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

The 2017 work vans



INSIDE QRefrigerant changes coming with global agreement QNational Energy Code could cripple hydronic industry QOnt. revises door-knocker legislation QBuying versus leasing trade vehicles








Vehicle(s) may be shown with optional features. *On F-450 DRW with 6.7L-V8 diesel engine. When properly equipped with available factory-installed equipment. Class is Full-Size Heavy Duty Pickups over 8,500 lbs. GVWR vs. 2016 competitors. **On F-350 DRW with 6.2L-V8 gas engine. When properly equipped. Class is Full-Size Heavy Duty Pickups over 8,500 lbs. GVWR vs. 2016 competitors. ***On F-250/F-350 with 6.7L-V8 diesel engine with automatic transmission. When properly equipped. Class is Full-Size Heavy Duty Pickups over 8,500 lbs. GVWR vs. 2016 competitors. †F-Series is the best-selling line of pickup trucks in Canada for 50 years in a row, based on Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association statistical sales report up to 2015 year-end. ©2016 Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited. All rights reserved.

Q Contents

The New Trucks Issue Departments Hot Seat .........................................5 Trumped

Industry News ..............................7 Industry faces new challenges

People & Places ...........................41 Canplas celebrates 50 years

Shop Management .....................44 Lease or buy?

Coming Events ............................46 AHR Expo in Las Vegas

Products & Technologies Trucks for the Trade ....................12 Hot Water Heating ......................18 Heating ........................................23 Refrigeration ...............................34 Product Roundup ........................39

Combustion venting Making sense of installation requirements

Features Energy code threat


New slab insulation rules could cripple hydronic industry

Cover: Companies roll out their new trade vans for 2017. Please see our article on page 12.

Load versus freezing time Getting it right requires diligent approach


Biomass update


Wood heating continues to gain ground

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q Hot Seat

November/December 2016 Volume 26, Number 8 ISSN 1919-0395

Publisher Mark Vreugdenhil (416) 614-5819

Trumped The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election is going to have a serious long-term impact on the Canadian plumbing and HVAC/R industry. At its core, the election was about free trade and globalization, just as the Brexit vote in Britain was back in June. People have seen their jobs disappear as companies moved production to the lowest cost country, something they couldn’t do in the past due to tariff barriers and various other regulations that countries used from the very beginning to protect their industries and jobs. Smaller countries traded away their ability to protect their industries in exchange for access to new markets – and then quickly found their manufacturers bought up and shut down by foreign competitors. We’ve seen it over and over again in Canada since the Brian Mulroney government put an end to the Foreign Investment Review Agency. Ontario, in particular, has suffered. Free trade might work between countries with similar economies and cultures, but when you bring a country like Mexico into the equation with its virtually non-existent labour and environmental laws, it’s not a level playing field. Prior to the election, the U.S. was finally enjoying almost full employment after a lengthy recession. But there are an awful lot of people working at crappy jobs. They were really, really angry! The experts – the media, the pollsters – were flabbergasted when Donald Trump’s popularity didn’t fade despite various missteps – racism, anti-women sentiments, etc. But the Democrats chose not to make Bernie Sanders

their candidate and that left the billionaire the unlikely candidate of working Americans. So what does this mean for our industry? Basically, free trade is going to wind down and prices are going to go up. Trump has said he will put tariffs against Mexico and China. He has a number of avenues to do it and doesn’t actually need Congressional approval to do so. He’s also demonstrated a willingness to get personally involved. His first target was Carrier, which only recently announced the closure of its Indianapolis, Indiana plant and the movement of production to Mexico. Far from the first company to make such a move, it has become the poster child. U.S. companies provide most of this industry’s products. Between the stigma and soon the extra cost of offshore production, those companies will have little choice but to bring production home. With robotics and automation, there will never be the enormous number of jobs in manufacturing there once was. But some people will get better jobs and thus be able to better afford this industry’s finer products. In the long-term, that may not be a bad thing. But this industry is likely to see considerable turmoil over the next five years as these changes take place. And on that note, or maybe despite it, I would just like to wish all our readers and advertisers a wonderful Christmas and all the best in 2017!

Editor Simon Blake (416) 614-5820 National Sales Manager Mark Mierkalns (416) 614-5832 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 2016. 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


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Q Industry News

Alberta Building Code changes threaten hydronic industry New insulation requirements will add substantial cost The Canadian Hydronics Council has asked the Alberta government to make significant changes to new environmental requirements that could cripple the radiant floor heating industry. Alberta has adopted Section 9.36 of the National Energy Code for Buildings that, in much of Alberta, requires a minimum R-value for radiant floor underslab insulation of R-16. That equates to 3-1/2 to four inches, plus additional insulation around the perimeter of the slab. Current practice is one inch of foam insulation, or about R5 as required by the CSA B214-12 Installation Code for Hydronic Heating Systems. Enforcement began Nov. 1. “If it gets put in place as it is it is going to kill the radiant floor heating industry,” remarked Barry Cunningham, general manager at Triangle Supply in Red Deer, Alberta. A residential project that might have cost $8000 last year will now cost $16,000. “In my opinion, it’s going to take it beyond the resources of the homeowner.” The Canadian Hydronics Council (CHC) estimates that the change could add as much as 300 percent to the cost of a radiant floor heating system. In addition to more insulation, the change will require thicker slabs and more rebar to prevent deflection of the slab. The excavation will have to go deeper. Depending on the design of the walls and footings, they may have to go deeper as well.

Competitive disadvantage The irony, noted CHC program manager Matt Wiesenfeld, is that these changes could push building owners to less efficient technologies. Forced air heating, for example, requires no underslab insulation. Several research projects, including a National Research

Council (NRC) project in 2007, found hydronic systems more efficient than warm air systems. The Canadian Hydronics Council has sent a letter to James Orr, Alberta director, standards development, building and fire, questioning the science behind the new requirements. It notes that recovering the added additional cost of insulation through energy savings would be difficult and the new

energy efficient option. • Implementation of strategies that give homebuilders and owners the freedom to choose the right solutions based on their needs. At press time, the CHC was awaiting a formal response. However, some jurisdictions, including Calgary, have already informed the industry that building permits issued for projects beginning Nov. 1 must meet the new requirements.

Alternate path The National Energy Code divides the country into geographic regions depending

New National Energy Code requirements could make radiant floor heating projects a thing of the past. (Common Ground photo) rules “make no consideration of specific soil conditions, building aspect ratio and other factors, making it hard to prove that any energy savings would be achieved.” The CHC and the Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating is urging the Alberta government to engage in meaningful industry consultation including: • A review of the building science of the insulation requirements to confirm they will have the desired impact. • Examination of the additional data showing how hydronic heating can be a reliable

on climate – these requirements are for Zone 7, which includes much of Alberta. The new requirements have also been adopted in B.C., although they are less onerous because the more populated areas of the province are in warmer zones. There is an alternate compliance path in which an engineer can recommend a different level of insulation after doing heat transfer soil tests. “That’s not going to happen,” noted Cunningham, adding that the majority of the residential and agricultural radiant floor heating projects do not involve engineers. 

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Industry News

HFC phase-down agreement announced Large refrigeration, AC systems will be first target By Simon Blake An international agreement that will see some of the industry’s most widely used refrigerants restricted to reduce global warming will have little effect on contractors and wholesalers – in the short-term, say Canadian industry officials. On Oct. 15, in Kigali, Rwanda, representatives from over 190 countries, including Canada and the U.S., signed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that calls for the phase-down of hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. This includes refrigerants such as R-134a, R-410a and R-407c. “It’s going to take a number of years before the contractor starts to see something significant,” remarked Warren Heeley, president of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada. “It’s a phase-down, not a phase-out; that’s a really important part of this,” he added. The Canadian approach is very different from that in the U.S. Rather than banning certain refrigerants, Environment Canada will set maximum global warming potential (GWP) levels for refrigerants used with specific equipment, he added.

Will I be able to get that refrigerant and what’s it going to cost me in 15 years? However, equipment owners will need to think differently. If they are installing new equipment today that will be in use for 20 years or more, they have to be concerned as to whether that particular refrigerant will be readily obtainable in the long-term. “Can I service the equipment? Will I be able to get

that refrigerant and what’s it going to cost me in 15 years?” remarked Dennis Kozina, national sales manager for Emerson Climate Technologies Canada, Brantford, Ont. and chair of the HRAI Refrigeration Product Section.

Aren’t these the new refrigerants? While not ozone depleting, HFCs do cause a dramatic increase in global warming when released into the atmosphere.

R410a (and other products) used in unitary systems at this point in time. That’s not to say they won’t make some moves in the next few years,” said Heeley.

What now? What refrigerants will contractors use in the future? Things like CO2, ammonia and propane are currently being used to some degree because of their low GWP. “You will see CO2 more in supermarket applications

It is also slightly flammable, which is a factor with most low GWP refrigerants. One might reasonably ask, did nobody think of this when ozone depleting HCFCs like R-22 were replaced with HFCs? “I think it was just that priorities changed over the last 10 years,” said Heeley. “Authorities were gaining the upper hand on ozone depletion, but global warming was becoming a more serious problem.” HFCs have been on the market since the early 1990s, primarily for commercial and industrial equipment. For residential air conditioning contractors, HFCs like R410a are the new refrigerants. “I think that’s why everyone’s getting the feeling, ‘well, we just got into that,” remarked Kozina.

Phase-down schedule The preliminary details of the amendment dictate that for developed countries such as Canada, a baseline will be determined based on HFC average use between 2011 and 2013 plus an additional 15 percent of the baseline HCFC use. Once this number is calculated, a reduction schedule will begin in 2019 with a 10 percent reduction of the baseline. The schedule will ramp up the phasedown to 85 percent of the baseline by 2036. And Environment Canada, so far, has focused on large industrial and commercial refrigeration systems. “They aren’t touching

and ammonia in applications where it hasn’t traditionally been used before,” said Kozina. In residential air conditioning, R32 will likely replace R410a, he added. “I know most of the manufacturers in North America have done some testing with it.” R32 (methylene fluoride) is an HFC and is a component of both R410a and R407c, but it has a substantially lower GWP than either of them. It is also slightly flammable, which is a factor with most low GWP refrigerants. R290, refrigerant grade propane, is sometimes suggested. It has a very low GWP and its characteristics are similar to R22. But it is extremely flammable. “I don’t think you’re going to see pure propane put into air conditioning systems. That would be an extreme step,” said Kozina. As well, training will need to be upgraded. “The techniques needed to deal with these systems with flammable refrigerants are quite different,” noted Heeley. However, the trade schools will have time to adapt because building codes must be changed before flammable refrigerants can be used. “Building codes take three to five years to change and we need to make sure trade schools incorporate something on the handling of flammable refrigerants,” said Kozina. 

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Industry News

New Alberta AC regulations take effect It’s not just hydronic heating that is being affected by Alberta’s adoption of Section 9.36 – energy efficiency for buildings – of the 2015 National Building Code. Those installing air conditioners and heat pumps need to be aware of new requirements that started being enforced Nov. 1, reports the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI). The new minimum efficiency for air conditioners and heat pumps is 14.5 SEER and 11.5 EER respectively. HRAI reports that 90 percent of all air conditioners sold in Alberta are add-on business, not replacement, meaning that these are for homes that did not previously have air conditioning. This means that contractors require an electrical permit to install an air conditioner because they are adding to the home/building’s electrical system. Any time a permit is pulled, the work being

done must comply with the latest building code. So, if a permit is pulled when installing an AC unit, the efficiency must meet the new rules. HRAI is in the process of determining what

Travelling trade show dates announced The Canadian Institute of Plumbing & Heating has announced the dates for its 2017 CIPHEX Roadshow events. The first is planned for St. John’s, Nfld. on Sept. 21. After a bit of a breather, the show will then travel all the way across the country to Edmonton for Oct. 17 and then on to Regina, Sask. for Oct. 19. The Canadian Hydronics Conference will take place in Edmonton in conjunction with the Roadshow. An expanded program of seminars and workshops for HVACR,


plumbing, hydronics and water treatment will be featured in all three cities, reports E lizab et h McCu lloug h, CIPH show manager. The CIPHEX Roadshow was created as a cost effective way to connect buyers and sellers in markets that do not have major trade shows. For visitors, it offers the chance to meet face-to-face with manufacturers and learn about new products and technologies. For more information, please visit www.







® www.noritz.coM/COMBI


impact this might have on distributors and manufacturers and will determine if members would like HRAI to petition Alberta Municipal Affairs to request additional time to sell any remaining inventory of 13 SEER units. For more information contact HRAI’s Muhammad Bilal at

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016



up to 9.2 gpm up to 199k btuh DHW up to 120k btuh heating

Ont. door-knocker bill sidelined Ontario service contractors can breathe the proverbial sigh of relief. A Liberal private members bill that would have banned all private (sales) contracts signed in the home has been pushed aside by the Ontario government, which has introduced its own legislation. Introduced Nov. 3, the new “Putting Consumers First Act”, Bill 59, while still banning private contracts signed on the doorstep, specifically excludes those where the home or building owner has initiated contact with the contractor, reports the Canadian Water Quality Association (CWQA) which, along with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, has been vigorously defending the industry from the previous doorknocker legislation. As well, the new legislation does not specify particular products – HVAC, water heaters and water treatment equipment – as the previous legislation did.

Liberal MPP Yvan Baker sponsored Bill 193, later re-introduced as Bill 14, both of which banned all private contracts signed in a home and would have forced contractors to set up retail locations, giving a huge advantage

The new legislation will also require that home inspectors be licensed. to the big box home improvement retailers that already have them. Meetings with Baker by both HRAI and CWQA failed to convince him of the fallacy of this approach. Baker did not return phone

calls or e-mails from this magazine, looking for an explanation. The new legislation will also require that home inspectors be licensed. The industry has long complained that many of these people are not qualified to inspect HVAC and plumbing systems. The other key component, for the industry, is that the Minister of Government and Consumer Services has promised to work with industry in working out the details of the new legislation. “The good news is that the Ministry is very eager to have industry involved in the process,” reported Kevin Wong, CWQA executive director. However, he cautioned that contractors in other provinces need to be wary of similar legislation developing in their provinces as the companies responsible for door-knocker fraud in Ontario seek business elsewhere. CWQA has identified Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as regions of particular concern.

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Trucks for the Trade The Euro-style Ford Transit is proving a worthy replacement for the E-Series.

2017 trade vans


Steady evolution in an increasingly competitive market By Simon Blake


In recent years the trade van market has changed dramatically with the introduction of European style cargo vans in both fullsized and compact models. Today there are a myriad of models with multiple wheelbases and styles to choose from. And while there are no significant new models for 2017, manufacturers continue to upgrade and offer more options to their existing models. And then there’s an

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016

interesting concept vehicle from Toyota, but more on that later.

Wide acceptance Ford introduced its European style fullsized Transit work van in 2014. Built at the company’s Kansas City plant, over 100,000 are sold each year. It returns for 2017 in 64 different configurations, up from 58 in 2016. These include two wheelbases and three roof heights and include both standard cargo vans and cab/chassis units, allowing the contractor significant flexibility in having the van tailored to their needs. One new configuration should appeal to contractors that need to carry a lot of weight – metal pipe and fittings, threading machines, etc. The heavy-duty Transit 350 is now available in a regular wheelbase version – with single rear wheels and a 9,500 lb. GVWR. As well, the 3.7-litre engine is now standard on dual rear wheel van models, allowing easy conversion to compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid propane gas (LPG) operation.

The Mercedes Metris mid-size van drew considerable attention at November’s CIPHEX West trade show in Vancouver. Mercedes’ Habeeb Shah explains the features.

New heated seats in cloth or leather should appeal to contractors in colder regions. And for a touch of style, easy-to-clean aluminum wheels are now available. The standard engine is a 3.7-litre V-6 operating through a six-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. Other options include a 3.5-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel or 3.5-litre EcoBoost gas engine. On the compact Transit Connect c o m m e r c i a l v a n , Fo r d’s SY N C 3 communication system with 6.5” touch screen and navigation is now standard. It features quicker operation, more conversational voice recognition and a smartphone-like touch screen. Reverse sensing, automatic headlamps, roof rails and a six-way power drivers seat are now standard for Titanium and XLT trim levels. The long-lived Ford E-Series (Econoline) van lives on in stripped chassis and cutaway version for contractors that need a cube van. The main upgrade for 2017 is the availability

The Ram Promaster’s front-wheel-drive configuration results in a low floor height. of the 6.2-litre V-8 engine from the Ford F-Series Super Duty trucks.

Lower floor The Ram Commercial ProMaster from Fiat Chrysler Amercia (FCA) is unique among full-sized vans as the only front-wheel-drive model. This has a number of advantages, not least of which is a lower floor height that makes loading and unloading heavy equipment and

supplies easier. Vertical sidewalls make the ProMaster easy to upfit. Front-wheel-drive also offers better traction in some conditions and a tighter turning radius. It is available in 118, 136 and 159-inch wheelbases, low and high roof versions and four body lengths, as well as a cab/chassis/ cutaway version. Engine choices consist of Please see ‘European’ on page 15

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


Q Trucks for the Trade Compact vans like the Ram Promaster City make a lot of sense when the work involves underground parking garages.

The second-generation Ford Transit Connect includes big van features like barn style doors.

European style Continued from page 13

the 3.6 litre Pentastar V-6 coupled to a sixspeed automatic transmission or the 3.0 litre four-cylinder EcoDiesel I-4 engine with an “electronically controlled Dual Active Drive six-speed automated manual” transmission. Payload capacity is up to 5,160 lbs. and towing capacity is up to 5,100 lbs. For 2017, the electronic parking brake is standard on diesel models and all models are now available with Uconnect 3.0 electronic communications and entertainment system. Introduced in 2015, the Ram ProMaster City compact van returns for 2017 largely unchanged. Shifter illumination is improved and new rear-door reflectors improve visibility. A Chrysler 2.4-litre Tigershark four cylinder engine is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission to achieve 29 miles per gallon (12.3km/litre) on the highway and 21 mpg (8.9 km/litre) around town. Payload is 1,883 lbs. with a cargo volume of 131.7 sq. ft. A cargo floor length of 87.2” is just a little too short to lay a sheet of plywood flat. Vertical sides help the installation of shelving, but sliding doors on both sides will prove a hindrance. Rear barn style doors are split 60/40.


Nissan’s NV Cargo van and NV200 compact van are both back for 2017.

A big splash Mercedes-Benz Canada made a big splash last year with the introduction of its mid-sized Metris model. Roughly the same size as the much-missed GM Safari and Astro vans, it filled a major hole in the market. The Metris is back for 2017 with a number of upgrades including alloy wheels, blind spot assist as a stand-alone option, upgraded mirrors, and a number of new accessories, including a five-piece chrome grill for contractors seeking a sharp looking van. Powered by a 208 hp turbocharged fourcylinder engine connected to a seven-speed automatic transmission with rear-wheel drive, payload is 1,135 kg (2,502 lbs.) and towing capacity is 2,250 kg (4,950 lbs). A 25,000 km

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016

maintenance interval helps keep operating costs low. Cargo volume is considerably more than the current crop of small vans. The cargo bed length is 2.8 metres (9’3”) with a width of 1.7 metres (5’6”). Interior height is 1.4 metres (4’6”). The Metris features traditional barn style rear doors and a sliding door on the passenger side. Of course, it also features all the electronics that have become standard on today’s vans. The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter full-sized van is back for 2017 with minor upgrades including an improved rearview camera that offers a greater viewing angle and width. A new “super single tire” option (in place Please see ‘Toyota’ on page 17

“Switching from domestics, our fuel costs have been cut in half.” Responding to water and fire emergencies across the Greater Toronto Area, Aldi Cibuku and his Absolute Interior team cover a lot of ground. When the call comes in, they need vehicles they can depend on. Hear why they’ve turned to Mercedes-Benz Sprinters and the mid-size Metris to help them go further than ever before at /MercedesBenzVansCA



In an otherwise stagnant field, only one brand of furnace is bringing innovation to the HVAC world. Napoleon’s Ultimate 9700 Series looks different because it is different. The revolutionary Vortex turbulator increases heating efficiency, the ultra violet light purifies air and the SureView burner window shows the flames in operation as the furnace runs whisper quiet. Don’t get boxed in by outdated thinking. ™

Q Trucks for the Trade The Chevrolet (Nissan) City Express is also back for 2017.

A teaser from Toyota

Many contractors still like the standard North American van. The Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana return largely unchanged.

Toyota looks at “maker” market Continued from page 15

of duals) on the 3500 models allows a full 1.22 metres (four feet) between wheel wells, adding more space while retaining load carrying capacity. There are two wheelbases (144” and 170”) and three roof heights. Engine options include Mercedes’ 2.1 litre four cylinder turbocharged BlueTEC diesel coupled to a seven speed automatic transmission or a 3.0-litre V-6 diesel coupled to a five speed automatic. Sprinters are available in rear wheel drive or four-wheel drive configurations.

Making inroads Nissan is a relatively new player in the cargo van market but its NV 1500, 2500, and 3500 full-sized vans and its small NV200 van have become common sights on Canadian job sites. They’ve changed little since their introduction and both models will continue into 2017 unchanged. The large NV rear-wheel-drive cargo vans are offered with either a 261 hp 4.0 litre V-6 or a 317 hp V-8, both operating through a five-speed automatic transmission. Rear doors are split 50/50 and open 243 degrees for easy loading. There are numerous interior and exterior mounting points to make upfitting easy. Standard and high roof versions are available. The compact NV 200 cargo van offers 122 sq. ft. of cargo space and a payload of 1,500 lbs. A two-litre 131 hp four-cylinder engine drives the front wheels through a

continuously variable transmission. The cargo area offers 6’10” from the rear door to the seats and 4’6” between sidewalls. Rear doors are split 40/60 with the larger door on the curb side. Both open 90 and 180 degrees. There are sliding doors on both sides. The NV200 is also sold through GM dealers as the Chevrolet City Express.

Toyota showed its Urban Utility Concept (U2) vehicle at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto back in February. Aimed at the “maker” market (people who build stuff), the U2 is the size of a compact car but designed with the functionality of a small truck, with an open cargo space and removable front seat, a tailgate that folds down into a ramp and roof panels that retract (to carry tall objects). There is no indication yet whether Toyota plans to put this into production, but it may offer another option for contractors that need a small van to cope with busy city traffic.

GM’s traditional model

Today there are a myriad of models with multiple wheelbases and styles to choose from.

Despite the proliferation of Euro-style vans, a visit to any job site shows that contractors still have a high comfort level with the traditional cargo van. General Motors will continue to offer its long running Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana for 2017. They are available in standard and long wheelbase versions. The standard engine is a 4.8 litre V-8, with an optional six-litre version. Also available is the 6.6-litre turbo diesel. All operate through a six-speed automatic transmission. A locking differential is also available.

P&HVAC also contacted Volkswagen Canada for this article. The company offers several trade van models in other countries. However, at this point, it is not offering them in the U.S. or Canada, reported Thomas Tetzlaff, VW Canada manager of media relations. That could change. The increasingly crowded and competitive van market can’t help but put contractors in the drivers’ seat when it comes to negotiating the best deal at their local dealership. 

Toyota has been showing its compact urban utility concept (U2) vehicle at auto shows. The interior might work for a service tech or supervisor in a busy urban area.

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


QHot Water Heating

The slope is critical – this vent slopes the wrong way. Condensate will be trapped at the base elbow at left.

Code requirements can be confusing By Roy Collver

venting 18

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016


he venting of gas and propane flue products is a serious business. Safety is paramount. Plastic venting materials all fall under Type BH special venting systems and, as early as January 2006, directives were issued by the Interprovincial Gas Advisory Council and from various provincial safety authorities to enforce and clarify the requirements for ULC S636 certification of these venting systems. Ten years on there can be a bit of confusion, but the vast majority of these systems comply with rules based on: • National codes and standards

proceed. There may be local conditions or requirements that you are unaware of. Don’t be shy about expressing your own opinion, but at the end of the day when it comes to safe and proper venting – take no chances.

Common problems

On long horizontal runs it may be necessary to provide for condensate removal prior to vent risers.

• Manufacturer’s certified installation instructions • Local jurisdiction requirements and revisions There can be a bit of tail chasing inherent in this pecking order. National codes generally defer to the appliance manufacturer and the venting manufacturer’s installation instructions, but conflicts arise. A common clarification reads: “where a conflict exists between the manufacturer’s certified installation instructions and the Code, the requirements of the Code shall prevail unless otherwise approved. Therefore, instructions that conflict with Code

requirements can be modified by the authority having jurisdiction for reasons of safety and performance.” Got that? This article is intended to be educational and I have no authority to direct you as to details. Readers must make decisions on their own, based on local requirements. I will, however, pass on some simple advice I received from my favourite code official some 40 years ago – advice that has worked every time. When in doubt, ask for direction. Ask everyone involved and work through any issues that come up. My personal path to enlightenment starts with the appliance and the venting manufacturer’s certified instructions. Read them both – identify any potential conflicts or areas of confusion, and get them resolved. In my experience, both parties are eager to clarify any issues. While reviewing the manufacturer’s information, compare with the requirements of the B149 gas code to ensure there are no conflicts (you should pretty much have the venting section memorized). Again, if anything pops out at you, go back to the manufacturer to resolve the variation – get it in writing and then seek approval from the local authority having jurisdiction before you

Here are the some common issues I have seen recently: Omissions, misinterpretation or conflict between manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements sometimes occur. The direct vent, air intake piping material issue is a classic example. Many appliance manufacturers just don’t address this detail in their instructions and the code is silent on it. When there is lack of information and the B149 is silent on the issue and a code official isn’t sure – they will (correctly) choose caution every time. As reported in the last issue of this magazine – some code officials have demanded that inlet air piping be identical to the vent piping. However, one Canadian boiler manufacturer’s instructions read: “For the inlet air – four-inch Schedule 40 PVC, CPVC, ABS, or PPs piping of any type is permitted.” That clause is what the code official is looking for. If you bring it to their attention, they should approve the installation accordingly. Unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t

At the end of the day when it comes to safe and proper venting, take no chances. detail this in their instructions and, although they should be able to provide a letter of clarification, there is no guarantee it will gain approval. If you disagree with a code official, there is an appeal procedure in most jurisdictions, but often it is more practical to comply for the job in dispute and then work with the authority and the manufacturer to try and clarify the issue before the next job. Please see ‘Common’ on page 21

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC




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QHot Water Heating

Proper support is essential. This manufacturer can supply a special base elbow and support.

Common venting mistakes Continued from 19

Attention to detail Failure to follow manufacturer’s installation instructions is another common fault. The devil is in the details, as they say, and S636 certified products have very detailed and specific instructions. Appliances that use these systems also have specific requirements of their own – more important details. When using atmospheric venting it was common to look at venting possibilities before even choosing an appliance. Pressure venting is much more flexible, but you should still approach the planning the same way. Read, read, read the details – and plan ahead so you don’t find yourself backed into a corner.

Common failures Here are some specific fails that I’ve seen: 1) Improper support of plastic venting: Proper support methods are highly detailed in the venting manufacturer’s installation instructions. Follow them to the letter because

plastic can easily sag, creating areas where condensate can be trapped. 2) Using old chimneys or B-vents as a chase can prove problematic when it comes to correct vertical supports but most vent manufacturers have approved work-arounds. Vertical venting risers may need special base elbows or hangers to eliminate weight from damaging the appliance. 3) Improper slope-back leading to condensate trapping: Purchase a level – read the instructions – comply. The old minimum quarter inch to the foot may not apply to the venting system you are using; it may require more slope so, again, read the instructions. 4) Excessive horizontal runs leading to water “standing wave”: The problem can arise even in properly sloped horizontal vents that elbow up 90° to a vertical rise. Long burner runs can push condensate up the vent where the high flue gas velocities will hold it at the elbow. Customers may hear a “swishing” sound in the vent and the appliance might shut down on high fan pressure. Increasing the slope angle might help,

in extreme cases you may need a trapped drain elbow at the bottom of the vertical rise. 5) Improper condensate removal: Includes improper condensate traps, drains, neutralization, etc. 6) Termination issues: This is the most common fail I see. The individual appliance manufacturer’s details rule here and they can vary widely from one appliance to the next. There should be specific illustrations showing vertical and horizontal clearance of air intake piping from exhaust termination. The requirements you see in the B149 will apply here, but the appliance manufacturer may have additional requirements and the local codes may also have additional requirements (snow levels, clearance from lot lines, etc.). The more stringent requirements normally apply. 7) Expansion problems. Plastic pipe expands when heated up and can bend, causing stress and possible sags. Type BH venting systems should list details as to vent lengths versus expansion and detail how to deal with it if it becomes a problem. 8) Vent size vs. length issues. These specific details will be in the appliance manufacturer’s instructions and you can’t push the limits at all. If you are a few feet over, you have to go up to the next size, but only if the manufacturer allows that option. 9) Joinery issues are another common fail. The vent manufacturer’s instructions must be followed to the letter – don’t get creative with this one. On glued systems, if they say you must use their primer and glue, use their primer and glue. If they say use their fittings and pipe only – do so. On gasketed systems, if they provide gasket lubricant and instruction? You get the idea. Again, plan ahead. Make sure you have all of the materials you need. Most wholesalers I talk to are pretty good about returning instock venting material if you order extra. Take no chances.  Roy Collver is an author and consultant on hydronic heating based in Qualicum Beach, B.C. He can be reached at

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



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Modern equipment requires a different approach By Bob Bettles and Brian Guttormson

We have heard the line for years: “it’s not the heat the homes are thrown up, wrapped up and sealed it’s the humidity.” And in our industry at times, within weeks. Lumber that was standing in the no matter what we do, it is never right! forest last month is now sliced, diced and wrapped We have the doctors wanting high in plastic standing in the walls soon to be covered humidity levels for respiratory issues, window and sealed with the internal wall coverings. manufacturers wanting lower humidity levels to The first year of occupancy is a major challenge prevent fogged windows. Flooring manufacturers for the new homeowners. All of the new paint, want higher levels to stop their floors from laminate products and other unknown varishrinking, then the ables are off-gassing into building code comes the building envelope. What was correct 15 Their central air system into play with air quality issues requiring years ago is definitely (hopefully sized and an HRV system to commissioned correctly reduce humidity in not correct in today’s by the installer) is workthe winter, but then ing to dehumidify the market place. the same machine in structure as best it can. the summer will add Howe ve r, i n t h e humidity. summer with all of the hype about saving hydro Today’s home construction, in many they have their new programmable thermostat applications, is part of the problem. New home set to 80ºF for the day, but telling the control at builders, after grading and servicing the new sites, will attack the project literally as it seems Please see ‘Heating’ on page 25

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



Heating season brings different issues Continued from page 23

5 p.m. they expect 74ºF by 5:30 p.m. You got it; it’s not happening! Hopefully, by the end of the summer, they have gained control of their HVAC system to create an almost perfect comfort level. At which point the arrival of the heating season will bring up new and different issues! The A/C is off for the winter, the heat recovery ventilator (HRV) is now almost operating in its designed application except our HVAC installer did not interface the furnace and the HRV for ventilation processes. The HRV is running in the basement with the exhaust and fresh air connections six feet apart in the return air duct. There is not much air change occurring there!

Humidifiers evolve Early humidifiers were quite basic, a pan of water in the hot air plenum with evaporative plates immersed in the pan. This worked to add moisture to the space, with the higher plenum temperatures of the furnaces of the day. These units did require maintenance with the primitive float system to control the water level in the pan. In some cases, the lime buildup would cause the float to stick in the closed position, but it would also fail and flood the equipment and the basement space. The next generation of humidification was a drum type with a bypass tube to direct the warm plenum air through the drum into the return air to circulate through the dwelling. Again we were compromised with the basic float control of yesteryear, but at least with these models the water pan was on the outside of the plenum. It saved the furnace from flooding but the basement did get wet.

Many homes ended up with dehumidifiers running in the fall and spring seasons to allow the occupants to see out the windows! About this time, the oil to gas furnace changes were occurring and, of course, every new furnace got a new bypass drum-type humidifier. These new and improved gas furnaces had a much lower temperature rise and higher static pressures within the system. Output of the humidifier was compromised; the benefit of the gas furnace was a smaller exhaust than the old furnace and the infiltration was reduced. The old seven-

How not to retrofit a humidifier! If the sheetmetal adaptor fitting were rotated 180 degrees the humidifier may have had half a chance of being level. inch barometric damper did a fine job of ventilation with the oil furnaces. We had many comments of gas being a “wet” heat due to the condensation appearing on the double windows on new conversions. Many homes ended up with dehumidifiers running in the fall and spring seasons to allow the occupants to see out the windows!

Adding humidity Today’s new homes will usually, by the second season, require some humidity added to the building envelope. In most cases, a fan driven unit mounted on the warm air plenum will suffice. These units may be connected to the hot water line to increase their moisture output. Note, more servicing will be required during the heating season paying attention to the water panel. Larger homes with large amounts of natural wood may require a steam humidifier, which contains an electric heater to produce the steam injected into the air distribution system. These units, while quite effective in their steam production, do require regular maintenance. Please see ‘Traditional’ on page 27

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



Traditional sizing no longer works Continued from page 25

Water quality is the weak link with their operation and efficiency levels. Water testing should be performed before the sale to confirm the hardness (grains) within the water. Issues can linger for contractors into the heating season as homeowners find that humidity levels pre-set at the humidistat are not being met. These cases often relate to furnace run times and, in most cases, not having a long enough heating cycle to move humidity levels deeper into the dwelling because the home’s centralized thermostat reaches its set point.

New challenges Proper sizing of equipment and the resulting longer run times and lower temperature rises of today’s equipment will also help keep the

humidity level where the homeowner wants it. For most sales people, this will be a new challenge in a changing market. The theory of longer run times combined with the constant delivery of comfortable heat and humidity is very different from the on/off high temperature rise furnaces of the past. So what do they do? The sales rep doing the equipment sizing from the side of the road with the “it’ll do” calculator must end. What was correct 15 years ago is definitely not correct in today’s market place. Do we ignore the challenge and continue to oversize heating products, install furnaces and not understand the full model numbers and their meanings? Do we continue to later find out the blower capacities are too great for the existing duct systems and air conditioning systems? Or do we as an industry gain further ongoing education and pass it along properly

to homeowners and business operators to make better choices in equipment for the purpose of heating and humidifying the space for better heath? As always, the choice is yours…  Bob Bettles HVAC author and trainer Robert (Bob) Bettles is technical service adviser and product trainer for B&B Trade Distribution Centre. He can be reached at Brian Guttormson HVAC author and trainer Brian Guttormson is technical service advisor for Trent Metals Ltd. (Supply). He can be reached at

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November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


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QBuilding Green

Heating with Industry perseveres and grows despite challenges By Bruce Nagy


n a fire station in Livermore California there is a light bulb that has not burned out since it was first installed in 1901 and it just keeps going. That seems to be the way for biomass heating too. It’s an industry beset by complications and challenges. There are all different kinds of biomass products made from wood or energy crops claiming to be the best, and used not only for heating, but also for generating electricity or fuel for machinery and vehicles. Most of these products are commodities and their prices increase fast depending on transportation distances and supply availability, often reducing producers to razor thin margins. Biomass heating is also continuously adapting to new regulations, depending on whether scientists have decided that it’s carbon neutral, a polluter, or produced using a process efficient enough for governments to subsidize. Almost all biomass has to be handled properly because it is dangerous in some way, usually by being susceptible to explosions and fires. And right now, biomass heating has to compete

In Telkwa, B.C., the town office, the elementary school and several other buildings are heated by the town’s’ biomass district energy system. with fossil fuels that are selling very cheaply. With all these challenges you might expect it to be an industry experiencing paralysis; and yet it is not.

When it works, it works According to reports from the Wood Pellet Association of Canada and Transparency Market Research, last year the wood pellet business alone grew about 12 percent and the biomass boiler business grew about 20 percent. Both are expected to maintain at least this pace of growth for the next five or six years.

One reason is that when biomass works financially, it really works. The town of Unity, New Hampshire is saving a lot of money each year after it installed a biomass boiler to heat about 250,000 square feet: the town office, a laundry facility, plus a 147-bed nursing home and a 120-bed prison. The fuel is wood chips, made from waste at a nearby log landing operation and chipped in the forest. The new system displaced 90 percent of the fossil fuel used previously for the three areas (mostly oil). Please see ‘Meeting’ on page 31

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



energy saving potential in today’s buildings and industrial processes

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QBuilding Green Sometimes it makes sense to place the boiler and then construct the building.

This biomass heating plant displaced 90 percent of the fossil fuel used in the area.

Meeting emissions standards Continued from page 29

Despite low prices for oil right now, facilities manager John Cressy says they are saving “easily about $300,000 each year for fuel…And an important consideration is that the money stays in the community rather than being sent to Saudi Arabia. “It’s being spent right here in this neighborhood, supporting the local economy.”

District heating The town’s district heat system is built around a 150 hp, five million Btu/h Hurst biomass boiler with a back pressure steam turbine/ generator and, in each of the four buildings, a couple of shell and tube heat exchangers that provide DHW and heated water for hydronic baseboard heaters and radiators. The boiler delivers 2500 lb. peak pressure steam for all the heat and hot water, and steam for two commercial kitchens. “We also qualify as a co-gen because we use a small turbine to

generate 45 kilowatts of power,” says Cressy. “It’s a really nice project that meets the latest emissions standard,” says Bob Waller of Thermal Systems Inc., in Scarborough, Maine. Bob is the authorized Hurst rep who

And right now, biomass heating has to compete with fossil fuels that are selling very cheaply. coordinated specifications and procurement services for the project. He’s talking about programmable logic controllers for combustion control and also pollution abatement equipment that meet AP42, the Environment Protection Agency’s newest biomass particulate emission requirements.

“It’s got a really modern control system to monitor everything from anywhere – the air feed ratio, the stack and such,” said Waller. “I can look at it remotely on my phone,” added Cressy. “The people at Hurst can go online and see it too. It shows how much steam is in every zone. You can control the oxygen mixture, set up timers, alerts and alarms and it will call you, even in the middle of the night…” One byproduct of the project is that local residential pellet stove dealers have seen increased business because of the publicity that the town’s project has created, he added.

A school project Waller also managed a similar project, again with a 150 hp boiler, in Herman, New York. It heats a school, bus garage, a swimming pool and domestic hot water. Facility manager John Daniels is an alternate energy enthusiast and has also added some photovoltaic panels and some solar thermal to preheat for the Please see ‘Biomass’ on page 33

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


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QBuilding Green

Biomass and fire protection Continued from page 31

pool. The students calculate the savings. “One year we saved $230,000, but last year was a mild winter and the oil price went down, so we only saved $90,000,” says Daniels.

Into the future In the heart of British Columbia the village of Telkwa is also home to a state-of-theart biomass operation. In 2013, the village installed a 300 kW Herz (Austrian) biomass boiler and a chipper to provide heat for its main buildings, the school and some private businesses that pay to be on the system. With the help of Dave Dubois, chief of engineering and technical outreach specialist for the Community Energy Association, Burnaby, B.C., and an Excel spread sheet from a University of B.C. program called FIRST

Wood chips provide the fuel and are readily available in forested regions. Heat, they calculated their power and fuel needs and ordered the plant. At the same time, implementing the principles of FireSmart Canada from a government group called Partners in

Protection, local citizens thinned the surrounding forest, creating both a fire barrier and fuel for the biomass system. “There were some challenges.” said Dubois. “You have to find capital funding, follow regulations, do feasibility studies, and plan the fuel supply. People would chip the wood and dump it on the ground near the plant. When it was scooped up gravel came with it, so they had to create a concrete pad. “Now it’s running smoothly. I hope more communities will do this in the future as awareness increases.” Needless to say, using biomass energy makes sense for communities in heavily forested areas. In the Northwest Territories, 80 large boiler installations and about 1,000 residential pellet stoves have been installed since 2008. Whether the heating industry notices or not, biomass is going strong.  Bruce Nagy is a Torontobased freelance writer that reports on green technologies and solutions. He can be reached at

Underground piping distributes the hot water or steam to surrounding buildings.

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



Refrigeration load versus freezing time Beware of pitfalls in ‘normal’ calculation methods By Greg Scrivener

A pressure regulator for a blast cooler evaporator.


Most refrigeration mechanics learn to do basic load calculations at some point in their training but many don’t get the chance to use this knowledge on a regular basis; typically, when these calculations are done by sales or design staff, a vendor supplied calculator or software program is used. In this article, I want to explore one of the pitfalls of using the normal approach. There are three main loads that are considered when you size a refrigeration system: • Transmission losses through the building/ room envelope • Infiltration • Internal loads We are going to look exclusively at the third type, the internal load. If you are doing an air conditioning heat gain calculation, the internal load is usually a pretty straightforward thing to do. You need to determine the heat gain from the lights, people, forklifts, motors, appliances, computers, etc.… In a refrigeration situation, we often add another element to this calculation. Product. On the surface, product load is fairly straightforward. For sensible heat change (i.e. no change of state) the calculation is simply:

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016

Q=mCΔT Q=Heat Transfer (BTU) m=Mass of Product (lb) C=Specific Heat of the product (BTU⁄(lb°F)) ΔT=Temperature Change (°F) And for latent heat transfer where you are freezing a product: Q=hf m Q=Heat Transfer (BTU) hf =Latent Heat of Fusion (BTU⁄b) m= Mass of Product (lb) Let’s take a simple example. Say we want to cool 100 lbs. of beef from 50°F to 0°F. This will require three equations because specific heats are different above and below freezing. There are a couple different places to get food properties from, but the mostly widely used one is the ASHRAE Refrigeration Handbook. For our example, we have the following: Specific Heat Above Freezing: 0.84 BTU/lb°F Specific Heat Below Freezing: 0.43 BTU/lb°F Latent Heat of Fusion: 110 BTU/lb Freezing Point: 28.5°F

Heat Transfer

Temperature Velocity

Figure 1: The effect of velocity and temperature on basic convection heat transfer. From 50°F to 28.5°F we have the following equation: Q=mCΔT Q=100lb ∙ 0.84 BTU⁄ lb°F ∙ (50°F-28.5°F) Q=1806 BTU To freeze the beef: Q=hf m Q=110 BTU⁄lb ∙100lb Q=11000 BTU And finally, to get it from 28.5°F to 0°F Q=mCΔT Q=100lb∙043 BTU⁄lb°F ∙ (28.5°F-0°F) Q=1225.5 BTU The total heat transfer required is then the sum of these three equations or 14,031.5 Btu/h. This is fairly straightforward.

Freezing time The only other piece of information we need to know now is how much time we have to freeze the beef. Let’s say the owner wants it done in one hour. Then we need a refrigeration system that can do approximately 14,000 Btu/h (plus all the other loads we are ignoring of course). Simply pick an evaporator and condensing unit from the catalogue, right? In practice, this is exactly what’s done. This is where this sizing and load calculation methodology stops working, or at the very least is missing a crucial component. How do you know that this system will be able to cool the beef in one hour? It might be a bit easier to imagine the problem I’m describing if we take the example to the extreme. Let’s say that instead of an hour, the owner asked us to freeze this

beef in 10 minutes. This would mean that our refrigeration system would have to be able to do 84,000 Btu/hour. That’s a huge difference. Instead of being around one ton of refrigeration, our system is now seven tons. What if we tried to do it in five minutes? 14 tons. 2.5 minutes? 28 tons. 1 minute? 70 tons!!!! Now imagine the beef and the arrangement of the room. If the room was big and had a 14-ton evaporator in the corner blowing away from the beef, does it have a chance of freezing it in five minutes? If the beef was cut in steaks and laid out on racking would this be different than if it was one solid block? The problem is obvious. As soon as we move away from simply storing food and want to change its temperature, we need to understand how the heat is moving from the product to the air in the room. Large production refrigeration users are obviously well aware of this and use a wide variety of blast chilling and freezing equipment. Here’s the problem… The math is hard. There are a lot of different methods to choose from and many of them are presented in scientific journals and other hard to find places and are valid for only specific cases. The ASHRAE Refrigeration Handbook (Chapter 20) does present a couple of different methods that can be used with pretty good success. If you do any amount of load calculations or design for equipment that is cooling and freezing product, it is worthwhile to become familiar with these calculation methods. Fair warning though, you probably won’t like all the math.

A simpler method For the mechanic or sales engineer it’s often adequate to understand only the parameters that affect cooling time, so let’s take a look at them. There are three different modes of heat transfer from the product to the room: 1) Conduction: The product is touching something like a refrigerated plate. 2) Radiation: Heat transfers from warmer surfaces to cooler surfaces without any air movement. This effect is driven entirely by the temperature difference Please see ‘Doing’ on page 37

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Doing the math Continued from page 35

Figure 2: This screenshot is from software used to size a refrigeration system designed to freeze blueberries. Notice the refrigeration is operating at about -25°F (box temp of -15F), but the goal is to freeze the blueberries only to -5F. These temperatures were chosen to establish the desired ‘time to freeze’.

between the two bodies. 3) Convection: Air moving over the product absorbs heat from the product. Conduction is only really at play with ice machines and other plate freezers. Radiation does make a noticeable difference on product heat transfer in some situations, but is widely ignored because in most product cooling situations, convection is so dominant. So, simply stated, increasing the convective heat transfer to the air moving over a product is the easiest and most effective way to decrease cooling time. There are two main drivers of convective heat transfer that we can control – temperature and velocity. I have seen both cause problems in walk-ins that were ‘designed’ for product cooling. The formula for conductive heat transfer is:

Fig. 3: This spreadsheet by the author calculates the cooling time of ham using the Hayakawa-Villalobos estimation algorithm presented in the ASHRAE Refrigeration Handbook.

q=hAΔT q=Heat Transfer ( BTU hour ) h=Convective Heat Transfer Coefficient BTU ) ( hrft2°F A=Surface Area (ft2) ΔT=Temperature Difference (°F) A typical walk-in cooler is sized with a 10°F temperature difference between the evaporating refrigerant and the return air. In a 0°F box, the refrigerant is usually boiling at -10°F. That means that the absolute coldest the air could be supplied by the coil is something above -10°F. If your goal is to freeze a product and you want the final temperature to be 0°F you will find it difficult to do this quickly no matter how much refrigeration capacity you have available from your equipment. Similarly, if you drop the temperature of the air but don’t have adequate velocity, the product will eventually freeze but you have very little influence on how fast. I have seen this play out on a couple of occasions where fresh meat storage was converted to a drip cooler and the low velocity coils didn’t provide adequate airflow even though the equipment was big enough. There is a lot of educated guessing that goes into sizing small coolers and freezers and it usually works out well. But there are also a fairly substantial number of cases where some extra math to determine the freezing and cooling times would have been very valuable in equipment design and evaporator selection. Personally, I like doing the math, but even simply understanding the parameters makes for better refrigeration 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

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Innovative pellet stoves Wolf Steel, Barrie, Ont., is offering modern Italian Vicenza pellet stoves across Canada. Polished ceramic finishes, solid cast iron components and ultra-quiet operation allow homeowners to furnish their home with style,

efficiency and comfort. Designed to comfortably heat an entire home, they use smart zone heating technology to distribute heat evenly throughout the house with ultra quiet variable speed fan motors. The latest in automation technology also provides convenient start-up, self-cleaning modes, onboard diagnostics and WiFi capable technical support. They are available in three models with heating capabilities from 34,000 to 52,000 Btu/h. Wolf Steel ‹

Protect your tools The One-Key digital system for tools and equipment from Milwaukee Tool integrates modern tool electronics with a custom-built cloud-based program for tool control, inventory management and reporting. Inventory management is provided through the Web and a smartphone app, creating a central place for users/owners to manage all of their tools and equipment across their network of jobs and operators. It allows companies to keep detailed records of each tool, even non-Milwaukee brands. They can assign locations or specific owners to each tool, providing accountability. As a cloud based solution, updates and edits are synchronized in real-time throughout all levels of an organization. Milwaukee Tool ‹

CO2 refrigerant tool The new CO2 information tool from Emerson Climate Technologies is designed to support customers shifting to CO2 systems and applications. Based on a user’s selection of geographic region and product category, a listing of relevant components and accessories is displayed, along with important product-specific information. Due to the low critical point and high operating pressures of CO2 systems, components are required to meet specific pressure ratings to account for these characteristics. The CO2 tool will assist customers in further evaluating components to meet their system needs. Emerson Climate Technologies ‹

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC



THIS AIN’T YOUR GRANDADDY’S MULTIMETER Introducing the DM284, an all-in-one True RMS digital multimeter and thermal imager that show you exactly where an electrical problem is to speed up troubleshooting. Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM™) is the future of instrument and tool technology. Plain and simple. And for the hardworking professionals in the building and electrical industries, it’s the perfect addition to the toolbox. By helping you identify and verify problems invisible to the naked eye, you’ll save time, money, and maybe even lives. Request a demo from participating distributors at









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Q People & Places

Canplas celebrates 50th anniversary

Canplas is celebrating 50 years of growth. Pictured is the company’s headquarters and manufacturing plant in Barrie, Ont.


People The Ecco Group, Langley, B.C. has appointed Lawrence Corso as director of procurement and marketing. As well, the company has announced the appointment of Sean Hutmacher as director of sales, Lawrence Sean branch operations. Corso Hutmacher Salus Controls, B a r n s l e y, U K , has appointed Bill Lowe as the director of sales for Salus North America. Bill will be responsible for developing growing, and managing sales strategies for United States Bill Sheldon Schiffner and Canada. Salus North America has Lowe appointed Sheldon Schiffner as regional sales and marketing manager for Western North America. Masco Canada, Mississauga, Ont., has named David Rogne as regional sales manager for Western Canada. He is based in Calgary. Superior Radiant Products, Stoney David George Creek, Ont., has named George File, P.Eng Rogne File to the position of engineering manager. He joined SRP in May, 2015 as R&D manager. Wolseley Canada, Burlington, Ont., announces that Gail Kaufman is now vice-president, eBusiness. Oakville Stamping & Bending (OS&B), Oakville, Ont., has appointed Brad Cornelissen as regional sales manager for Eastern Canada. Taco Canada, Milton, Ont. has appointed Ken Watson to the

Plastic fittings manufacturer Canplas Industries Ltd. is celebrating its 50th year in business. From small beginnings in New Westminster, B.C., the Barrie, Ont. company has grown as an innovative leader in the plumbing, separation technology, ventilation, and central vacuum sectors. Company officials credit the growth to devoted employees, diligent suppliers, and customers

that demand quality. C anplas’ manufac tur ing facility and main distribution center are located in Barrie, with regional distribution and customer service facilities in Edmonton and Langley, B.C. Canplas Industries Ltd. is a member of the Aliaxis Group of companies, a global plastic solutions company specializing in fluid transport for buildings. For more information, visit www.

position of marketing and brand manager. Emily Milford-Clare has joined Spectrum Brands Canada, Mississauga, Ont. as associate national account manager for the company’s wholesale plumbing division.


The CGC Group of Companies is pleased to announce that we have made an important addition to our Management Team.

Steven J. Cresswell cpa, cga, has joined us in the very senior position of General Manager. Steve’s background includes not only significant finance experience but also an understanding of business management, strategic planning and business plan execution. He will form an important part of our leadership group as we continue to grow. Reporting to the President and working out of our Mississauga Head Office, Steve will play a significant role in defining our corporate mission statement and ensuring that we meet our objectives. CGC Group is a manufacturer of energy efficient commercial HVAC equipment. Major product lines include Bulldog Heat Pumps and Compax modular chillers. November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


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Q People & Places The

Companies RAE Corporation (RAE), Pryor, Oklahoma, announces that the Century Refrigeration and RAE Coils divisions have partnered with KFDS Enterprises, Ltd. to exDarren pand into the Western Canadian Stinson market. Refrigeration agent Darren Stinson will represent and promote these product lines. Zurn Industries Limited has moved to 7900 Goreway Drive, Unit 10, Brampton, Ont. Gray Tools Canada Inc., Brampton, Ont., announces the acquisition of a new vertical machining centre, thus furthering its

commitment to manufacturing in Canada. The $300,000 machine will be instrumental in manufacturing products such as large combination, striking face and strike-free wrenches. Watts Water Technologies, North Andover, Massachusetts, announces the acquisition of PVI Industries, a manufacturer of engineer-specified plumbing and heating equipment. Newell Brands Inc., Atlanta, Georgia, has entered into an agreement to sell its tools business, including the Irwin, Lenox

and Hilmor brands, to Stanley Black & Decker, New Britain, Connecticut, which also owns DeWalt Tools. Ecco Supply, Langley, B.C., has entered into a strategic agreement with Redzone Products, Mississauga, Ont., making them the exclusive distributor for Western Canada. Roth Industries Inc., Syracuse, N.Y., has appointed Barrett Sales (1998) Ltd., Saint John, N.B., as manufacturer’s representative in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., Labrador and Newfoundland.


Airex Inc., a leading supplier of HVAC products in Ontario, is looking for talented individuals to join our growing team! We are currently hiring for:


HVAC Counter Sales - London HVAC Purchaser – Brampton P. Eng. HVAC Sales Engineer – Brampton Check uss out online at or on at @airex1982 ffor or more information. in If interested, please send your resume to

SAVE THE $30 ONSITE REGISTRATION FEE COURTESY OF PLUMBING & HVAC PRODUCT NEWS Bring this ad to the Show for free admission to the exhibit halls, or register free online at

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


QShop Management

Lease or buy? Numerous factors can complicate acquisition of commercial vehicles By Ron Coleman


Buy or lease? I wish there was a simple answer but there isn’t. One size does not fit all. There are a number of factors to consider. You need to understand these before making the commitment. The first thing I would like to clarify is that there are two totally separate types of “lease” for vehicles and equipment. There is a “capital” lease and an “operating” lease. Traditionally vehicles are normally operating leases while equipment such as big ticket tools and machinery are normally capital leases. However, even that is changing as leasing is getting more sophisticated. There

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016

is a trend towards using capital leases for commercial vehicles. The criteria for a capital lease can be any one of the following four options: • Ownership. The ownership of the asset is shifted from the lessor to the lessee by the end of the lease period; or • Bargain purchase option. The lessee can buy the asset from the lessor at the end of the lease term for a below-market price; or • Lease term. The period of the lease encompasses at least 75 percent of the useful life of the asset (and the lease is noncancellable during that time); or

• Present value. The present value of the minimum lease payments required under the lease is at least 90 percent of the fair value of the asset at the inception of the lease. If a lease agreement contains any one of the preceding four criteria, the lessee records it as a capital lease. Otherwise, the lease is recorded as an operating lease. Your external accountants will set this up in your year-end financial statements when they do your yearend if you don’t have the in-house expertise. The original intent behind the capital lease is that you are likely to keep the asset to the end of its useful life. Now that commercial vehicles are also being leased as capital leases this is changing. Either way you are responsible for all the repairs and associated costs. The advantage of the capital lease is that the asset will show up on your balance sheet as an asset.

No asset value A truck lease that is set up as an operating lease does not have any of the above criteria and therefore there is no balance sheet entry - no asset value. It is generally easier to lease as you often don’t put any money down, there is no deposit and the monthly payments are lower. If that was the end of the story then there would be no problem, but there are always two sides to a coin. Oops – “no money down” – does this mean no security deposit? You may have to pay a deposit, plus the first month’s rental plus and related fees. The GST/HST on each payment is fully recoverable as an input tax credit. I often see newspaper ads for leases that look too good to be true and then, literally using a magnifying glass, I see that significant deposits are required, so don’t get fooled by the ads. Even where there is no deposit and lower monthly payments you should remember that you don’t end up owning the vehicle at the end of the lease. If cash flow is a major issue then leasing is an attractive option, provided the deposit, the security deposit and any other fees do not outweigh a purchase; if profit and

equity build-up is important then buy the vehicle, using a loan.

Tax issues There is no preferential tax treatment when comparing a lease to a purchase – you get to write off the actual expense. If this is a commercial vehicle used 100 percent for business then there is no personal tax benefit. In a lease you write off the full monthly payment whereas in a purchase you only write off the interest and write off the depreciation. Because you are purchasing the asset the expense portion of your cash flow is lower than in a lease.

If cash flow is a major issue then leasing is an attractive option, provided the deposit, the security deposit and any other fees do not outweigh a purchase… In a lease 100 percent of the cash flow is an expense, no equity; in a purchase your equity portion is a depreciation write off over the life of the asset. When you sell the asset you may get more than the book value for it and therefore you have over claimed depreciation so you will have to write back the difference to profit. Naturally all your operating expenses – fuel, repairs, insurance, etc. – are expensed whether it is a purchase or a lease. If you do modifications and repaint the vehicle you could likely expense those in one year or write them off over several years depending on the amount. Review this with your accountant.

Accountable for damage In a lease you don’t have ownership so you are accountable to the owner for any damage, beyond normal wear and tear, and accountable for excess mileage. There have been recent

cases where dealers have been very aggressive in this area because the residual value of the vehicle is lower than anticipated. When the dealer takes back the vehicle he wants to make a profit on the resale. He can do this in two ways, one by selling the vehicle for more than the buy-back allowance and secondly by hitting up the lessee for charges for excess damage and excess wear and tear. Commercial vehicles do take quite a pounding over the years. You will also likely have to return the vehicle to its previous condition, less normal wear and tear. That means you may have to have it repainted to get rid of your branding and you will have to dismantle any racking and shelving. And, of course, there is the excess mileage charge, which can range from 10 cents to 20 cents per km. One strategy is to consider buying out the vehicle at the end of the lease so that you don’t have to comply with any of those conditions and then to use the vehicle for a while longer, or resell it. Reselling it with the modifications should make it more valuable to another contractor. Getting out of a lease is extremely difficult. Go to the website and see the number of people trying to get out of their leases. Usually businesses are clear on their need for commercial vehicles and less likely to need to get out of it or terminate it early. However, you do want to be aware of all the implications of what is required. Another factor that we will address in part two of this article is where to go to get the best deals on purchasing or leasing commercial vehicles and what to watch for when returning a lease vehicle. We will also identify the times when a capital lease is a better option than an operating lease. 

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

November/December 2016 – Plumbing & HVAC


QComing Events

Contractors learn about every imaginable HVAC/R product, and then some, at the AHR Expo.

AHR Expo returns Las Vegas will host North America’s largest HVAC/R show The International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) will take place Jan. 30 to Feb. 1 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Over 2,000 exhibitors will display their latest products. About 60,000 people from around the world are expected to attend. Approximately 80 percent of exhibitors expect to display previously unseen or

INDEX to ADVERTISERS AHR Expo ........................................... 43 Bibby Ste. Croix .................................. 38 Canada Post ....................................... 42 Cash Acme ......................................... 47 Chrysler .............................................. 22 Daikin ................................................... 6 Danfoss .............................................. 30 DeWalt ............................................... 20 Fieldpiece............................................ 35 Flir Systems ......................................... 40 Flocor ................................................. 36 Ford ...................................................... 2 Gastite ................................................ 28 General Pipe Cleaners ........................... 8


enhanced products, systems and technologies covering every aspect of the industry. “It’s exciting to see such enthusiasm around the rebounding North American building and construction industry, and subsequent growth in demand for the latest evolution of products, technologies and services the HVAC/R industry has to offer,” said Clay Stevens, president of International Exposition Company, which organizes the show. New and innovative products echo several major trends including: • Green Building as a standard of design, reflected in new ultra-efficient equipment, IBC Boilers ............................................ 4 IPEX .................................................... 27 Liberty Pumps ..................................... 26 Mercedes-Benz Canada ...................... 15 Napoleon ............................................ 16 Noritz ................................................. 10 NTI...................................................... 38 Noritz ................................................. 15 P&HVAC + .......................................... 32 RedZone* ........................................... 32 Rhomar Water .................................... 16 RIDGID................................................ 48 Stelpro ................................................ 39 Viessmann .......................................... 24 ZoellerPumps ...................................... 11 * Ontario only

Plumbing & HVAC – November/December 2016

+ outside Ontario

monitoring and sensing tools, and building information modeling methods that help achieve notable energy savings and ensure reliable, efficient long-term mechanical system operation. • A rapidly returning residential construction market (in the U.S.), answered via introduction of numerous heating, cooling and ventilation products specifically designed for residential applications and user-friendly homeowner operation. • Strong focus on remodeling and renovation, as seen across new product and system solutions designed specifically for installation in smaller and/or logistically challenging existing spaces. • Increasing pre-fab/offsite construction methods, reflected in modular equipment with multiple installation configurations and more compact footprints and … • Skilled labor shortages, as addressed by new tools and other resources that streamline mechanical system installations and repairs. An extensive seminar program is planned as well. Full details along with show information and registration is available at The AHR Expo is co-sponsored by ASHRAE and the American Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute (AHRI) and is held concurrently with ASHRAE’s Winter Conference.


Calendar JAN. 28-FEB. 1: ASHRAE Winter Conference, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. Visit www. or call 1-404-636-8400.

JAN. 30-FEB.1: AHR Expo, Las Vegas Convention Centre, Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit www.ahrexpo. com or call 1-203-221-9232.

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







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November/December 2016  

■ Refrigerant changes coming with global agreement ■ National Energy Code could cripple hydronic industry ■ Ont. revises door-knocker legis...

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