Category - News

November 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

HEATSPRING LEARNING INSTITUTE AND ESPCO FORM AN ALLIANCE!

I could not be any more pleased to announce that you can now register for HeatSpring geothermal training through a new affiliated training website link at espco.cammpus.com

The alliance gives students who have attended one of my ‘Introduction to Geothermal Heat Pumps’ classes a direct stream to their continuing education and quest for International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, IGSHPA, certification as well as North American Technician Excellence, NATE, certification.

I start every five hour introduction to geothermal class with the same statement…‘at the end of today I wish I could tell you that you are going to leave here a geothermal expert…you will not’. My introduction class covers a wide range of geothermal components but it is impossible to cover everything in five hours. The best I can do is establish a good foundation of knowledge, dispel some common fears and apprehensions, and lastly, point the attendee in the right direction toward the ‘next step’ in their geothermal education. The next step is a multi-day class that offers the opportunity to be tested for IGSHPA and NATE certifications…I believe both to be essential to establish yourself as ‘the geo guy’ in your market.

HeatSpring Learning Institute is the real deal. How do I know? I started my geothermal learning with their ‘IGSHPA Geothermal Installer Certification Training’ class years ago. I was lucky enough to attend a class conducted by Ryan Carda, a young HeatSpring instructor from South Dakota. Ryan is much younger than I am, (everyone is younger than I am), but his geothermal resume could be that of someone my age or older. He has a Master of Science, (M.S.), engineering degree from South Dakota State University and is the co-author of the IGSHPA Residential & Light Commercial Design & Installation Guide that you will receive when you attend the certification training…this is the guy who literally ‘wrote the book’ on geothermal design and installation!

I have met and gotten to know many brilliant people in the HVACR industry over the years but it is rare when one can instruct a class where each attendee feels that he / she is getting ‘special’ attention from the instructor…Ryan Carda does just that. Ryan has been a part of some of the biggest geothermal projects in the US as well as typical residential applications and he brings that wealth of experience to each class he conducts.

The IGSHPA & NATE certification test is no joke…100 questions and you must earn at least a 90% to pass…no exceptions! I half joke in my ‘intro’ classes that I now regret not listening more intently to old lady Gillacuddy in sixth grade science class when she was teaching us about geology…you remember…soil, rocks, sand, clay, all that stuff. There is a heavy duty geological aspect to geothermal design and it represents a fair amount of the certification test questions.

The HeatSpring certification class will provide you with all the text material and classroom review for you to confidently take the certification test, and should you pass, establish yourself as the ‘geothermal expert’ in your home market.

Those of you who are already well along the way in your process to further break away from the pack of geothermal installer competitors in your market can find advanced classes and classes specific to the needs of a driller or geothermal designer. Please go to the link right now and invest in your own future by signing up for a HeatSpring Learning Institute class which is now proudly affiliated with me and ESPCO, Inc.

You can link to HeatSpring affiliated classes at my website, www.ESPCOtraining.com by placing your curser on the menu bar tab, ‘training events’ at the top of the home page and then clicking on ‘affiliated training’ or from the ‘links’ page under the ‘affiliated training’ header.

WHY DO I KEEP HEARING THAT ‘GEOTHERMAL DOESN’T WORK IN FLORIDA’?

The first week in October I spent in beautiful south Florida conducting ‘Introduction to Water Source Heat Pumps’ classes. Although I was speaking about water source heat pumps its hard to have that conversation without addressing ground source heat pumps.

I was surprised…more like astonished, to have a number of installers and technicians in the classes say to me that ‘geothermal doesn’t work here in Florida’. They all seemed to have an example installation to tell me about when making their point.

I only had three hours with them for each class so I had to stay on point, (that being water source), but it was bugging me why they felt like they do about geothermal…it had no basis in fact in my opinion.

I returned to New York and started to research this phenomenon that I experienced in Florida. I quickly got to the bottom of it…the guys in Florida were basing their geothermal designs on 50 degree ground temperatures…and the ground ain’t 50 degrees in Florida!

I know why this happened…the 50 degree temperature is kind of thrown around as a ‘constant’ in many geothermal conversations…like no matter where you are on earth, you dig a few feet down and it will be 50 degrees…well, it just ain’t so!

The fact is that Florida has ground temperatures that range from 67 degrees in the northern part of the state to 72 – 77 degrees in the southern parts. So does this mean that ‘geothermal doesn’t work in Florida’…hell no!

Look, Oklahoma is the geothermal epicenter here in the US with the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, IGSHPA, located on the campus of Oklahoma State University in Stillwater OK. The ground temperatures in Oklahoma are not all that different from northern Florida…about 62 degrees.

So the question is, ‘what happens when you design a geothermal system based on 50 degree ground temperatures and you actually have 67 – 77 degree temperatures’?

Well, in a nutshell…‘it don’t work so well’!

Here’s why:

The foundation of a geothermal system is its ability to extract heat from the earth in the winter time and reject heat to the earth in the summer time. If we don’t put enough tubing in the ground based upon the typical ground temperatures for the region, we will have low Entering Water Temperatures, EWT, in the heating mode and high EWT in the cooling mode. Think about it, if we have insufficient tubing making up our Ground Heat Exchanger, GHEX, then the heat of extraction and heat of rejection will be compromised.

Let’s look at some real numbers to drive the point home:

A two ton geothermal system based on 50 degree ground temperature will require two vertical boreholes of approximately 172 feet deep with roughly 345 feet of ¾ HDPE tubing, (single loop/ borehole), for a total of 690 feet of tubing.

Let’s take that exact same system but now use 67 degrees as our ground temperature…we now require two vertical boreholes of approximately 373 feet deep with roughly 747 feet of ¾” HDPE tubing, (single loop / borehole), for a total of 1494 feet of tubing…twice as much pipe than required for the 50 degree ground temperature!

Can you now see why I kept hearing ‘geothermal doesn’t work in Florida’?

This is no reflection on the installers and technicians of Florida…they were probably only doing what they were told to do in a geothermal product presentation. As I mentioned earlier, I’m afraid the ‘50 degree ground temperature theory no matter where you are on earth’ has been misused and abused by many ‘talking geothermal’ and for those who applied it in regions with severe differences it created problem systems.

Can these problem systems be fixed…sure! I bet I don’t even have to tell you what to do…its ‘drill baby drill’! Adding a couple more boreholes with the appropriate tubing is the answer!

I was at a meeting of geothermal sales professionals in Orlando, FL as my final assignment the same week I was conducting the WSHP classes. I was asked to give a presentation describing the classes I conduct and their curriculum. One of the reps stopped me and described how some geothermal installers in his market were blowing his guys quoted job costs out of the water because they were using less tubing in the ground. He asked me ‘what the result of this would be to the end user’, (homeowner).

I have to admit that initially I thought the question so elementary that I figured I must have heard him wrong…I over-complicated the answer when it was really very simple…‘it ain’t going to work so well’ for all the reasons I just described.

HURRICANE SANDY CAUSES CANCELATION OF ARMSTRONG PUMP CLASSES…NEW DATES SCHEDULED!

The first two ‘Introduction to Basic Hydronics’ classes had to be canceled due to hurricane Sandy’s merciless devastation here in the NY / NJ area. I am glad to report that the Armstrong representatives, Thermco in NJ and Rathe Associates in NY, fared relatively well through the hurricane and we have rescheduled the first two dates as follows:

SUBJECT: Introduction to Basic Hydronics
DATE: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Armstrong Pumps & Thermco
LOCATION: Thermco
228 Scoles Ave.
Clifton, NJ. 07012
TIME: 5:30 – 7PM
CONTACT: 973-777-6700

SUBJECT: Introduction to Basic Hydronics
DATE: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Armstrong Pumps & Rathe Associates
LOCATION: Rathe Associates
1650 New Highway
Farmingdale, NY 11735
TIME: 5:30 – 7PM
CONTACT: 800-841-3367

Please stay tuned for new dates for the ‘Intermediate Hydronics including ‘Green’ System Pumping and Light Commercial Applications’ which we expect to take place sometime in January, 2013.

FREE GEOTHERMAL DESIGN SOFTWARE FROM COMFORT-AIRE / CENTURY!

You can download some great geothermal design software called ‘LoopLogix’ at the

Heat Controller website here.

LoopLogix won’t calculate the heat loss / gain of a structure, you still have to do a traditional ACCA manual J calculation and input the structures loads into LoopLogix. The software will design every type of ground heat exchanger you can think of including vertical borehole closed loop U-tube, well water open loop systems, horizontal trenched and backhoe applications as well as Slinky and pond applications.

The best GHEX for your geothermal application is the one that installs for the lowest cost…with LoopLogix you can compare the materials required and borehole depths against any of the other application I mentioned above with the simple click of your mouse…you enter your design information just once and then you can click back and forth between any number of GHEX applications…how cool is that!

LoopLogix will allow you to compare your proposed geothermal system, (installed cost, return on investment, etc.), against the homeowners existing system and any other system that he / she may be considering from your competitors…up to six systems can be compared! It will produce a printable presentation that you can edit any way you wish including your company logo.

See you all soon!

Posted in News | Comments Off on November 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

September / October 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

Can you oversize an inverter ductless mini split system?

This is a question that I pose to the attendees of each mini split class I conduct.  Before you start writing your reply to what I’m sure you think is an obvious answer, let me save you the effort…YES…the answer is YES, of course you can!

Now, with that out of the way, let me address why I pose the question at all if it has such an obvious answer.

We need to start with the anatomy of an inverter system; an inverter compressor can run at 3600 RPM like every other compressor in HVACR equipment but the difference is that it doesn’t have to.

Let me digress a moment;

You guys know my background…I’m a wet-head by birth…being from NJ / NY hydronics are the first HVACR subject you learn and air comes later. When I started in the boiler biz back in the 70’s we made a lot of different boilers…50 MBH, 75 MBH, 100 MBH, 125 MBH, 150 MBH…and on and on. Now boiler companies for the most part make one boiler…a modulating boiler that can ‘down-fire’ to as low as 50 MBH and modulate up all the way to 150 MBH. If you install this boiler in a home with a heat loss of 100 MBH it doesn’t short-cycle because it will never produce anything over 100 MBH. Why? Because it measures indoor & outdoor ambient air temperature and fires the boiler accordingly.

Now, you can take that old oversized, non-modulating boiler, i.e., 150 MBH in a home with a heat loss of 75 MBH, and stop it from short cycling by adding ‘indoor / outdoor reset’ to the control system. Instead of heating the water up to 180 degrees even when the outdoor temp is 50 degrees and you ‘just need to take the chill off’, the control will fire the boiler only up to the temperature required to meet the heat loss of the home based on the outdoor air temp. There would be some mechanical changes required, specifically a bypass from the boiler supply to the return to make sure a minimum return temp came back to the boiler to prevent thermal shock…new condensing boilers don’t require this as the lower the return temp the more efficient they run.

Why the Hydronics 101…well, because the SAME principal applies to an inverter compressor.

The inverter compressor does not start at 3600 RPM and then ramp down as the system finds the setpoint programmed by the homeowner…it starts at the lowest RPM and ramps up. If the actual room temp and the setpoint are only a few degrees apart the compressor will never come anywhere near full capacity. Like the modulating boiler, the inverter system senses both indoor & outdoor temperatures and applies power to the compressor accordingly, (the compressor is the burner if you will).

I can prove it very easily…my test lab here in New York is a 10′ X 20′ prefabricated garage. A recent equipment test had me install a single 12K inverter ductless system in the lab. Rather than short cycle as you would expect, what happens is the system rarely shuts off…the compressor will initially, (over a three minute period if needed), ramp up to full capacity and get the room to the programmed setpoint and then you will see the compressor ramp down to a minimum running RPM, and if the fan is on AUTO, it will do the same. The compressor may shut down completely and the controls programmed into the equipment will keep the compressor off for a minimum of three minutes and then it takes another three minutes for the compressor to comeback up to full capacity so a minimum cycle, (if it existed), could be no shorter than 3 minutes.

You can further increase the run cycles by placing the fan of the evaporator in the ‘manual’ mode and operate it at the lowest speed.

What always has to be considered when dealing with inverter ductless mini splits is the ‘range’ of operation that the system will provide. Unlike a non-inverter conventional system that only knows two performance points, on and off, the inverter offers a range of performance.

An 9K inverter evaporator will give you an operating performance range of approximately
2 MBUH – 11 MBUH of cooling.

An 12K inverter evaporator will give you an operating performance range of approximately
3 MBUH – 13 MBUH of cooling.

An 18K inverter evaporator will give you an operating performance range of approximately
7 MBUH – 23 MBUH of cooling.

Let’s look at an example;

If you install a 9K inverter evaporator in a room that has a heat gain of 5 MBUH will it ever produce 9 MBUH? NO! It will ramp up to 5 MBUH and satisfy the setpoint programmed by the homeowner and then maintain that setpoint thereafter.

So, with this in mind, back to my original question…can you oversize an inverter ductless mini split system?

Well, I believe there are two ways to oversize utilizing an inverter MS…the first is the obvious capacity oversize.

Let’s use the same example of a room with a 5 MBUH heat gain. ..if you install a 18K inverter evaporator in that room are you oversized…hell yeah! The low end of the performance range of an 18K inverter evaporator is 7 MBUH…more than the total heat gain of the room.

Where I see installers make a less obvious mistake in sizing inverter mini splits is with this scenario;

Again, the room with the 5 MBUH heat gain but now we have an installer who decides to install a 12K evaporator in the room saying to himself, ‘it’s an inverter, it won’t ever go up to 12K because the room only needs 5 MBUH… so what’s the harm?’.

Well, the harm is that his competitor who makes the more accurate choice of a 9K evaporator for the same room will get the job based on equipment cost alone!

I’m a believer in inverter mini splits for so many reasons, in so many applications, but we still need to use our skills to make sure we are choosing the right equipment for each application.

This is not your father’s electric baseboard!

I had the pleasure of meeting Don Brickner, USA Sales Manager of Dimplex, at a recent trade event. Don was displaying the Dimplex LPC Series of electric baseboard.

Now, I have to be honest, I was thinking exactly what you are thinking right now… ‘electric baseboard makes the meter spin off the wall’!

Electric baseboard became somewhat taboo, did it not? The cost of operating electric baseboard has always been prohibitive based on the high cost of a kilowatt…unless of course you live near Hoover Dam or Niagara Falls.

There is no more efficient form of heat…for every kilowatt in we get a BTU out but again, the cost of the kilowatt has always been the obstacle.

I am pleased that I listened to Don because he enlightened me as to where the technology has taken this once forgotten form of heat.  Much like the modulating boiler and the inverter compressor we just discussed in the earlier article, the Dimplex LPC Series modulates or ‘proportions’ the heat output to maintain the temperature with a 33% savings on energy use over traditional electric baseboard products.

What drew me to the Dimplex product was it’s appearance…it looks really nice! It is very slim and has a low profile. The LPC Series are up to 42% smaller than conventional baseboard heaters.

The LPC Series is available in lengths from 20” to 60” and wattages from 500W – 2500W.
A 500W element will give you about 1024 BTU / foot. A 2500W element will give you 1706 BTU / foot and there are five further wattage increments between 500 and 2500 to satisfy any need and application.

The baseboards have an on-board electronic baseboard that can communicate with others in the same zone or a wireless remote is available as an option.

Dimplex claims their LPC series will maintain a consistent room temperature to within .9 degrees Fahrenheit…very impressive!

You can check out Dimplex’s entire product offering at their website:
http://www.dimplex.com/en/

Follow up to an article in the May & June Newsletter about the ‘HydroClaw’

Great news from my friends the Perry brothers who invented the expansion tank mounting device they call the ‘HydroClaw’.  Our mutual good friend, Dan Holohan of HeatingHelp.com featured the HydroClaw in his recent newsletter and the Perry’s established a website as well. You can see the site at this address:

http://stormkingenterprises.drupalgardens.com
You can purchase the HydroClaw at:

May Supply

1175 Erickson Ave.
Harrisonburg, VA. 22801
540-433-2611
http://www.maysupply.com

New classes posted on the website

Please keep checking my website for an upcoming class near you. I have scheduled classes in Florida, Western Canada, New York and New Jersey and I believe I will be posting classes for the Chicago area as well as more classes in Ontario Canada very soon. Subjects include mini splits, geothermal, commercial water source heat pumps and hydronic pumping…sign up for a class today!

Music

It has been a while since I had the space to share with you some musical insights and discoveries I have made recently…I decided in this newsletter to make the space because I just had to turn you on to a new artist.

Jason Casterlin has released his debut CD entitled ‘Old Stone Church’. If I were to label Jason’s genre I would say he has a heavy ‘country’ influence. Now, usually that is not my own taste, but I find I can’t keep this CD out of my player in my pickup truck, (appropriate I guess…country music in a pickup truck).

I have always been a sucker for a pedal steel and Jason has a fellow named Jay Ganz who plays a crazy pedal steel and enriches each track he plays on.

I know Jason because his day job is at the local guitar shop that I frequent in Newburgh, NY. Imperial Guitar & Soundworks. I think Bill Imperial may need some help soon as I predict Jason will be quitting his ‘day gig’ to hit the road to the big time as a result of this incredible CD.

You can buy Jason’s CD at iTunes and Amazon and go to his website at:
http://www.jasoncasterlin.com

Need a great luthier?

Those of you obsessed with guitars like I am need a good luthier to keep your axes in good shape. I recently got turned on to a great luthier named Scott Kopec right here in Orange County, NY.

Scott was the guy who established and ran the guitar shop at Alto Music in Middletown, NY for many years and he is now out on his own. I recently brought Scott one of my 1930’s Kay Kraft venetian archtops which was really unplayable and in need of some serious work. Scott worked his magic on this very unique guitar and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I left Scott my other Kay Kraft as well as two other guitars…as a collector, finding a great local luthier is invaluable.

You can reach Scott through his website at:
http://www.smkguitars.com

See you all soon!

Posted in News | Comments Off on September / October 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

August 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

NEW YORK & NEW JERSEY CLASSES ANNOUNCED FOR ARMSTRONG PUMP: I am pleased to announce that the training classes I first discussed in the March 2012 newsletter are now scheduled and ready for your registration!

The training program I created for Armstrong is billed as;
‘First Regional Armstrong Training & Education’ (First RATE).

The program consists of two classes, (for now), and will be conducted both in New York and New Jersey.

Armstrong participating representatives are:
Thermco
228 Scoles Ave.
Clifton, NJ. 07012
973-777-6700
Session One: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Session Two: Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Time: 5:30PM – 7:00PM

Rathe Associates
1659 New Highway
Farmingdale, NY 11735
1-800-841-3367
Session One: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Session Two: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Time: 5:30PM – 7:00PM

Here is the curriculum for each class:

Session One: Introduction to Basic Hydronics: Sponsored by Armstrong Pumps

  1. Is it really a pump?
  2. Anatomy of a circulator
  3. Wet rotor, (Astro) vs. three piece, (S & H)
  4. It ain’t wet rotor, it ain’t three piece…its E.2 series!
  5. The language of hydronics
  6. Don’t be afraid of the math; calculating GPM and TDH
  7. Circulator selection: how to read a pump curve and which circulator type is best for your application
  8. Now that I selected the circulator, where do I put it? (system component placement)
  9. System pressures…’for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’…and that ain’t always good!
  10. Lets put this all to work: residential project examples
  11. Pipe sizing
  12. Three speed pumps…’the great equalizer’, (Astro 2 series)
  13. Hot water when you want it: residential domestic hot water recirculation sizing
  14. Astro Express hot water recirculation system
  15. Basic circulator / flow troubleshooting / common problems

Session Two: Intermediate Hydronics including ‘Green’ System Pumping & Light Commercial Applications: Sponsored by Armstrong Pumps

  1. Those radiant systems sure have a lot of pipe! (radiant circulator sizing and selection / Astro / E.2 series)
  2. PEX tubing and its effects on pump performance
  3. You thought radiant had a lot of pipe…wait till you see geothermal! (geothermal circulator sizing / Astro / E.2 series)
  4. Thermal Solar…guess what, you need a pump! (Astro series)
  5. Three speed advantages in ‘green’ applications, (Astro 2 series)
  6. Injection pumping; this injection won’t hurt…we promise! (Astro series)
  7. Light commercial applications; the world beyond 2500 sq/ft., (series 1050 & 1060, PiB 4360 & 4380)
  8. Primary / secondary piping & pumping
  9. Mod-con boiler pumping requirements
  10. What went wrong? (intermediate troubleshooting)
    • Purging
    • An air vent as an air inducer
    • buffer tanks advantages / disadvantages
    • Pressure drops through heat exchangers

Please call the Armstrong rep closest to you and register for both of these comprehensive hydronics classes and see for yourself how Armstrong is working to be your pump and hydronic accessory source.

RATHE ASSOCIATES, FARMINGDALE, NY OPENS TRAINING CENTER: Don Rathe invited me to see his creation that I am calling ‘The Rathe Wall of Hydronics” at his training facility in Farmingdale, NY. The ‘RWHas it will be referred to henceforth, utilizes Armstrong circulators, Caleffi hydronic accessories, a Laars boiler, a Turbomax indirect water heater, Cash Acme expansion tanks, Hydrolevel low water cutoffs, Webstone valves, Tekmar controls and Comfort PEX tubing which all comes together to create one of the best, most functional, training tools I have ever seen.

I have witnessed many attempts at functional displays over the years and even one that ended up costing north of six figures but in the end was a sales tool…not a training tool. The ‘RWH’ is a true training tool that allows one to see ‘cause and effect’ as different circulators are energized, air is induced and then eliminated, heating zones call and satisfy and flow is measured at different points in the system.

As I mentioned earlier, I will have the pleasure of conducting two classes at this new facility and I can’t wait to make the ‘RWH’ come to life…it’s alive I say!

I have added some pictures of the ‘RWH’ to my website, here …and then sign up for the October and November classes!

ESPCO GOES INTERNATIONAL! I had the pleasure of working with the Heat Controller affiliate in Ontario, Canada , Aiton’s Equipment, Inc., just a couple weeks back. I conducted five mini split classes at the Tackaberry Training Centre (TTC) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Tackaberry Heating & Refrigeration Supplies was founded in 1967 and now has five locations throughout Ontario.

Mike Spies, Operations Manager at Tackaberry, designed a working training room at their Kingston location that was a trainer’s dream! As many of you know, my mini split class contains several videos of me performing various tasks and dis-assembly of evaporators but at Tackaberry I actually had a working Comfort-Aire system that not only acted as a functional training tool but cooled the room as well…how cool is that, (pun intended)?

The TTC is a real ‘man cave’…everything is diamond plated…even the ceiling!

A quick story about my entry in to Canada; I never considered I would need a ‘work permit’ as I was conducting classes in Canada for the first time. I breezed through customs in Toronto and was headed to get my baggage when I was flagged by a couple of Canadian immigration officers and sent to speak with two more.

I have to say the two officers were terrific and completely understanding of my ignorance of the work permit requirement. One hour and a $150.00 U.S. later, (the fee for the permit), and I was on my way with green card in hand.   Who would have thought…I was almost an illegal alien!

I have posted pictures of the TTC at my website, you can see them here.

PRESS RELEASE: You will see the following press release in upcoming trade magazines:

Heat Controller, Inc of Jackson, MI and ESPCO, Inc. of Central Valley, NY have agreed to extend their current contract for Gerry Wagner of ESPCO to conduct installer training for the Comfort-Aire and Century mini split and geothermal products both in the US and Canada. ESPCO, Inc. is a ‘contract training’ firm who designs and implements HVAC product training programs for manufacturers in the global HVAC market

NEW CLASSES POSTED ONLINE: Please check the website from time to time for a class coming to a town near you. My Fall 2012 ‘Mother Earth’ tour begins in Jackson, MI on September 19 & 20 with a Comfort-Aire Geothermal class with my good friend Leon Cogswell of Heat Controller, Inc. leading the training efforts and myself assisting. The tour takes me back to Canada in October for the following dates:

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating / Introduction to Geothermal Heating & Cooling (each subject three hours)
DATE: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Aiton’s Equipment / Independent Supply Co.
LOCATION: Independent Supply Co.
11418 120 Street
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T5G 2Y2
TIME: 8:00AM – 2:00PM
CONTACT: 780-451-1072

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating / Introduction to Geothermal Heating & Cooling (each subject three hours)
DATE: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Aiton’s Equipment / Independent Supply Co.
LOCATION: Independent Supply Co.
2280 Portland St. SE
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2G 4M6
TIME: 8:00AM – 2:00PM
CONTACT: 403-214-2134

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating / Introduction to Geothermal Heating & Cooling (each subject three hours)
DATE: Thursday, October 25, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Aiton’s Equipment / Independent Supply Co.
LOCATION: Independent Supply Co.
2808 Ingleton Ave.
Burnaby,  British Columbia, Canada V5C 6G7
TIME: 8:00AM – 2:00PM
CONTACT: 604-298-4472

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating / Introduction to Geothermal Heating & Cooling (each subject three hours)
DATE: Friday, October 26, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Aiton’s Equipment / Independent Supply Co.
LOCATION: Independent Supply Co.
203-9489 200 Street
Langley, British Columbia, Canada V1M 3A7
TIME: 8:00AM – 2:00PM
CONTACT: 604-888-8156

The 2012 ‘Mother Earth’ tour concludes back in Jackson, MI on November 13 & 14 for another geo class with Leon leading the charge.

Sprinkled within the tour are my Armstrong Pump classes and yet to be announced mini split training dates around the country…stay tuned!

See you all soon!

Posted in News | Comments Off on August 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

July 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

SUNNOVATIONS ACHIEVES SOLAR HOT WATER ‘FIRSTS’

My good friends at Sunnovations made BIG news last month with the announcement of their product / system receiving SRCC OG300 certification. Those of us who are familiar with the process know just how important this is and how much effort it took over several years to achieve it!

The following is from Sunnovations’ press release:

Solar thermal technology innovator Sunnovations Inc. has been awarded the industry-standard OG300 certification by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation on 41 unique system configurations for residential solar water heating. In doing so, Sunnovations has achieved several industry “firsts”, including:

  • The only “self-pumped” systems certified OG300 by the SRCC.
  • The only closed-loop glycol systems certified by the SRCC to use PEX for the solar loop piping.
  • The only systems with passive overheat protection.

These technical distinctions translate into a number of important homeowner benefits that are unique to Sunnovations:

1.    “Self-pumped” means that the system will work even when there is a power outage or in off-grid applications. Sunnovations’ systems are the only ones on the market that provide system freeze protection without the need for electrical pumps and controllers.

2.    “Use of PEX” means that systems can be installed more quickly and cost-effectively than any other comparable solar hot water system.

3.    “Passive overheat protection” means that the systems will not experience the chronic overheating that typical closed-loop glycol systems suffer from. This further means that the system does not require costly periodic maintenance that other systems require.

“We believe our systems represent the lowest cost per BTU delivered of any comparable residential solar water heating system in the US” stated Sunnovations Chief Executive Officer Matt Carlson, “Additionally, we have among the broadest variety of system configurations available, providing a fit for most home types and needs.”

The SRCC’s rigorous system certification process is the industry standard in the US, and utilized performance and durability data from independent testing conducted by industry leader TÜV Rheinland in Tempe, AZ. The certifications qualify Sunnovations’ systems for many state and utility solar hot water rebate programs, as well as the generation of renewable energy credits in multiple jurisdictions including Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Charles Segerman, CEO of Clean Currents Thermal in Rockville, MD, said: “Our experience with the Sunnovations system has been as advertised: simple, single day installation at an affordable cost to the homeowner. The renewable energy credits that are enabled by these certifications will help our Maryland and DC customers offset the installed cost of their solar hot water system and reduce their carbon footprint.”

About Sunnovations

Sunnovations’ geyser-pump design removes the need for all electro-mechanical components found in typical solar water heating systems, providing for affordable, simplified and standardized systems while at the same time maintaining performance and freeze protection. The company’s system is available exclusively through leading renewable energy installers.

Interested homeowners can determine their potential cost savings and carbon footprint reduction from a solar hot water system by going to http://www.sunnovations.com/forms/calculator. Qualified professional installers can learn more about Sunnovations’ system and becoming an Installer Partner at http://www.sunnovations.com/content/for-installers.

As you may remember, I have a Sunnovations thermal solar system on my home…you can see it here.

Also, go back to the October 2011 newsletter, (see it at this address https://espcotraining.com/2011/october-2011-espco-newsletter/ ), and read about my Sunnovations systems. If you have been contemplating getting into thermal solar and didn’t know what product to choose, where to get training and how to take advantage of state and federal tax incentives then I suggest reading up on Sunnovations…I’m a believer!

GEOTHERMAL CREATING NEW AND PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITIES IN RURAL OHIO

I had the pleasure of meeting Ron and Nathan Shafer of Shafer Heating & Cooling LLC in Hillsboro, OH this past month. I had classes scheduled in both Cincinnati and Columbus, OH and I took a side trip to Hillsboro to meet the Shafer’s at Nathan’s home to assist with a mini split system.

Hillsboro is in Highland County with a population of about 6,600 residents. Hillsboro has a total area of 5.2 square miles and population density of 1,269 per square mile…compared to Cincinnati that has an area of about 80 square miles and a population density of 3,879 per square mile, Hillsboro is the definition of rural!

As I drove closer to Hillsboro I felt like I stepped back in time…I passed a real ‘Mail Pouch Tobacco’ barn and passed local Amish men piloting horse drawn carriages…it is absolutely beautiful!

Now, you may be thinking that I’m going to tell you a story about a small town, family owned and operated heating and cooling contractor who services their ‘Mayberry’ like community but that would only be part of the story. The Shafer’s are the market leaders in Southwestern Ohio…in fact; they are the market makers in my opinion.

Shafer Heating & Cooling LLC are the pioneers of geothermal heating and cooling in their market. When their competitors were happy to do the ‘same old, same old’, Ron and his son Nathan have been increasing their company’s sales and profits by promoting geothermal systems to their neighbors, business associates and friends…all of which, are customers of the Shafer’s.

In a down economy, (I’m being polite), in an area of relative low income and small population, the Shafer’s are growing…yes, growing…and a big reason why is geothermal!

Nathan is third generation Shafer involved in the business. Ron started the company back in 1986 with his Dad and the fourth generation; Nathan’s wife is expecting their first child, a son, will insure the business will flourish for many years to come.

The business’s success was no mistake…Ron knew he had to set himself apart from his competition and ‘going green’ was the way to do it. Ron admitted to me that some of his competitors thought he was ‘nuts’ when he started promoting geothermal heating and cooling. Some years gone by, now he sees others following his lead.

Now, you would think that geothermal in rural Ohio where there is lots of land, farms with ponds and / or wells for agricultural and animal needs, is a no brainer…but it wasn’t always the case. Ron had to pioneer the concept to the community, overcoming concerns, none the least of which was cost.

Federal and state incentives in Ohio bring the cost of geothermal within the range of less efficient, shorter lived ‘conventional’ equipment and systems and in recent years where the economy has reached unprecedented lows…especially in rural areas…the Shafer’s are growing and look to add to their fleet of five trucks.

Check out Ron and Nathan installing a horizontal slinky ground heat exchanger, a pond geothermal project and vertical borehole installations at their website.

The Shafer’s are an example of a hardworking, smart, entrepreneurial family that thinks ‘outside the box’ and in doing so serves their community well with innovative, cost saving, long lasting geothermal services.

…and I just love Nathan’s dog…a ‘blue heeler Australian cattle dog’ who is just coolest dog in Ohio!

KEYSTONE UNIVERSITY, GILBERTSVILLE, PA.

I had the pleasure of conducting an ‘Introduction to Geothermal Heating & Cooling’ class at the Keystone University in Gilbertsville, PA this past week. I have posted pictures of the incredible classroom Bob DellaSala and his crew at Keystone Sales created and named Keystone University. You can see the pictures here.

This is a ‘state of the art’ facility with working hydronic heating systems including Buderus boilers and a Zurn radiant floor heating system.

The room is cooled by a Small Duct High Velocity (SDHV) cooling system from Comfort-Aire. The SDHV system, like the radiant manifold, is visible behind clear Plexiglas so students can observe these unique systems at work.

Bob and I go way back but this was the first time I visited with Bob at his beautiful facility in Gilbertsville. Bob took an existing manufacturer’s representative agency and brought it into the 21st century…he stocks more PEX tubing then I have ever seen in one place…you need high quality, competitively priced Zurn PEX tubing for your plumbing and / or heating project…Bob’s got what you need today!

Check out the picture of the classroom that shows the ‘wall of fame’ with a plaque dedicated to each manufacturer that Keystone represents…it is a relative ‘who’s who’ in the HVAC and plumbing industry.

Check out Keystone Sales’ website.


UPCOMING CLASSES

Keep checking the ‘Training Events’ tab on my website for updates on a class coming to a town near you. The following are some recent additions:

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Monday, July 16, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & FW Webb
LOCATION: Heritage Energy
625 Sawkill Rd.
Kingston, NY 12401
CONTACT: Heritage employees only

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Wednesday, July 18, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & FW Webb
LOCATION: FW Webb
62 Griswold St
Binghamton, NY 13904
CONTACT: 607-724-3170

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Tuesday, July 24, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & FW Webb
LOCATION: FW Webb
1173 Conway Rd.
Madison, NH 03849
CONTACT: 603-367-8852

See you all soon!

 

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June 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

REPRINT FROM LAST MONTH

I have never done this before but I think some of you may have missed this article from last month’s newsletter and I think it is worthy of everyone’s attention…or maybe a second look!

The HydroClaw by Storm King Enterprises

A couple buddies of mine have invented a new way to secure and safely mount a traditional diaphragm expansion tank on any structural member within the boiler room and / or on unistrut. The HydroClaw is the invention of Bruce and Jeff Perry, brothers from my home town in Orange County, NY. They were taught well by their dad, Mr. Don Perry, and there has been a Perry taking care of the community’s plumbing, heating and cooling needs since 1927.

You can tell how smart these guys are because they don’t work together…that seems to be a curse in our industry. I have seen too many family businesses ruined by feuding siblings. Bruce is the president / owner at Perry Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in Cornwall, NY and Jeff is the president / owner of Piedmont Radiant out of Charlottesville, VA.

These guys are not your average HVAC and plumbing contractors…each hold a college degree and each have talents and interests outside their ‘day jobs’.

The HydroClaw is truly a product born from ‘necessity being the mother of invention’. Bruce and Jeff are advocates of the new condensing boiler technologies where boilers have been taken off the floor where they were traditionally installed and now they are mounted on walls. Many of these boilers do not have integral expansion tanks and traditional air scoops for air removal have been replaced with low loss headers with integrated air removal devices. The problem the brothers faced…and I suspect many of us ‘wet heads’ do as well…is where and how to mount the diaphragm expansion tank?

The HydroClaw is an innovative and creative answer to this question…it securely grabs the tank within a steel clamp designed to mount to any structural member, (possibly right on the same wall the boiler is mounted), or to a piece of unistrut secured to structure. The HydroClaw is currently available in a size that accepts both #30 and #60 standard diaphragm expansion tanks of virtually all manufacturers as well as the ‘thermal’ type tanks for water heaters. The HydroClaw Jr. is soon to be released and it is designed to hold the smaller #15 tanks.

I think it is safe to say we all have unknowingly unthreaded what was a water-logged diaphragm expansion tank only to have it drop to the floor like a bowling ball because of the weight of the water…and if it hit your foot it was an experience you won’t long forget! A water-logged expansion tank creates a hazard of pipe breakage due to the excessive weight. The HydroClaw can prevent catastrophic damage resulting from a flooded expansion tank taking pipe and other system components with it as it tears from the system if not supported properly.

Now, before you suggest that Bruce and Jeff go on the show, ‘Shark Tank’, I have already suggested it and I wasn’t the first. I think the boys got something here that might, in time, even go beyond its initial intended use. I can see the HydroClaw being used to mount virtually any tank of any type… I also see a future for it as a seismic mount for water heaters and alike in areas prone to earthquake. You guys hear that in California?

I have posted two videos that the brothers have produced touting the advantages of the HydroClaw and how to install it properly. The videos can be seen under the tab ‘videos’. I have to tell you, I’m not only impressed with the HydroClaw itself but I think Jeff Perry has a future in ‘infomercials’…he is great in these videos and represents the product, himself and his brother very well.

The HydroClaw is patent pending and the boys are researching how best to bring the HydroClaw to the masses but for now you can buy directly from them at Storm King Enterprises. Call Bruce at 845-534-4270.

 

NEW CLASSES POSTED ON THE ESPCO WEBSITE

Go to the ‘training events’ tab and find an upcoming class near you!

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Tuesday, June 12, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & American Copper & Brass
LOCATION: Heat Controller
1900 Wellworth
Jackson, MI. 49203
CONTACT: 517-787-2100

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Wednesday, June 13, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & Style Crest, Inc.
LOCATION: Style Crest, Inc.
645 Hagerty Dr.
Fremont, OH. 43420
TIME: 2 – 5PM
CONTACT: James Zuehike
419-333-5710

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & E-Town WinAir
LOCATION: E-Town WinAir
436 S. Mulberry St
Elizabethtown, KY. 42701
TIME: 9AM – Noon
CONTACT: Doug Kerr
270-769-3851

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Wednesday, June 20, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & Trane
LOCATION: Trane
103000 Springfield Pike
Cincinnati, OH.  45215
CONTACT: 513-771-8884

SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Thursday, June 21, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & Trane
LOCATION: Trane
2300 CityGate Dr.
Columbus, OH. 43219
CONTACT: 614-473-3500

 

NEW PICTURES IN THE ‘MEDIA / GALLERY’ SECTION

I did a swing through the lovely state of Vermont last week with my mini split class and I ended the trip at the FW Webb location in Fitchburg, MA. I had the pleasure of meeting Chris Witti and his crew and they filled a room for me with some great HVAC installers and service technicians and we spent the afternoon talking Comfort-Aire mini splits.
While I was there Chris showed me his collection of antique plumbing fixtures. He showed me a toilet that was actually manufactured and sold by FW Webb back in the day. He had a shelf full of beautiful faucets and a urinal flush valve that looked and felt like the handle on a Vegas slot machine…how cool!
Check out the offer for a ‘free case of beer’ with purchases of $250.00 or more…pre-politically correct era for sure!
You can see all these great items at www.ESPCOtraining.com under the ‘media’ tab and then click on ‘gallery’ and scroll to the pictures titled ‘FW Webb, Fitchburg, MA fixture artifacts’.

NEW VIDEO POSTED ON THE WEBSITE

I posted some video taken at the April 24, 2012 Comfort-Aire mini split class held at the FW Webb location in Newburgh, NY. The video captured a portion of the class that highlights the advantages of inverter compressor technology as well as a comparison of ductless inverter systems vs. ducted conventional systems.
You can see the video at www.ESPCOtraining.com in the ‘media / video’ section.

MINI SPLITS AS HEATING SOURCES?

I get asked quite often if I think mini splits should be used as a heat source and my answer is always a resounding YES!
Now, before you start writing your email to me to counter my position let me complete the thought…yes, mini splits should be used as a heat source but they should NOT be the sole heat source in cold climates such as the northeast.
I have never seen the logic in installing cooling only mini split models in cold climates…the equipment cost difference between cooling only and heat pump models is minimal and the benefit of a secondary heat source can be invaluable.
Equipment such as the Comfort-Aire V series inverter single and multi-zone systems can heat down to 5 degree outdoor air temperatures. Now, we do need to discuss this a bit…at 5 degree ODA the heating capacity drops off significantly from its full rated capacity at 47 degree ODA. That understood, the benefit of having a secondary heat source should a boiler or a furnace go down on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Eve far outweighs any concerns about performance…in my opinion.
Again, understand that we’re not going to get ‘rated performance’ at 5 degrees but we are going to get heat…and that my friends is the benefit! I’m gonna say it one more time to be clear…I am NOT promoting mini splits as sole heat source in cold climates and we do need to sell these systems by educating our customers of their limitations.
I am very confident that given the choice of a cooling only mini split or a heat pump model that will provide secondary and / or supplemental heat, Mrs. Gillicuddy will gladly pay a little more for the heat pump.
How about the radiant floor heating project that requires supplemental heat? Many of us ‘wetheads’ have found ourselves in need of supplemental heat in rooms where we just plain couldn’t put enough tubing in the floor…the mini split heat pump might just be an economic alternative to a hydronic fan coil and / or kickspace heater. Low cost and ease of installation makes the mini split heat pump a winner!

MY FEMININE SIDE…YES, YOU HEARD ME RIGHT!

I have been telling attendees of my Comfort-Aire mini split classes how I have become addicted to a television show on the Home & Garden Network (HGTV). The show is called ‘House Hunters International’. My wife turned me on to the show…the premise is they have a couple who is in the market to buy a home and show them three homes, at the end of the show they choose one. My wife likes the show because she tries to guess which house the couple will buy. I like the show because in showing the couple each home they usually show the ‘mechanicals’ of the home like the heating, cooling and water heating systems.
It is so cool to see how guys just like us are conditioning air and heating water in other parts of the world!
Don’t be afraid…check out the show…no one is going to know and I bet you find it as interesting as I do.

CONGRATULATIONS

Lou Rasmussen of Heat Controller, Inc. was named President of HCI on June 1, 2012. Lou joined the HCI team about four and a half years ago as Vice President of Sales. In January of 2011 he was promoted to Executive Vice President and joined the Heat Controller Board of Directors. In his new position Lou is responsible for the operations of the company’s two divisions: Heat Controller, Inc. Jackson, MI and Aiton’s Equipment, Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
Congratulations to Lou!

OBITUARY

I am sad to report that Bob November, owner of McKenzie River Music in Eugene, OR. passed away May 21, 2012. I met Bob this past March and wrote about him and his wonderful store in the April, 2012 newsletter.
I have been in guitar shops from Manhattan to Sunset Boulevard in LA but I have never seen a better selection of premier vintage guitars in one place like what Bob assembled at McKenzie River.
I met Bob just the one time but he and his wife Susan shortly thereafter sent me a McKenzie River tee shirt which I appreciated receiving, and since Bob’s passing, I now cherish.
See you all soon!

Posted in News | Comments Off on June 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

May 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

How do you know if your geothermal system is performing to specification?

(continued from last month) Last month we talked about conducting a performance check on the water side of the geothermal water to air system…this month I want to continue but now let’s take a look at the refrigeration side of things.

We will again use the Comfort-Aire model HTV036 1200 CFM / FULL LOAD as our example.

Here’s what we know:

The Entering Water Temperature (EWT) is 60 degrees
The Leaving Water Temperature (LWT) is 52 degrees
This makes our water temperature drop 8 degrees

The Entering Water Pressure (EWP) is 51 PSI
The Leaving Water Pressure (LWP) is 46 PSI

The Entering Air Temperature (EAT)  is 70 degrees
The Leaving Air Temperature (LAT) is 105 degrees
This makes our air temperature rise 35 degrees (105 – 70 = 35)

The Gallons Per Minute (GPM) is 9

We reviewed how to determine the GPM in the April 2012 newsletter so refer to it for a refresher if you need to.
The suction pressure is 120 PSIG
The suction line temperature is 53 degrees

The discharge pressure is 360 PSIG
The liquid line just prior to the expansion valve is 89 degrees

We will need to refer to a refrigerant temperature and pressure chart. You can see one at this address:

http://assets.fluke.com/appnotes/electricalpower/1265816_.pdf

We can find the suction pressure of 120 PSIG at the far right vertical column which represents R410A refrigerant, (120 PSIG falls between 118 and 122.8 on the chart). We move left horizontally on the chart to the first vertical column and we see the corresponding temperature is about 41 degrees…this is our suction saturation temperature (SAT).

We can now calculate our superheat by simply subtracting the SAT (41 degrees) from the suction line temperature (53 degrees). 53 – 41 = 12 degrees superheat

This is good…we are making progress!

Okay…now let’s determine the subcooling. We will use the same refrigerant temperature and pressure chart and now find the discharge pressure (360 PSIG) on the far right column. We see that 360 falls between 355 and 365. We move left horizontally on the chart to the first vertical column and we see the corresponding temperature is about 109 degrees…this is our discharge saturation temperature (SAT).

We can now calculate our subcooling by simply subtracting the SAT (109 degrees) from the liquid line temperature (89 degrees). 109 – 89 = 20 degrees subcooling

Let’s assemble all the info we have collected so we can evaluate the refrigeration side of the system:

EWT = 60
GPM = 9 (the HTV036 is a 3 tom unit so the GPM is 3 / ton)
Suction Pressure = 120 PSIG
Discharge Pressure = 360 PSIG
Superheat = 12
Subcooling = 20
Water Temperature Drop = 8
Air Temperature Rise = 35

Now you need to refer to the products Unit Operating Conditions chart. You can find this chart in the HTV I & O manual on page 41 at this address:

http://hci.heatcontroller.com/lib/HTV-HTD-HTH%20IOM%202-23-12.pdf

We find the EWT on the far left of the chart…now you will see that the chart jumps from

50 – 70 degree EWT and our system has an EWT of 60. You need to ‘round-down’ and use 50 degree EWT on the chart. We know our GPM is 3 /ton so find 3 in the very next column to the right. Now we move horizontally to the right under ‘Full Load Heating’ to begin our performance check.

The first vertical column under Full Load Heating is Suction Pressure PSIG. The typical operating pressure for the HTV036 is 105 – 115 PSIG. The actual system operating suction pressure is 120 PSIG…which is HIGH!

The next vertical column moving to the right on the chart is Discharge Pressure PSIG. The typical operating discharge pressure for the HTV036 is 331 – 351 PSIG. The actual system operating discharge pressure is 360…which is HIGH!

The next vertical column moving to the right on the chart is Superheat. The typical operating superheat for a HTV036 is 10 – 15 degrees. The actual system operating superheat is 12 degrees…this is fine.

The next vertical column moving to the right on the chart is Subcooling. The typical operating subcooling for an HTV036 is 17 – 22 degrees. The actual system operating subcooling is 20 degrees…this is fine.

The next vertical column moving to the right on the chart is Water Temperature Drop. The typical operating water temperature drop for a HTV036 is 6.4 – 8.4. The actual system operating water temperature drop is 8 degrees…which is fine.

The last vertical column moving right on the chart is Air Temperature Rise. The typical operating air temperature rise for an HTV036 is 24 – 30 degrees. The actual system operating air temperature rise is 35 degrees…this is HIGH!

We have determined that the system is operating with HIGH suction pressure, discharge pressure and air temperature rise…chances are good we are over-charged!

So, between this month and the April 2012 newsletters we have seen how we can check both the water side and the refrigerant side of an operating geothermal water to air heat pump system. These checks are critical to establishing a proper operating system that will perform as intended and provide efficient heating and cooling for decades.

The HydroClaw by Storm King Enterprises

A couple buddies of mine have invented a new way to secure and safely mount a traditional diaphragm expansion tank on any structural member within the boiler room and / or on unistrut. The HydroClaw is the invention of Bruce and Jeff Perry, brothers from my home town in Orange County, NY. They were taught well by their dad, Mr. Don Perry, and there has been a Perry taking care of the community’s plumbing, heating and cooling needs since 1927.

You can tell how smart these guys are because they don’t work together…that seems to be a curse in our industry. I have seen too many family businesses ruined by feuding siblings. Bruce is the president / owner at Perry Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in Cornwall, NY and Jeff is the president / owner of Piedmont Radiant out of Charlottesville, VA.

These guys are not your average HVAC and plumbing contractors…each hold a college degree and each have talents and interests outside their ‘day jobs’.

The HydroClaw is truly a product born from ‘necessity being the mother of invention’. Bruce and Jeff are advocates of the new condensing boiler technologies where boilers have been taken off the floor where they were traditionally installed and now they are mounted on walls. Many of these boilers do not have integral expansion tanks and traditional air scoops for air removal have been replaced with low loss headers with integrated air removal devices. The problem the brothers faced…and I suspect many of us ‘wet heads’ do as well…is where and how to mount the diaphragm expansion tank?

The HydroClaw is an innovative and creative answer to this question…it securely grabs the tank within a steel clamp designed to mount to any structural member, (possibly right on the same wall the boiler is mounted), or to a piece of unistrut secured to structure. The HydroClaw is currently available in a size that accepts both #30 and #60 standard diaphragm expansion tanks of virtually all manufacturers as well as the ‘thermal’ type tanks for water heaters. The HydroClaw Jr. is soon to be released and it is designed to hold the smaller #15 tanks.

I think it is safe to say we all have unknowingly unthreaded what was a water-logged diaphragm expansion tank only to have it drop to the floor like a bowling ball because of the weight of the water…and if it hit your foot it was an experience you won’t long forget! A water-logged expansion tank creates a hazard of pipe breakage due to the excessive weight. The HydroClaw can prevent catastrophic damage resulting from a flooded expansion tank taking pipe and other system components with it as it tears from the system if not supported properly.

Now, before you suggest that Bruce and Jeff go on the show, ‘Shark Tank’, I have already suggested it and I wasn’t the first. I think the boys got something here that might, in time, even go beyond its initial intended use. I can see the HydroClaw being used to mount virtually any tank of any type… I also see a future for it as a seismic mount for water heaters and alike in areas prone to earthquake. You guys hear that in California?

I have posted two videos that the brothers have produced touting the advantages of the HydroClaw and how to install it properly. The videos can be seen under the tab ‘videos’. I have to tell you, I’m not only impressed with the HydroClaw itself but I think Jeff Perry has a future in ‘infomercials’…he is great in these videos and represents the product, himself and his brother very well.

The HydroClaw is patent pending and the boys are researching how best to bring the HydroClaw to the masses but for now you can buy directly from them at Storm King Enterprises. Call Bruce at 845-534-4270.

I had a chance to meet with a HVAC legend last week!

I conducted a Comfort Aire mini split cooling & heating class at FW Webb in Warwick, RI last Thursday.  Charles Bursey is an Account Manager out of the Warwick location and he has been writing for the Fuel Oil News for decades. I was thrilled to meet Charles while I was there and to have him attend my class was very special indeed.

Charles has been an HVAC educator, author, advocate and icon for most of his life and he is an inspiration to guys like me who can only hope to establish a substantial, loyal following like Charles has over his career.

You can read Charles’ monthly column in the Fuel Oil News online at www.fueloilnews.com.

Go to the ‘columnists’ tab and click on Charles’ name to see all his current and archived articles…good stuff!

See you all soon!

Posted in News | Comments Off on May 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

April 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

How do you know if your geothermal system is performing to specification?

I had the pleasure last month to travel to Jackson, MI. to participate in a Comfort-Aire geothermal class conducted by Leon Cogswell and Bob Sycks of Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire. This was a unique opportunity for me to observe and learn from Bob who has been conducting the Comfort-Aire geothermal classes for some time and recently announced his retirement to be effective later this year. Bob is one of the those special trainers who after being in his presence a short time you sense his brilliance but at the same time has a wonderful ‘every man’ way of speaking that allows him to put forth what can be very complicated material in an easy going, comprehensive manner. There is a geothermal class scheduled for May 16 – 17, 2012 in Jackson and I can’t encourage you enough to take what may be this last opportunity to learn from the best…Bob Sycks.

Leon Cogswell, Heat Controller Sales Manager, has been assisting Bob with the class for the past couple years now and he brings his extensive knowledge of geothermal as well as practical experience in actual installations to the party. Leon and Bob conduct butt and socket fusion welding demonstrations and each attendee gets the opportunity to participate.

I have added pictures of Bob and Leon in action on my website in the ‘gallery’ under the heading ‘Comfort-Aire Geothermal Class, March 13 – 14, 2012, Jackson, MI.‘ Check out the great training facility these guys have created in Jackson, MI. not only for geothermal but for the entire Heat Controller product offering. It was an honor for me to have Bob and Leon ask me to participate in their class…it was like playing the ‘big room in Vegas’!

I want to share with you my portion of the class which pertained to ‘system performance checks’.

It is essential that once the system installation is complete that a performance check is conducted to verify that the system (and equipment) is performing as designed. A water side performance check requires NO refrigeration gauges but rather the use of pressure and temperature gauges located at the inlet and outlet of the heat pump’s coaxial heat exchanger, (where the water exchanges heat with the refrigerant).

We need to calculate the heat of extraction / rejection of the system water to the earth. My good friend, John Barba, is famous for the line, “you gotta do the math” and as one who freely admits to being ‘mathematically challenged’, I would always cringe when there was math to be done…but this process is painless and very necessary.

Heat of extraction refers to the amount of heat extracted from the water through the refrigeration effect and can be compared to the design data of the equipment manufacturer for a performance check.

Let’s go through a quick four step procedure in preparation for the performance check:

  1. Always start up the new unit in the cooling mode…this will expand the Ground Heat Exchanger (GHEX), tubing as it will be rejecting the heat to the ground in this scenario.
  2. Disconnect the Hot Water Generator (HWG) / desuperheater pump before beginning the performance check…you do not want the HWG to influence the measurements you will be collecting.
  3. Allow the system to run for at least 15 minutes achieving ‘steady state’ conditions before taking measurements.
  4. Begin to fill in the numbers for the Heat of Extraction equation…here is the equation:


HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = WATER DELTA T X FLOW (GPM) X FLUID FACTOR

The system should perform within 90% of the unit’s specified performance.

Let’s review some of the formulas we will be using through this process:

DELTA T is the temperature difference between the Entering Water Temperature (EWT) and the Leaving Water Temperature (LWT).

DELTA P is the pressure differential between the EWT and LWT
Entering Water Pressure (EWP) – Leaving Water Pressure (LWP) = Delta P

Delta P converts to GPM (gallons per minute) using the pressure drop table for the equipment at the correct EWT, (see manufacturer’s product performance data sheet).

FLUID FACTOR is the ability of a solution to transfer heat in a certain period of time.
The fluid factor of a 30% propylene glycol mixture is 483
The fluid factor for a 25% ethanol mixture is 515
The fluid factor for water is 501

Okay…let’s go through an example:
We will use the Comfort-Aire model HTV036 1200 CFM / FULL LOAD as our example. Our EWT is 50 degrees and out LWT is 41 degrees. The EWP is 43.1 PSI and the LWP is 40 PSI

We can easily calculate the delta T is 9, (50 degree EWT – 41 degree LWT = 9), so let’s plug that into the equation:

HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = WATER DELTA T X FLOW (GPM) X FLUID FACTOR
HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = 9 X FLOW (GPM) X FLUID FACTOR

So now we would need to refer to Comfort-Aire’s performance data sheet for the model HTV036 1200 CFM / FULL LOAD. You can see it in the ‘Engineering Design Guide’ on page 16 at this address:
http://hci.heatcontroller.com/lib/HTV-HTD-HTH%20Design%20Guide%202-23-12.pdf

We know the EWT is 50 degrees so we find that on the first vertical column. We also know that our Water Pressure Drop (WPD) is 3.1, (43.1 EWP – 40 LWP = 3.1 PSI), so we can find that in the third vertical column marked WPD / PSI moving downward until we hit the 50 EWT  section. Now move horizontally to the left to find our GPM is 6.8 in the second vertical column. Let’s add that to the equation:


HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = WATER DELTA T X FLOW (GPM) X FLUID FACTOR
HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = 9 X 6.8 X FLUID FACTOR

We are making progress!

The last part of the equation is the fluid factor. We are using a 30% propylene glycol mixture in our GHEX so we know our fluid factor is 483lets add this final number to the equation:


HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = WATER DELTA T X FLOW (GPM) X FLUID FACTOR
HEAT OF EXTRACTION (BTUH) = 9 X 6.8 X 483
The calculated HEAT OF EXTRACTION = 29,560 BTUH

Going back to the performance data sheet we can now move horizontally to the right and locate the vertical column marked ‘HE’ and see that the specified heat of extraction for this piece of equipment is 29,400 BTUH. The calculated heat of extraction is well within the specified HE, (in fact it can’t get much better), and so we know our system performance, at least on the water side, is in great shape!


Next month we will look at the refrigeration side of the system and check our system performance there.

Thermostat and high limit control museum in Salem, Oregon

I had the incredible pleasure of conducting mini split classes for the Comfort-Aire people at six Johnstone Supply locations in the Pacific Northwest last month. On my stop at the Johnstone in Salem, OR. I met Glenn Crossway who has the most incredible collection of antique thermostats and high limit controls that I have ever seen and it is on display at the Salem Johnstone. I have posted some pictures of the collection on my website in the ‘gallery’ under the heading ‘Johnstone Supply, Salem, OR. antique thermostat and high limit collection‘.

I have collected similar vintage thermostats myself but my collection can only be described as ‘modest’ compared to Glen’s.

Glenn is a dead ringer for the guy named Jack on the reality show ‘Gold Rush’…luckily he does not have a similar voice, (that guy Jack has the most grating voice I have ever heard on a male human being). If you’re ever in the neighborhood of Salem, OR. you have to stop in and see Glen’s collection in person…great stuff!

New class dates posted on the website

Here are a few new dates for upcoming classes:


SUBJECT: Mini Split Air Conditioning & Heating
DATE: Thursday, April 26, 2012
CLASS SPONSORS: Comfort-Aire / Heat Controller & FW Webb
LOCATION: FW Webb
101 Jefferson Blvd.
Warwick, RI 02888
CONTACT: 401-463-8339

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS:
Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE:
Thursday, May 3, 2012
TIME:
5:00 – 7:30PM
LOCATION:
FW Webb
3 Highland Ave
Queensbury, NY 12804
CONTACT INFO:
518-792-1316

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS:
Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE:
Monday, May 14, 2012
TIME:
5:00 – 7:30PM
LOCATION:
FW Webb
737 Bank St.
Waterbury, CT. 06708
CONTACT INFO:
203-574-5959

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS:
Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE:
Monday, May 21, 2012
LOCATION:
FW Webb
43 Sword St
Auburn Industrial Park
Auburn, MA. 01501
CONTACT INFO: 508-757-9322

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS:
Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE:
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
TIME:
5:00 – 7:30PM
LOCATION:
FW Webb
2409 Portland St.
St Johnsbury, VT. 05819
CONTACT INFO:
802-748-8101

Music

I haven’t written a ‘music’ section in recent newsletters simply because I have had so many other things to talk about but this month I had to make room to tell you about the most incredible guitar shop that I visited in Eugene, Oregon. The name of the shop is McKenzie River Music. My friend, Tim Trantham (Comfort-Aire rep) took me there.

I have been to most of the renowned guitar shops in Manhattan, (30th Street Guitars, Rudy’s, etc.), and McKenzie River rivals any of them. I couldn’t believe the offering of vintage acoustics, electrics, resonators, Dobros, ukuleles and mandolins all on display and the visitor are encouraged to sit and play anything he / she might fancy…what a joy!

In my modest collection, two of my prizes are a 1926 Martin ukulele and a 1956 Martin style A mandolin…McKenzie River had at least three of each!

You can check out McKenzie River Music’s website at this address:

www.mckenzierivermusic.com


See you all soon!

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March 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

A new ‘Training Partner’!

I couldn’t be more pleased to announce ESPCO’s newest training partner…Armstrong Pumps. Armstrong and their NY / NJ representatives, (Rathe Associates and Thermco respectively), have signed on with ESPCO to create a three level training curriculum to be conducted this spring, 2012.

Armstrong has established a solid presence in the NY / NJ market with their commercial pump and hydronic accessory products and through this new training initiative their residential / light commercial offering will be highlighted and the commercial market reinforced.

Here is a little bit about Armstrong from their website:

“At Armstrong, we take pride in a family tradition of fluid flow innovation, superb workmanship, and acknowledged product reliability. Since our founding in 1934 by Samuel Allan Armstrong, our company has pioneered an uncompromising range of products for customers in residential, commercial and industrial markets. From the very beginning, the Armstrong name has been a benchmark for quality in design, engineering and manufacturing. In 1952, our company, under the direction of James A.C. Armstrong, began to institute bold initiatives across the entire spectrum of our corporate activities that set our course for the next 30 years. In the decades that followed, we developed new technologies, established international manufacturing operations and expanded into more diverse markets. Today, as we serve customers throughout the world, our original commitment to production of the highest quality is unchanged. We will not compromise the expectation of us, and we will never allow an inferior product to carry the Armstrong name. For Armstrong, identifying customer needs, offering superior technology, and building great customer experiences, are all part of a long-standing family tradition.”

Although still in the developmental stage, my goal is to create a three tiered training curriculum which will span six, 1 ½ hour classes, (three in NJ and three in NY), over two months.

The first class, tentatively scheduled for the week if 4/29/12, will be an ‘introductory’ pump class covering the anatomy of a circulator, how it works, sizing, how to read pump curves, circulator placement in a system, how to determine GPM and TDH, sizing recirculation pumps and basic pump troubleshooting / service.

The second class will be an ‘intermediate’ pump class tentatively scheduled for the week of 5/27/12. This class will cover the unique pumping needs of radiant systems, and popular ‘green’ technologies like thermal solar and geothermal. Light commercial pump sizing will be covered as well as troubleshooting processes unique to light commercial systems.

The third class, tentatively scheduled for the week of 6/24/12, will be ‘advanced’ and cover such topics as variable speed pumping and the ‘Ace Online’ Armstrong pump sizing software.

My intent is to have each class stand alone and not one be a prerequisite for another so you can pick and choose the class that best fits the skill level you want to achieve, or better yet, attend all three and earn a ‘certificate of completion’ from Armstrong and 4.5 hours of NATE credit, (1.5 hour per class / NATE approval pending).

Locations for the classes are tentatively the Rathe and Thermco facilities but again, this is still in the planning phase so please watch the ‘training events’ section on my website and be sure to read the April 2012 newsletter for firm details.

You guys know that hydronics are in my DNA so I’m thrilled to be back in the ‘wet’ world with great players like Armstrong, Rathe Associates and Thermco!

Check out the Armstrong website at this address – www.armstrongpumps.com

A new sponsor!

I am pleased to announce that IPA of Woodstock, NY has signed on as an ESPCO sponsor. IPA manufactures tools for the HVACR and automotive industries. They are neighbors of mine in the lower Hudson Valley of NY located in the beautiful town of Woodstock. Now, most people associate Woodstock with the 1969 music festival but the fact is that the festival tool place in Bethel, NY, about 63 miles west of Woodstock.

IPA offers a variety of useful tools but there are three that I want to focus on here;

First is the Air Comb filter cleaner. This unique 12”, 24”, 36” or 48” wand is perfect for cleaning condenser coils, cooling towers, etc. It is trigger activated with multiple ports that maximizes air pressure and volume at a 90 degree angle. Take a look at the air comb and I guarantee your going to say “I wish I thought of that”.

The next item which I can’t wait to get myself is the 2 in 1 Cutter / Stripper. They come in two sizes, (large and small). The small will self-adjust to 14 – 26 AWG soft copper wire. It can be used on both copper and aluminum wire. This cool little tool will catch, hold and strip wire all in one quick motion! You gotta see this thing!

The last item is the ‘Fuel Tank Sweeper’. This item is a must for those of you in the fuel oil business. It is a turnkey solution for removing sludge, cleaning oil tanks and bulk fuel transfer. The Fuel Tank Sweeper transfers and filters fuel oil and removes water, dirt, algae and other contaminants from storage tanks of all sizes and depths, 55 gallon drums and diesel fuel tanks. It is the perfect tool for servicing existing tanks or transferring fuel from an older tank to a new installation.

You can see all of IPA’s products at their website at this address – www.ipatools.com

You can call them directly at 888.786.7899.

Do you ever feel like you’re all alone as a small business owner?

There is an old adage that ‘it is lonely at the top’…as a small business owner in the HVACR industry you have limited resources for professional sales mentoring. Many of us have found ourselves stuck treading water, or worse, moving backwards both financially and personally. It is hard to look at your own company objectively…let’s face it, our companies are very much our own creations and as such a reflection of us. Self reflection can be very difficult, (and painful), and most of us can use a little help from time to time.

There are some professional resources out there specific to HVACR…some are very good. I would like to introduce you to the fellow who when I was contemplating moving forward on my own and creating what has become ESPCO, Inc. was one of the first people I called for advice, guidance and an objective view of my plan.

Matt McDarby is the co-founder and chief sales officer of United Sales Resources (USR). I’m going to let Matt, in his own words, give you an idea of what he can offer you and your business.

I speak with owners of small to medium sized businesses almost every day, and I hear the same refrain from them this year that I did last year.  It goes something like this, “It is harder than ever to win new business.  I can’t seem to get customers to see the difference between me and my competition, so I have to resort to special pricing offers and steep discounts in order to win.  It’s killing my profits.”You may be thinking, “Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that.”  If so, congratulations on being the rare exception to the rule in the HVACR business in 2012.  Operators of HVACR companies, whether they focus on commercial or residential customers, are feeling a huge amount of pressure from those customers to compete based on price.  Some HVACR companies can survive in the price-driven sales game because they have scale on their side.  But even for those companies, there is a limit to just how much their products and services can be discounted. So what is an HVACR business owner or manager to do?  The answer can be summed up in one word, “Diagnosis.” Your customers are clamoring for diagnosis.  Think about it.  How many of your potential customers are living right now with heating, refrigeration, or ventilation problems in their homes or businesses?  How many of them fully understand the costs of choosing not to deal with those problems?  How many of them are losing out on the opportunity to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by putting better solutions in place?  What would happen if you were the one who helped them to diagnose those problems or missed opportunities?

Is it possible that customers might pay a small premium over what the low-price providers charge in exchange for a little bit of diagnosis?  Absolutely.  They already do it every day…just not necessarily to their HVACR provider. Would you find value in learning how to change that?

If you’re intrigued and would like to learn more, please go to the United Sales Resources website at www.usr-llc.com.  If you want to speak with Matt right away, then give him a call at (888) USR-1956 X102 or (888) 877-1956 X102. You can email Matt at matt@usr-llc.com .

I suggest signing up for Matt’s mailing list and if you are on Linkedin, connect with Matt so you can get his insightful and helpful posts.

I have to tell you, the concept of ‘networking’ was foreign to me prior to my establishing ESPCO and I came into it kicking and screaming. The bottom line is my business has grown into a viable and healthy enterprise through networking and employing the talents and skills of people like Matt McDarby…give him a call!

Five new classes posted on the website!

I am pleased to be heading to the great state of Maine the last week in March and then beautiful Pennsylvania in April. I will be conducting Comfort-Aire mini split training at the following locations;

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE: Wednesday, 3/28
LOCATION: FW Webb
138 Leighton Rd.
Augusta, ME  04330-5008
CONTACT INFO: Nick Pelletier
207-623-2521
njp@fwwebb.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and FW Webb
DATE: Thursday, 3/29
LOCATION: FW Webb
150 Postal Service Way
South Portland, ME  04106
CONTACT INFO: Nick Allen
207-541-3528
nma@fwwebb.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and RJ Walker
DATE: Thursday, 4/19
TIME: 12:00 noon to 3:00pm
LOCATION: RJ Walker
1555 North Keyser Ave.
Scranton, Pa. 18504
CONTACT INFO: Christine
570-344-8221

SUBJECT: Small Duct High Velocity (SDHV)
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Keystone Sales
DATE: Tuesday, 5/22
LOCATION: Keystone University
441C County Line Road
Gilbertsville, PA 19525
CONTACT INFO: 800-220-1025

SUBJECT: Geothermal
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Keystone Sales
DATE: Wednesday, 5/23
LOCATION: Keystone University
441C County Line Road
Gilbertsville, PA 19525
CONTACT INFO: 800-220-1025

Geothermal

Check out this great new FREE tool from my good friends at HeastSpring Magazine… download the ‘Geothermal Site Visit Checklist’

“The site visit can be a geothermal company’s greatest asset or greatest liability. It will be an asset if it can be done efficiently, if it collects standardized information that can be used for accurately quoting jobs and creating compelling sales proposals that meet the client’s needs. Site visits will be a company’s greatest liability if they are a waste of time, or worse, lead to bad designs and installations that don’t work. The goal of the checklist is to be extremely simple and low tech.  It will ensure that enough information is collected so that work is performed efficiently and profitably.”

Solar

I have stated here before that photovoltaic solar isn’t my thing but I couldn’t resist this article from Solar Thermal magazine. Check this out…PV solar collectors made of plant material…talk about green! This is some heady stuff but according to this article it could be reality sooner rather than later. I love the sentence in the article that says, “within a few years a villager in a remote, off-grid location could take that bag, mix it with anything green and paint it on the roof to start producing power, which could then charge cell phones or lanterns…WOW! Check out the article here.

Any drillers out there?

I am looking to video the vertical borehole drilling process for a geothermal project to be posted on my website and used in my training activities. If you have an upcoming project that fits the bill, please give me a call and I will give you and all participants credit where ever the video is used…could be a great PR tool for your drilling company and / or geothermal installation business.

See you all soon!

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February 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

How do you know what is a good training organization and a not so good one?

This question seems to be asked more and more as ‘green’ training has become a popular product sought out not only by installers and technicians who want to add subjects like solar and geothermal to their existing repertoire but also for those who are currently unemployed and looking to find a growing field where jobs may be plentiful.

I have noticed…and I suspect you have too…a large number of companies / organizations popping up claiming to offer ‘certified’ training in any number of ‘green’ technologies. I myself have been attracted to some of their ads and websites as I am always looking for new ‘training partners’ to sponsor my classes and also have a vested interest in the promotion and ultimate success of the class. I have scratched beneath the surface with a few of these companies and what I found was a bit disturbing to say the least.

Many of these companies are really not companies at all…they are nothing but ‘agents’ if you will, who do little or nothing but attempt to assemble all the elements involved for a class, (including an instructor), and then take a portion…or all…of the proceeds from tuition paid by attendees. They do not have offices or classrooms, they do not employ permanent instructors and often they do not have the accreditation and / or certification from legitimate industry organizations and associations with whom they claim to be ‘partnered’ with.

Many of the classes these agents offer cost BIG BUCKS for you to attend…a couple thousand dollars is quite typical. How do you know that the class you are registering for and paying thousands of dollars up front to attend is what it claims to be? How do you know the instructor really knows what he or she is talking about and holds some certifications themselves making them qualified to conduct such a class?

Well, like any other purchase of significant value, (and in this case, which also involves a significant investment of your time), you need to do a little research yourself. Ask questions, make a few phone calls and ask for references at the very least. Most of these ‘agents’ have flashy websites that display the logos of accrediting organizations such as International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA), Building Performance Institute (BPI), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and others. I have found in my own research that many of these organizations have demanded that the agent ‘cease and desist’ with the use of their logo and / or insist that the agent publish the name of their instructor who is accredited or certified by the organization whose logo is displayed.

Let me give you an example of which I have personal knowledge and a vested interest in; IGSHPA allows only those of us who have successfully completed their training to be an ‘Accredited Geothermal Installer and Trainer’ to conduct such classes and use the IGSHPA logo to promote those classes.

I was recently contacted by one of these ‘agents’ to conduct an ‘Accredited Geothermal Installer Certification’ class in just one week from their contacting me…one week! I could not find any where this class had been promoted yet they claimed they had eight registrants who had each paid $1,595.00 for tuition. I did find on their website that they claimed to conduct this class in a number of locations throughout the country yet they had no one listed on their staff with the IGSHPA accreditation and certification.

I have been at this a while and although I had heard of this agent before, (they are active in promoting their name in any number of business networking medias as well as traditional advertising), I had never had any personal experience with them so I wanted to find out what I could before I committed to conducting the class. Frankly, I had heard some talk that they were in a dispute with an accrediting organization regarding the use of their logo and that they took a very long time paying an instructor for his services so it made me suspicious going in.

I started with contacting the instructor for The HeatSpring Learning Institute who was my instructor when I first took the IGSHPA class, Ryan Carda. HeatSpring was listed on this agent’s website as a ‘partner’.

Now before I go on, let me just say that HeatSpring is an outstanding organization with, to my knowledge, and exemplary reputation. I would recommend anyone to attend a HeatSpring class and especially one conducted by Ryan…he is an excellent instructor, highly qualified and professional with tons of practical experience.

Okay, so Ryan told me he too had heard that this agent had a reputation for not paying their instructors in a timely manner and he cautioned me in getting involved with them.

Next I called the accrediting organization and they confirmed their complaint with the agent regarding the use of their logo.

Finally, I simply googled the agent’s name with the word “reviews” after it and I couldn’t believe what came up! Lists of people who had paid this agent to attend classes that were eventually canceled and refunds not issued…this is BAD!

So, back to my original question…how do you know who is a good guy and who isn’t?

Don’t make a tuition payment without knowing who the instructor will be and what their credentials are…if the agent can’t give you an instructor’s name than that should be a red flag.

Ask for references and also do your own search like I did…if negative content comes up then make a phone call or two to the complainants…sometimes disputes are resolved professionally to the complainants satisfaction and that may not be represented on the internet so definitely make a call.

Call the accrediting organization listed for the class, i.e., IGSHPA, BPI, LEED, etc., and ask them to verify that the class indeed has their blessing and will ultimately give the certification you are hoping to achieve should you successfully complete the class.

Let me throw one more personal concern I have to you…I think you should ask what ‘practical’ experience the instructor has with the subject. Salespeople are great for giving sales presentations but if you want to learn how to size, design, install and service a specific product / system do you really want to attend a class conducted by a salesperson or someone who has some practical experience with the product / system? I was in Sunrise, Florida a couple weeks back conducting mini-split classes and as I was setting up for the class a gentleman walked into the classroom and asked, “is this going to be a sales presentation or a real class”? I perfectly understood his question and felt it was very valid!

Look, I have an agenda here…I have worked hard to earn many accreditations and certifications and equally hard to not only keep my head, but my hands in all the technologies that I teach. I want you to judge me by the same criteria that I have just laid out for you…I am confident I will pass your test and if you don’t think I do…then you should look elsewhere until you are comfortable with your training provider.

Looking for a stock tip? Well, you won’t find one here!

I would never give financial advice of any sort but here is an interesting article about how well solar stocks did in 2011. The best news is that the US has regained its edge over China for the first time since 2008! You can read the Thermal Solar Magazine article here.

The next time your client’s home has a moat, here is a suggestion for geothermal!

Check out this great article from the European Ground Source Heat Pump Association (EGSHPA), about geothermal installations on, not Mc-mansions, but real castles! You can see the article here.

2012 International Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigerating Exposition (AHR EXPO) in Chicago

Last week I attended the AHR EXPO, (formerly known as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE) show, in Chicago. I attended the last day, Wednesday, 1/25, but I am told that Tuesday was packed and  I only heard good reviews of the crowds for all three days.

Because I was there for just one day, (6 hours really), I had a short list of booths that I wanted to visit so I could efficiently go through the enormous show and make a point to see what was most important to me.

One of the booths on my short list was Arzel Zoning Technology, Inc. I met with Bill Molica who is their ‘Technical Support Specialist’ and we discussed the Arzel Small Duct High Velocity (SDHV), zoning products. I was thrilled to learn that these zoning systems can be adapted to many SDHV systems including the Comfort-Aire system that has won me over. Arzel offers packaged zoning systems for two and three zones…these are pneumatically operated dampers so you are running air tubing as opposed to wire…really nice! You can check out the Arzel ‘Zonocity’ product here.

Another one on my short list was Wrightsoft Corporation. They have a great software sizing program called ‘Right-HV Duct’ for SDHV system sizing. Right-HV Duct is a module that requires a load calculation module like ‘Right-J’ to run but this is a good thing as I preach the value of the ACCA manual J calculation and this customizes the manual J to the SDHV world. The Right-HV Duct is based upon a single SDHV manufacturer’s equipment but you can easily cross-reference to the Comfort-Aire product. You can see the Wrightsoft products here.

I had to check out the Airtec – Rectorseal booth because I got turned on to their mini-split condensate pumps when I was at Johnstone Supply in Florida a couple weeks back. I really like their Aqua Series mini pump kits, especially the new ASP-MA-UNI that can be placed in the evaporator’s drain tray or lineset cover, (which they also provide with their ‘Slimduct’ product). Check this out…the ASP-MA-UNI is multi-voltage so it will operate on 115 volts or 250 volts and everything in between! Voltage in inverter compressor mini-splits can vary so this little pump will adjust to available voltage and operate on the same operating voltage from the outdoor unit to the indoor…like on a Comfort-Aire V Series InverterFlex Multi-Zone system. You can check out these pumps here.

I had the pleasure of seeing my friend Dana Anaman at the North American Technician Excellence, (NATE), booth. NATE recognizes my classes and they are such great partners in training and constantly striving to bring the HVACR industry to new levels. Dana put a sticker on my name tag that read ‘NATE believer’…and I am! If you are not NATE certified then you should be…check out their website.

The last booth that I will mention is the Heat Controller, Inc booth where I was able to see all the Comfort-Aire and Century brand products for 2012. What a GREAT booth! So much to see and talk about with Comfort-Aire…InverterFlex Multi-Zone mini-splits, SDHV, geothermal, Through-The-Wall, (TTW) Packaged AC Terminal units (PTACs), window units, dehumidifiers and more! There was so much to see that I took pictures and they are now posted under a new category on my website in the ‘Media’ and then ‘Gallery’ tabs…look at the pictures titled ‘2012 AHR EXPO Heat Controller booth’.

New training dates…back to Florida this May 2012!

I have been invited back to Florida by the good people of Johnstone Supply and specifically Brian Nichols. I will again be conducting Comfort-Aire mini-split training at the following locations:

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
1143 Gateway Blvd.
Boynton, FL 33426
CONTACT INFO: 561-572-2507
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
2800 N. 30th Avenue
Hollywood, FL 33020-1507
CONTACT INFO: 954-921-8070
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Thursday, May 10, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
790 International Pkwy.
Sunrise, FL 33325-6219
CONTACT INFO: 954-284-3903
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com

My buddy, John Barba of Taco, Inc., receives the Carlson-Holohan award!

My dear friend received this most interesting and well deserved award at the AHR EXPO last week. I will let Dan Holohan describe the award in his words;

“Some have compared the Carlson-Holohan Industry Award of Excellence to the NHLs’ Stanley Cup though its more like a combination of the Hart Memorial Trophy awarded to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team and the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy to the player exhibiting sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. It is industry recognition for what an individual has done for the game of steam and hydronics.”

I text-ed John when I heard of this honor and of course congratulated him but also reminded him that this was the ONLY trophy heading to New England this year!

See you all soon!


 

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January 2012 ESPCO Newsletter

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish everyone a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year!

A PET PEEVE COMES TO RESOLUTION

I have always preached in my “Hydronic Heating System Troubleshooting” class about the need to replace Honeywell intermittent pilot modules, (better known as “spark ignition” and / or “IID” modules), in direct vent appliances with a module that has the same, or similar,  “pre-purge” timing. Direct vented appliances are equipped with an ignition module that allows the exhaust fan to run for a given amount of time, (anywhere from 30 – 90 seconds), allowing the fan to “prove” operation via a diaphragm switch which senses the pressure created by the fan, closing it’s contacts and allowing for the ignition sequence to start. I have seen more times then I can remember where a standard “universal” module without a pre-purge cycle was used as a replacement on a direct vented unit allowing the ignition module to begin the ignition process immediately, (as soon as TT was closed by a call for heat).

My concern has always been that in this scenario the boiler could be allowed to fire without a functional exhaust fan, possibly…not probably, but possibly…with tragic results. A lot would have to go wrong for the boiler to cause a potential risk…a “perfect storm” if you will…but we all know perfect storms do happen from time to time and that is why this has always bothered me.

The fan prove switch should sense a failure in the fan and not allow voltage to the ignition module thus stopping the ignition process before it starts…that is the way it is supposed to work. The concern is, what if the fan prove switch fails and or has been jumped out by someone who didn’t know any better and simply was trying to get the boiler to fire? In this scenario the boiler could fire without a functional exhaust fan.

In my service business I always equipped each truck with at least one Honeywell S8610U universal replacement module and one Honeywell S8670D module that has a 30 second pre-purge. The two would cover virtually any scenario I could encounter with a conventional flue appliance that was spark ignited and direct vented units as well.

I did the same in my parts business for the Celtic wall hung boiler, (www.CelticParts.com). The Celtic was available in both an electronic ignited, conventional flue model, (model EI), and a direct vent model, (model FF).

Here’s the resolution; I ordered new inventory a week or two ago from the good people at Honeywell for my parts business. I intended to order the S8670D which has the pre-purge feature but I inadvertently ordered the S8610U which doesn’t. I received the order and immediately noticed my mistake and was about to make arrangements to return the incorrect items when I took a closer look at the box of the S8610U and noticed it said, “field-selectable pre-purge and ignition timings”. WOW! Sure enough, the new Honeywell S8610U universal ignition control can be manipulated by the service technician to accommodate any of the following appliance requirements:

  • NO pre-purge with 90 second trial for ignition, (default)
  • 30 second pre-purge with 90 second trial for ignition
  • NO pre-purge with 15 second trial for ignition
  • 30 second pre-purge with 15 second trial for ignition

The S8610U now has two tiny, (and I mean TINY), dip switches located on the row of terminal connections that allow for the changes to be made in the field. How cool is this! The instruction manual that comes with the S8610U lists all the Honeywell, (as well as Johnson Controls, Robertshaw, Canstat, Fenwal and HSC), modules that it will replace and the required adjustments that need to be made. Honeywell states that the S8610U will replace “over 400 Honeywell and competitive controls”. The S8610U is now truly a universal replacement module!

I order these modules about once a year so I’m not sure when exactly Honeywell made this change so for some of you this may be old news but I am thrilled by this great improvement!

WHERE IS GERRY GOING TO BE IN 2012?

Keep an eye on the “training events” section of the website, as I will be adding new training dates as they are confirmed. I have posted some geothermal training dates which will take place in Jackson, MI at the Heat Controller corporate headquarters.
I will be posting three Mini-Split training dates for this month with my friends at Johnstone Supply in Florida. The dates are as follows:

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Tuesday, January 17, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
5620 NW 12th Ave.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
CONTACT INFO: 954-318-7678
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
790 International Pkwy.
Sunrise, FL
CONTACT INFO: 954-284-3903
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com

SUBJECT: Mini-Split Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and Johnstone Supply
DATE: Thursday, January 19, 2012
TIME: 3:30 – 5:30PM
LOCATION: Johnstone Supply
1143 Gateway Blvd.
Boynton, FL
CONTACT INFO: 561-572-2507
Brian.nichols@johnstonesupply.com


I also have four dates in April, 2012 for Mini-Split, Through-The-Wall, (TTW), and Packaged Terminal Air Conditioners, (PTAC), training with the good people of
2J Supply in Ohio. I don’t have all the details confirmed just yet but here is what I have so far:

SUBJECT: Mini-Split, TTW & PTAC Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and 2J Supply
DATE: Tuesday, April 3, 2012
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: 2J Supply
1019 Goodale Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43212
CONTACT INFO: TBA
http://www.2-jsupply.com/

SUBJECT: Mini-Split, TTW & PTAC Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and 2J Supply
DATE: Wednesday, April 4, 2012
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: 2J Supply
872 Valley St.
Dayton, OH. 45404
CONTACT INFO: TBA
http://www.2-jsupply.com/

SUBJECT: Mini-Split, TTW & PTAC Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and 2J Supply
DATE: Thursday, April 5, 2012
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: 2J Supply
311 N. Central Ave
Lima, OH 45801
CONTACT INFO: TBA
http://www.2-jsupply.com/

SUBJECT: Mini-Split, TTW & PTAC Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and 2J Supply
DATE: Tuesday, April 10, 2012
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: 2J Supply
14 Sunnybrook Dr.
Cincinnati, OH 45237
CONTACT INFO: TBA
http://www.2-jsupply.com/

SUBJECT: Mini-Split, TTW & PTAC Training
SPONSORS: Heat Controller / Comfort-Aire and 2J Supply
DATE: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: 2J Supply
3663 US Highway 23
Piketon, OH 45661
CONTACT INFO: TBA
http://www.2-jsupply.com/

SOLAR AND THE NY JETS & GIANTS

The MetLife Stadium will be fitted with 1500 PV solar panels creating and upper “ring” encircling the top of the stadium. I love that the panels are manufactured in Poughkeepsie, NY…keeping the project “local”.  You can read all about this unique project in Solar Thermal Magazine here.

MY GOOD FRIEND, DAN HOLOHAN

Dan has done it again! He has written yet another book for us “wetheads” His latest installment is titled “Classic Hydronics: How To Get The Most From Those Older Hot-Water Heating Systems”. Dan describes the book as follows:
“Most of the buildings you go into are older than you are, right?
Yeah, me too. America is a heating museum. And most of the heating systems in those older buildings have gone through lots of changes over the years, some of them painful changes. Many of these systems went in before we knew as much as we know today about hot-water heating.

So let’s talk about how Classic Hydronic systems work, where they came from, how they’ve changed over the years, and what we can do right now to get the most of out them without spending a fortune. Oh, and I promise you a few great stories along the way because that’s just the way I am, and I know you love a good story.
My goal with this 8-1/2″ X 11″, 154-page, spiral-bound book is to make you “see” inside those older systems, and to be able to do stuff that others say can’t be done. If I can do that (and I think I can), you will be nodding your head and smiling at your newfound knowledge, and I will be in a state of bliss.”
You can order Dan’s new book here.

GEOTHERMAL

To grout or not to grout? When I was at the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association, (IGSHPA), in Stillwater, OK this past August for “Train the Trainer” certification I presented my thesis on vertical ground heat exchanger, (GHEX), borehole grouting. My research came upon a school of thought that feels grouting is unnecessary as the borehole will collapse on it’s own creating a seal around the GHEX. I actually found followers of this school writing on blogs beneath YouTube videos of grouting procedures.

I won’t argue that borehole collapse might take place…the problem is that it might take place and even if it does, it may not be completely collapsed.

The most important technical reason for grouting around the vertical GHEX is to provide the proper heat transfer between the GHEX and the ground. If grout is not placed completely along the entire length of the GHEX then the heat transfer will be reduced and full performance of the GHEX will not be available.  Proper grouting is environmentally important when fractured bedrock or artesian formations are penetrated by the GHEX borehole.
Grouting;

  • Prevents leakage downward along the GHEX from the surface or near-surface contamination sources.
  • Prevents the migration of water between aquifers, (layer of underground sand, gravel or spongy rock in which water collects).
  • Seals off formations which are known to be contaminated.
  • Preserves the hydraulic characteristics of artesian formations and prevents leakage upward along the GHEX.

Grouts should have the following characteristics;

  • High thermal conductivity
  • Reasonably low viscosity during grout placement
  • High viscosity upon placement – little to no shrinkage of the grout during setting
  • Low permeability

Wyoming bentonite grouts are characterized by their ability to absorb large quantities of water and swell 10 – 20 times in volume. A sodium bentonite, (Wyoming bentonite), will produce a higher yield.
I am pleased to have Wyo-Ben, Inc. as a “sponsor” and you can see their website at www.wyoben.com .
You can see their Therm-Ex Grout here.

THERM-EX GROUT™ is an engineered system for use as backfill material in earth-coupled heat pump systems. Its elevated thermal conductivity and low permeability allow for excellent heat exchange while protecting groundwater supplies.  THERM-EX GROUT™ should be pumped using a positive displacement pump capable of generating pressures in excess of 300 psi.  Developed using high swelling Wyoming Bentonite, this new generation of grouting material offers efficient installation of closed-loop geothermal heat pump systems.

OBITUARY

Mrs. Grace Tefel, the mother of my closest friends, Steve and Raymond Tefel, passed away last night in Huntersville, NC. Many of you know Steve, not only as my high school friend, but also as a sales representative for N.H.Yates & Co., Inc., (the Burnham Boiler representative in the Mid-Atlantic territory). Mrs. Tefel was a huge part of my early life and I was privileged to visit with her for a last time just a few weeks ago at her home in Huntersville. I will miss her always and remember the wonderful times I had at the Tefel home as their family embraced me as one of their own. LOVE to Steve, Raymond, Lisa & Diane

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