March 2017

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Publication Mail Agreement #43029513. Return postage guaranteed Marked Business Media Inc. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario M9W 5C4

Commercial solutions

Cooling with ammonia, snowmelt slab heating

MARCH 2017

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n Oil heat organization scales back national operations n Geothermal industry optimistic for future n Adventures in rural plumbing n Tax considerations for contractors

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n Contents

Commercial Projects Issue Departments Hot Seat..........................................5 Moving forward with oil

Industry News ...............................7 COHA reorganizes

Training.........................................40 Nasty backflow contes

People & Places............................43 Hydronics expert recognized

Shop Management......................44 Tax tips from our expert

Coming Events.............................46 Shows in Montreal and Toronto

Products & Technologies Heating.........................................12 Hot Water Heating.......................18 Pipes, Valves & Fittings................24 Refrigeration................................29 Ventilation....................................34

29 Cooling with ammonia Poor communication can hamper performance


Tools & Instruments.....................35 Plumbing.......................................36 Faucets & Fixtures........................39 Residential UV disinfection


Rural plumbing


Selling UV in today’s market

Cover: Successful snowmelt systems require a precise control strategy. Please see our article on page 18. (Photo by Roy Collver)

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Specifying pumps based on typical loads


Unique challenges beyond the mains

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC


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n Hot Seat

March 2017 Volume 27, Number 2 ISSN 1919-0395

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819

Moving forward with oil Sometimes you can do everything right but the economics just don’t work. Such is the case with the Canadian Oil Heat Association, which has dramatically scaled back its activities. As an organization it seemed to be making progress under the leadership of COHA president Stephen Koch against some very tough problems including a declining oil heat market, runaway oil spill cleanup costs, an unfriendly insurance industry and government off- il programs. All those issues, in the end, proved too much as the organization’s board voted Jan. 13 to close its national offic and shift day-to-day operations to individual COHA chapters. What now? I don’t believe that oil heat is going to disappear anytime soon. It is still widely used where it is not practical to run underground gas lines. In Newfoundland and much of the Atlantic provinces, or on the Canadian Shield that covers much of northern Ontario – the places where the bedrock is just a foot or two under the fl or slab – oil heating still makes a lot of sense. In those places the other options are propane and electricity. Oil compares favorably. Prices have stabilized. The spike that occurred a few years ago when crude oil hit $140 U.S. per barrel oil is unlikely

to re-occur given the current supply. Heat pumps are making inroads, but after a severe winter some of those that replaced their oil systems are wishing they’d kept them, as a backup at the very least. The insurance industry along with an unreasonable if not downright incompetent approach to spill cleanup continues to be a barrier. The oil heating industry needs a strong national voice to deal with issues like that. Priority number one for the five COHA chapters will no doubt be to re-structure their affairs to operate independently. However, a strong second priority should be to reach out to oil heating contractors/ dealers, manufacturers, oil suppliers and wholesalers in those provinces that don’t have a COHA chapter and find a way to keep them involved. On a personal level, I will miss going to the national conferences and chatting with a lot of great down-to-earth people. I hope this new strategy is successful for COHA and that the industry will be able to move forward.

Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 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. 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4 Tel: (416) 614-2200 • Fax (416) 614-8861 POSTMASTER: Send all address changes and circulation inquiries to: Plumbing & HVAC Magazine, 451 Attwell Drive, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M9W 5C4. 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 2017. 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 o 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

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n Industry News

Oil heat association re-organizes National scaled back, provincial chapters to take on heavy lifting By Simon Blake The Canadian Oil Heat Association has scaled back its national organization and transferred the responsibility for day-to-day operations to its provincial chapters. “The past several years have brought signifi ant changes to the Canadian oil heat industry. At the same time, experience has shown that COHA members have different needs depending on the region of Canada in which they do business,” said national board chair Dave Brown (Western Petroleum, Cornerbrook, Nfl .) in a letter to members. On Jan. 13 the COHA National Board voted to re-organize COHA along the following lines: • Provincial chapters will take on primary responsibility for collecting dues, administering and servicing their members, as well as leading training and other initiatives. • Current national COHA members – including manufacturers, distributors and oil companies –will be approached by provincial chapters for membership in the provinces where they are based. • Provincial chapters will be represented on the COHA National Board (typically by the provincial chair). • The National Board will administer COHA as an umbrella organization in order to provide leadership and direction on issues of national significance and to provide provincial chapters with a coordinated national voice. • The administrative cost of maintaining a national office ill be greatly reduced. Executive director Stephen Koch resigned in January. A national conference planned for June in London, Ont. has been cancelled. COHA national staff member Michelle Romanuk is now manager of the Ontario Chapter, based in Lindsay, Ont.

Boost for chapters

Ontario chapter chair Jim Wood (McKeown and Wood Fuels, Napanee, Ont.) expects the changes will reduce upward pressure on membership dues, free up more funds for provincial initiatives, offer more control over member recruitment and allow the chapter to

added, something the national office took care of in the past.

Orphaned members

There are a number of manufacturers and oil companies, particularly in Quebec, where there is no provincial chapter. The organization also

In happier times, COHA members enjoy a harbour tour during the 2015 national conference in Halifax. provide training better suited to member needs. “I see a bit of a shift to encompass more than just what the oil burner technician does,” he added. Members are urged to contact their provincial representatives with any questions. Currently, there are chapters in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland. “It’s not where we want it to be,” remarked Wood, adding that the changes had to be made due to the shrinking fuel oil market. “You’ve always got to try to grow the membership in whatever way you can. If you are just sitting just on oil heat, I think the writing’s on the wall.” The situation is not quite the same in the Atlantic provinces where oil heat is widely used. In much of the North too, beyond the natural gas distribution networks, buildings are typically either on oil or propane. There are many details that still have to be worked out. “We’re committed to sharing information better between the chapters,” he

has members in the West, many of them in B.C. and the Yukon. It’s not clear how these members will be accommodated. Wood noted that the provincial chapters must make a special effort to keep in touch with these people, who have been very supportive of COHA over the years. Wood expects the national conference will be replaced by provincial conferences and training days. He added that it’s critical that the organization continues to provide networking opportunities for its members. “Those people that support us, like the manufacturers, are looking for that opportunity.” He expects Ontario chapter events will increase attendance because a number of members are unwilling to travel out-of-province for events. “I think we’re all feeling a little disjointed (from the changes). I think once we get our team together in the province and start making some headway, it will come together. I think it will be better for the chapter and the people that support oil heat in Ontario.” : March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC


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n Industry News

From left, Jay Egg, talks geothermal as fellow “future of the industry” panelists Martin Forsén, Malini Giridhar and Terry Young look on.

Optimism in Ont. geothermal industry Members of the Ontario Geothermal Association came away with renewed optimism after their annual conference Feb. 21-22. The Mississauga, Ont. event drew 146 people. For an industry that has struggled over the years as government rebates ebbed and fl wed, the stars are fi ally starting to align with renewed government support, higher energy costs that make geothermal more attractive along with better equipment and installations. “We have a government right now that has introduced some of the most progressive climate change legislation in history,” noted OGA president Jim Bolger (Waterloo Energy Products). And for once, the federal government is “in sync” with the provincial government, he added. He urged members to keep that in mind when they vote in the 2018 provincial election. “From a practical perspective, vote strategically.” Glen Murray, Ontario minister of the environment and climate change, re-affirmed the provincial government’s commitment to work with the geothermal industry on carbon-reduction solutions in the future. He

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praised the organization for their contribution to policy development. The success of reducing emissions to nearzero while also reducing energy costs for end users in Sweden has been due in large part to the wide-scale deployment of heat pump technology, especially ground source heat pumps, noted Martin Forsén, manager, international aff irs, for NIBE Industrier AB, based in Sweden. He is optimistic that similar growth will occur in Canada, adding that it’s a much easier market than the U.S. “I’m so confide t that the train will take off from the platform here.” NIBE has become the dominant player in geothermal heat pumps. Acquisitions in the past few years include the CGC Group of Companies, Mississauga, Ont., WaterFurnace, Fort Wayne, Indiana and Enertech Global, Greenville, Illinois.

Looking to the future

During a panel session on the future of geothermal, Malini Giridhar, vice president of market development and public government aff irs for Enbridge Gas Distribution, pointed to

the 1.2 million people in Ontario that don’t have access to natural gas and the huge opportunity it represents for the geothermal industry. In an earlier presentation she had outlined Enbridge’s plans to aggressively increase its presence in the geothermal market, with an initial focus on new home construction. And with rapidly increasing costs in Ontario, targeting homes heated with electricity is a “no brainer,” remarked Forsén. The industry continues to face a number of roadblocks, probably the largest of which is high initial cost, he added. While the industry has been working to narrow the gap with other heating technologies, “that’s where government funding is needed.” While there are signifi ant opportunities in the commercial and high-rise market, it has been a struggle, remarked Jay Egg, president of Egg Geothermal, Kissimmee, Florida. “The biggest barrier is the lack of understanding in the architectural community. If they understood how they could get rid of chillers and boilers, they would specify geo every time.” He also noted that geothermal should be regarded as underground infrastructure and that subsidies should be geared to getting that infrastructure in place, providing district heating/cooling that homes and buildings in the area would be tied into by the geothermal contractor. “Utility responsibility ends with the infrastructure,” added Martin Luymes, director of Programs and Relations for the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). “We need (the utilities) help. They have huge resources,” added Forsén. The other barrier in Ontario is that people are reluctant to switch to geothermal from fossil fuels because geo uses electricity, and in many cases uses electric heating as a backup. “There’s a feeling in Ontario that electricity rates are out of control,” said Luymes. The OGA operates as a division of HRAI. Many OGA members would like to see the organization spread across Canada under the HRAI umbrella, said Bolger. “It’s our goal that we have one voice that speaks for our industry and that should be HRAI.” For more information, please visit www. March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC


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n Industry News

Ont. to expand gas network Ontario taxpayers will subsidize the expansion of the province’s natural gas network after the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) rejected a proposal by the province’s two largest gas utilities to add a surcharge on to existing customers to help cover the costs. On Jan. 30 the government announced that it would put $100 million towards expanding the province’s natural gas network to more rural and northern communities. Financed from the province’s infrastructure fund, municipalities and First Nations will work with utilities to make proposals this spring. About 75 percent of Ontario homes heat with natural gas. The remainder heat with oil, propane, electricity and/or wood. The government estimates that converting from electricity to natural gas will save the average homeowner about $1,500 a year, and converting from oil will save about $1,100 per year. The government has faced considerable

anger over rapidly rising electricity costs. It had earlier proposed establishing a $200-million natural gas access loan program and a $30-million grant, but municipalities called for a straight grant program instead. The government also expects reduced heating energy costs in the North will lead to an increase in economic development in those communities.

Construction heating furnace ban Manufacturers will prohibit the use of residential forced air furnaces during new home construction beginning May. 1. The ban was originally expected to begin Sept. 1, 2016, but manufacturers moved the date back after meeting with home builders on a number of occasions, reports the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute

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The surcharge proposal by Enbridge Gas Distribution and Union Gas Limited was rejected at the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) after it was opposed by a number of groups, including the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) on behalf of the Ontario Geothermal Association (OGA). It argued that if the proposal went ahead it would put other alternatives such as geothermal at a disadvantage. The OGA operates as a division of HRAI. of Canada (HRAI). Manufacturers have also agreed to standardized wording that will be included in their manufacturers’ installation instructions as follows: “Gas furnaces manufactured on or after May 1, 2017 are not permitted to be used in Canada for heating of buildings or structures under construction.” HRAI reports that all of its member manufacturers have confi med their support for this position.



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March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

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n Trucks for the Trade

n Heating This Sanuvox Saber system is designed to keep the evaporator coil clean.

Residential UV duct disinfection

Manufacturers refi e products, but IAQ can still be a tough sell By Simon Blake


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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Residential ultraviolet duct disinfection systems arrived on the market about 1995. These are the standard ‘UV stick lights’ that most contractors are familiar with. They operate on the 253.7-nanometer germicidal C-band wavelength and are very effective for destroying germ carrying microbes and bacteria in the ductwork. “Everyone’s using UV-C. It’s a very effective wavelength for disinfection,” noted Aaron Engel, vice president, business development for Fresh Aire UV Canada, Montreal. “Over the past ten years, advances in ease of installation and safety have continued to increase the viability of UV-C (in multiple applications),” added Daniel Jones, president

and co-founder of UV Resources, Santa Clara, Calif. FEP (fluorinated ethylene propylene) coated lamps offer protection from breakage and better fixtures allow 360-degree irradiance and easier installation, noted Jones. And the price has come down considerably. Not surprisingly, products at the low end of the spectrum tend to be “bare bones” models with few features. “For most contractors the UV light tends to be a pretty challenging sell without the homeowner understanding the benefits,” noted Greg Butt, executive director for Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions (formerly White Rodgers), Richmond Hill,

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UVV lamps produce ozone. However, the amounts are small, typically about .03 ppm when measured 10 feet from the lamp and well within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maximum safe ozone level of .05 ppm. The newest UV technology is photo catalytic oxidation (PCO). Basically, it works by shining UV light on a titanium substrate – a grid or a cartridge – causing a catalytic reaction that destroys chemicals and odors. Fresh Aire UV’s APCO (advanced photo catalytic oxidation) system, for example, is a non-ozone producing system that uses UVC light that reacts with activated carbon impregnated with titanium to adsorb odors and sterilize the air and coil. Activated carbon can only adsorb so much before it becomes saturated. However, the UV reacting with the titanium breaks up VOCs into carbon dioxide and water, so they are safely released from the carbon. The carbon is, in effect, constantly regenerating itself, explained Engel. Ont. But where the homeowner is experiencing indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, UV offers a proven solution.

New technologies

The second commonly used ultraviolet technology is UVV, which operates on a 187-nanometer wavelength and destroys odors and chemicals – VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. “It’s very effective,” noted Jocelyn Dame, president, Sanuvox Technologies Inc., Montreal. Many two-lamp systems consist of a UVC and UVV lamp – in fact Sanuvox puts both into the same lamp – to control both biological contaminants and VOCs.

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A solid installation

A UV lamp can be installed almost anywhere in the ductwork. However, most manufacturers suggest placing it either downstream of the evaporator coil or in the return duct, where air movement is slowest. The critical factors are UV light density and dwell time – how long the contaminants are exposed to UV. In a coil installation, the lamp is placed perpendicular to the airfl w and parallel to the coil. It’s a good location because “it’s wet, it’s cool, it’s dark; it’s the perfect breeding ground for microbial growth,” said Engel. “You can show me what will appear to be a clean and dry coil… and if I did a petrie dish test, a contact

test or a culture on it, there would be more often than not microbial growth on that coil. “If you install a UV system over that evaporator coil, you will be able to keep it clean, keep it sterile and keep the drain pan clean. As the air moves up through the coil, you are able to address the air quality as the air passes the UV light.”

Return air installation

Installing the UV lamp in the return air duct also has a number of things going for it. The air is moving at it’s slowest, which increases dwell time. And if the lamp is installed parallel to the airfl w, that maximizes the dwell time and has the side benefit that the lamp remains cleaner because airborne “gunk” is less able to stick to it.

It’s wet, it’s cool, it’s dark; it’s the perfect breeding ground for microbial growth. This allows Sanuvox, for example, to recommend that UV-C lamps mounted in this fashion to be replaced only once every three years. “Now we have an air purifier and not just an object purifie ,” added Dame.

Less than ideal

It’s not always possible to install the UV lamps in the most ideal location. On a supply side installation, a larger lamp might be used to compensate for the faster airflow. All Please see ‘Alternate’ on page 15

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

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n Heating

Alternate sizing aids difficult installations Continued from page 13

manufacturers offer sizing charts that will help. Some also have smartphone apps to assist the technician. The installing technician must keep in mind that these are “line of sight” devices, so any obstruction between the lamp and the surface to be disinfected will block the irradiation. Often a two-lamp system would be installed over the A-coil to provide disinfection on both sides, noted Butt. As well, he added, it may seem obvious but the technician needs to be absolutely sure where the coil is located before they cut the hole in the ductwork so that the UV lamp is installed in the optimum position. Easy access to the UV lamps once they are installed is critical, noted Jones. Th s includes ensuring any switches or wall plugs are readily accessible to turn the system off or service. As well, UV can damage plastic or paper where it does not contain UV inhibitors. Most plastic drain pans do these days and if there’s no option but to place the lamp near the furnace filter, there are also UV resistant filters. Any exposed wire should be wrapped with metallic tape.

UV in the connected home

Today’s smart controls help the different equipment in the home to work in harmony, maximizing comfort and efficiency. Increasingly, UV systems are being integrated. Some manufacturers have added Wi-fi connectivity to certain UV lamp models. Th s allows the homeowner to check things like

Catalytic oxidation systems work by shining UV light on a titanium substrate, creating a chemical reaction that destroys volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

lamp life on their smart phone. In January, Fresh-Aire UV introduced its AirSmart packaged connected home system at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas. It consists of their APCO UV system, a Foobot indoor air quality monitor (sensor control) and a Lux Wi-fi hermostat. The Foobot continuously monitors the air on many different variables including temperature, humidity, particulate, VOCs, etc. Any time there is a spike or issue, it notifies the thermostat, which turns on the furnace fan to “clear the air,” as it were. The homeowner can see exactly what effect activities like cooking, painting or construction materials gassing off have by watching their

Manufacturers have made UV easier to install. This Emerson lamp system installs with a magnetic bracket.

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smartphone. IAQ has been largely subjective in the past; now they have reliable data. With the homeowner’s permission, the contractor can log into the device to check the IAQ in a customer’s home and adjust the HVAC equipment if needed.

Educating the homeowner

The contractor needs to educate the homeowner. While most UV lamps have safety features, “it is wise to warn about detrimental effects of UV-C exposure to the skin and eyes,” noted Jones. And, of course, homeowners need to know about lamp replacement intervals. Too often, says Dame, the contractor does the initial installation and never comes back. “They are giving up a significant source of income. They should be selling the lamps and sending reminders to their customers when they need to be replaced.” In the next issue, we will look at commercial applications for UV duct disinfection. Stay tuned! : March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

15 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

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P L U M B I N G ,






1/2/17 7:40 PM 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Heating High-efficiency furnaces

Ontor Limited has introduced the Wi l l i ams C om for t Products 93 percent AFUE high effici cy direct-vent furnaces. Ideal for the smaller home, they are available in 17,500 and 35,000 (coming in June) Btu/h models. Features include ceramic-coated combustion chambers, a two-stage heat exchanger, horizontal or vertical venting, built-in thermostat, through-the-wall PVC venting and digital electronic controls. Ontor Ltd. u

Wireless radiant control

The new Climate Control Zoning System II from Uponor features an innovative auto-balancing technology that is designed to create faster reaction times and greater energy savings for radiant floor heating systems. It calculates the actual energy need of single rooms and adapts the heat output of each loop by controlling the actuator’s on and off cycle. For example, a short loop might get 20

percent “on” time while a long loop receives 60 percent “on” time. Uponor u

Wi-Fi zoning thermostat

The new THM-0500 from HBX is a four-stage full programmable PID (proportional, integral, derivative) thermostat designed for hydronic and forced air heating and cooling systems. A large, full graphic display with a low profile is easy to read and simple to navigate using the touch screen control. It can be controlled remotely through the Internet. The 0550 version also allows for humidity and dew point control. HBX Control Systems u

Expanded VRF line

Fujitsu has expanded its Airstage V-II line of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) heat pumps to include six, eight, and 10ton condensers, helping to reduce the number of condensers in certain configurations. These 230V/three-phase, zoned VRF systems offer large capacity, operational efficiencies up to 24.3 IEER (to AHRI 1230 standard). The line includes models from six to 24 tons with a connectable indoor unit capacity ratio up to 150 percent, while also allowing up to 45 indoor units per bank of three condensing units. Fujitsu u

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC


7 7:40 PM PHVAC-March2017.indd 17

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n Hot Water Heating

e e fr k Shoc S TA R T- UP

E X T R E M E H Y D R O N I C S , PA R T I I

Controlled management key to successful snowmelt systems By Roy Collver

Taking a temperature reading of the pump housing with an infrared thermometer shows that the boiler supply temperature is 7°C and the boiler is at high fi e, with no ill effects.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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In the last issue I left you visualizing a hydronic snow/ice melting system on a cold start to warm up a slab. Thi gs don’t happen very quickly – at least you hope things don’t happen very quickly. You don’t want to shock a cold slab with the introduction of really hot fluid and you don’t want to destroy a hot boiler by suddenly hitting it with cold fluid – easy does it is the rule. Something in your system design has to act as a referee or governor/speed limiter to keep things from getting out of hand. Here are the two basic methods that designers can employ to control this blending of fi e and ice:

Controlled management

C ontrolled management of system components allow the safe mixing of hot and cold fluids, utilizing a combination of temperature sensors, mixing devices, safety devices and control strategies. Th s type of control is necessary when your system can create a large differential between the energy (heat) available versus the ability of the components to safely absorb said energy. Many snowmelt systems utilize a dedicated high mass and/or high temperature boiler (Fig. 1), or one connected to a high temperature heating system (Fig. 2). They

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Figure 1

Figure 2





Figure 3


Figure 4

T - Outdoor


T - Slab Supply



T - Slab


Mixing Point Hot to Cold


Mixing Point - Cold to Hot


T - Slab Return



25°F (-4°C) return SNOW / ICE MELT SLAB



120°F (50°C) supply


105°F (40°C) return





create a repository of thermal energy (hot fluid) – think capacitor or battery. Controlled management meters this pool of heat to the cold slab to avoid damage. Microprocessor control technology has advanced to the point where this is becoming routine using a single electronic control. My best advice, if you have little or no experience with snowmelt

PHVAC-March2017.indd 19

Mixing Point - Cold to Hot



Figure 5

50°F (+10°C) supply





Mixing Point - Hot to Cold








T - Heat Return




T - Heat Supply




systems, is to work closely with a reputable supplier that knows these controls inside and out. Expect them to ask you all kinds of questions about your intended application and then offer a variety of options based on your answers. There is no single right answer. Fig. 1, shows a typical system with dedicated boiler. Controls can run every part of this system including the boiler. Make sure you consider how the control will interact with the other components. Manufacturers these days are making everything “smart”. If you buy a smart control, smart pumps and a smart boiler – I can pretty much guarantee that all these wise-guys will start fighting amongst themselves at some point. Talk to the manufacturers, read all of the instructions, and do a mental run-through as to how all this stuff is going to work together. Make sure all of the equipment (boilers, pumps, valves, etc.) can survive the actual operating conditions and temperatures.

Sharing the load

Figure 2, shows a shared heat source (boiler is serving other loads) providing hot water to the snowmelt system. Watch out for control confli ts with these systems and make sure the snowmelt load isn’t going to dominate the system and starve other loads of heat. Again, the “smart” revolution can cause problems – look at the whole picture. There are more and more snowmelt controls that can “talk” to central system controls through BACnet, LON and Wi-Fi. Harmonize your Please see ‘Minimalist’ page 21

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

19 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

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PHVAC-March2017.indd 20

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n Hot Water Heating

Minimalist systems

billing factor and (b) the multi-tier billing factor. When the magic renewable electric energy storage solution comes along, we may be able to revisit these systems. Energy cost factors lead us to combustion boilers. Higher temperature heat-pump technology might be a viable option soon. Gas-fired condensing boilers are the only option I know of, but it can be difficult to fi d a manufacturer that will allow their products used in such an application.

Continued from page 19

design with the system control people. Fig. 3 gives you an idea of the input options available to keep the peace. Not all of them may be required for safe operation, but they are all recommended for maximizing effici cy. The control in this example just modulates the pump speed to achieve the desired results. It can adjust fluid injection volume to adjust boiler return temperature or slab supply temperature – you set the priorities. More complex controls can also operate the heat source and the other pumps. Sophisticated software combined with your settings makes it all go.

Self-regulating systems

Dynamic equilibrium systems are a totally different animal. You can engineer a minimalist system to be self-regulating throughout a complete snow-melting event. The math is pretty easy – I can even do it. The trick is in finding a heat source with an output that can closely match the heat load requirements of the slab (plus a bit), while being able to handle the cold fluid temperatures it will see during start-up. Most combustion boilers can’t cut it. I first saw this simple system used with electric resistance boilers. The slab needs heat – you turn on the slab pump fi st and then the boiler’s electric elements. When the system starts, the fluid in the boiler is the same temperature as the fluid in the slab. The elements produce a certain B/tuh of heat and the pump moves it to the slab where it is absorbed. The slab will gradually warm up until the snow starts to melt. The civilized operation of such a system results by designing for balanced fluid fl w versus energy input versus energy absorption to achieve a reasonable heat rise (Delta-T) through both the boiler and the slab. Done correctly, you avoid any chance of thermal shock and you save a whole lot of money by eliminating many gizmos. But the current

PHVAC-March2017.indd 21

Other options Frost can be seen on the outside this condensing boiler heat exchanger at high fi e. price of electricity? Ouch. Two ugly billing factors rear up to bite when you have a high wattage resistance heating load these days – (a) the peak load

I do not recommend the following applications, unless you are an experienced hydronician and fully understand what we have been discussing here – they can get you into trouble. Fig. 4 shows a bit of a hybrid, where a twopump system is used along with an injection mixing bridge. A bypass-balancing valve is partially closed to induce injection fl w from Please see ‘Complicated’ on page 23

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March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

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THERMOSETTER™ recirculation balancing valve Legionella growth protection bypass option for system with thermal disinfection

The THERMOSETTER™ adjustable thermal balancing valve is used for automatic balancing of recirculation loops in domestic hot water systems, to speed hot water delivery, reduce water waste and save pumping energy. The internal thermostatic balancing cartridge automatically modulates flow to ensure a constant temperature in the recirculation piping system. The THERMOSETTER™ is adjustable from 95°F to 140°F with a locking adjustment knob. An integral dry well holds a slide-in temperature gauge for local indication, or a sensor for remote temperature sensing. An optional check valve protects against circuit thermo-syphoning.

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n Hot Water Heating

Complicated and risky Continued from page 21

the boiler loop over to the slab loop. When properly adjusted, this arrangement provides enough mixing to allow the boiler to operate at a slightly higher temperature than the slab. There is a problem, however. There will be a brief time during start-up when the boiler will operate at the slab temperature. It is essential that you seek the boiler manufacturer’s approval for this type of application. Thermally actuated tempering valves can be employed to provide boiler minimum return temperature protection, much like the internal valves in a swimming pool heater. I highly recommend you use them if this makes you nervous (as it should).

If you buy a smart control, smart pumps and a smart boiler – I can pretty much guarantee that all these wise-guys will start fightin amongst themselves at some point. Fig. 5 shows the same full on fl w versus heat output dynamic equilibrium system in two operating conditions. As the system heats up, the heat transfer becomes less intense, the Delta-T will narrow down and the boiler will automatically throttle down or cycle on/ off as the system comes up to its set point temperature. At first glance this frightens most boiler people, but when they realize the boiler will never be subject to more than the design Delta-T at cold start-up (25°F in this example), many can relax about it. This works because the heat exchanger is never subject to severe or sudden expansion and contraction (thermal shock) since the system will never build up a large temperature differential – the boiler and slab both heat up together.

PHVAC-March2017.indd 23

I do not advocate this system design in severe winter climates. Where ground temperatures can dip below -10°C, condensate freeze-up inside the boiler might occur – boiler specific testing needs to be done. Again – you must get the boiler manufacturer’s approval for these applications, which will not be granted in most cases. If they have never tested their products to these extremes, they

won’t agree. If enough customers lobby them to do so, they may perform the necessary testing. Most manufacturers will not want the liability – I can’t say I blame them. : 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 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

23 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Pipes, Valves & Fittings

In today’s mechanical systems pumps like those in this school system spend much of the time operating on part load.



A deeper dive into pump selection By Bill Hooper


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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I know I am getting old(er?)… I know this because as a young technical salesman in the pump world many years ago, I had to really work hard to sell the concept of variable speed pumping. I also know I am aging because even after a tough slog to sell frequency drives on 200 HP pumps on a district heating job back in 1995, the drives were about the size of one of those smart cars. Technology has advanced signifi antly and our systems are better for it! Yes, many years ago it was extremely difficult to justify variable speed pumping.

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The concept of matching flow to load means tha the operating point of the pump will take place at different points on the operating curve.

design day load and expected part load values at the same time. The concept of matching fl w to load means that the operating point of the pump will take

place at different points on the operating curve (even in variable speed operation) and most Please see ‘Pump’ on page 27

Hours / Day

Most people I tried to talk to about it wouldn’t even broach the subject if we were below 25 HP. At that time (provided certain motor size criteria was met), a good designer would also have to take a close look at the load profiles of the building – more on this later – for its intended use to determine how often it would run at part load. Th s would form the best attempt to justify spending the extra dollars for drives and sensors. Maybe, just maybe, a sale of a variable speed pump set would result.

Focus on operational efficiencie

PHVAC-March2017.indd 25

Hours / Day

Fig. 1: Typical load profile domestic cold water boosting for a hospital with laundry

Fig. 2: Typical load profile hydronic heating for an apartment/condo complex

Hours / Day

Fast-forward to 2017, and for some time now variable speed has been considered a best practice for even very small motors. That being said, we don’t have to justify variable speed anymore so why not move the primary focus of pump selections to actual operational effici cies? Overall system effici cy will suffer if any of the components in the system are operating in an ineffici t way. We owe it to the integrity of the system to ensure we have the most efficient components working toward the highest system effici cy; which progresses to effectiveness of operation at the various mechanical loads the building will present through the seasons. Just as we used the frequency of operation at part loads to justify variable speed back when we looked at capital investment, we should be taking a look at the same data to conclude that pumps operate the majority of their operating life at reduced capacity. In essence, the target for the pump “duty point” is actually moving. Until now there has not been a logical process to examine how we go about evaluating a selection that considers the

Fig. 3: Typical load profile chilled water (cooling) for an office complex/towe March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

25 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Pipes, Valves & Fittings

Pump sizing options Continued from page 25

times to the left of the original design selection point. It makes sense to choose a pump with the highest possible efficiency on all of the points at which we are operating, with a level of priority to the points we will operate the majority of the time – less than full load.

Real world considerations

It is a best practice to use design day loads for equipment sizing. However, many designers make allowances that tend to overestimate pump head and building loads are calculated for a design day that is rarely seen during operation (if at all). Figures 1, 2 and 3 show a few sample/ typical load profiles for certain types of buildings8x5_feb.pdf and service. We12:09:36 canPMclearly see 1 1/29/2016 differences between applications, but the

common thread is that the vast majority of time, we are running pumps well below design loads – less fl w and less head, relying on variable speed controls to save the day and regain some effici cy.

Many designers make allowances that tend to overestimate pump head and building loads are calculated for a design day that is rarely seen. These load profiles are typical and can be modifi d to better suit a specific installation or application. They provide a look at the typical hours of run time in a 24-hour period at different loads in the system. The point is that if we understand the time we are operating at part load, we should assert some urgency



Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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® www.noritz.coM/COMBI

look at the actual pump selection. We generally make selections for pumps based on the design duty point, shown in Fig. 4 as a sample selection point (675 GPM @ 65’ TDH). Computer aided selections of pumps at design loads only consider one point (at design load) and can provide a false sense of




to be sure we properly match the equipment selections to suit. Such is the case with pump selection and there is a now a specific method to consider part load in the selection process. And so, if are going to use part load operation to point toward the value of variable speed pumping and application of frequency drives, we can’t diminish its true value as you


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Fig. 4: Pump selection is typically made using the design duty point. security by rating pumps on effici cy based on a typically oversized operating point. It is also typical to select to the left of the best effici cy point (BEP). In this typical pump curve, however, we can also see that if we make a selection past the BEP, part load efficiencies will be higher, not necessarily lower – something to consider!

Until now there has not been a logical process to examine how we go about evaluating a selection that considers the design day load and expected part load values at the same time. Without any other consideration, we basically decide if a pump will be very effici t at a point that it will rarely see and less effici t at points where it will operate

PHVAC-March2017.indd 27

most of the time, or we decide to integrate a different way of thinking to encompass part load operation. Ultimately, we want to have a more effective machine in the system more

Fig. 5: Part load pump performance rating equation: often. Seems like an easy choice to make! Having made these points, I would not recommend a change in how design load sizing is calculated, but I would propose that there be more consideration of component sizing that makes up the infrastructure of a system using the real operational characteristics. Pump selections provide a unique opportunity to do just that. The AHRI Standard 550/590-1998 has a performance calculation derived from its Integrated Part Load Value (IPLV) equation to

help us take part load performance into account. Armed with this data, we take the responsibility of a clear understanding of the actual operation points within the building envelope over operational time seriously and thoughtfully. Design load selections are a starting point only to qualify potential pump size candidates. We can now carefully consider selecting a pump for the real-life operation it will see, specific to the building and its service – domestic water pressure boosting, chilled water, heating water, etc. – if we take the time to use the tools available to us. : Bill Hooper is a certifi d 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 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

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made-in-canada-ad-9x10.875-POSITIVE-PLUMBING+HVAC copy.pdf



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n Refrigeration

The state-of-the art recreation centre has proven a major asset to the town.


value of

communication Big savings realized after arena ammonia system re-commissioned By Bruce Nagy

The ammonia system didn’t work quite right at fi st.

When is a modern HVAC system not very modern? When heating and refrigeration technicians don’t seem to work well together. Something like this happened in Berwick, Nova Scotia, a town of 2,500 in the Annapolis

Valley. A new recreation centre was built with an advanced configur tion, including in-fl or radiant, a modern cascading double loop climate-friendly ammonia system, a Sabroe heat pump for heat reclaim from the ice making equipment, sophisticated controls, and a bit of attitude between installers.

The ammonia system

The ice plant refrigeration system and the heat pump energy recovery system both use ammonia as a refrigerant and reciprocating compressors, along with a 2500-gallon thermostorage tank. Asked about the safety of ammonia, energy consultant John DeEll, who lives in Berwick, says he thinks the danger is a little overblown. “Yes if you walked into a room filled with it, it could kill you, but you can smell it, so it will scare you away.” The arena features a Class T Please see ‘Arena’ on page 31

PHVAC-March2017.indd 29

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n Refrigeration Adding variable speed pumps controlled by amperage draw made the brine pumps more efficient

Arena use up, power usage down Continued from page 29

machinery room, with sensors and alarms, and an auto exhaust fan, as required by the CSA B52 Mechanical Refrigeration Code. Once it was up and running the system didn’t seem to achieve predicted energy savings. Management brought in DeEll, who reviewed the set-up and found things that were less than ideal. He invited some of the original installers to participate in a ‘recommissioning’ process. “There were a few who refused to continue to work with us…but we were quickly able to fi d others who helped pick up the pieces and move forward.” For assistance with programming the building management system they brought in Digicon. For the refrigeration human machine interface (HMI) they received support from TechCold. “The number one lesson is that all contractors and designers need to be on the same page. And we’ve learned some other things too,” remarked DeEll.

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Lessons learned

At fi st the heat recovery didn’t quite work. “We did some modifi ations to the equalizing piping so we could run the condensing side effici tly. Now when we transfer from simple

condensing to heat recovery, we no longer see system upsets, or ammonia hanging up in the condenser. “The heating loop was designed to run at 150ºF, but we found we could drop that to 120ºF. We were now able to reduce heat pump condensing pressure down from 500 psi to 300 psi. That in itself reduced a lot of the energy input requirements in the system, plus it reduced the wear and tear on the heat pump compressor.” At the time the facility was spending $110 to $120,000 per year on energy. Electricity rates have increased and yet this year they expect to spend less than $75,000. They also eliminated most of the cost of more than 10,000 litres of light oil. Please see ‘Fine’ on page 32

The system is modern, but straightforward.

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n Refrigeration

Fine-tuning equipment operation Continued from page 31

In addition to the initial system modifi ations, the team has been monitoring power usage for several years and fi ding ways to improve efficiency. The EZ Automation system includes touch screen panels and full remote access, permitting the arena’s chief engineer, or DeEll as a consultant, to review and make adjustments from anywhere using laptops, tablets or phones. They learned to shut systems down overnight, then in the morning restart, removing the heat that has built-up in the ice sheet and pumping it directly back into the building. Th s decreases power usage and reduces the need for a lot of thermal storage.

When is a modern HVAC system not very modern? When the heating and refrigeration technicians don’t seem to work well together. “We now run only one compressor and one brine pump at a time. Operators sometimes run too much horsepower to circulate their brine with the intention of keeping their delta T to a minimum and cooling the ice surface quicker,” says DeEll. He points out that the extra power inputs from the pumps increase heat due to friction that must be moved and dissipated by the compressor and the condenser.

Diligent maintenance

Being more diligent about oil changes in compressors and maintaining the proper water chemistry in the condenser are also seen as benefic al. And they installed variable frequency drives on the Mycom brine pumps and set them up so that the amperage is the determining factor in their speed and


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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The EZ Automation system includes touch screen panels and full remote access. subsequent fl w. The normal result would be that as the brine gets colder, it gets denser and would require more power to pump the same fl w through the slab. By controlling amperage draw and reducing brine flow at colder temperatures, they decreased heat gains in the brine due to friction. They also used better public service to save energy. “Initially, we ran our arena for seven months of the year,” says DeEll. “The last two years we have increased our ice operations to eight months and our overall electrical consumption went down.”

Community load shedding

Because of the local capacity situation, the arena’s backup generator can also save energy cost. In emergency situations, as happened recently when the town was struck by a windstorm, the local power company contacted large energy users in advance to discuss avoidance of very expensive peak power purchases ($45,000 for one day!) from Nova Scotia Power.

If the arena would agree to run on its backup system for the day of the storm, the Berwick Electric Commission would negotiate a rebate. Apparently the arena will receive a lump sum as high as $12,000. Th s represents a profitable turn of events, given that on the day in question they burned only $400 worth of fuel in the generator. Good things can happen when people get along. When they don’t, you get barroom quips instead. Refrigeration tech: “Artific al intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.” Heating tech: “Aww, it’s so cute when you try to talk about things you don’t understand.” With fictional characters it may seem funny, but in real life you could lose money. : Bruce Nagy is a Torontobased freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at

2017-03-15 10:09 AM

Copyright © Liberty Pumps, Inc. 2017 All rights reserved.

PHVAC-March2017.indd 33

2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Ventilation Extreme ultraviolet

UV Resources has upgraded its RLM Xtreme fixtureless ultraviolet (UV-C) lamp system to include its 24-volt contact c ont rol l e r. T he pre w i re d controller can regulate up to four safety interlock switches to ensure operator safety by de-energizing the UV-C system when an access door/panel is opened. The low-voltage system, which allows for multiple access doors to be interlocked with one controller, also helps speed up UV system installation by roughly 50 percent while complying with new UL 1995 safety standards, the manufacturer reports. UV Resources u

Evaporator coil disinfection

The York Affi ty UV-C light is mounted inside duct systems near the indoor coil where mold and microbes may grow. Once activated, the ultraviolet light uses penetrating ultraviolet rays that disrupt the DNA an organism needs to reproduce, destroying microbial growth and resulting in a cleaner indoor coil and circulating purer air in a home environment. York u

Connected system

The new airSMART IAQ system from Fresh-Aire UV is designed as a proactive, integrated indoor air quality monitoring, controlling and purification system for residential applications. The three-component air management system includes a Foobot tabletop indoor air quality (IAQ) monitor, Lux Wi-Fi-smart thermostat and a whole-house air purifi ation system with on-demand residential HVAC cycling and air cleaning. The three connected components are designed to work together to eliminate pollutants and allergens from a home’s air. Fresh-Aire UV u

Sidewall vent control

The new UC1 Universal Control by Tjernlund Products – included on all of its current HS Series power venters – is designed to simplify replacing and interfacing a new venter with any 24-120 VAC burner control circuit. It includes LED status/diagnostic indicators and adjustable pre and post purge timing functions. The on-board UC-1 control makes Tjernlund power venters an easy replacement for other brands of power venters regardless of the control system, the manufacturer reports. Tjernlund u

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Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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n Tools & Instruments Compact thermal imager

The FLIR C3 is a full-featured, pocket-sized thermal camera designed for building inspections, facilities maintenance, HVAC, or electrical repair. It allows the technician to rapidly find hot fuses, cold air leaks, plumbing issues, radiant fl or tubing, etc. Features include real time image enhancement, area maximum or minimum temperature measurement, and Wi-Fi connectivity for sharing images and documenting repairs. FLIR Systems u www.fli .com

Short throw press tool

The Milwaukee M18 (18 volt) short throw cordless press tool with PEX crimp jaws is optimized for residential installations. Designed for one-handed operation, it features a three second cycle time and can make 400 one-inch press connections on one charge. The jaws assist in holding the ring for precise alignment to the fitting. A pre-press battery check prevents the user from starting a press the tool cannot complete, while AutoCycle ensures a full press every time and indicates to the user that the connection is complete. Milwaukee Tools u

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Compact water jetter

The compact, lightweight JM-1000 MiniJet from General Pipe Cleaners is designed to clear grease, sand and ice clogs – at a reasonable price! It clears small lines, clogged sinks, and laundry drains from 1-1/2” to 3” with 1500 psi of cleaning power. Pulse helps slide the hose around tight bends. It fits easily in the truck at only 23 lbs, measuring 24” x 11” x 11”. General Pipe Cleaners u

Portable cordless power

The new 1800-Watt Portable Power Station and Fast Charger from DeWalt allows for AC power in remote locations. Able to run most corded tools, it provides 1800 Watts (15 amps) continuous power and 3600 Watts peak power, running on four 20V MAX batteries or, for high power applications, four 20V MAX 3.0Ah batteries (DCB200) or higher amp hour are recommended. It becomes a multi-port parallel charger for up to four 20V MAX Batteries when plugged into a wall outlet via extension cord. It weighs just 18lbs (without batteries). DeWalt u



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PHVAC-March2017.indd 35

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n Plumbing

Rural plumbing

Working beyond the water/sewer mains brings unique challenges By Mark Evans


he term “country plumbing” can be used to describe a type of wacky installation or repair that is an abnormal marvel of engineering. It can also describe a setting in which the noble trade can be practiced, somewhere beyond the reach of the fluoridated water supply… where one is free from storm and sanitary sewer charges – a place where the grass is always greener on the other side of


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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the septic tank. In the country most of the interior plumbing is the same, but bringing water in and getting sewage out of the building is radically different than in the city. During my years in the trade I laid many “kilometers” of drains throughout urban southern Ontario and before that I laid “miles” of drain lines while plying my

2017-03-15 10:09 AM

to learn. There were many differences laying drains in the bush, the most noticeable being huge swarms of blackflies devouring me while I worked.

Drain line freezing

trade in the great cities that make up the Golden Horseshoe. I had vast experience in residential, commercial, industrial and institutional and felt confide t and bold. The plumbing world was mine. Just when I thought I knew it all, I relocated my business to the wilds of the Haliburton Highlands in Eastern Ontario. The main thing I learned was that I had much

PHVAC-March2017.indd 37

measured for cable and a portion of the discharge line was not protected. During my service call to that address for a clogged drain, I noticed that the incompetent installer also used non-compatible materials. When I jostled the line to see why the pump was running but not ejecting, the fittings came apart and I found myself staring down the business end of a sewage pump. It was a bad day at work.

Another big difference was that sewers and in particular, sewage-ejection lines, can’t be buried because the entire area is solid rock so they must sit right on grade. When the temperature for much of the year is way below freezing, as low as Converting cabins to homes -40, those lines are often blocked solid. Much of my business To get around this b e c am e c onve r t i ng i ne v it abi l it y, s ome old timey cabins into “pump-out” customers four-season homes and opted for a drain back through that I got an system. Removing the education in both kinds check valve from their of country plumbing. discharge line allowed Disturbingly, many of any residual black-water This is a pretty typical rural well the local “professionals” to run back to the pit – sloppy plumbing, galvanized that I met on site showed when the sewage pump fitting , etc., reports Robert signs of having been shut off. Nothing was left Szachury, president/owner of trained by the original in the line to freeze, but Turbo Plumbing, Whistler, B.C. building technicians. more energy was used That’s bad. It wasn’t just because some of the effluent had to be rethe plumbing that was countrified either; pumped every time. there were backwoods versions of every Some chose to heat trace the line trade and profession in the business – the downstream of the check valve. Th s idea electrical buffoonery being the most… worked if done properly and the power shocking. (Groan – ed.) stayed on. One resident’s system was improperly Please see ‘Water’ on page 38

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

37 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Plumbing

The wildlife has been chewing on this pipe, something Szachury is seeing more of these days. He suspects the plumber installed this after lunch, leaving “scent of sandwich” on the pipe, which made it tasty for the critters.

Water system challenges Continued from page 37

Once, while trenching across a yard to connect to a new well, I miraculously survived an encounter with a buried high voltage line that was neither protected nor marked. Some goofy installations were harmless and laughable, but when the lack of real professionalism became life threatening, I started to worry. Luckily I met a local fellow who wasn’t as “local” as most of the other handymen that tried to pass themselves off as professional trades. Phil Neville was aware that the long arm of the building law was reaching into these areas of renegade do-it-yourselfers and he wanted to be more than just a duct tape and silicone technician. He seemed genuinely interested in learning the ways of the plumber so I sponsored him as an apprentice. He has long since completed his training and opened his own business (Pro Plumbers and Pumps, Lochlin, Ont.). Phil became an expert in this area of the trade as we built and maintained many systems together. He learned the plumbing code from me and I learned about lake watersupplies and remote septic systems from him.


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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Water systems

Phil showed me how to install a temporary intake line into a frozen lake to provide emergency water for a customer whose

In the country most of the interior plumbing is the same, but bringing water in and getting sewage out of the building is radically different than in the city. original supply was crushed by shifting ice. While he inserted the heating cable into the new intake line and made the connections inside, where it was cozy and warm, I chain-sawed a hole in the ice at the end of the dock. After nearly ending up in the lake myself, I eased the submersible pump and its cradle into the clear water and guided it

to the bottom. The cradle holds the pump at the proper angle and keeps it off the bottom of the lake. Summer time installations found me submerged, running along the bottom of the lake carrying heavy stones to use as anchors on the intake line to keep it from floating while my apprentice assisted me from the comfort of the boat. Well water system experience taught me that adequate supply is not always a sure thing. Sometimes there is just no water in the aquifer and the well runs dry. It could be a seasonal thing, but I know of one case where rural residents were denied the precious liquid because the municipality took it all. The needs of the many over-ruled the needs of the few and although those residents could see the new tower that held their ground water, they had nary a drop to drink. The homes were located in an area of urban sprawl north of Toronto and all the fabulous estates that once drew that essential element from their own land were rendered waterless. More than one resident took the drastic (and pretty pointless) step of having water trucked in and dumped down the well. To add insult to injury, the water system in many of the homes included a jet pump that continued to try for water until it too ran dry and burned out. Soon my customer had me install a new jet-pump with a low water cut-off pressure switch so when the well runs dry again at least the pump won’t. It might be a big beautiful home in the country, but without plumbing it’s just a shed. :

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

2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Faucets and Fixtures Removable grid strainer

Two-in-one showerhead

The HydroRain Two-in-One Shower Head from Delta provides a standard showerhead and a rainshower-type head in one unit, offering increased flex bility for the user and the option of using both simultaneously. It is designed to fit any standard shower arm. It is also WaterSense labeled and fl ws at a rate of 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm). There are five spray settings – full spray, massage spray, full spray with massage, shampoo rinsing spray and pause. Available fin shes include chrome, stainless, polished nickel and Venetian bronze. Delta Faucet u

3D modeling

Riobel has launched an innovative new 3D modeling feature on its website. It provides 360-degree, 3D modeling technology to view all single-hole bathroom faucets, eight-inch centre faucets, and kitchen faucets on the site. Users can superimpose the Riobel faucet on an uploaded photo of either their own kitchen or bathroom, or a vanity or kitchen sink they’re interested in, and see the fi al result in 3D. Riobel u

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The IdealLav drain from Watco is the only lav drain to include a grid strainer and a stopper, reports the manufacturer. The removable grid strainer is installed with an O-ring and is easily replaceable without removing t he drain. The replaceable grid keeps the drain looking great and prevents hair and jewelry from entering the drain. It also features an internal stopper that seats below the grid strainer and holds water overnight. Available in plastic or brass, the IdealLav fits standard sinks with overfl ws and is ideal for new installations or replacements. Watco u

Dual flush actuator

The new Sigma70 dual-flush actuators from Geberit feature smooth, seamless surfaces and rimless design. Th s can open up new design possibilities for designers and architects by offering “the personal touch” in actuator design with an unlimited range of unique cover materials and designs. A servo lifter that acts like a rocker switch – touch on the left side to flush solids and on the right to flush liquids – with pneumatic-assist activation means it operates with the lightest pressure. Geberit u March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

39 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Training



Backfl w photo contest judges get an eyeful

plumber faced. The water inlet of the building was hidden in the wall of a washroom. There was no drain close to the device; in fact the nearest drain was the fl or drain near a toilet in the room. However, the plumber’s solution was wrong, something Bastien blames on a lack of knowledge leading to poor design. Bastien consulted with his supervisor and then recommended the cap be removed, followed by the installation of an approved air gap and the connection of the relief valve to a drain. Shortly after, the plumbing contractor modifi d the installation and Bastien came back to certify the backfl w device.

Illegal bypass

With no drain nearby, the plumber had simply capped the relief valve – not good!


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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For the past few years the Western Canada Section of the American Water Works Association (WCSAWWA) has held its Bad and Ugly contest in which they invite inspectors, plumbers and others working in the field to submit photos of the worst examples of cross connections that they see. There was no shortage of entries for the 2016 contest; in fact they came from across Canada and both winners were from outside Alberta. And just how bad and ugly were they? In one case backflow tester Richard Bastien, who works for Montreal engineering firm Darspec, found a situation where to prevent a reduced pressure (RP) backfl w device from leaking inside a wall, the plumber had simply soldered a cap to the relief valve. It’s not difficult to see the problem the

Meanwhile, out on the West Coast, inspector Mark Cranwell of the Capital Regional District in Victoria, B.C. came across a real horror story. He discovered a reduced pressure principle (RPP) backfl w preventer (used for high or severe hazards) with an illegal bypass piping arrangement around the device on a water system that serves a chemical injector on a commercial dishwasher. The bypass piping arrangement should have only been around the pressure reducing valve, which was also incorrectly installed, upstream of the reduced pressure backflow preventer, he reported. An order was issued to remove the bypass piping arrangement around the backflow preventer or to install another reduced pressure principle device on the bypass line. Cranwell added that the kitchen where this cross connection was discovered was gutted shortly thereafter and thus the problem disappeared.

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On behalf of the WCSAWWA, Darspec supervisor Dany Cortez, right, presents Richard Bastien with a Zurn Wilkins test kit for his winning photo. For their winning entries, Bastien received a Zurn-Wilkins fivevalve test kit and Cranwell received a gift certifi ate from WCSAWWA Cross Connection Committee. Backfl w manufacturers Zurn, Watts and Conbraco provided the contest prizes.

Yikes, the backflow p eventer had been completely bypassed in this restaurant installation. connections do exist and there is a potential to contaminate or pollute our potable water. Let’s do our best to fi d and correct these cross connections before the damage is done. We are looking forward to another year of “bad and ugly” photo submissions in 2017,” added Wilson. For more information, please visit :

Not just entertainment

While these photos may be entertaining or scary, depending on how one looks at them, the real purpose of the contest is education. “The Western Canada Section CCC committee is pleased with the amount of interest the water industry has shown and it is our intention to continue with the contest on an annual basis. The purpose of this contest is increase the awareness of cross connections and to educate our water industry representatives in the fi ld,” reported organizer Danny Wilson, a member of the Western Canada Section AWWA Cross Connection Control Committee and a For the benefi cross connection control instructor at Medicine of all Canadian Hat Community College, ont inuing E duc at ion plumbing specialists, every Cprogram. ‘bad and ugly’ installation Bastien, who performs over 1,000 tests a year, said should be reported he believes the contest is playing an educational role by the testers, not to in helping other Canadian testers to become better and condemn the avoid costly mistakes. “For plumbers, but to the benefit of all Canadian plumbing specialists, every educate them. ‘bad and ugly’ installation should be reported by the testers, not to condemn the plumbers, but to educate them,” he said. “Our water industry representatives, inspectors, plumbers, and testers all share a responsibility to protect our water supplies. Cross

PHVAC-March2017.indd 41

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2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n People & Places

Hydronic specialist honoured Hydronic heating author and engineer Robert Bean has been named the 2017 recipient of the Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award. “Robert Bean is tremendously committed to forwarding the hydronic business,” said John Hazen White, Jr., executive chairman of the board for Taco Inc., Cranston, Rhode Island. He presented Bean with the award at the AHR Expo in Las Vegas Jan. 30. Bean has been a leading voice in residential and commercial comfort and effici cy for nearly 40 years. Through his writing and speaking about the need to design comfort systems for people – not buildings – Bean has led the way to change how industry experts view the concept of comfort and this has



It’s often said that once people join the plumbing and HVAC/R industry, they seldom leave. And if a presentation to industry veterans at the Ontario Region meeting of the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating on Jan. 19 is any indication, a number of those people work for Bardon Supply, headquartered in Belleville, Ont. and part of Groupe Deschenes, Montreal. Forty-year Lifetime Service Awards went to Bardon Supply’s Jeffrey Smith, Patrick Murphy, Mike Murphy and Charlie Ferguson along with Emco’s Tom Shipley. A 50-year Lifetime Service Award went to

PHVAC-March2017.indd 43

helped to improve comfort technology. Bean is the director of Indoor Climate Consultants, Inc., based in Calgary, and manages, a not for profit online educational resource. A proponent of hydronic heating and cooling, the stated purpose of his website,, is “to offer a researchbased site for self-study on topics bridging the health and building sciences; and to promote the benefits of radiant-based HVAC systems with dedicated outdoor air systems as energy effici t solutions to indoor environmental quality challenges.” The Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award is given annually to an HVAC professional or company that has

Bardon’s Wayne Griffin. Above, Griffin, centre, receives his award from CIPH Ont. Region president Paul Blaik (Independent Supply), left, and CIPH president Ralph Suppa. Component Hardware Group, Inc. (CHG), Lakewood, New Jersey, has appointed Steve King as branch manSteve King ager of its Canadian office in Markham, Ont. Fujitsu General America, Fairfield, New Jersey, has named Andrew Armstrong as vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for Canada and the U.S. Reliance Home Comfort, Andrew Toronto, has been recognized Armstrong as one of Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures and Sean O’Brien was named one of Canada’s Most Admired CEO’s by Waterstone Human Capital, Toronto, an executive search fi m. Cary Evert, president and CEO of Hilti North America, Sean O’Brian Plano, Texas, is retiring; Hilti Canada general manager Avi Kahn has been named as successor.

Robert Bean made a substantial contribution to comfort technology, advancement, or training while displaying the good humor and love of people exhibited by Dan Holohan throughout his career. Holohan is an author and hydronic heating expert based in Bethpage, N.Y. He operates



Seresco Technologies, Ottawa, has named Kilmer Environmental, Mississauga, Ont. as Canadian Rep of the Year. Seresco’s Mark Palitza, right, presented the award to Kilmer’s Ed Carney, centre, and Glenn Kilmer at the AHR Expo Jan. 30 in Las Vegas. More than 550 HVAC/R students submitted 250-word essays to Hilmor’s (East Longmeadow, Mass.) annual Retool Your Future contest, which awards winners a prize package consisting of a $5,000 scholarship, an HVAC/R Starter Kit, travel to the 2017 AHR Expo and a Hilmor merchandising Green Wall donated to their school. The Canadian winner was Ningkang (Ryan) Jiang, a refrigeration student at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby. The 24-year-old wants to specialize in commercial refrigeration at institutions such Ryan Jiang as hospitals and data centers. March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

43 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Shop Management

Minimize your


A few tips from our business specialist on how to keep your money By Ron Coleman “It’s not how much you make; it’s how much you keep”. In these tough times that statement is more important than ever. Here are some ways that can help businesses and individuals keep more of their hard earned money. You can search for details on these programs by going to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website and entering the program name. We have not provided direct links as they change from time to time.

E I Premium Reduction Program

Companies that provide certain short-term illness or benefits to employees can apply to have the employers’ portion of EI premiums reduced from 1.4 times to 1.163 times of the employees’ premium. For 2016 taxes, this would equate to a maximum of $172.87 per employee. Five-twelfths of the savings should be returned by the employer to the employee. You need to renew your application each year. Most union benefits programs and many other short-term benefits programs would likely comply with the requirements, but if you are in doubt do make the application.

Gifts and awards

You may provide gifts and awards (not cash or near cash) of up to $500 per employee per year


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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without it being a taxable benefit to them, provided certain conditions apply. A gift might be something like tickets to a hockey game in recognition of an employee completing 10 years of service.

Supporting R&D

Even if you don’t have to pay corporate income tax you can get a nice chunk of change back under the federal Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED). If you are developing any procedures or fabrication processes you should have your accountants review this with you. You will likely require professional assistance to prepare your claim. Your accountants may do this or there are also numerous firms that do this work on a contingent fee basis. The SR&ED program is a federal tax incentive program administered by the CRA that encourages Canadian businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to conduct research and development in Canada. It is the largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D. It gives claimants cash refunds

and/or tax credits for their expenditures on eligible R&D work done in Canada.

Apprenticeship grants

Apprenticeship Grants for Apprentices & Apprenticeship Tax Credits for Employers: this program, administered by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, provides grants to apprentices within Red Seal trades and to employers. Provincial governments offer programs for non Red Seal trades. The Apprenticeship Incentive Grant (AIG) is a $1,000 taxable cash grant available to apprentices registered in one of the designated Red Seal trades who complete their first or second year/level of an apprenticeship program in a designated Red Seal trade, to a maximum of $2,000. The Apprenticeship Completion Grant (ACG) is a $2,000 taxable cash grant available to apprentices who complete their apprenticeship program and receive their journeyperson certification in a

2017-03-15 10:09 AM

designated Red Seal trade. Also available is the Tradesperson’s Tools Deduction that provides employed trades with an annual deduction of up to $500 to help cover the cost of new tools needed for their trade. It applies to the total cost of eligible tools that exceeds $1,000. The Apprenticeship Job Creation Tax Credit for employers that hire apprentices in the designated Red Seal trade is a nonrefundable tax credit equal to 10 percent of the eligible salaries and wages payable to eligible apprentices in respect of employment after May 1, 2006. The maximum credit is $2,000 per year for each eligible apprentice. There are also provincial programs available and they often cover non-Red Seal trades. Your accountants will prepare the information for filing with your business tax return. They should also be able to advise you on your provincial programs. If you have missed this in the past, you should be able to file retroactively for up to three years.

Employment expenses

Filling out the Declaration of Conditions of Employment (T2200) form provides an excellent opportunity for your employees to claim business expenses. There are numerous ways of using this process. Review this form in detail to see if there is eligibility for each employee. Sometimes T4 income can be split between spouses. Th s is also a much more realistic and safer approach than having so called “sub-contractors”. If the CRA determines that someone

PHVAC-March2017.indd 45

should have been treated as an employee instead of a sub-contractor the employer could be open to some very serious reassessments, penalties and interest. Review this form as an alternative for dealing with those “sub-contractors”. It doesn’t take much to build up a liability to CRA of $50,000 persub contractor who CRA deem should have been treated as an employee. The Disability Tax Credit Certificate (T2201) is an allowance to be claimed on a personal tax return. If you or a family member is disabled for 12 months or more there is a non-refundable tax credit available. In 2009 the federal amount was $7,196. Each province has a provincial amount also. You can make retrospective claims. I have used this for clients where a parent, who had been ill, died during the year. The form has to be completed by a medical practitioner.

This is also a much more realistic and safer approach than having so called “sub-contractors”. The Guaranteed Income Supplement for people with an income under $17,544 provides up to a maximum of $864 per month. Amounts change depending on marital status.

Medical expenses

This tax credit applies to any number of medical expenses — including prescription drugs, eyeglasses, health-related home renovations, dental work and even buying gluten-free bread or medical marijuana and blood coagulation monitors. If medical treatment is not available to you within 40 kilometres, you may be able to claim the cost of public transportation (for example, taxi, bus, or train) to get the treatment somewhere else. However, if public transportation is not readily available, you can claim vehicle expenses to get medical treatment. In addition, if you have to travel

more than 80 kilometers (one way) from your locality for medical treatment, you may be able to claim the cost of your meals and accommodations. You can also claim travel expenses for someone to accompany you if a medical practitioner certifies in writing that you are unable to travel without assistance. Some HVAC equipment is even deductible under medical expenses. Air conditioner — The lesser of $1,000 and 50 per cent of the amount paid for the air conditioner for an individual with a severe chronic ailment, disease, or disorder — prescription required. Furnace — The amount paid for an electric or sealed combustion furnace to replace a furnace that is neither of these, where the replacement is necessary because of a person’s severe chronic respiratory ailment or immune system disorder — prescription required. Water filter, cleaner, or purifier — The amount paid for a person to cope with or overcome a severe chronic respiratory ailment, or severe chronic immune system issue — prescription required. Attendant care expenses — Attendant care expenses are amounts you or your spouse or common-law partner paid for attendant care or care in any of the following places: • Self-contained domestic establishments • Retirement homes, homes for seniors, or other institutions • Nursing homes (full-time care) • Special schools, institutions, or other places (providing care or care and training) • Group homes in Canada Also, under the Seniors Renovation Tax Credit, seniors can get 10 percent of up to $10,000 for renovations. This credit is also available for people with disabilities. Check the CRA website to get a full list of deductions for construction and renovations. : 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

March 2017 – Plumbing & HVAC

45 2017-03-15 10:09 AM

n Trucks for the Trade

n Coming Events

Shows in Montreal, Toronto National oil heat conference cancelled As we reported in the last issue, this year’s major trade show for the mechanical industry will take place in Montreal April 26, 27 when MCEE 2017 (Mecanex, Climatex, Expolectriq, Eclairage) returns to Place Bonaventure. About 400 exhibitors from Canada, the U.S. and around the globe will display and, in some cases, demonstrate products in plumbing, heating, hydronic heating, ventilation, electrical, lighting, air conditioning, refrigeration, electrical, water treatment, tools, trade vehicles, alarm systems, kitchen and bath fixtures, fire prevention, pipes, valves & fittings and software.

A talk on succession planning by industry icon Jacques Deschênes should draw considerable interest. Over 100 manufacturers are expected to enter their latest innovations in the New Product Showcase to be evaluated by a team of expert industry judges. Th s year’s event also features an expanded education program with 23 seminars. With many people in the industry approaching retirement age, a talk on succession planning by industry icon Jacques Deschênes, honorary vice chair of wholesaler Deschênes Group Inc., should draw considerable interest. Other sessions will cover topics like solar heating, mechanical integrity in HVAC/R system maintenance, hospital DHW recirculation systems, commercial radiant fl or cooling, hydronic slab insulation, the future of refrigerants, CO2 refrigeration systems and many others. Registration is free until April 25. For more details, please visit

Property management expo

Those in the property management and


Plumbing & HVAC – March 2017

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maintenance business might want to attend Springfest 2017 on May 3 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Th s event is targeted to building owners, managers, engineers, and operations professionals responsible for offi , industrial, condominium, and apartment, medical, educational, retail, and institutional buildings. About 200 exhibitors are expected. The event provides hands-on educational opportunities through 18 free seminars and show fl or demonstrations. Attendees will be able to glean insights on the latest technology, security, trends, regulatory changes, and capital projects, as well as learn how to reduce operating costs, increase revenue and identify new income opportunities within the property management sector. “The property management industry is quite complex,” said Jeff Ingram, director of sales for show organizer Informa Canada. “Our attendees will be able to learn what

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they need to know in this fast and costeffective event.” For more information, please visit www.

Oil heat conference cancelled

Cleaner Heat 2017, the national conference of the Canadian Oil Heat Association, scheduled to take place in London, Ont. June 13-16, has been cancelled due to changes in the organization, which are reported in detail on page 7.


Calendar MARCH 19-23: Canadian Construction Association Annual Conference, Barcelo May Palace, Riviera Maya, Mexico. Visit or call 613236-9455.

MARCH 29: Wolseley ONE Tradeshow, Mississauga Convention Centre, Mississauga, Ont. For more information, visit your local Wolseley branch, call Laura Lapierre at (905) 315-3605 or e-mail

APRIL 26-27: MCEE 2017 trade show, Place Bonaventure, Montreal. Visit www. or call 1-800-639-2474.

MAY 3: Springfest 2017 property management show, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building, Toronto. For more information, please visit

JUNE 25-27: ABC 2017, Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating Annual Business Conference, Delta Ottawa City Centre, Ottawa, Ont. Visit or call 1-800-6392474.

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©2017, RIDGID, Inc. The RIDGID logo is a registered trademark of RIDGID, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries.



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