From the Field

SMACNA Seats Executive Committee; Richard Rivera Named President

The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) board of directors installed its executive committee during the 68th Annual SMACNA convention in September. The new leadership team will serve until Oct. 17, 2012. SMACNA's new officers are:

  • President: Richard Rivera, Key Air Conditioning Contractors Inc., Santa Fe Springs, CA
  • President-elect: Howard Stine, Charles E. Jarrell Contracting, Earth City, MO
  • Secretary/Treasurer, Randy Novak, Novak Heating and Air Conditioning Inc., Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Vice president: Kevin R. Gill, McCusker-Gill Inc., Hingham, MA
  • Immediate Past President: James Boone, New England Sheet Metal Works, Fresno, CA.

Seeking Stronger Member Connection. "My goals for the coming year are more members and more engaged members," Rivera announced in his convention acceptance speech. "New ways to connect and engage members are necessary for SMACNA to remain relevant. SMACNA's recent introduction on Facebook and other social media networks will boost the level of engagement, particularly among our younger members. They are our future." Rivera has been actively involved in SMACNA leadership for years. He currently serves on the board of SMACNA's Los Angeles chapter.

More than 1,300 Apprentices Compete at ITP Event

For six days in August, during the 24th Annual UA Apprenticeship Contest, as part of the Instructor Training Program, 1,377 of North America's premiere plumbers, welders, pipefitters, and service technicians convened at Washtenaw Community College to showcase their talents and hone their skills during the Instructor Training Program (ITP). The United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) has been organizing this annual event since 1954. The competition began the same year, but ended in 1972, only to be revived in 2007.

The apprenticeship contest included 30 contestants from six regions. The apprentices specialize in five different disciplines: HVAC, pipe fitting, plumbing, sprinkler fitting, and welding, and are tested on their ability to successfully apply multiple joining techniques to a complex copper assembly.

Eighty-three courses were offered by the UA during the five-day program, including two sessions on advanced copper installations and techniques taught by CDA program managers Dale Powell, Harold Moret, and Craig Thompson. The week ended with the ITP graduation ceremony and the announcement of the competition winners. In addition to a commemorative trophy, the winners of the copper portion of the contest received $1,000. The winners were:

  • Welder/W3: Dominic Villa
  • Sprinkler Fitter/SF4: Dave DeRaadt
  • Pipefitter/PF2: Moses Yohalem
  • Service Technician/ST1: Kyle Kulovitz
  • Plumber/PL1: Ryan Gibson.

copper.org; ua.org

Don't Forget Need for Fall Furnace Checkups

We know that a springtime inspection of a homeowner's HVAC system is the best way to maintain the health and peak efficiency of a system.

However, fall maintenance for the upcoming winter is also advisable for your HVAC customers.

"When switching from cooling to heating, there are maintenance tasks in the fall can have a big impact on homeowners' utility bills in the winter," says Billy Jobe, district manager for Comfort Supply, a wholesaler of Ruud HVAC equipment.

"It's just as important that heating equipment work at its peak efficiency as your cooling equipment, and in many climates where heating costs far outweigh cooling costs, it’s more important," Jobe says.

Semiannual maintenance includes inspecting and servicing gas controls, heat exchanges, heatpumps, coils and condensers. Clean coils on heat pumps, and combustion chambers on gas furnaces, and watch for rusted or cracked heat exchanges as these can release carbon monoxide into a customer's home.

Jobe recommends setting up automated communications to homeowners to let them know when maintenance is due. This can be done through email, direct mail or over the phone. "Communicate to your customers through the channels that they prefer, and make it as easy a possible for customers to be aware of and schedule upcoming maintenance," Jobe says.

He reminds contractors to add a semiannual inspection option to their service contracts, and sell this option by highlighting its benefits.

"The best way to sell semiannual preventative maintenance is to be honest, and remind the homeowner of its primary benefit: it decreases costs over the entire life of the HVAC equipment. If long-term benefits evade your customer, use short-term examples the homeowner can understand. For example, leaking ducts can reduce energy efficiency by up to 20%. That’s $15 on a $75 monthly utility bill," Jobe says.

Comfort Supply was founded in 1971, as one of Tennessee's first HVAC wholesalers. It serves residential and commercial markets from five locations in the state.

AHRI ISSUES DIRECTORY FOR VRF PRODUCTS

The Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute has published a new directory of variable refrigerant flow (VRF) multi-split air conditioners and heat pumps. The directory lists all eligible models of this type of equipment produced by each manufacturer participating in the AHRI Variable Refrigerant Flow Certification Program. Listing in the directory means that the models have been certified by AHRI and that the models meet the performance ratings as described in AHRI Standard 1230. Listing does not constitute a recommendation by AHRI regarding safety or reliability of any listed product.

The latest issue of the directory may be downloaded at no charge, from ahridirectory.org or the CB website, at http://bit.ly/ahrivrf.

There’s an App for That!

The Duct Wheel app from Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) is called the only duct sizing measurement app powered by ACCA’s Manual D, the ANSI standard for residential duct design. It features the same easy interface as the wheel sizing device technicians have been using for years. Now, technicians can zoom in, lock the wheel in place, and take a snapshot for future reference. Users can alternate between two wheels for different calculations. Visit acca.org/mobile to get the app.

Zonefirst has developed a Zone Savings Application for the iPhone and iPad. This app is best used with a contractor selling zoning and justifying the cost with the savings Zonefirst can provide. Find it at: http://bit.ly/zonefirstapp

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