil-burning equipment including furnaces, boilers, water heaters, vehicle and construction heaters and certain internal combustion engines. This 2015 version differentiates between residential installations and those for larger, more complex installations. It also includes requirements specifically created for stationary engines.


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Today’s heating and DHW systems are complex. A tidy installation done to code ensures the owner will get years of reliable efficient service.

Clarification has been provided to distinguish the difference between products that are certified for use in Canada and those that may need additional requirements from authorities having jurisdiction (the provinces) when they adopt the code. The introduction of the new Annex A for product standards Key changes for 2015 should simplify this process. Key changes for 2015 include the following: Where the code describes a product The scope has been revised to reflect the or material, it now includes the reference creation of the multi-part format. product standard. The reference publications now In Part 1, larger storage and supply only include related installation and They’re not cheap, tanks are now included for installation testing publications. Other standards or but an up-to-date inside of buildings, with additional publications for products have now been codebook will prove protective requirements. Similarly, the organized in a new mandatory Annex A one of the most useful requirements for larger auxiliary supply tools in the truck. based on how they are certified or tested. tanks for generators have been reworked, The Definition section has been edited permitting higher capacities provided to remove terms that are not used in this Code. Many of protective requirements are met. the removed items are either similar terms commonly Requirements for venting of tanks have been used, or are used as defined terms in the CSA B140 expanded, and include both prescriptive requirements Series of appliance standards, these terms have been moved to a new glossary at the end of the code. Please see ‘Protecting’ on page 29



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Q Heating

Protecting your derriere Continued from page 27 for vent lengths as well as additional design information (in Annex F). In Parts 1.0 and 1.1, enhanced requirements and methods are provided for installation of unlisted metal chimneys. Operations and maintenance requirements have been converted to non-mandatory Annexes.

A broad scope Basically, the 2015 oil heating code is laid out in four sections as follows: B139.1.-15 General requirements for stationary engines – this concerns the installation of stationary engines and associated ancillary equipment installed in multi-unit residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings. B139.1.2-15 - General requirements for special installations – this covers special installations such as appliances that burn used oil, field installation of burners, construction heaters and temporary supply

Improperly installed fuel-burning appliances are a leading cause of residential and industrial fires. tanks. Special requirements for the installation of central oil distribution systems and vehicle heaters are also included. B139.2-15 - Installation code for oil-burning equipment for residential and small commercial buildings. This concerns the installation of low capacity boilers, furnaces, air heaters, domestic water heaters, and similar residential type appliances, including the associated ancillary equipment, installed in residential and small commercial buildings. Most of its content is recognizable from the previous edition but has been updated and simplified to suit these installations. Users should note that the design of the fuel systems anticipated in this code might not be subject to provincial legislation requiring sealing of the design and provision of construction review services by a professional engineer. Where the installation does not meet the restrictions and limitations imposed by the code, the installation is to be installed in accordance with CSA B139.1.0. (See code for scope, which is extensive).

Worth owning a copy Unfortunately, there are always a number of trades people that do not realize the importance of owning the most recent update of the CSA B139 Installation Code for Oil Burning Equipment. But this is one of the most important tools they should own. It must be remembered that the CSA B139 code


To line or not to line – the code will tell you. is a minimum requirement. Throughout the years, I have been involved in a number of court cases where I was brought in as an expert witness. In at least three instances, there were situations where considerable damage resulted from inferior installations. In two of these cases, the judge asked the person on the stand if they followed the code and each of the two indicated they did not own a copy of the code. These people were charged as guilty without any further discussion primarily because they did not follow proper procedures. Even if they owned a copy of the most recent code, they might have come out of the situation with less harsh charges. (And having a copy of the code handy will usually put a quick end to any dispute with a building inspector as long as it is followed – Ed.) The code is established by a number of people affiliated with the oil heat industry through a consensus standards development process. These are oil marketing people, manufacturers of heating equipment and others involved in the installation field. Copies are now available from the CSA bookstore for $210 apiece. The French version is expected to be available in June. To order, call CSA 1-800-463-6727. It is of the utmost importance that every service person/ installer owns a copy of the updated code to keep abreast of the latest changes.  Arthur A. Irwin operates Irwin Energy Consulting Services in Halifax. He can be reached at irwin.a@ ns.sympatico.ca.

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Heating Split system heat pump Bosch Thermotechnology has introduced a new split system version of its FHP LV model package heat pump for commercial applications. Featuring a small footprint, this unit comes in eight sizes from 1.5 through six tons with up to 4.4 COP and 15.9 EER. The water-cooled condensing section can be placed remotely from the air handler section in locations where space is limited or where the condenser needs to be located away from occupied areas to ensure minimum sound levels. Bosch Thermotechnology ‹ www.fhp-mfg.com

Expanded mod/con boiler line Laars has expanded its MagnaTherm boiler/volume water heater line to include 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and four million Btu/h sizes. These extremely high efficiency boilers achieve 95 percent thermal efficiency and offer 5:1 turndown. They have a small footprint, slim vertical design with removable top section and a stainless steel heat exchanger. The built-in Laars Vari-Prime pump control matches boiler firing to pump flow. A large, easy-to-navigate color touch screen display results in quick setup and diagnostics. Laars ‹www.laars.com


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

Easily customizable T h e D i r e c t Ve n t P r o Horizontal Termination from Duravent incorporates interchangeable and customizable shrouds in a variety of materials and/or designs. The heart of the termination is a combustion air control that reduces the need for internal appliance baffling and allows for improved combustion performance across a variety of gas burning direct vent appliances. The external footprint is 11” x 11” for both 4 x 6 and 5 x 8 sizes. Duravent ‹www.duravent.com

Expandable radiator The Tetra radiator from Jaga Climate Systems is comprised of several individual heating sections that join together to form a single heating unit. Easily mounted on the wall, square heating elements and clean lines lend to a contemporary design and increased surface area. The radiator may be mounted with or without a towel bar, and is available in a variety of colors, including sandblasted grey, brown and black. Jaga ‹www.jaga-usa.com

Adaptive modulating tube heater The Modulus adaptive modulating infrared tube heater from Superior Radiant (SRP) provides thermal efficiencies in excess of 80 percent. Rates range from 80,000 to 200,000 Btu/h with a 40 percent modulating differential. The company’s built-in “Quick-Start” function quickly ramps up to high power almost as soon as the heater is turned on. These units are available in lengths from 20 to 60 feet in either natural gas or LPG versions. Superior Radiant ‹www.superiorradiant.com


Q Refrigeration


From residential air conditioners to F in industrial plants, thermostatic expansion valves are everywhere. There are a number va of man manufacturers and dozens of different types available. In this article we will take a look at the factors that influence proper sizing of TX valves as well as how to choose which options and types to use.

How they work TX valves modulate to meter high pressure liquid refrigerant into a low pressure evaporator by controlling the evaporator superheat. They do this by using a spring, evaporator pressure and the pressure from a sensing

Sizing TX valves FOR PRECISE refrigerant control By Greg Scrivener bulb to open and close a small orifice inside the valve. The sealed refrigerant filled sensing bulb is refrigerant specific and is mounted on the suction line leaving the evaporator. Fig. 1 shows how these forces interact. Imagine an operating refrigeration system – when the load to an evaporator increases, the evaporation rate of the refrigerant increases and the superheat starts to increase since there is not enough refrigerant. This increase in bulb temperature causes the TX valve to open, which, in turn, increases the evaporator pressure. The setting of the spring determines the superheat. In steady state the evaporator pressure plus the spring pressure will be equal to the bulb pressure. It is a bit of an academic exercise, but we can figure out what the spring pressure is for a given super heat simply by using a PT chart. If we have an R404a system operating at 61 psig (25°F evaporating) and we want a 10°F superheat, then the pressure in the sealed bulb would be about 95 psig (R404a at 35°F). The spring would have to be set for the difference of 34psig. We can then use this number to imagine what the TX valve would do in other situations. For example, if


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

there was no refrigerant in the evaporator the spring would overcome the bulb pressure and keep the valve open, unless for some reason the bulb was colder than about 5°F (37psig). This is useful to know because if you were installing this valve outside in the winter and thought it was open for evacuation, you could be wrong. TX valves are in an almost constant state of modulation when they are operating, when the load increases, the superheat increase and the bulb gets warmer which opens the TX valve. When the load decreases, Fig. 1: the bulb pressure approaches the forces on the evaporator pressure and the a TX valve. spring overcomes the difference to start closing the valve. It can actually be very difficult to get the spring setting correct on an active TX Valve.

Sizing the TXV Sizing a TX valve is not difficult but it can be a little confusing. Each manufacturer has a slightly different procedure and they all have different information available so instead of going through a detailed procedure we are going to discuss the parameters that have the biggest impact on TX valve performance.

A typical thermal expansion valve.

The refrigerant flow opening in the TX valve is very small and the pressure difference across the orifice has a huge impact on the flow capacity of the valve. The valve must be able to handle the pressure drop at your lowest condensing temperature and still be controllable when the condensing temperature increases. Let’s look at an example: An R404a valve is required for a 2.5-ton load at 25°F evaporating. The condensing unit operates in an unheated space and in the winter the head pressure is allowed to fall to 70°F condensing, but in the summer the head pressure might reach 130°F condensing. Evaporating Pressure: 61psig Winter Condensing: 147psig Summer Condensing: 353psig So we have a pressure difference of 86 psi in the winter and 292 psi in the summer.

Lack of information At this point we have to take a quick break in the example to discuss distributors. Distributors are installed with a nozzle between the TX valve and the evaporator to help distribute the refrigerant to multiple circuits and they create a pressure drop that negatively impacts the capacity of the TX valve. Some manufacturers are really good at providing all the necessary information you need to actually calculate this, but many don’t. There are some evaporator manufacturers who won’t even divulge what distributer and nozzle will come with the coil when you order it. The largest problems arise when you use a coil in an uncommon application (i.e. a freezer coil to do high temperature refrigeration in a -20°F to 100°F test chamber). In any case, for most TX valve selection the distributor pressure drop will be in the 25 to 35psi range. Let’s use

Please see ‘Climate’ on page 41


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Q Plumbing

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Selling long-term savings in a market driven by up-front costs

What Sets Ours Apart

By Bill Hooper It seems that many markets across Canada suffer from a severe case of watching price points and have become price driven markets. There can be many arguments as to the how and why we got there, but few would disagree that it is our reality. On the surface, then, it makes little sense to try and impose a technology in this sector that goes against the grain, yet it is my goal to show that the inherent value of this technology is in the amazing impact it will have in our future. The dollars and cents to manufacture these intruders to standard technology in North America is that the economics work well in markets that have embraced the electronically commutated motor (ECM) smart pump technology. That market will support the fact that North America is a fickle and inconsistent terrain for technology at a premium. It is therefore difficult by definition to sell a premium product or service in these markets. Are they driven by fear? Fear of losing the next job to a competitor that



does not have a similar bill of materials? Fear of the inability to differentiate products or services to the ultimate decision maker?


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The value proposition The principle of smart pumps is that they are more efficient, period. Even if you replaced an induction motor pump that had been selected through the most careful of means, painstakingly calculated and chosen to precisely match flow and head at full load, replacing this perfectly sized selection with the same size ECM driven pump immediately saves money in motor efficiency alone. Matching flow to load with the variable speed capability of smart pumps adds significant value and savings to the life of the project. As smart pumps invariably replace standard pumps in light commercial projects, their ease of application and

Please see ‘Smart’ on page 36

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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Plumbing

Smart pumps may become mandatory Continued from page 35 obvious reduction in this technology’s life cycle cost will garner attention and dominance in the market. So what could get this ball rolling? I suggest there will be a number of imminent drivers, each having a varying degree of influence to market penetration, depending on the market involved, as follows:

this cost for the life of the mechanical system, it will become a consideration. Consumer/decision maker demand: Good marketing campaigns and selling value certainly have their form and function. In my experience, blazing trails to sell value to decision makers has had limited impact, likely due to a focus on the wrong tipping point in the selling or marketing process.

The concept that you can have a pump on hand that can automatically adapt to system load (even if it is somewhat oversized) holds value that will eventually overcome the sticker shock. Increasing cost of energy: Inevitably, our costs for energy will rise and if technology exists to reduce

There will be early adopters that will consider this opportunity to differentiate themselves in the market.

The Grundfos Alpha pump is installed with factory settings. Built-in AutoAdapt technology analyzes system operation to find the optimum setting and make adjustments as needed based on demand. These “brave warriors” can also spread their passion to their customers. These pioneers in our industry (whom I believe don’t get nearly enough credit) embrace new technology, seizing and taking full advantage of selling features, benefits, and added value in smart pump technology within their circle of influence. They consider the technology to be aligned with their business philosophy and future goals – a powerful

motivator indeed; and yet there are so few of them relatively speaking. Maybe a good question would be: “How can we encourage and recognize these companies?” Efficiency legislation or size of rebate: Government incentives can play a role with decision makers. In larger projects, this becomes a more heavily weighted factor.



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Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015


because they want to be good stewards of the earth and willingly pay a commensurate premium. I can’t argue with that principled decision! From a manufacturing standpoint: How much longer will manufacturers want to produce two separate technologies to serve markets where one emerging technology will suffice? It doesn›t seem sustainable. Perhaps (no, actually, of course) this is a function of the drivers above? Smart pumps could possibly be seen as drivers for other technology as well. Could it be that ECM pumps will ride the wave of mandated efficiency and

sustainability in construction or will they lead the way? The low hanging fruit found in larger pumps and other motor loads are now designed with variable flow (reducing power consumption) without exception on most buildings, so when will people start looking at smaller motor loads, and more effective means to improve overall system efficiencies. Let’s consider a call to be motivators. We can influence market segment stakeholders in many ways by pushing them towards more efficient systems with amazing benefits. Even if we agree it is a matter of time, there is no telling how far into the future we will have to wait if we do nothing. 

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Engineering specifications breeding familiarity: As the engineering community embraces efficiency and more frequently specifies ECM technology for pumps, manufacturers bid and ECM pumps are provided for the job. As contractors supply, install and commission projects that “require” these pumps by specification, they will become familiar with their features and benefits. I submit that this familiarity will lead to proposing these same ECM pumps on replacement opportunities as they better understand the application (and potentially fewer callbacks due to the self adjusting nature) of these smart components. Engineering obligation to LEED requirements: Consulting engineers understand that matching flow to load has been a best practice for decades. Combine the reduction in connected motor load that ECM motors offer to the required pump capacity and you have a very good situation. Consultants recognize the compatibility of smart pumps with LEED criteria. With capital investments in new building construction, combined with the willingness to construct LEED buildings, there will be gains but the traffic will be slow.


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Service contractors recognizing the flexibility of the technology: Good service contractors know it’s all about getting the job done properly using a product that will allow for the appropriate service speed and reliability. The concept that you can have a pump on hand that can automatically adapt to system load (even if it is somewhat oversized) holds value that will eventually overcome the sticker shock.

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Environmental responsibility: There are those who want high efficiency simply Bill Hooper is a certified engineering technologist with many years experience in hydronic heating. He is a former chairman of the Canadian Hydronics Council, was involved in creating the CSA B214 Hydronic Heating Code and has worked with ASHRAE. Today Bill is Atlantic Region manager for Uponor Ltd. He can be reached at bill.hooper@uponor.com.


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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Tools & Instruments Powerful cordless cutter

Refrigerant charge calculator

The ZipCutter from Walter Surface Technologies is designed for cutting metal on job sites where there is no easy access to power. It drives a six-inch cutting wheel. It uses a state-of-the art 18V/5.2Ah battery with a ventilated charging system that keeps the battery cool. It uses the company’s Dynamax electronics for consistent speed under load and bevel gears for durability and low noise. Walter Surface Technologies ‹ www.walter.com

Many technicians are using the HVAC Check & Charge mobile application (app) from Emerson Climate Technologies. Launched in 2012, the app recently surpassed 100,000 downloads. It provides smart phone and tablet users with instant access to Emerson’s HVAC refrigerant charge calculator for R-22 and R-410a. Emerson also offers many other HVAC apps for free download. Emerson ‹ www.emersonclimate.com/mobileapps

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The Esco Ground MillHog is a right angle drive I.D. clamping tube beveling tool that requires only 1-1/2â€? clearance, easily ďŹ ts into water wall boiler tube panels, and includes all attached wrenches. Featuring a one horsepower pneumatic motor that is easy to disassemble and clean in the ďŹ eld, and a robust gear train with a proprietary gear reduction design, it operates at 125 RPM and produces 41 ft.-lbs. torque at the cutter head. It is suitable for tubes from 1/2â€? I.D. to 2-1/4â€? O.D. Esco Tool ‹www.escotool.com

The new Gen-Eye SDP Premium video inspection and location system from General Pipe Cleaners features a sunlight readable screen, four-hour rechargeable battery, and a Wi-Fi transmitter, along with all the features of a full size camera system in a compact package. It incorporates a number of enhancements including larger 10 10.4-inch LCD sunlight readable screen ďŹ re operation in bright sun, four-hour rechargeable battery, Wi-ďŹ transmitter, built-in waterproof keyboard, integral SD recorder and heavy-duty case. A free smart phone app allows viewing of inspection at a range of 300 to 500 ft. General Pipe Cleaners ‹www.drainbrain.com

Laser layout tool The new Bosch GLL 2-20 Cross-Line Laser provides a single setup that quickly projects a horizontal 360-degree line around a room accompanied with a vertical projection of 120 degrees for setting and installing pipe layouts, marking ďŹ xture and appliance locations and routing ductwork. It gives the user the ability to line up an entire room from one setup point. The company’s Smart Pendulum System offers self-leveling, one-time setup and an out-of-level warning indicator. Bosch Power Tools ‹www.boschtools.com

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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Refrigeration

Climate effect on TX valves Continued from page 32 30psi for our example. This means that we actually end up with a 56psi pressure drop in the winter and a 262psi pressure drop in the summer. I used these conditions with one manufacturer’s computer selection software and discovered that a valve selected for the summer conditions would be nominally two tons but if that same valve was applied to the winter conditions it would have to operate at 120 percent capacity (which it can’t do, obviously). In order to function in the winter conditions, a three-ton valve is required. That valve applied to the summer conditions would be at 70 percent capacity at full load. What about part load? The closer the valve is to capacity at full load the better because it can then maintain better control at low loads. A 40 percent decrease in the load would drop this TX valve to less than 40 percent of its rated capacity. This is one of the reasons that there have been challenges reducing head pressure in systems that operate in cold ambient temperatures. Subcooling also has a very large effect on valve operation and that’s because the more subcooling there is, the less flash gas is created to bring the liquid down to the evaporator temperature. A 10°F increase in subcooling in our previous example changes the valve capacity eight percent. The bottom line is that you need to follow a manufacturer’s selection process and not ignore some of the correction factors. Some of them can make a very large difference. You also must consider all the conditions in which the TX valve will be required to operate. What could happen in a cooler at start-up?

drop. If you didn’t, the evaporate pressure pushing on the bellows (See Fig. 1) could be 30psi or more higher than your actual evaporator and it won’t function. Another common feature available for most TX valves is the ability to limit the maximum evaporator pressure by having the bulbs critically charged. These are used mainly in freezers to make sure the compressors aren’t overloaded after a defrost, but are also found in some air conditioning applications. Air conditioners that use single-phase power often require TX valves with an internal bleed that equalizes the high and low side pressures during the off cycle. This is because most single-phase air conditioning

compressors don’t use high starting torque compressors. This wasn’t an issue as much in the past because residential air conditioners were just using orifices, but the efficiency and R410 changes have resulted in TX valves in most residential AC applications. We have just scraped the surface of the TX valve world, there are thousands of different valves available and it can sometimes be difficult to choose correctly. A final word of advice – on commercial refrigeration systems it is best to use brazed valves. Flared valves may be easier to change, but they leak way more often. Even better if you can get the valve with a replaceable screen; it is incredibly easy to plug a TX valve! 

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Options and features In our previous example we discovered that TX valves are sometimes required to operate at small percentages of their actual capacity, which can cause control problems. Not all TX valves are created equal on this front and balanced port valves can operate well at 25 percent of their capacity. They are the best choice with fluctuating head pressures. In all but very small systems that have no distributor you will have to use externally equalized TX valves that use a small ¼-inch connection to make sure the “evaporator pressure” is measured after all of the pressure

Greg Scrivener is president of Cold Dynamics, Meadow Lake, Sask. He is a journeyman refrigeration mechanic, holds RSES CMS designation in commercial refrigeration and is a mechanical engineer in training. He can be reached at greg.scrivener@colddynamics.com



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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q People & Places In Memoriam

Industry veteran remembered as dedicated volunteer The industry lost one of its dedicated volunteers in March. William J. (Bill) Barnett of London, Ont. died on Monday, March 9 at age 56. He was one of the longest serving active volunteers with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, working on various boards for more than 15 years, reported HRAI president Warren Heeley. “He was always a person who was involved in the industry at large,” he added. Barnett served on the Wholesalers Division board and was HRAI chairman for 2001-2002. He started in the industry working in sales with his father at London (Ont.) Metal Services and was vice president of sales and marketing with Boutette and Barnett Trade Distribution Centre, also in London, from 1997 to 2009. “He was always very involved with what was going on in the London area and then sort of expanded his volunteer activities from there,” said Heeley. “Once he got into HRAI he became involved on the national level.” Barnett played a key role in bringing the two Canadian HVAC wholesaler organizations – the Air Conditioning Refrigeration Wholesalers (ARW) and the Heating and Air

Conditioning Wholesalers (HAWA) together to form the HRAI Wholesalers Division. As well as his work with HRAI, Barnett, like his father, served on the board of the U.S.-based North American Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW) and was later a board member with the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). He served on the HARDI Foundation and was president-elect of HARDI when he left the industry in 2009. Barnett is survived by Deborah (Schaefer) Barnett, son Ryan William, daughter Jessica Lynn, grandson Liam, parents Bob and Doreen Barnett of London, his partner Kelly Brouwer and her son Cody. Memorial donations may be made to The Organization for Bipolar Affective Disorders, 1019 – 7th Avenue S.W., Calgary, Alberta T2P 1A8 or the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation (for the London Learning Centre), 453 Dufferin Avenue, London, ON N6B 1Z7. A private family service took place at A. Millard George Funeral Home in London. A memorial service is planned for a later date.

William J. (Bill) Barnett

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April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q People & Places

Hydronic distributor celebrates 35 years Aqua-Tech Sales and Marketing Inc., a manufacturer’s representative and distributor in Burlington, Ont., is celebrating 35 years in business. Company president Bill Palamar founded AquaTech in 1980. Serving the residential and commercial markets, it offers boilers and domestic water heating throughout Canada along with plumbing products in Ontario. “Over our 35-year history, Aqua-Tech has always prioritized investment in growth and improving the efficiency of the company. Our investment in people, solutions and in offering real value brought us to where we are today,” said Palamar. The company operates from its 70,000 sq. ft. warehouse, office and training centre in Burlington. It serves the Western market from a 5,000 sq. ft. warehouse and office in Port Coquitlam, B.C., with product also shipped from Edmonton. In house technical and engineering teams provide design assistance, help with understanding LEED requirements and assist with bids. The company is marking its anniversary with “35 Random Acts of Kindness.” Over the course of the year the company and its staff will sponsor, donate to and participate in various community charity events. For example, it has made a donation to Team AYAKO for the 2015 Enbridge Ride to Conquer


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

Cancer, a two-day 200 km cycling journey through rural Ontario that takes place June 13-14. The fourwomen team is named in memory of a friend that died of breast cancer in January. The event raises cash for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in


People Wolseley Canada, Burlington, Ont. has appointed Michelle Stanford as general manager, sales strategy, plumbing and HVAC/R. Stanford previously worked for Bottom Line Consulting Group, Toronto, as a senior advisor and director, organizational effectiveness Michelle and strategy practices. Stanford CertainTeed Insulation Canada, Mississauga, Ont., has announced a partnership with celebrity contractor and media personality Damon Bennett to help educate homeowners and building professionals on the company’s products. Bennett has appeared on HGTV and co-hosted Damon Bennett Holmes Inspection.

downtown Toronto. As well, “with its reputation for being a ‘sweet’ group to work with,” Aqua-Tech will be the dessert sponsor for the Stardust Gala, the annual fundraiser of the Children’s Aid Foundation of Halton on May 2. These and many other initiatives will keep the AquaTech team busy. For more information, visit www. aquatechcanada.com.

The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) has appointed Scott Robichaud as the group’s general accountant.


Companies Uponor, Apple Valley, Minnesota, is investing $18 million to expand its PEX manufacturing facility. The additional 88,000 square feet will accommodate lean manufacturing, additional manufacturing equipment and more office space. Acuity Brands, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, will acquire Distech Controls Inc., Brossard, Que. Distech will continue to operate as a separate entity under founder, president and CEO Etienne Veilleux. The Canadian GeoExchange Coalition has moved its offices to 442 Rue St-Gabriel, Suite 100, in Montreal.


Q Shop Management

The road to boredom Or how to avoid excitement and make more money By Ron Coleman Many of the plumbing and HVAC/R contractors that I know lead fairly boring lives at work. That’s because they suffer from the “3M’s syndrome.” They suffer that willingly because they make a lot of money and that allows them to have much less boring lives away from work and even get out on the golf course during the week and concentrate on their golf, not on their businesses. The best way to stay in control of your business is by using the 3M’s. Or maybe I should call it the M&M&M’s because it is a really sweet way to make money. So, for those of you who would like to make more money, let me tell you how you can use the 3M’s. They are all focused on Key Performance Indicators. So, what are they? Q Measure Q Monitor Q Manage There are several things the contractor needs to measure for ongoing profit. These include: Q Gross profit per monthly profit and loss statement Q Gross profit on each job Q On service work, the hours paid compared to the hours billed to customers Q On retrofit and construction work, the hours allowed for the project compared to the actual hours. Q Net profit These should provide the key performance indicators for making money.

How to monitor profit There are several reasons why the gross profit figure on your profit and loss statement might differ from your estimate. You may have overbilled or maybe some of the costs have not been processed. Very often I find that elements of cost that were included in the estimate as direct cost are in your overhead. These would include WSIB/WCB premiums and employers’ portion of CPP, EI and benefits. Also a warranty provision was likely allowed in your estimate, but not in your job costs. You need to make adjustments for each of the above.


Gross profit on each job also suffers from the above. In order to have something accurate to m o n i to r I wo u l d recommend monitoring hours. The best way to monitor individual jobs is to monitor the actual labour hours compared to the estimated hours. Break down the job into phases so that this can be done in an accurate and timely manner. This should be done with each payroll, thus giving you good, timely and reliable data that you can manage. Service work should be monitored by comparing the hours billed to the hours paid for each technician with each payroll. You will likely find that some techs are far more productive than others. Use a GPS system either on smart phones or trucks to monitor both these numbers.

Monitoring net profit Monitoring your net profit is done by subtracting your overhead from your gross profit. Set a budget so that you can monitor how your actual overhead numbers compare to your budget. Generally, 50 percent of overhead for a plumbing or HVAC contractor is payroll related. So, if you are going to reduce overhead you are likely going to let staff go or put them into direct cost. When you monitor the activities you will identify which activities are at an unacceptable level. Manage the activities, not the person. In other words focus on the activity that is not getting you the outcomes you want. For example if the hours run over on a job, identify what activities may have created the overrun and seek advice from your team as to how this could be corrected or avoided in the future. Do your best to avoid personality clashes. As a manager your role should be to look for problems and find solutions. Work on providing better support and training for your team. If your overhead is within budget and you are not making the desired profit, then your gross profit is too low or your overhead is too high. If your sales are below target then it will be very


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Please see ‘Manage’ on page 46

April 2015 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Coming Events

June conferences announced Many members of the industry will travel this June to conferences for the plumbing, hydronics and oil heating industries. The Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) will hold its Annual Business Conference at the beautiful and historic Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City June 14-16. There will be speakers covering everything from Quebec history to business trends and statistics to better tactics for distributors to travelling across the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat. As well, the Canadian Hydronics Council will hold its popular Hydronics Luncheon. For the golfers, there will be an opportunity to play on Sunday before the event and again in the annual Ed Hardison Memorial Golf Tournament on Monday. A boat tour on the St. Lawrence is planned for non-golfers. A fun night reception and dinner will take place at the Museum of Civilization on Monday evening and the event will wrap up with the Chairman’s Banquet


Calendar APRIL 22-23: MCEE 2015 Trade Show, Place Bonaventure, Montreal. Visit www.mcee.ca or call Elizabeth McCullough at 1-800-639-2474.

MAY 21-23: RSES Canada Conference, Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), Calgary. For more information, visit www. rsescanada.com.

on the evening of the 16th. For more information, visit www.ciph.com or call 1-800-639-2474.

Continued from page 45

Cleaner Heat 2015 A bit further east, Cleaner Heat 2015, the annual conference of the Canadian Oil Heat Association, will take place June 16-18 at the Harbourfront Marriott Hotel in Halifax. The COHA Cup golf tournament takes place from 2 to 7 p.m. on the 16th at the Glen Arbour Golf Course. The first full conference day on the 17th is jammed with business sessions covering risk reduction in oil spills, selling your value and oil burner technician training. After all that education, by 4 p.m. participants will undoubtedly be ready for a whale watching tour. The annual general meeting will take place Friday morning, followed by several more sessions. A trade show will take place throughout the day and an industry dinner and dance will cap the event in the evening. For more information, visit www.cleanerheat.ca or call 1-800-257-1593.

JUNE 4-5: 2015 GeoExchange B.C. Conference and Trade Show, Surrey City Hall, Surrey, B.C. Call 1-604-8009091 or visit www.geoexchangebc.com for more information.

JUNE 14-16: Annual Business Conference 2015, Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, Quebec City. For more information, visit www.ciph.com or call 1-800-639-2474.

JUNE 17-18: 2015 MAY 22-24: CIPH Ontario Region Conference, Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, Ont. Visit www.ciph.com/en/Ontario or call Nancy Bardon at 416-695-0447.

INDEX to ADVERTISERS Arkema............................................................... 19 Aztec Washer ....................................................... 7 Bibby Ste. Croix ............................................ 29, 31 Brant Radiant ...................................................... 21 Bristol Sinks ........................................................ 38 Camus Hydronics ................................................ 25 Cash Acme ......................................................... 41 Chrysler ................................................................ 6 Duravent....................................................... 13, 35 Fieldpiece............................................................ 27 Franklin Electric ................................................... 36 Fujitsu ................................................................. 16 General Pipe Cleaners ......................................... 10 Hilmor ................................................................ 42 Holdrite .............................................................. 44 IBC Boilers ............................................................ 4 IPEX .............................................................. 18, 43 Kindred Canada .................................................. 11 Liberty Pumps ....................................................... 2


Plumbing & HVAC – April 2015

Manage activities, not people

Cleaner Heat Symposium, Canadian Oil Heat Association, Marriott Harbourfront Hotel, Halifax. Call 1-800-257-1593 or visit www.cleanerheat.ca for more information.

Mitsubishi Electric ............................................... 26 Mobilio ................................................................. 5 Napoleon ............................................................ 14 Navien .................................................................. 9 Noritz ................................................................. 34 PexLine ............................................................... 45 RIDGID................................................................ 48 Riobel ................................................................. 33 Saniflo ................................................................ 40 Success Group International .................................. 8 Taco Canada ....................................................... 28 Unico Systems..................................................... 17 Uponor ............................................................... 24 Victaulic .............................................................. 37 Viega .................................................................. 47 Viessmann .......................................................... 22 Zoeller ................................................................ 30 Zurn Industries .................................................... 39


difficult to make your desired gross profit. You may have to reduce overhead to reach your net profit target. If your job costs are too high then your monitoring should help you pinpoint where the problem is and how to correct it.

Ideal company size What’s the ideal size for your company? There is no ideal size; it is very much dependent on your structure. The way to answer this question is by asking: “if we added another truck would we have to add any overhead apart from the cost of the truck?” If the answer is that we wouldn’t add overhead, then aim for adding the truck. If the answer is we would have to add overhead, then raise your prices and do less work for more money. For every dollar in additional overhead you will need to generate approximately eight times the cost in additional sales or make significant savings within your existing infrastructure. There are a host of other key performance indicators that you can apply the 3M’s to. However, the key is not to do any of them yourself, but to set up the process and delegate to other team members. For example, you might want to track quotations – the number you do and the conversion rate and then focus on how to improve the conversion rate. If you can go from converting four out of 10 to five out of 10, your sales will increase by 25 percent with no additional effort. There are a host of performance indicators to which you can apply the 3 M’s. Don’t go overboard. Identify the key ones for your business and work on those. Start with one or two. Get some positive outcomes and move forward one indicator at a time. • The most important ones likely include: • Labour productivity • Conversion rates of quotes • Loss and gain of new customers and planned maintenance • Staff turnover • Cash flow management • Customer satisfaction You should spend your time working on the exception reports (the results that are below target) and teach others how to reach target. Not only will your level of control increase dramatically, but your stress will be reduced and you will increase the value of your business significantly.  Ronald Coleman is a Vancouverbased accountant, management consultant, author and educator specializing in the construction industry. He can be reached by e-mail at ronald@ronaldcoleman.ca.

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Profile for Plumbing and HVAC

April 2015  

■ Ont. College of Trades meets with hydronic industry ■ Housing starts decline for fifth straight month ■ Significant changes in new oil hea...

April 2015  

■ Ont. College of Trades meets with hydronic industry ■ Housing starts decline for fifth straight month ■ Significant changes in new oil hea...