March 2018

Page 1

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heating and cooling

Supplemental heat not required in B.C. project



Q New water heater efficiency requirements in 2020 Q North America’s largest HVAC/R show sets records Q Construction industry moves more towards prefab Q Buy/sell agreements protect business

from the unexpected

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Q Contents

CMPX Show Issue Departments Hot Seat .........................................4 Training trades

Industry News ..............................7 New water heater efficiency requirements

People & Places ...........................74 Navien celebrates millionth condensing unit

Shop Management .....................76 Buy/sell agreements protect business, owners

Coming Events ............................78 MEET Show returns to Moncton

Products & Technologies Heat Pumps .................................18 Hot Water Heating ......................24 Heating ........................................31 Refrigeration ...............................38 Pipes, Valves & Fittings ...............51 Plumbing......................................59

One very large HVAC/R show Chicago AHR Expo breaks attendance records


Faucets & Fixtures .......................65 Tools & Instruments ....................73

Residential tankless DHW


Technology evolves to include space heating

Cover: A VRF heating/cooling system proved an ideal solution for this B.C. condominium complex. Please see our article on page 18.

Versatile PEX piping


Coming to terms with new materials, practices

Factory-built buildings


Increased pre-fab drives different mechanical approach

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Hot Seat March 2018 Volume 28, Number 2 ISSN 1919-0395

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (289) 638-2133 ext.1 Cell: (416) 996-1031 Editor Simon Blake (289) 638-2133 ext.2 Cell: (416) 574-5867 National Sales Manager Mark Tomlin (289) 638-2133 ext.3 Cell: (289) 927-6393 Design and Production Tim Norton/Janet Popadiuk Circulation Manager Dorothy Lai

PLUMBING & HVAC Magazine is published eight times annually by Marked 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.

Marked Business Media Inc. 167 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1G 4S8 Tel: (289) 638-2133 POSTMASTER: Send all address changes and circulation inquiries to: Plumbing & HVAC Magazine, 167 Simcoe Street North, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada L1G 4S8. Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 43029513. 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 2018. 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

Trade shows and training While I am at trade shows and industry events, I often ask contractors about what more we can do for them and what are some of the biggest challenges they face. The answers vary but one of the common themes always comes back to training. There are new products and new regulations constantly being introduced and it is difficult to stay on top of everything. The CMPX (Canadian Mechanical & Plumbing Exposition) is coming up March 21-23 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This is Canada’s largest show and the place to be to learn about those new products and regulations that you are going to see later this year. There are 400 exhibitors and a full schedule of seminars from which to choose. Please register for the show at Plus, we would love you to turn left at the top of the escalator to visit Plumbing & HVAC’s booth to say “Hi” and enter our draw for a 60” Sony Bravia TV! Plumbing & HVAC has also introduced a new website designed to make your search

for training easier. www.TrainingTrades. ca is a comprehensive website designed to promote all the industry training available to you in one spot. We invite all associations, manufacturers, trainers, and wholesalers to promote their training free of charge on Contractors will be able to search the website by keyword or category search, and they will also be able to use geolocation to find training near them. Contractors can register right on the site for their desired training. is still in its early stages as we are trying to get more training opportunities up on the site. So please check back often or sign up for our training newsletter to be notified of upcoming training opportunities near you. If you can’t make it to CMPX, give us a call or send us an email. We would love to hear from you! Mark Vreugdenhil Publisher Plumbing & HVAC Magazine

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Q Industry News

New water heaters wait to be shipped at Bradford White’s spacious new Halton Hills, Ont. warehouse.

2020 water heater efficiency hike planned Condensing equipment will become the norm in new construction By Simon Blake


ew energy efficiency requirements being considered for both residential and commercial storage type gas and oil water heaters set to come into effect Jan. 1, 2020 will increase costs as condensing technology becomes the industry standard in new construction. Hot water heating accounts for 18 percent of energy use in homes and eight percent in commercial buildings, reports Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). As a result, it has become a major target in the battle to improve energy use and reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuel powered appliances. Commercial water heaters have not previously been included in energy efficiency regulations. That will change if current proposals under Amendment 15 to the Canadian Energy Efficiency Regulations take effect in 2020. “We are just introducing commercial water heating into our regulations. We are trying to follow the U.S. scopes as best we can because the market is integrated,” said Rosalyn

Cochrane, NRCan team leader for HVAC/R standards development. To harmonize with the U.S., Canada will adopt uniform energy factor (UEF) efficiency measurement for residential duty commercial water heaters, which is designed to provide

The move to condensing commercial water heaters in new construction has already begun, with cost reduction in fuel a major driver. a more accurate “apples to apples” method of comparing efficiencies by dividing water heaters into different categories so that they can be better compared with like equipment.

Residential water heaters NRCan is proposing that all tankless water heaters – residential and commercial – be condensing for both new construction and retrofit, achieving a UEF of 0.87, which is equivalent to 0.90 energy factor (EF). “There is no proposal for condensing technology in residential storage water heaters,” Cochrane noted. Energy factor is a measure of the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed over a typical day, accounting for standby losses and equipment efficiency. Currently, a typical storage tank gas DHW heater has an EF of 0.60 to 0.68. Condensing power vent models are already achieving more than 0.80 EF, remarked David McPherson, general manager for Rheem Canada, Brampton, Ont. Some tankless models are achieving up to 0.96 EF, he added. Condensing gas storage tank models are Please see ‘New’ on page 8

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Industry News

New efficiency standards for commercial On the commercial side

Continued from page 7

roughly double the price versus a conventional unit, remarked Paul McDonald, general manager at Bradford White Canada in Halton Hills (Milton), Ont. As well, with condensing equipment, acidic flue gases may require more expensive venting materials. Some builders are already installing condensing water heaters to gain energy efficiency credits under regulations like Ontario’s SB-12 Energy Efficiency for Housing compliance path – and to be able to market their products as “green” homes. Heat pump water heaters have been slow to catch on in Canada, primarily due to cost. However, some builders are installing them, again, where they can achieve energy efficiency credits for doing so. Technologies are changing rapidly, remarked McPherson. Increasingly, homeowners are looking for connected technologies plugged into the internet. In addition to allowing homeowners more control over their appliances, they also reduce energy use.

Under Amendment 15 to Canada’s Energy Efficiency Regulations, equipment used in new commercial construction will need to be condensing, while that used in retrofit will be near condensing. The proposal for retrofit will be 82 percent thermal efficiency plus a maximum standby loss component, said Cochrane. “The move to condensing commercial water heaters in new construction has already begun, with cost reduction in fuel a major driver,” noted McPherson. There are three basic categories of commercial gas and oil water heaters. • Residential duty commercial (RDC) units for small commercial and large homes • The typical commercial storage tank water heater and the • Instantaneous commercial water heater (Full details of the proposed changes can be found at www.nrcan. “For commercial electric water heaters, the intention is to harmonize with standards in the U.S.,” added Cochrane.

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Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

“If it’s a new building at least somebody can consider the vent ramifications at the very beginning,” noted Tom Gervais, B.Eng., director of specifications and product development for Bradford White Canada. “The equipment and the venting will be substantially more expensive, but that will be factored in to the cost of construction. Likewise, the building can be designed to accommodate the shorter venting runs of condensing equipment – typically about 100 feet before mechanical draft boosters are required. “This can be a challenge on the retrofit side, where the mechanical room, size and location for traditional tank type solutions may not be suitable,” remarked McPherson. “Conversion costs will be high for condensing, and in some cases just not viable.” There is some confusion as to where boilers that are used to generate DHW fall under proposed new energy efficiency requirements for boilers and water heaters. Bradford-White refers to them as ‘volume water heaters.’ “NRCan tends to refer to them as instantaneous commercial water heaters, which causes some confusion,” said Gervais. Regardless, proposed efficiency regulations for these units are causing concern. “A boiler water heater – a fin-tube boiler connected to a storage tank – is going to have to be condensing,” said Gervais. “It will be a challenge because there is also a change to the test standard,” he added. Previously, the CSA test standard did not consider vent categories. “Even though the efficiency standard might allow you to vent into a B-vent, the construction standard might eliminate the B-vent option.” Please see ‘Venting’ on page 11

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Q Industry News

Venting options analyzed This can be a problem in a large hotel, for example, that might have two 1.5 million Btu/h water heaters connected to a 1,500-gallon storage tank. “Under the new rules, if you lose one of those heaters, any replacement is going to have to be fully condensing,” added Gervais. “That means it’s going to be very difficult to vent.” He also worries that near condensing equipment will condense at times, which would also eliminate the B-vent option.

venting, installation costs, retail costs – all those costs are (factored) in.” Working with a consultant, different building types have been modeled and analyzed. NRCan models venting based on flue gas temperatures. That determines the venting material. “We cost out and take into account – at 80 percent (thermal efficiency), at 84 percent at 86 percent – what the venting material is… “Our assumption is that there would be no change to venting systems to go from the baseline efficiency in the marketplace to our proposed efficiency of 82 percent,” she added.

Venting options explored

Early stages

However, NRCan has explored different venting scenarios, said Cochrane. “All the costs are looked at from the perspective of

NRCan expects to pre-publish Amendment 15 in the Canada Gazette, Part 1, later in 2018. That will be followed by an official 75-day

Continued from page 8

comment period. “What we’ve been doing up to this point is what we call pre-consultation,” noted Cochrane. NRCan has conducted several webinars with associations and water heater manufacturers to get the word out and to receive feedback from the industry. It has received written comments from all manufacturers, the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH) and the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). Several changes have been made based on those comments. “The U.S. has proposed efficiency regulations for commercial water heaters as well and, in some cases, those are significantly higher than what we are proposing. We’ve been working quite a bit with the industry and I think we’re to the point where we’ve got a solid proposal that we will get support for,” said Cochrane.


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March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Building Green Andrew Fleetwood, left, and PCL Agile senior construction manager Terry Olynyk with the hospital bathroom module prototype.



Today’s construction features increasing use of pre-fab By Bruce Nagy


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018


ow many plumbers does it take to install a sink? Seven. One to do the work, three to supervise, one to get the coffee and two who showed up when the donuts arrived. We’ve all been on job sites where it seems as if nobody’s in charge and everyone is waiting for something before they can start work. The University of Michigan conducted a study that found the average time lost waiting for equipment, materials, tools, and information was about 83 minutes for plumbers, 62 minutes

for carpenters, and 45 minutes for bricklayers. And there are other kinds of waste. The U.S. National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimates that about 8,000 lbs. of waste material goes into the dumpster during construction of a 2,000 square foot home. The industry can be inefficient. This has come under the spotlight partly because of the drive to save energy, recycle more, and reduce landfill, but for financial reasons too. And we all know what happens when the moneymen get restless.

Poor productivity If it was every industry it might be seen differently, but according to New York h e a d qu ar te re d g l o b a l m an a ge m e nt consultants McKinsey & Co., in the past 20 years the global average for value-added per hour has increased four times as quickly in manufacturing as it has in construction. Worse, in North America, construction productivity has declined significantly. This has caused large players in our industry to take a hard look at planning, designing, scheduling and waste. Some have concluded that prefabricated building modules can help

alleviate problems. Prefab has been talked about for decades and tested sporadically with mixed results, but there is evidence that it might be catching on a little more now, for particular niche applications, or perhaps even more broadly. Technavio, a global market research company, reports that the global prefab construction market was about $79 million in 2015 and could exceed $110 million by 2020. It is forecasting about seven percent growth each year for at least five years. The Marriott Hotel Group has completed one hotel and is working on four more using prefab bedrooms and bathrooms. Among other things, this reduces the construction time about 30 percent. In 2015 a seven-storey apartment building in Manhattan was assembled in 19 days after 56 modular rooms arrived from a factory in Pennsylvania. These were successes. There have also been failures. Again in New York, a new prefab company agreed to supply modules for 15 buildings on the Pacific Park megaproject, but totally obliterated the construction schedule, filed for bankruptcy and lost the contract before the first building was complete. Its assets were later purchased by a better management group that now runs a successful construction prefab business.

Meanwhile, in Canada In Canada there are several prefab companies pre-building hotel rooms and other modules in Quebec, Ontario and elsewhere. PCL Construction pre-fabricates wall panel systems for commercial buildings, hospital washrooms, construction offices, maintenance buildings and large electricity battery containers on solar farms in its Etobicoke, Ontario plant. The company recently pre-built 294 bathrooms for a new hospital project in Toronto. Insulated plumbing and electrical systems, drainpipes, shower, shower curtain, toilet, grab bars, sink, faucet, heat lamp, other lighting, occupancy sensor, GFI, and nurse call button

Wall modules for a seniors home were built in the plant.

Please see ‘Simple’ on page14

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Building Green

All plumbing was completed and tested prior to transport to the jobsite.

At the seniors home job site, prefabricated walls were quickly craned into place.

Simple building block assembly Continued from page 13

were all pre-installed into each module and pretested in the factory. In the middle of winter, they were shipped to the jobsite on a flatbed truck, four modules at a time. Once there, they were craned into position and connected in a fraction of the time it would take to create equivalent stick-built washrooms. The crane lifts the nine-foot tall bathroom to the edge of the roughly 16-foot floor where it is needed. The plumbing contractor then uses a pallet jack to wheel the unit into position. Four workers, one at each corner, simultaneously crank it down into the slab depression using trailer-jack-type devices. The plumber then adds extensions for the water lines and drain stack. The water lines are on top and safety rules require that after he climbs up, he has to be tied in. The bathroom unit above has a hook precast in the bottom of it so he can quickly clamp on his safety rig. The benefits for plumbers and other workers are the main discussion at the PCL factory. Given that most of the work is done there rather than on the job site, working conditions are safer, healthier and more comfortable for a greater proportion of the tradesperson’s time.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

“We’re in our shirtsleeves instead of wearing a lot of bulky jackets and cold-weather clothing,” reported Andy Fleetwood, PCL lead estimator. “Rather than being suspended on a swing stage, workers can stand on a solid floor and complete their jobs carefully and safely.”

The indoor advantage The weather supports his comments. Outside it’s about 6oC (45oF), snowy and slushy, while everyone is warm, relaxed and smiling inside the prefab factory. The plant manager shows off the plush plumber’s offices, dining area, exercise room, and so on, to underscore the numerous factory-built advantages. But it’s not necessary. The economic and

All bathrooms for a new Toronto hospital were built in the plant.

schedule advantages of prefab are compelling on their own. Every recent North American example shows cost savings of at least 25 percent and LEED points for reducing waste. Managing and recycling material is simply easier in a factory environment than on a job site; where perfectly good leftovers are often destined for the dumpster. In addition, the system is better for quality control. Fleetwood offers the example of an adhesive that dries better in the controlled climate conditions inside the factory. He talks about improved welding, easy access to designs on computer screens, less re-work, a relaxed but efficient assembly line approach, economies of scale, and less energy consumption. Building Information Modelling (BIM) programs are used to ensure the modules will fit properly into the building in question and that adequate installation time is slotted into the project schedule. Everything is more precise and efficient.

Time saving The company also recently supplied all the insulated exterior wall panels for a four-storey seniors home, with the windows pre-installed and sealed properly. Seventy percent of the walls in the building were built this way, shaving two months off the schedule. PCL also provides offices, maintenance buildings, helical piles and battery container rooms for solar farms. In one case they created the office and outbuildings in three sections, including pre-installed windows, doors, heating, cooling, electrical and preplumbed kitchen and bathroom. Please see ‘HVAC’ on page 17

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Q Building Green

HVAC, plumbing pre-tested in plant

All HVAC, plumbing and electrical was pre-installed and pretested at the plant for this solar farm office. Continued from page 14

They connected them together on the shop floor and pre-tested all the systems, then unhooked the three sections and shipped them by truck to the site. They also pre-fit large numbers of lithium batteries into sea container

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PCL had 100 tradespeople working at its prefab plant; soon they will be up to 200. “The quality of our modules has been very high, everything has been installed correctly on site and works properly,” said Fleetwood. “And we have been able to stick to our promised schedules, making our customers very happy.” There are probably just as many coffee and donut breaks on the job site as there were before, but now they are part of a carefully mapped out pre-planned schedule. And six of the seven plumbers are back at the shop.

rooms, then ship them to solar farms to be used as temporary electricity storage. Sea containers are a particularly suitable starting point, given their structural strength and the fact they are designed to be transported from one place to another. The business is succeeding. A year ago,

Bruce Nagy is a Torontobased freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at



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A job well done! From left, Ed Geric, president of Mike Geric Construction and Rocky Mountain Refrigeration’s Geoff St Amant (construction foreman), Joseph Kobetitch (president), Chad Trim (service foreman) and technician Mike Hipwell gather for a photo after the completion of Phase 2.

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Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018


any Canadians are jealous of their westernmost residents. British Columbia boasts beautiful mountains, mild weather and access to the Pacific Ocean. Ultra-modern developments using green technology are also adding to the B.C. appeal. The Travino development in Victoria consists of four phases of multi-residential condominium buildings set in a park-type layout with nine golf courses, parks and walking trails. Each of the phases put energy efficient technology to work – like solar-

water systems for cooling, coupled with a boiler plant for heating. These main systems then serve fan-coils in individual units through a network of pipes. Depending on the building controls and design setup, heating and cooling systems are activated only during the relevant seasons. Shoulder seasons become challenging when both heating and cooling are required simultaneously. For years, this form of HVAC has required occupants to live with the need for “shoulder season” compromise while waiting for the switchover to full heating or cooling. Both heating and cooling plants may run during spring and fall seasons to meet demand, using more energy. With VRF technology, that challenge is met handily – the systems are built to provide heating and cooling functions simultaneously.

Long shoulder seasons Strong wholesaler backup is a must on a project like this. Chad Trim, left, of Rocky Mountain Refrigeration completes an order with Refrigerative Supply’s Steve Chamut.

Joe Kobetitch, owner of Rocky Mountain Refrigeration Ltd., Victoria, the HVAC contractor for the Travino development said, “The Victoria climate is perfect for VRF systems. It has long shoulder seasons that need

assisted water heating and heat-recovery VRF (variable refrigerant flow) technology for heating and cooling of interior spaces. Phase 2, known as Travino Square, is a six-story building with 60 suites. Kevin Jackson, P.Eng., the HVAC mechanical engineer from Avalon Mechanical Consultants Ltd., Victoria, describes the buildings as having “many other systems and amenities that will provide added value to the residents who occupy the building. The facilities were designed specifically to optimize both comfort and energy efficiency; a rarity. Residents are sure to enjoy unusual comfort and consistent air conditioning throughout the structure.”

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How it works The Travino Square building was separated into six systems – one per floor. Each system uses two 10-ton Fujitsu Airstage condensing units coupled with multiple indoor Fujitsu ASUA fan coils, serving each bedroom and living/dining room. This system allows for room-by-room comfort control with heat recovery between suites. “It happens frequently within the buildings that living units on the south-west zone, basking in full sun, require cooling. The heat-recovery VRF technology automatically removes the heat, transporting it to suites in the north-east zone that need it,” said Jackson. There’s no need for supplemental heating. “Until now we’ve always had to provide supplemental heat of some sort for DX or heat pump systems. VRF systems allow us to size the equipment for the building heat load then use the heat recovery mode to get air conditioning at each location, basically for free.”

Chad Trim and Geoff St Amant commission the system.

Capital and operating savings

One system per floor Continued from page 19

heating and cooling at the same time, making it favorable for heat recovery. For instance, the VRF technology installed there allows heat to be removed from spaces with solar gain, then sent to cooler interior or shaded areas.” This process provides precise heating and cooling independently to each space without any heat exchange to the outdoors. Kobetitch knows – he’s been installing VRF systems for the past 16 years, since the first technology of its kind made its way into Canada. Jackson added that, “Refrigerant is used to absorb heat from any space that needs cooling. This heat is then transferred to those suites on


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

the shady side of the structure that need heat. It’s very clever use of unwanted Btu’s.” Kobetitch’s trusted source for products and expertise is Refrigerative Supply, Ltd. (RSL), based in Burnaby, British Columbia, with 14 branches in Western Canada. “Business is brisk up here, but RSL has won our trust through years of steady help and assistance; they do their best to stay one or two steps ahead of us by ordering and stocking needed equipment and materials,” said Kobetitch. “For the Travino job, we had to keep pace with a demanding schedule so that the availability of equipment never became an issue,” reported Refrigerative Supply’s Steve Chamut.

Actual energy usage data confirms savings. For the first phase, the cost of operation for the entire building, including HVAC and water heating, averaged $55 per month per unit in the first year. “Typical systems,” said Kobetitch, “are usually triple the cost of these VRFs when we include maintenance.” Capital cost is another deciding factor for developers; VRF systems win here too. Kobetitch stated, “The average cost per ton of a VRF system for a multi-residential building like Travino is $4,000, while a typical chilled water system is in the $6,800 to $7,000 per ton range.

Getting the aesthetics right A common challenge with systems using indoor fan coils is locating them in areas Please see ‘Flexible’ on page 23

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Q Heat Pumps

Flexible configuration for better aesthetics Continued from page 20

where the occupants aren’t faced with the eyesore of visible sheet metal fixtures that also challenge furniture placement. With the VRF technology, locating interior air handlers offers greater flexibility and is best when decisions result from collaboration between the engineer, architect, developer, contractors and new owners. “Functionally, there are basic needs by the contractor, or plumber, to drain the condensate,” added Jackson. “We wanted to avoid all that, while also avoiding the challenge of adding bulkheads or unnecessary piping.” Avoiding additional pipe length to a refrigeration-based system is critical for both cost and operational reasons. Jackson explained, “There are about a dozen different limits you can come up against depending on system configuration. Manufacturers have been really responsive in communicating these limits and helping engineers, designers and contractors, enabling designs that work within those restrictions.” Locating the outdoor units at the Travino development had some interesting twists. Condensing units, while very quiet, would

Thanks to the following people for their work in creating this article: John Vastyan, Common Ground, Manheim, Pennsylvania Kevin Jackson, P.Eng., Avalon Mechanical Consultants Ltd. Joe Kobetitch, owner of Rocky Mountain Refrigeration Ltd. Steve Chamut, sales adviser, Refrigerative Supply Ltd.

A prospective condo buyer checks out the individual room control. be noticed if easily seen. As a complication, Travino’s roof deck (often a good place to locate the systems) is accessible to residents. “So, a lot of thought was given to fencing and paddocks made to keep people away from the condensing units, and hiding them from view,” said Jackson.

System communication “One of the major benefits of the Fujitsu equipment is its system communication,” said Kobetitch. Some systems are configured to shut down multiple fan coils if one goes down. This can interfere with individual control for adjacent units and pose a major inconvenience for residents in a multi-residential setting. The technology installed at Travino allows other fan coil units within the system to continue operation if one shuts down. “Owners have excellent comfort and temperature control year-round and room to room, each with its own thermostat. They get cooling and heating at any time of year, all with a high degree of energy efficiency and comfort,” added Jackson. In a world where green technology has taken root and is growing, VRF systems like the one at Travino Square will become the new norm. Higher efficiency and improved comfort. Who says you can’t have it all?

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Hot Water Heating


DHW Exciting times as technology evolves to include space heating By Roy Collver

Combi boilers have traditionally operated with DHW priority. The new NRCB boiler from Noritz is designed to do space heating and DHW simultaneously.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

Instantaneous, on-demand, tankless, pointof-use and continuous are words used to describe the heating of domestic hot water (DHW) as it is being consumed – without the need for bulky storage tanks. With proper system design and control, these systems can be significantly more energy efficient than the common direct-fired DHW heater. Boiler manufacturers have released a limited range of combination boiler/tankless DHW appliances in Canada. These include a heat exchanger to generate DHW on-demand and separate the potable water stream from the closed loop boiler water. They have had some success. Relatively compact, they are popular with builders and architects, but their relatively high cost, and often limited DHW delivery are working against them. They can be designed to deliver as much DHW as people want, but most are based on modest European expectations of DHW capacity. DHW delivery is based on heat exchanger surface area/efficiency versus the available energy input versus incoming DHW temperature versus desired DHW

output temperature. Increasing tankless DHW deliver y capacities for any of those factors has practical limitations from both cost effectiveness and operational reasons. As our houses get smaller and more energy efficient, boilers capable of supplying continuous DHW while simultaneously heating the house will be oversized for the heating load. Deep modulation burners help tame this problem, but they can only throttle back so far before equipment starts to short-cycle. There is a great future for these appliances in combi applications and, as manufacturers continue to tweak the engineering and features, they will continue to pick up market share. Meanwhile, the boundary between DHW heater versus boiler have

Windward Homes is building an entire subdivision in Parksville, B.C. equipped with instantaneous DHW.

own distribution channels, so there is great competition and choice for us.

Space heating too

all but disappeared, with many of the new tankless DHW units sporting the ASME “H” stamp now.

DHW appliances are manufactured in Asia in large volume, highly automated factories. They are a global product. They are natural gas or propane-fired in North America, so they

Many of these units have been certified for use as combi space heating/DHW appliances and are doing a good job overall. On that front – manufacturers have been tweaking these products continually since their introduction to try and make them meet North American consumer expectations. Based on local desires

Technology in overdrive This “new” type of tankless, dedicated DHW heater has been around for over 50 years, but about twenty years ago the technology went into overdrive due to new control technology, consumer interest, and economy of scale. Sales people energized consumers by using words like “instantaneous” and “continuous”, whipping up high consumer interest, but also creating a bit of trouble at times. We’ve since toned things down a bit, especially on the instantaneous part. “Tankless” has become the winner of the “name that appliance type”. What most of us now classify as tankless

They are not generic water heaters anymore – they each have their differences, special needs, and control quirks that need to be accommodated. won’t fit in places where that fuel supply is unavailable. Much of the distribution appears to be going through traditional water heater brand-name manufacturers who private label and certify these offshore products for sale through their existing channels. The Asian manufacturers have also set up their

and needs, these heaters have grabbed up to 30 percent of the DHW market share in many regions – even higher in some pockets of the country. However, the vast majority of homes in Please see ‘Greenhouse’ on page 26

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Hot Water Heating

Navien’s Matthew Cuno, right, explains the benefits of tankless at the Toronto Buildings Show a while back.

Greenhouse gas concerns drive market transformation

solutions don’t exist in a practical form yet. First-cost and ongoing maintenance costs for tankless heater systems are significantly higher than those for the direct-fired tank. It is almost impossible at today’s energy prices to demonstrate a reasonable payback on cost alone, but the solutions are obvious. There are incentives for the installation of energy efficient appliances in almost every jurisdiction. Where that doesn’t work, governments will use a stick. Carbon taxation or cap and trade will be the next step. Hopefully some of the money raised from the “carbon market” will be used to help cover research and development costs. Tankless water heaters are taking us in the right direction, but we need to work to better integrate them with modern construction and also to come up with practical retrofit solutions for existing buildings. Many tankless heaters are condensing appliances, as long as they are paired with proper system design. Most manufacturers are doing a good job of providing design advice along with application details and installation methods to allow their equipment to achieve optimum efficiency (and sales).

Individual design Continued from page 25

Canada still use the old tried and true direct-fired gas, oil or electric storage tank. They have the lowest up-front cost, are virtually maintenance free (until catastrophic failure occurs) and deliver large volumes of instantaneous DHW on demand – until they run out. Unfortunately, they are energy hogs, relatively speaking. Governments have developed long-term visions in which inefficient appliances such as the popular atmospherically vented gas-fired DHW heater most of us grew up with will be eliminated.

there is the one titled Market Transformation Strategies for Windows, Space and Water Heating. The authors were honest enough to admit the challenges up-front and thankfully they are asking the industry to step up and help develop the needed technology, realizing full well that some of the longer-term

The way forward I urge you to go to the NRCan web-site page If you read all of the three documents linked near the top of that page, you will see the basic long-term strategy as it stands today. For me, the most intriguing document


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

The compact mechanical room is located in the attached garage.

It is critical to fully understand the design and installation details for each new appliance, because they are not generic water heaters anymore – they each have their differences, special needs, and control quirks that need to be accommodated. Because of these many differences, it is almost impossible to cover design details in a short article like this. It is important to understand that details like venting methods and materials, piping and pumping details, electrical and control connections, flow requirements – the list goes on – are often unique to a particular appliance class, brand and even specific models within that brand. These appliances are not difficult to work with as long as you have the discipline to study and understand the technical specifications and I&O manuals, take a system approach to design and plan ahead. Closely consider installation design details Please see ‘Different’ on page 29

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Gastite CSST. Because the shortest distance between two points is never a straight line. What makes Gastite corrugated stainless steel tubing (CSST) the gas piping of choice in Canada? Unlike rigid gas piping, Gastite CSST gives you the flexibility to navigate around natural obstacles without wasting time, money or materials. The system’s patented XR3™ fitting creates an allmetal seal to prevent gas leaks, which means no soldering, sealing or taping to slow you down. And because there are no special tools required to install Gastite, you’ll feel right at home installing it. For more information and a free Gastite CSST sizing app, visit

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Q Heating

Different units require different installation Continued from page 26

and pull on the loose threads. An incoming domestic water temperature of 65°F in summer can turn into 40°F in the winter – reducing your available DHW delivery flow rate by more than 25 percent. Where are you going to vent the flue products? Just because an appliance is approved for sidewall venting doesn’t necessarily mean site conditions will allow it. For new installations, work with builders to make sure the appliance meets their expectations and that the structure and location is compatible. Modifications to the structure may be necessary, and it’s easier to do on the plan drawing than on the site. Collaboration will make everyone’s life easier. Become a combi expert. Combi systems

are the future of residential HVAC systems in Canada. The sooner you start working with them the more prepared you will be. Tankless retrofit installations present their own problems. Messing around with a mixed bag of appliance venting categories can get you into trouble if you’re not careful. Gas piping may have to be upgraded to work with the higher inputs required by combi heaters. Installing condensing appliances as combi units into older, high temperature heating systems may require terminal unit or piping system upgrades. None of these are big problems – just design issues that need to be addressed. Keep in mind that there are some very good electric tankless units available. They can make a lot of sense in some applications and in areas where electricity is reasonable priced (and not generated by fossil fuels).

Most houses will not have the required electrical capacity for whole-house DHW, but for modest users or point-of-use applications, they can be an excellent solution. And once again I repeat my universal advice – find suppliers and equipment manufacturers who work together well, who understand the products they are selling, and who take an interest in helping you learn how best to utilize their equipment. An active partnership will take you far. Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Qualicum Beach, B.C. He can be reached at

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March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Heating

Very special care must be taken when improving the insulation and HVAC equipment efficiency in historic high mass buildings, like the beautiful Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

The energy efficiency Water issues must be addressed in older buildings prior to adding better insulation, equipment By Art Irwin

The more competent heating contractors continuously keep in touch with insulators and building owners advising them of the advantages of making their structures more energy efficient. An insulated structure will naturally require less radiation and will be less costly to heat and cool throughout our extremes in seasons. There are several important considerations that must be addressed when making the structure more energy efficient. Being knowledgeable about these things provides an opportunity for the heating contractor to maintain a good image and provides an opportunity to up-sell with things like adding on a ductless heat pump system or in-floor Please see ‘freeze-thaw’ on page 33

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Heating

Freeze-thaw cycles cause damage Continued from page 31

heating during a renovation. Buildings and cities age – as do humans. Sometimes we get better and sometimes we do not. Some of us eat healthier and get more exercise. Some of us do not. We all want to live longer and live better. We normally want our buildings to do the same.

How buildings age Let me start out with a couple of observations based on being around for a long time. There are three things that are aging our buildings: water, heat, and ultraviolet radiation. Of the three, water is by far the worst. The thing about water is not how wet something gets, but does it dry after it gets wet? The point about drying is that it requires energy. As we make our older buildings more efficient and more comfortable – tighter, we reduce energy flow and they stay wet longer. That is the problem. Can we make older buildings more efficient and not have them age faster? Can we in fact have it all? Yes, but the approach will irritate some. Or do we end up screwing it up so badly that all we have done is euthanize the buildings.?

Insulation and moisture

Blown-in insulation is a quick and effective way to insulate an attic space – as long as it’s dry and stays that way. (CertainTeed photo)

Let’s take a typical row of houses in an older neighborhood. One house is brick masonry, the next one is painted brick masonry, then we have stucco over brick masonry. As we move to the right, we have better water control. As brick and stone buildings get old, they leak! How do we address these problems? First, we try re pointing the brick. Then we paint over the brick. Then at the end, we stucco over the brick; this is a common procedure. We preserve and save old buildings by stuccoing them, which pushes historic preservationists close to a heart attack! However, not everything ever built is historic. Let’s go back to the water thing. How do buildings get wet? Forget about condensation and air leakage and diffusion. These things are minor compared to rainwater and groundwater. Rainwater does not wet a

building in a uniform manner. Neither does groundwater. The top of the building gets the wettest. The corners at the top next. And the very bottom of the building where the rainwater splashes up (“splash back”) and where the building wicks water up from the ground tends to get wet. There is no water absorption at the window surfaces. If there are no drip edges, this means poor water control. We have been doing water control for a long time – both for rainwater and ground water. What is the big deal? The urgency of getting it right has changed. Uninsulated high mass brick or stone buildings could tolerate wetting because of their high drying potential. We had lots of time to get around to fix stuff. But not any

more. We are insulating them – and insulating them with not just a little insulation, but a lot. And when we do that and don’t get the water control right, we get freeze-thaw big time. We are seeing more and more freeze-thaw. And now we know why. There is no such thing as a free thermodynamic lunch. There are consequences for reducing energy flow.

Water control There are consequences everywhere, but they are worse in some places than in others. For freeze thaw cycles you need cold and you need wet. Anywhere you have a cold climate, you should not insulate unless you address the water control side first. If the insulation Please see ‘Solutions’ on page 35

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Heating

Solutions can be difficult Continued from page 33

does not get wet, it can go through infinite freeze-thaw cycles. If you don’t do the water control, don’t insulate. The best solution is to insulate with high density spray polyurethane foam applied directly to the interior of the mass (stone or brick) wall. This works in all climate zones. There will be people who refuse to accept this approach. A more complicated approach: Apply a cementitious rendering – a waterproof polymer mortar slurry – with a vapour semipermeable fluid applied water-controlled layer. The rendering fills in the big gaps allowing the fluid to be applied in a continuous fashion. Now apply high density mineral wool directly against the fluid-applied water control layer. The assembly is not airtight enough and

vapour tight enough from the inside to work in colder climates, unless the relative humidity is kept low during the coldest two months - less than 30 percent in colder regions. The bottom line again, if you don’t do the water control, don’t insulate. If you don’t do the water control and you insulate, you will probably destroy the building.

HRV or ERV a must Keep in mind, when we tighten up the building, we must install a heat recovery ventilation (HRV) system which is a code requirement in many jurisdictions. With a tight building envelope, we must exhaust the stale air and bring in new, fresh air to replace the exhausted air. This is a big business opportunity; many contractors have done very well in this business selling and installing heat recovery units. If

there are moisture problems in addition to the previously mentioned subjects, install a dehumidifier with a minimum capacity of 80 pints of moisture removal in 24 hours. Sell the type that has the non-freeze characteristic and an internal pump with a garden hose connection to divert the condensate to a floor drain, which eliminates dumping an internal container. Let it operate year-round 24/7. We must sit down and think of all the additional opportunities that exist out there to increase our income and market new products with well earned, honest ideas that help both the consumer and the heating/ ventilation contractor. Arthur A. Irwin operates Irwin Energy Consulting Services in Halifax. He can be reached at

GLOW BRAND TO MANUFACTURE TANKLESS WATER HEATERS Glow Brand Manufacturing of Concord, Ontario is the first manufacturer of tankless water heaters in North America for the Canadian and U.S. markets (commencing May 2017). Glow Brand’s T180 tankless units can be used exclusively for water heating or in combination with potable certified air-handling products to satisfy both water and home heating applications. The tankless water heaters feature the latest technology sourced from respected component manufacturers in Europe, a continent that has led the world in tankless product development.

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Heating

Product Profile

Unique boiler/water heater wins recognition A unique product from IBC boilers was recently chosen as The Most Innovative Product of the Year at the 2018 EnerQuality Awards, held Feb. 22 in Vaughn, Ont. The company entered its Better Boiler DC Series Dual Condensing Appliance in the highly competitive Innovation Gauntlet, where manufacturers present their products in a competition similar to CBC’s Dragon’s Den. “The IBC Better Boiler product is a forward thinking, adaptable technology with integration to smart homes. This is a truly unique product and was a clear leader in this year’s submissions,” said Shaun Joffe, executive director of sustainability & building sciences at home builder Great Gulf and judge of the Innovation Gauntlet participants. IBC officials are quick to point out that their DC Series Dual Condensing Appliances are not ‘combi’ units. They are in fact two condensing

At the EnerQuality award presentation are, from left: EnerQuality president Cory McBurney with IBC’s Birgit McCullough, Peter Kinsey, Don Peladeau and James Scott. appliances – a boiler and tankless water heater – in one cabinet with a double 2-in-1 back-toback aluminum heat exchanger. It is certified as a boiler at 96 percent AFUE and a tankless water heater at .87 energy factor (EF). This is a major advantage with today’s efficiency-driven building codes. For

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Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

example, the Ontario SB-12 Building Code amendment requires that the space heating equipment must have a minimum AFUE rating of 92 to 96 percent, depending on which of six compliance paths the builder selects, and domestic water heaters must achieve a minimum EF rating of .67 to .80. The IBC unit is approved for space heating and DHW in all six compliance packages of SB-12. It features a high turndown ratio (15,000 – 96,000 Btu/h) coupled with a high mass heat exchanger design (40 lb. aluminum block). This means that even under micro IBC DC Series load conditions the appliances have burner, in many dual certifications cases, doesn’t need as a boiler and DHW to fire. heater. The back-to-back design eliminates the need for a diverter valve or a secondary domestic hot water plate heat exchanger. There are only four moving parts and 11 parts in total. Founded in 1998 by the Ontario Home Builders Association, EnerQuality (www. certifies energy efficient homes and delivers residential green building programs.

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Q Refrigeration

PRESSURE RELIEF SYSTEMS The relief valve can only be sized after the capacity of the pressure vessels is calculated.

Sizing overpressure protection for pressure vessels and heat exchangers By Greg Scrivener


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

In the last issue we went through some of the basics related to the overpressure protection of refrigeration systems. We discussed the rationale behind the requirements. In this issue we are going to look in detail at sizing a pressure relief device with a focus on pressure vessels and plate and frame heat exchangers. Section 7 of the CSA-B52 Mechanical refrigeration code sets the requirements for overpressure protection of refrigeration systems and requires that pressure vessels have pressure-relief protection in accordance with ASME codes. This means that vessels and heat exchangers that have an ASME code of construction need to have ASME

compliant overpressure protection. The code then gives the design requirement for the pressure relief system by stipulating that the pressure relief device must prevent the pressure in the vessel from rising more than 10 percent above the setpoint of the pressure relief device. It’s not easy to determine exactly how to do this. Thankfully, in the case of a typical pressure vessel, the code gives a prescriptive method to accomplish the overpressure protection. It is worth noting that we size all pressure relief devices on an ‘air’ basis. Please see ‘Tables’ on page 40

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Q Refrigeration

Tables don’t cover every installation Continued from page 38 C =f DL lb C=minimum required discharge capacity ( AIR⁄min) f=a capacity factor based on type of refrigerant D=outside diameter (ft) L=length of vessel (ft)

This is a fairly simple calculation but there is a lot more going on than it looks like at first glance. Recall that the goal is to prevent the vessel from rising more than 10 percent of the set pressure. To figure this out, you must assume some sort of heat input scenario.

CSA-B52 gives a table with refrigerant capacity factors for some of the common refrigerants but does not describe where they come from and under what circumstances they are appropriate. This equation was developed based on the projected area of the pressure vessel (that’s why we use outside dimensions) in a fire. The ‘f ’ factor in this equation contains most of the assumptions; these assumptions include a value of approximately 9000 Btu⁄(hr· ft 2·°F) as the heat transfer coefficient and this value assumes a distance between the vessel and the fire, among other things.

Non-standard installations The question becomes, what happens when the assumptions used to generate the ‘f ’ factors are not appropriate for your installation? This is an area where the CSAB52 code doesn’t provide enough guidance.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

The valve that is selected determines outlet pipe sizing. CSA-B52 gives a table with refrigerant capacity factors for some of the common refrigerants but does not describe where they come from and under what circumstances they are appropriate. The refrigeration safety standard in the U.S., ASHRAE 15, has an informative note under a similar table that requires a 2.5x multiplication of the ‘f ’ factor if there are combustible materials within 20 ft. This is because if there is a fire closer than 20 ft, the 9000 Btu⁄(hr·ft 2·°F) is not the right value to assume. Assuming there are no combustible materials within 20 ft, the ‘f ’ factor provided in the code is appropriate to use. In our example, let’s assume our vessel has a diameter of 24” and is 72” long and we are using ammonia as a refrigerant.

C=fDL C=0.5 · 2ft · 6ft C=6lb AIR/min

Once we’ve calculated this capacity, we can select a valve that meets our requirements. There are a number of relief valve manufacturers and they have somewhat different product lines and it can be important to choose the proper valve, particularly in multiple relief valve headers, because the valve that’s selected determines the requirement for relief outlet line sizing.

Plate and frame Pressure vessels are relatively simple; what about a plate and frame heat exchanger? We can extend the same principles used Please see ‘Outlet’ on page 43


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Q Refrigeration

Outlet piping must be sized for relief valve Continued from page 40

to develop the pressure vessel formula and use the maximum projected area of the heat exchanger to replace the diameter and length in the pressure vessel formula. Figure 1 illustrates what the maximum projected area of a plate type heat exchanger would look like, along with the final formula. The same issues with the ‘f ’ factor and combustible materials exist. C=f· (L2+W2 )·H

of their setpoint as back pressure. A 250-psig relief valve, for example, can have 37.5-psig back pressure. Calculating this back pressure is complicated because the flow is compressible but, thankfully, most of the work has been done and the calculation is included in Annex H of the refrigeration code (which is a normative Annex and is therefore part of the mandatory code). For a situation where the relief valve is piped directly outdoors and is not connected to other relief valves in a header arrangement, the following formula is given in CSA-B52. 2


(0.2145d5 (P0 -P2 ) fCr2


Figure 1: The largest projected area on a plate and frame heat exchanger.

Outlet pipe sizing critical The next issue to consider is the relief valve outlet piping itself. This is a critical component to the operation of relief valves and as we’ve already mentioned, the relief pipe sizing is done with the capacity of the valve and not the capacity required by the calculation. If you put on a larger valve than necessary, the relief piping will need to be larger as well. In an overpressure situation, the relief valve will open and the flow will cause a pressure drop in the relief piping, which causes a back pressure against the valve. It’s possible that a high enough back pressure would be able to close or affect the operation of the valve. Unless the relief valve manufacturer states otherwise, we must design relief piping systems that have a maximum of 15 percent

dln(P0-P2 ) 6f

L=equivalent length of discharge piping,ft d=inside diameter of pipe or tube,in P0=allowed back pressure,psia P2=pressure at outlet of relief piping,psia f=friction factor Cr=rated capacity, lbAIR⁄min

This formula looks complicated; however maximum equivalent lengths have been tabulated in code for our convenience. It is imperative to understand that these tables are only appropriate for single relief valves and are not useful in any way for a situation that uses a relief valve header. The code says that we can use common headers to vent relief valves to the outdoors and requires we pay attention to the minimum back pressure. This is a challenge when there are relief valves with multiple set-points connected to the same header. It’s beyond the scope of this article to get into the methods to tackle header sizing calculations. They are complicated and as you can see from the above equation.

It’s complicated The sizing and design of overpressure relief systems are important and can be complicated. These systems are a last resort designed to prevent an overpressure

The over pressure valve vents the refrigerants to the atmosphere in the, fortunately rare, case of an overpressure incident. situation and subsequent vessel failure and should be designed properly. The fact that the code requires us to prevent the pressure in the vessel from reaching 10 percent above the set pressure means that we must consider a number of factors and details that are not specifically addressed in the code. This article addresses only a couple of the challenges and issues, but hopefully it provides you with an appreciation for the effort involved in the design of relief valve and relief piping systems. Greg Scrivener is a refrigeration consultant for Cold Dynamics in Edmonton. He is a professional engineer, journeyman refrigeration mechanic and holds RSES CMS designation in commercial refrigeration. He can be reached at

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC



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Q Refrigeration Cold weather cooling Heat from multiple computers mean that ser ver rooms often need co oling e ven on the coldest days, as do medical storage areas, wine cellars and temperature-controlled display cases. The Unico iSeries is designed for these applications. Outdoor inverter units can be paired with high-wall units to achieve 100 percent of rated capacity at outdoor temperatures down to +5°F and at least 65 percent of rated capacity down to -15°F. These multi-splits operate at 18-20 SEER quietly at less than 23 decibels of sound. Unico

Efficient packaged heat pump Nortek Global HVAC has introduced a new 16 SEER, 12 EER, 8.2 HSPF ultra-high energy-efficient unit to its packaged heat pump line. The Model Q7RF is a two-stage heat pump with all-aluminum micro-channel evaporator and condenser coils for lighter weight, smaller size, better durability and greater reliability in corrosive environments. This results in a smaller footprint, better heat transfer and requires 30 percent less refrigerant. It is available in the Broan, Frigidaire, NuTone, and Westinghouse brands. Nortek

Air-cooled scroll chillers Johns on C ont rols has expanded its York line of YLAA air-cooled scroll chillers up to 230 tons. With a small footprint, the YLAA (55-230 tons) offers fullload and part-load efficiencies that meet or exceed ASHRAE standards. Made to order options now include variable speed

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New solenoid valve The new EVR v2 solenoid valves from Danfoss are designed for higher refrigerant pressure and a broader range of applications while reducing the references, inventory, and servicing time. Benefits include reduced applied and operating costs without compromising on reliability in all applications — from cold rooms to chillers and heat pumps. Superior maximum OPD and minimum OPD (Opening Pressure Differential) deliver greater performance in high-temperature applications (221°F/105°C) and are optimized for variable refrigerant flow conditions or use with variable speed technology. Danfoss

drive (VSD) condenser and integral pump packages. The scroll compressors have proven reliability and the units are equipped with two independent circuits for partial redundancy. They also feature a brazed plate heat exchanger, microchannel condenser and native building automation system (BAS) communications. York


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March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q HVAC Roundup


BREAKS ATTENDANCE RECORDS Many Canadians among the crowd as show returns to Chicago By Simon Blake where you can see and experience it all, learn from the industry’s top experts and stay at the forefront of innovation.”

Innovation awards The amazing thing for most visitors to the AHR Expo is the mind-boggling number of innovative products on display. Every year, the show presents awards to the most innovative in 10 different categories. The winners were selected by a panel of third-party ASHRAE member judges who evaluated all award entries based on innovative design, creativity, application, value and market impact. “Each year, our winners set the bar higher for innovation in HVAC/R, and this year was no exception,” said Stevens.

It was a busy show; lots of visitors, lots of meetings with manufacturers.

There were many Canadians; Cash Acme’s David Succurro, left, chats with Taco’s Sean Giberson.


he AHR Expo has become by far the largest HVAC/R trade show in North America. And when it’s held in Chicago, it’s typically bigger than ever. The 70th anniversary show held at McCormick Place Jan. 22-24 drew 49,995 registered visitors. Add personnel from the 2,155 exhibiting companies and that’s a total attendance of 72,075. Both figures are records. There is always a strong Canadian contingent at the show and this year was no exception, with 2,709 Canadian visitors and many more Canadians working the exhibit booths. “The excitement generated by this year’s record crowds of attendees and exhibitors was palpable from the show floor to the training sessions,” said show manager Clay Stevens. “Whether you are designing a building’s HVAC/R system from the ground up, or want to make your existing spaces warmer, cooler, quieter, smarter, safer or more comfortable and efficient, the AHR Expo is the only place

Danfoss took the top award – the 2018 Product of the Year – and also placed first in the Green Building category with its Turbocor TTH/TGH High Lift Compressor, which offers outstanding full- and partload efficiency, low vibration and sound, a small footprint, and reduced maintenance — while providing an expanded operating map suitable for high-lift applications like aircooled chillers and heat recovery. Please see 'Innovation' on page 49

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q HVAC Roundup

Innovation awards Continued from page 47

Other winners were: Building Automation: Setra Systems, Inc. for its Setra FLEX complete room monitoring and control solution used to ensure safe and energy-efficient indoor environmental and ventilation control conditions for operating rooms, isolation rooms, bio-safety laboratories, clean rooms and all pressurized critical spaces. Cooling: Emerson for its Copeland Scroll two-stage compressor. The latest generation compressors from 1 to 10 tons has been redesigned for improved performance and reliability in residential and commercial air conditioning systems. The third-generation technology is optimized for mid-tier comfort and efficiency rebates with improved full-load and part-load performance up to five percent. Heating: Quebec-based Calefactio beat out some industry heavyweights in the Heating category with the ONE, a threein-one expansion tank, air separator and dirt separator. Indoor Air Quality: Spartan Bioscience for its Spartan Legionella Detection System, an on-site Legionella DNA test kit. It fully integrates DNA collection, extraction and analysis in a compact format, with no sample shipment to an outside laboratory and no technical expertise requirements.

Smiles all round as Calefactio sales director Jean-Philippe Pichette, left, and director of engineering Jean Pichette, with AHRI's Chris Peel, accept their Innovation Award in the Heating category. The small Canadian company beat out some major industry players. R-404A/R-507, while providing a close match to the compressor discharge temperature. Software: Regal for its Browning Toolbox Technician Motor Efficiency Calculator, for Apple and Android platforms. This mobile app calculator module allows a user to identify efficiency differences between different generations of integral horsepower

Plumbing: AquaMotion Inc. won for its Aqua-Flash under-sink hot water recirculation system. An improved bypass design prevents the hot water from entering the cold line when the hot water faucet is opened. Refrigeration: Chemours for its Opteon XP44 Refrigerant (R-452A), a non-ozone depleting, low GWP, HFO-based refrigerant replacement for R-404A/507. It offers an approximately 50 percent reduction in global warming potential compared to

Daikin’s Chad Senger explains the latest trend in ICI controls – simplified building automation systems for buildings under 100,000 sq. ft.

electric motors. It allows the user to tailor the motor usage parameters to mirror their application or overall facility usage so a projected return on investment (ROI) can be displayed. T o o l s a n d I n s t r u m e n t s : Fluke Corporation for its T6 Electrical Tester that takes simultaneous voltage and current measurements without test leads. The T6 testers now make it possible to take reliable true-rms measurements in crowded junction boxes or along conductors with inaccessible endpoints. Ventilation: Triatek for its Stable Vortex II Fume Hood, a dynamic, low flow, high performance fume hood that protects chemists from harmful dusts and vapors during experiments. The AHR Expo was co-sponsored by ASHRAE and the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI). Next year’s show will be held in Atlanta, Georgia Jan. 14-16, 2019. For more information, please visit

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Pipes, Valves & Fittings



Matt Aungst of Total Energy Solutions in Willow Street, Pennsylvania designed this chicken barn hydronic system. It uses Taco sensorless pumps with chicken manure as a fuel for the boiler. Apparently, burning chicken manure produces about 3,500 Btu/h per pound. Who knew?! (Common Ground photo)


Where and why does it make sense? By Bill Hooper

hen I started my career in this business as a multi-line rep, I tried to gravitate toward more technical (and what I thought were interesting) product lines. To that point, it seems I always had a great interest in variable speed pumping, yet I could not seem to find any takers under 25HP back in the day. Even when I could find significant hydronic systems with suitably large motors it was a struggle because the technology existed, but it wasn’t readily available from

a wide number of manufacturers – causing a level of anxiety for specifying engineers. What a different landscape today, from a climate of some manufacturers that did not even “believe in” variable speed pumping. Like most technology, degrees of evolution happen over the years, and variable speed pumping is no exception. This brings us to a look at variable speed pumping today. From small residential pumps to large commercial pumps, variable speed is a staple of selections – and all variable speed technologies are effectively applied to domestic water as well as hydronic systems (glycol, chilled water, heating water) for HVAC installations. While smaller residential pumps are almost exclusively controlled by monitoring conditions at the pump, for commercial systems there are two strategies to control the speed of pumps, whether the system is closed (hydronic) or open (domestic water). However, by all accounts, drives that have integral (sensorless) control have taken over the market. Please see ‘Power’ on page 53

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Pipes, Valves & Fittings

Power consumption drives pump control strategies Continued from page 51

A mapped drive Sensorless technology monitors power consumption and matches that specific power value to a known point of flow and head along the pump curve. The testing and calibrating process matches several flow and head points along the supplied impeller trim at maximum speed, and then does the same matching sequence as speed is reduced. The result is a mapped drive specifically mated to the pump/impeller combination that can sense where the pump is operating on its curve at variable speeds and allows for speed optimization as actual load fluctuates and changes during normal system operation. For sensorless drive control, all readings are taken at the pump assembly, which makes

this a very clean and neat application that has similar if not identical performance to pumps and drives with sensors. In fact, both sensor input and sensorless technologies provide savings in operation and it makes sense for us to understand the differences in these systems – as they will both have their place (at least in the short term). We can also keep in mind that sensorless drives can accept a sensor input if that seems more practical for the system it is installed in. Ultimately there is a choice to make between control strategies, yet there are good reasons that sensorless drives seem to be leading the way.

Armstrong has been a leader in developing sensorless pump technology.

Recent history This may be a good time to look at relatively recent history. Before sensorless drives, variable speed pumping systems were reacting

to a direct input of pressure drop (DP) or gauge pressure, and/or flow on critical path circuits. The “brain” of the variable speed system would monitor readings at the speed of sound; taking real system data and modifying pump speed to optimize system flow requirements by varying the speed of the motor and relate that directly to system load.

All readings are taken at the pump assembly, which makes this a very clean and neat application that has similar if not identical performance to pumps and drives with sensors. It was a fairly precise operation, yet when we consider most hydronic systems are fairly forgiving for load output and carry significant thermal mass in some cases, one might

Bell & Gossett displayed their latest sensorless pump control at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago.

Please see ‘Eliminating’ on page 55

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC




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Q Pipes, Valves & Fittings

Eliminating the guesswork Continued from page 53

wonder why such precision was necessary. Wait a minute… the people specifying these systems likely found a level of comfort in the concept that a sensor driven variable speed pump set was working tirelessly behind the scenes, monitoring a high priced mechanical system and making fine-tuned adjustments. This way of thinking used to be the mindset until the sensorless technology closed the gap – becoming a viable option for variable speed pump control.

Just good enough? Let’s consider that progress drives change

– yet progress has different faces. At times progress is made due to obsolete or dwindling material access, sometimes people build a better and more economical version, and among various other reasons, good enough can be good enough. Could this be the case with sensorless drive technology? Yes and no. Are we seeing a trend towards this technology because it is good enough to drive a crucial mechanical system and achieve a level of savings to meet the specifications, ASHRAE 90.1, and owner expectations? The “yes” side of the equation is that there were motivating economic drivers to consider moving away from sensor wiring and installation, yet the manufacturers that bank on



Uses pump assembly operational data to drive pump speed, but can be field converted to sensor driven

Using actual system conditions as input values to determine pump speed

Programming in the drive uses setting of a factory “new” pump for its control strategy – wear over time needs to be considered

Can we rely on sensor calibration? Are operators well trained to understand how to modify and optimize the system?

Well suited for retrofit, as wiring to a remote sensor may not be feasible

Will allow for specific zone priority in critical systems (such as an operating room in a hospital)

Good commissioning and operator training is a must!

Good commissioning and operator training is a must!

Any pump selection that has two points on the curve with the same power rating is not able to use sensorless technology

Slightly more options in pump selections, as sensor input drives the placement of the control curve / impeller / speed match to optimize the system setpoint

Currently leading the way with all major pump manufacturers using this technology

A more strategic consideration in today’s mechanical systems – do we really need to see specific zones, or give them priority?

this technology would be on the “no” side based on the confidence they have in their experience of sensorless technology in the real world. The trend toward all manufacturers offering sensorless drives for pumping systems seem to conclude that this sensorless technology has its perks: • Ease of installation • Programming logic that goes into speed selection and system tuning • Cost savings of not providing and wiring a sensor • Appropriate logic/control for today’s hydronic/HVAC and water pressure boosting applications as proven in the field I spoke to several people that have applied sensorless technology and all of them felt the level of variation and response to changing system loads was equivalent to sensor driven systems. Although sensorless technology will not allow for certain zones to be prioritized, or to account for significant system diversity, the disadvantage in overall system performance in those cases (if there is one) is difficult to quantify. Even a sensor driven system has a level of “guesswork” if the operators are not monitoring the sensor feedback and making adjustments on control head to optimize the system. As mentioned, if the system performance seems to require sensor feedback for optimized control, the sensorless system could be reconfigured to accept a sensor. In conclusion, let’s consider an overview of how sensorless technology matches up to the other option: providing a sensor feedback to drive a variable speed pump. (See chart at left.)

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

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Pipes, Valves & Fittings Normally open backwater valve The Check-Flo backwater valve from RectorSeal is a normally-open design that incorporates a repelling magnetic levitation flapper to ensure reliable sewer backflow prevention. Designed for the Canadian market and certified under CSA B181.1-2015, it prevents reverse backwater flow into four-inchdiameter (10-cm) residential building main lines from street sewers that are clogged or flooded from excess storm volume. RectorSeal

Backup pump systems The highly-advanced Stormcell 442 Series 12-volt backup sump pumps from Liberty

Pumps feature professional-grade chargers, an energy efficient DC pump for longer run times and the company’s optional NightEye wireless technology for remote monitoring of the pump system through a tablet or smart phone. The NightEye app is a free download and is compatible with Apple iOS and Android devices. These pumps are available in 10 or 25-amp models. Liberty Pumps

Water and wastewater control The Genesis control panel for residential and light commercial use from Brantford, Ont. based Tulsar is designed to give home and business owners more control over the use of their water and disposal of their wastewater. It offers continuous monitoring of cisterns, holding tanks and septic systems in homes, businesses or vacation properties. Its constant oversight prevents tanks from overflowing or running dry, manages flows in and out and alerts to pending problems before they become a crisis. Tulsar




Only lav drain to include replaceable grid strainer and internal stopper. ■ No more clogs! Removeable grid strainer keeps jewelry and hair out of drain. ■ Internal stopper holds water overnight. ■ Also available without internal stopper for public restrooms, etc. ■ One-piece tube drops in for easy installation.

Steel pipe press system Viega introduced its MegaPress XL system at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago. It is a press fitting system for 2 ½ to 4-inch diameter carbon steel pipe. Viega also introduced the MegaPress XL PressBooster, designed for larger diameters using an existing 300 Series Ridgid press tool. Suitable for use with Schedule 10 to Schedule 40 pipe, MegaPress XL makes easy, secure connections in 25 seconds. Viega

Useful. Innovation.

816.796.3900 Q


March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC



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Q Plumbing


PEX PIPING What works and what doesn’t – one contractor’s experience in the field


By Mark P. Evans

alvanized water-piping comes out a lot faster than it goes in and copper pipe comes out even faster than that. It’s usually one or the other of these two that must go when upgrading a system to modern materials, typically PEX piping. It’s pointless to try unthreading the defunct steel lines, instead, I use my reciprocating saw to cut through the material or score it enough that it can be broken apart and removed. Copper lines are a cinch to slice apart using my ratchet style cable cutter. It makes short work of the job and it doesn’t matter if the ends are pinched, it’s not pipe anymore… it’s beer money! I’m sure more than one plumbing company has modified their “scrap for beer” policy since the plastic revolution began. It used to be just end cuts and damaged pieces cashed in for the occasional beverage or two back at

the shop. Now, a couple of retro-fit jobs could supply Oktoberfest.

A learning experience It is often said that PEX piping is so much faster, easier and therefore better to install, but there is a knack to it and it’s not for every application. I found myself in many tight situations when I first started using this material. My manual expanding tool was a pump-style affair that required more room to operate than a power-vice. There simply wasn’t enough space for proper installation, which left this

This is a large project involving miles of PEX piping. Note the coloured coils on the ground for domestic hot and cold water. (Rehau photo)

Please see ‘New’ on page 61

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Visit us at CMPX Booth #2309

Q Plumbing From left, the tools of the trade for threaded pipe, soldered copper and PEX.

New skills and practices needed to work with PEX Continued from page 59

technician with little choice but to surface mount the piping, which seemed like a step backward in workmanship while stepping forward with materials. As much as we all enjoy viewing the wonder that is indoor plumbing, I believe “proper installation” dictates that we tuck the piping in as much as possible. A battery operated expanding tool helps greatly with this tucking in, but it still takes some forethought and experience to make a PEX pipe job seem easy and look professional.

Difficult connections Routing water-mains between the ductwork is a common retro-fit practice, but it’s a hard-learned fact that it is a terrible spot to make connections… I’ve tried. It’s also a fact that getting the expander jammed in a pipe while wedged up against an immovable object brings on a special kind of vocabulary enhancing frustration. Even if I could get the expanding tool in the space, sometimes there wasn’t enough room to swing the shearing tool arm to cut the pipe to length in place. Power chomping just squished the end and sawing through it

left the point of seal ragged and un-uniform. Jobs went smoother as I developed better installation methods. I learned to drape open ended branch lines over the ducts and connect to a temporarily suspended main line before securing that main to the ceiling then routing those open-ended lines in such a way that their terminal connections could be made in a reasonable manner as well.

New skills, practices

the sun off this product as well as prying eyes. Ultraviolet light is harmful to PEX pipe and probably the greater of the two threats mentioned as I’ve never heard of anyone stealing plastic pipe to sell for scrap money. Electrical grounding and bonding issues must also be considered when retro-fitting water systems from metallic to non-conductive materials. Gas, communications and other systems must be bonded to metal water lines. Switching out the material may leave systems and people unprotected. Having modified my methods to suit this type of material, I really like it and found that I can install way more of this water-pipe in a day than I ever could with copper.

Like any other grand and noble endeavor, it

Customers like it

It is often said that PEX piping is so much faster, easier and therefore better to install, but there is a knack to it and it’s not for every application. took time and experience to develop the skills and practices required to work with PEX. This included peripheral skills beyond the primary concern of installing pipe and fittings, like material storage. Effort must be made to keep

Mechanically conscious customers like it too. Due to its perceived “user friendly” nature, they regard the PEX piping option as a great opportunity to purchase more material from me. It’s just so darn slick, why wouldn’t you run an extra line for a future ice maker, bar sink or dog bath if you had the chance? PEX allows me to route any additional supply lines back to a central header with relative ease compared to former industry standard materials. Shut-off valves for each line provide the access and control the customer wants and the sales I need. Also, I smell better when I’m done a PEX job… everyone’s happy! Please see ‘Installation’ on page 62

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Plumbing

The purchase of an electric expansion tool (for Wirsbo/Uponor fittings) made life easier.

Installation ease inspires additional jobs Continued from page 61

Product handling is super-easy, for Olympic class hula-hoopers. Not so much for the crowd I hang with but we all manage to un-coil ourselves and get the job done. Everyone agrees that it’s still a lot easier than slinging pipe. Maybe too easy… but that’s another subject.

Shower piping One of the few situations where I would not recommend using this material is as a supply conduit to a shower toe tester, down-stream

of the control valve. PEX is a great material to supply water to the shower, but the line from the valve to the spout cannot afford the restriction inherent with insert 90’s. I learned that lesson during my inaugural installation. Water was going where I didn’t want it to go which is a gross violation of my strict ‘no drip gets left behind’ policy. The call-back for this over-sight cut deep in that I had to gain access through the common wall (luckily it was in a closet) to make repairs. How could this error have escaped my notice? I reviewed my testing procedures and remembered that I used a bucket to

In his first shower installation with PEX, Evans found the elbows too restrictive.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

test the drain to avoid splashing water over everything stored in the area during the rough-in. I left the spout and shower-head riser capped under pressure and it never occurred to me to check the flow rate from each outlet. I’m an adamant tester, so I used this experience of ‘discovery too late’ to highlight an area that can slip through the cracks. (Noone wants anything to do with plumbers and cracks, right?) Full flow through the spout is typically the only guard against un-wanted shower spray so I went back to using copper pipe and a ‘wing-back 90’ after that bad first date. Still, I couldn’t help falling in love with that beautiful material. But regardless, I knew that before I could commit to the new arrangement fulltime, it had to be forever my call when and if shiny, circular metals were included in the relationship. You might say it was a kind of mechanical pre-nup I had with my PEX. Ha!

Mark P. Evans is a contractor, master plumber and heating technician based in Waterloo, Ont. He can be reached at

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Q Faucets and Fixtures Wall mount sensor faucet

Black stainless Delta Faucet Canada recently introduced a new Black Stainless finish, anticipated to take



T&S Brass and Bronze Works has released a series of sensor faucets designed to accommodate fourinch center-to-center, wall-mount installations. The EC-3105 family of faucets includes redesigned mounting hardware that allows operators in a wider variety of applications to replace wall-mounted manual two-hole faucets with efficient, hygienic sensor faucets without the need to alter existing hole configurations. T&S Brass

kitchens by storm this year. Less reflective and warmer than traditional stainless steel, the new finish offers a modern look that pairs well with black stainless appliances, as well as a variety of other finishes. The Black Stainless finishes are available exclusively on Delta’s Trinsic Pro Collection. Another two faucets and contemporary pot filler will be incorporating the finish to their collections later this year. Delta Faucet

Built-in scald protection The 420-T Series commercial restro om faucet from Chicago Faucets features the company’s TempShield built-in ASSE1070compliant scald protection that eliminates the need for a separate thermostatic valve. The integrated thermostatic control element helps prevent scalding and delivers water at a comfortable temperature. The 420-T Series features solid brass, chrome-plated faucet bodies and water-saving flow rates from 0.35 to 1.5 GPM, and vandal-resistant outlet options. Chicago Faucets



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Corner pedestal lav The Barclay Eden 450 corner pedestal lavatory sink features vitreous china construction, is predrilled with one faucet hole or for an eight-inch widespread faucet. Overall dimensions are 17-3/4" wide x 14-1/2" deep x 32-1/4" high. The back of the column is open, and the overflow is provided. An optional bracket or hanger is available for ease of installation. Barclay Products © 201 VICTAULIC COMPANY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Q Residential Innovation

The beautiful house is environmentally-friendly without looking it. (Photos by Mike Chantaj, Prionnsias Murphy and Bruce Nagy)

Engineer builds

dream home


f you had the means and know-how to build the ultimate house, it might look something like John Pearson’s home in Oakville, Ont. Pearson is an icon in the engineering world, serving as global managing director for Hatch for the last six of his 35 years with the firm. Hatch is among the top 25 engineering companies in the world, with about 10,000 employees in 65 countries. It was founded in Toronto in 1955 and, today, the head office is in Mississauga, Ont. “I wanted a beautiful structure, I wanted it to

Achieves exceptional environmental performance without looking green By Bruce Nagy

be architecturally stunning, but I wanted it to be exceptionally environmental,” says Pearson. “What I didn’t want was a house that you walk by and say, ‘Wow look at that environmentally-friendly house.’ I wanted people to say, ‘Look at that beautiful house.’” Most would agree that he achieved his goal. The exterior is arresting, while blending nicely with the other large homes in the neighborhood. There are solar panels on the roof, but you would need a helicopter to see them. Please see ‘Complex’ on page 69

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC





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Q Residential Innovation

Complex hydronic system a challenge

The science on climate change is irrefutable, says John Pearson.

Continued from page 67

Tightly insulated Built by Fil Capuano’s Chatsworth Fine Homes in Oakville, the home was completed in 2016. It’s not easy being green in a 12,000 square foot house (18,000 including radiant-warmed basement level) with a three-storey central atrium, but they achieved some impressive numbers. They also took the 2017 Custom Home of the Year Award in the Greater Toronto Area from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). “It has many of the facets of netzero,” says Capuano. “It might have been registered as R2000 but would have been disallowed because of unrated fireplace appliances.” At 1.34 air changes per hour (ACH) it meets the net-zero and R2000 standards and is very tight compared with other large custom homes, which might normally be at least 3.57 ACH in this case, reported energy modelling specialist Mehmet Ferdiner of Building Knowledge Canada Inc., Cambridge, Ont. Things are changing, Capuano adds. The large custom homes his company builds are increasingly incorporating environment-friendly systems. People

everywhere are moving into the clean energy age. The main sustainability features in the Pearson residence are a super-insulated envelope, four energy recovery ventilators, a seven-kilowatt rooftop solar PV system, low flow plumbing, rainwater collection for irrigation, occupancy sensors, intelligent controls, and LED lighting. The windows are Kolbe triple-pane low E argon-filled glass, with a UV 1.19 compared with the code requirement of 1.6. The walls are Nudura Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) plus an additional three-inch furring wall of foam. Additionally, there is two inches of foam under the basement slab and behind the basement walls. Called a hot roof, the attic is completely sealed with spray foam insulation. The attic is R-50, the walls, including the basement walls are about R-36. Perhaps needless to say, the tight envelope reduces the heating and cooling loads substantially.

systems he has seen. There were elliptical walls and several unknowns, making tube layout challenging. The home is heated using two small high efficiency Prestige EnergyStar-rated Solo-250 condensing boilers, totaling 500,000 Btu/h, and four Lennox air handlers, totaling 380,000 Btu/h. The calculations for their operation take into account that the basement, bathrooms, corridors and kitchen all benefit from radiant floor heating. Cooling is achieved using four Lennox air conditioners (10 tonnes). The system also includes Five Van EE ERV 90H-V energy recovery ventilators, five Lennox air purifiers and four Nortec humidifiers. Everything is balanced by smart engineering and advanced controls to optimize heating and cooling efficiency. The gas bill is less than half what it should be for the size of the building. No system oversizing was permitted.

Smart controls Pearson travels a great deal and wanted to be able to monitor and adjust systems in his home from afar. As an engineer, he wanted to access enough data to increase the certainty of what needs attention. His Please see ‘Energy’ on page 70

Forced air and hydronics Scott Gringhuis of Excel Heating and Air Conditioning in Waterdown, Ont. installed the HVAC system. The hydronic system is one of the more elaborate

Two boilers and four air handlers make up the heart of the HVAC system.

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Residential Innovation

ERVs provide ventilation, heat recovery and humidity control.

It wouldn’t be a dream home without garage/workshop for car enthusiast Pearson. An elevator takes cars to the lower level.

Energy recovery key element Continued from page 69

two sons are also engineers. Sophisticated technology is an expectation. “The whole home automation system was challenging to coordinate,” said Gringhuis, He’s talking about both the unique HVAC requirements and other systems. The house has occupancy sensors, motorized window blinds, an advanced smart security system, internet, entertainment, thermostats in various locations, plus a set of temperature controllers in one of the three mechanical rooms. “The tekmar Gateway system communicates with the other control systems and we had to make sure this all worked together and that we provided the right linkages and data for the HVAC.”

making things easier and more efficient for the cooling system. In the modern day HRVs and ERVs are becoming an essential element in many buildings. HRVs are required for the passive house standard and are virtually a requirement with other tight home standards like net-zero, LEED, energypositive and so on.

Rain and sump water They have also installed a unique system that collects water from both the rain

Energy recovery The energy recovery ventilators are a key element from an energy savings perspective. The units in this house are driven by low wattage electronically commutated motors (ECMs). They retain between 60 and 67 percent of the home’s heating and cooling energy and manage humidity, retaining it in the winter and blocking it in the summer,


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

Smart controls run, well, everything.

falling on the roof and from the sump pump on the property. Water is fed into a 2500-gallon cistern and used for irrigation of the beautiful gardens surrounding the house and swimming pool. Like the virtually invisible solar panels on the roof, the water conservation system and low flow plumbing fixtures are environmentally responsible, without pretense. “On a sunny day we generate more power than we’re using,” said Pearson. This is a notable point because the home also includes a snow-melt system for the driveway, heated swimming pool with motorized cover, a car elevator and an elevator for people, advanced entertainment and security, and numerous of other power consuming devices. The car elevator allows Pearson to bring collector cars into a heated lower level garage and work on them. It’s equipped with a C02 alarm sensor for safety. He likes new technology and he likes to innovate. One of his projects is to find ways to maintain the high level of indoor air quality in the house while saving even more energy. He has created an upper level room similar to a greenhouse that contains plants through which the system filters ventilation air, like Living Wall technology, but without the wall. Sump water, radiant heat plus forced air, organic air purification – Pearson is putting his own stamp on green luxury living. “The science on climate change is irrefutable,” he says. “The world has to personalize climate change.”





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Q Tools & Instruments Three plane level

Cargo van hoist

Bosch 360-degre ThreePlane Leveling and A l i g n m e nt L i n e Lasers are designed to deliver accuracy, long range and convenient all-in-one job layout to meet a variety of tasks on the jobsite. The self-leveling lasers provide one 360° horizontal plane and two 360° vertical planes with references that cover the floor, wall and ceiling to serve all leveling needs. The two vertical lines cross at 90° angles so the user can quickly arrange and square the layout of the room from one mark. Bosch Tools

The new MAD EasyLoad Hoist from National Fleet Products is designed to be installed in a full-sized cargo van and can lift 500 kilograms (1,100 lbs.). It stores inside vehicles at ceiling height, extending 3.79 feet and gliding up to 8 feet laterally to lift and lower where needed. An alternative to post-mounted cranes, it can be stowed above shelving on either side of the vehicle or in the center of the cargo hold. National Fleet Products

Easy coil cleaning The CC-201T coil cleaning system from Goodway is designed to bring greater portability to make it easier to perform on-the-go cleaning of coils in mini-split systems, packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs) and interior air handlers. It includes a custom pump system that uses a pressurized water system to remove dirt and debris. It can be connected to a water source for continuous cleaning or there is a built-in storage tank that holds eight gallons of water. Goodway

Bright site light The new M18 Radius site light and charger from Milwaukee Tools can run off one or two battery packs to deliver 9,000 lumens of high output light for full 360-degree bright workspace coverage for up to 14 hours. Up to eight lights can operate off a single circuit. It is also equipped with an integrated two-bay sequential charger and Milwaukee’s One-Key tool management technology. Milwaukee Tools

PRE-REGISTER ONLINE TO SAVE 50% OFF ADMISSION! • Over 400 booths of plumbing, electrical, automation, lighting, HVAC, and hardware products & services • Cutting-edge Seminar Program • Industry Dinner • Innovation Awards SHOW HOURS: Wednesday, May 2 • 9am - 5pm | Thursday, May 3 • 9am - 4pm

Only a few exhibit spaces remaining... To reserve your space at this premier event, please contact: Shawn Murphy, Show Manager • Mike Neeb, Show Manager •


March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q People & Places

Signing the one millionth condensing unit are, from left, Heung-Rak Sohn, Martha Pugeda (longest serving North American employee), CEO NA Scott Lee, vp of sales Eric Moffroid, Joon Kee Hong (CEO Worldwide) and Jaeyong Lee, head of global business.

Navien celebrates one million condensing units sold Navien Inc., Irvine, Calif., celebrated the sale of its one millionth condensing unit on Jan. 4. An eco-conscious company focused on energy-saving and highly efficient condensing products, Navien is proud to participate in the reduction of CO2 and NOx in North America and worldwide, said Eric Moffroid, Navien


People Kenneth Webster, longtime director of sales and marketing for Viessmann Manufacturing Co., Wate r l o o, O nt . h a s b een recognized by the Canadian Hydronics Council with the Canadian Hydronics Council Award of Merit. The award recognizes an individual for a significant body of work over a lifetime in the Canadian hydronics industry. Above, CIPH president and general manager Ralph Suppa, left, presented the award and wished Kenneth


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

vice president of sales and marketing. “The energy savings of one million condensing units operating in North America since 2009 versus non-condensing units… would be roughly equivalent to planting 645,000,000 trees.” The rapidly growing company, in a and his wife Marcia a happy, joyful and healthy retirement as he leaves Viessmann and the industry at the end of February.


Companies Centrotherm Eco Systems, Albany, N.Y., presented its first annual Manufacturers Representative of the Year Award to JSA Sales Inc, Coquitlam, B.C., at the recent AHR Expo in Chicago. JSA sales team members Bryan Jones, pictured, and Malcolm Bradbury accepted the award. Centrotherm manufactures InnoFlue polypropylene vent

relatively short period of time, has become an innovation leader in the North American plumbing and HVAC sector, he added. Core products are tankless water heaters, combiboilers and boilers sold exclusively through wholesale distribution. On Jan. 25, with dignitaries and VIP guests present, Navien held a celebration of this accomplishment for all employees. Joon Kee Hong, CEO and president of KD Navien worldwide, started off the evening by talking about Navien’s NPE Series tankless water heaters and NCB combi-boiler series. “Despite the level of competition, as well as being a product that was unfamiliar to the market due to its no previously existing market sector, Navien America successfully broke down these barriers with the great support from all of the customers and partners in America. Now, let’s congratulate ourselves on earning the great trust from our customers and let us return with our best quality products with our passion and faith. Tonight, each one of you is a MVP. Once again, thank you everyone for all of you have done and for showing us our spirit of persistence. I cannot wait to hear about your future accomplishments in the years to come.” Xplore, a local California “hip hop” martial arts group, using the flags of South Korea and North America, provided an energetic and upbeat performance that concluded the evening. For additional information, please visit systems and the BlitzFlex air-intake system. Watts Water Technologies, North Andover, Maryland, in partnership with ATS Spec Solutions, Toronto, recently welcomed 100 specifying engineers and facility managers to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto for an overview of its flow control, water safety, water filtration & treatment, drainage, heating and hot water products, as well as its system solutions and design resources. CertainTeed Insulation Canada, Ottawa, is proud to announce that its plant in Ottawa is the latest plant to be inducted into the exclusive Saint-Gobain’s Millionaires Club — a program designed by the parent company to reward plants that have operated at least one million work hours without a lost-time accident.

e n i l n O ! r w e t o s i N g Re

Canada’s National Show for the HVACR and Plumbing Industries


March 21 - 23, 2018

Q Shop Management

A buy/sell agreement can make it easier when the time comes By Ron Coleman

Getting out

of the business

Only about 36 percent of businesses survive into the second generation (12 percent into the third) and only 20 percent of listed businesses sell. That’s not very encouraging is it? You need to stack the odds in your favour. In 2017 some 15 business owners asked me for advice on how to exit their businesses. There are a variety of ways depending on the needs of the owners and the interest of potential buyers. In many cases we are looking at selling to employees. Many of these employees have little money and the owner will have to be part of the process for five to 10 years. It is becoming a buyer’s market. It surprises many business owners to know that getting out of business is harder than it was to get into it in the first place. Starting a small contracting company is relatively easy. Just put in a low bid or lease a service vehicle and you are off. But, how do you retire?


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

There is often very little goodwill in a small contracting business (say sales under $2 million annually) because the owner is so involved in the day-to-day operations. Take that owner away, and what do you have to sell? If someone accused you of being in business, would you be found guilty? Or to put it another way, have you bought yourself a job or do you own a business and, worst of all, do you own your business or does your business own you? Stand back and ask yourself if you would buy your company and, if so, what would you pay for it? What is unique about your business that makes it saleable? If you don’t know, then what are you selling?

Developing strategies There are ways to structure your company to ensure that your interests are protected. The

first step is to start putting strategies in place now. What do I have to sell? How do I make it saleable? How do I get paid out? How do I make it more valuable? Have I built an organization? Does my company have goodwill? Have I developed systems and contacts? Can I get work without being the low bidder on the open market? Have I got lots of planned maintenance programs in place? Do I have good, young employees? Setting up a good structure for the success and succession when you start your business will add a lot of value in the future. Eventually you will have to exit the business. When you establish how you are going to do that, and to whom, you need to put a process in place. Part of the process often includes a buy/sell agreement. You should have one if you have a partner, or if you intend to bring in a partner to buy you out or if you are going to sell to employees.

“Key person insurance” The following scenario also shows why “key person life insurance” is often necessary. John and Dan, two lifelong friends, formed Zorro HVAC & Plumbing Inc. in 1995. The business was successful and both men made

a good, steady income. The business provided them with a good lifestyle. Dan died three years ago and his widow, Mary, was very surprised at how her income has dropped and John found the whole thing very frustrating. On Dan’s death, Mary’s share of the business was worth $500,000 but she could not “realize” her value. Mike could not raise the money to buy her out. There was only sufficient working capital in the business to meet their ongoing needs. All excess funds had been paid out to the two shareholders over the years. No one seemed interested in buying Dan’s half of the business. John felt obliged to provide Mary with an income, but he also had to hire someone to do Dan’s work. There was not much surplus cash to pass on to Mary. John was working harder than ever; he had greater responsibility and greater stress.

For the continuing shareholder: The heirs frustrate the survivors by exercising their legal rights as shareholders. Minority shareholders can get left out in the cold. Conflicts arise over payment of dividends and/or management bonuses. Parties that are not interested in the real survival of the business or who are not qualified are now involved in the business decisions. A third party may buy-in without the approval of the other shareholders. The continuing shareholder can take excessive salaries leaving little or no dividends to pay out to the heirs. For the heirs: Shares in a private company have low resale value, particularly when they represent only part of the business. The shares often represent the bulk of the heir’s assets. As a source of revenue, this is often a very high-risk situation.

An essential step

It surprises many business owners to know that getting out of business is harder than it was to get into it in the first place. One year ago, Mary remarried. Her new husband (a management consultant) started to question how John was running the business. And things went downhill from there. What had started out as a dream of a lifetime had become a nightmare. The business was dissolved. Mary ended up with about $200,000 and she and her new husband suspected that John made many side deals that got him started in a new contracting business at their expense. John felt he had let down his partner and life-long friend Dan and his family. This was a “no win” situation. This is an example of what can be in store for the business that does not have a sound succession plan.

Nothing but trouble The following problems often occur when a shareholder dies or is incapacitated.

To ease the uncertainty and create fairness, implementing a good BUY/SELL AGREEMENT is essential. However, and I know this sounds basic, but it must be signed by all relevant parties. I do see agreements that have been developed but put on the back shelf and

INDEX to ADVERTISERS Airmax ................................................ 35 A.O. Smith .................................... 21, 79 Acquaer ................................................ 8 Arkema Canada .................................. 45 Bibby Ste. Croix .................................. 50 Bosch Thermotechnology .................... 15 Bradford WhiteCanada ................. 34, 80 Caleffi................................................. 11 Cash Acme ......................................... 63 CMPX 2018 ........................................ 75 Conbraco............................................ 66 Danfoss ................................................ 6 Delta Faucet........................................ 68 Duravent............................................. 36 Eco-King^ .......................................... 22 Fieldpiece............................................ 23 Flir Systems ......................................... 30 Gastite ................................................ 28 Gaz Metro# ........................................ 22 General Pipe Cleaners ..................... 2, 60 Giant Inc. ............................................ 29 Honeywell Refrigeration ...................... 42 IBC Boilers ........................................... 5 ICP Canada ......................................... 10

never actually signed, so have no value. Usually there were one or two clauses causing dissent and therefore the whole thing was shelved. A good buy/sell agreement linked to life insurance policies will go a long way toward eliminating the above exposure. Considering the amount of effort we put into building up our businesses; isn’t it worth spending some time and money protecting our investment? Not only should a business provide us with income while we work, but it should be a security in time of trouble. It should also be a saleable asset. And on that note, I will ask you to think about this and explore it with your spouse and business partner(s) and come back for part two of this article in the next edition of Plumbing & HVAC. Ronald Coleman is a Vancouver-based accountant, management consultant, author and educator specializing in the construction industry. He can be reached by e-mail at

IPEX .................................................... 54 Liberty Pumps ..................................... 52 Lochinvar ............................................ 71 Master Group* ................................... 66 MEET Show ........................................ 73 Milwaukee Valve ................................. 58 MITS AC ................................. 37, 39, 41 Mitsubishi Electric ............................... 45 Navien .................................................. 9 Noble*................................................ 56 Noritz ................................................. 32 P&HVAC+ ..................................... 22, 66 Ratech Electronics ............................... 19 Stelpro ................................................ 72 Taco .................................................... 48 .............................. 56 Victaulic .............................................. 65 Viega .................................................. 44 Viessmann .......................................... 27 Watco ................................................. 57 Woodford ........................................... 64 Zoeller ................................................ 17 *Ontario only #Quebec only

+Outside of Ontario ^Outside of Quebec

March 2018 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Coming Events

Atlantic show returns Over 400 exhibitors expected at MEET 2018 Atlantic Canada’s largest trade show and social event for the industry will return to Moncton in May. MEET – the Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Technology show – will take place at the Moncton Coliseum May 2-3. By mid-February exhibitor booth sales were ahead of those for the 2016 event at the same time, reported show manager Shawn Murphy. By May 2, he expects over 400 exhibitors from across Canada and the U.S. will display products for all aspects of the mechanical and electrical trades. “As in past editions of this trade show, rebooking from previous exhibitors was very strong,” he added. “Electrical and mechanical product manufacturers have come to count on this show, which has grown in attendance year after year.’’ This year’s event will be the 23rd. Mechanical products will include plumbing, heating, hydronic heating, air conditioning, ventilation, refrigeration,

drain cleaning, tools, pumps, valves, fittings, business and design software, etc. And that’s just on the mechanical side, with another entire hall devoted to electrical. Manufacturers will enter their latest products in the Innovation Showcase, which will be judged by a panel of experts from each participating association.

Educational seminars Once again, a number of seminars will be presented. Topics include: • The Connected Home Opportunity • Why Buildings Matter and the Future of Building Performance • The Basics of Daylight Harvesting and Today’s Energy Codes • Net Zero – Codes and the Energy Project at the National Research Council • ASHRAE 90.1: Past, Present and Future Energy Code Requirements • Legionella – Today and Tomorrow; What do we Know? Some of these qualify for continuing education credits for engineers.

Industry dinner It won’t be all serious business for those attending the show. On Wednesday evening, the MEET Industry Dinner will once again take place at the Delta Beausejour Hotel in downtown Moncton. The event is always a “gathering of the clan” for the Atlantic industry, with over 600 people typically attending. This year, Montreal-born French/ Irish comedian Derek Seguin will provide the entertainment. MEET is produced by Master Promotions Ltd., Moncton, and sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating (CIPH), IES (Illuminating Engineering Society) – Maritime Sections, ElectroFederation Canada (EFC) and ACME (Atlantic Canada Mechanical Exhibitors). Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 2 and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 3. For more information, please visit


Calendar MARCH 21-23: CMPX 2018, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building. Please visit or call 1-800-282-0003 (long distance) or 416-444-5225 (local).

MAY 2-3: MEET Show, Moncton Coliseum, Moncton, N.B. Please visit or call 506-658-0018.

JUNE 10-12: Canadian Apprenticeship Forum National Apprenticeship Conference, Fairmont Queen Elizabeth, Montreal. For more information, call 613-235-4004 or visit

JUNE 17-19:

Busy times at the General Pipe Cleaners booth at MEET 2016 – shows offer a great opportunity to speak directly to manufacturers.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2018

Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating, Annual Business Conference, Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler, B.C. Please visit or call 1-800-639-2474.

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