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  • Tuesday, November 21, 2023 7:33 AM | Anonymous

    As mandated by the AIM Act, the commercial refrigeration industry is transitioning away from high-GWP refrigerants, such as R-404A and R-134a, to low-GWP alternatives, such as CO2 (R-744) and propane (R-290). A2L refrigerants will also soon be part of the mix, thanks to Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) proposed Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rule 26, which would allow the use of some of these mildly flammable alternatives in certain kinds of new refrigeration equipment.

    Manufacturers have been gearing up for this transition to low-GWP refrigerants for a number of years and are now introducing an extensive range of innovative commercial refrigeration technologies. This wave of innovation is poised to help refrigeration contractors guide their food retailer clients to choose the optimal low-GWP solution — one that meets their specific needs as well as complies with the regulatory requirements.

    New Solutions

    In Heatcraft’s transition to low-GWP equipment, the emphasis is on enhancing the performance, application robustness, reliability, and quality of new commercial refrigeration solutions, while keeping costs as low as possible, said David Bolaños, head of product management at Heatcraft Refrigeration Products. And because equipment using these new refrigerants can be more complex, the company is designing systems that simplify the application, installation, and service of these new units.

    “Controls and control algorithms, including those for defrost, are being updated to make sure that when a refrigerant is chosen, the system will operate properly without any more effort or attention than has been historically required of installers and servicers,” said Bolaños. “Technology advancements are also being employed to sense refrigerant leaks and execute mitigation actions as required by new safety standards for flammable refrigerants.”

    At Danfoss, a wide range of products are available today to address systems designed around natural refrigerants with zero or very low GWP, as well as HFO-A2L refrigerants with low GWP, such as R-454A, R-454B, R-454C, R-455A, and others, said Christopher Gangemi, regional segment marketing manager of refrigeration solutions at Danfoss.

    “These products range from mechanical and electrical controls that are compatible with both flammable and nonflammable refrigerants, compressors, heat exchangers, and sensors,” he said. “The sensors include leak detectors for CO₂ and the flammable refrigerants that are going to be required on some refrigeration equipment. Semi-hermetic compressors for both CO₂ and HFO-A2L refrigerants are the latest addition to the Danfoss lineup after the acquisition of BOCK earlier this year.”

    For over a decade, Copeland has been advancing technologies suitable for lower-GWP refrigerants, beginning with compression platforms optimized for CO2 and R-290, said Kurt Knapke, vice-president solution strategy at Copeland. He noted that recent regulatory changes have also paved the way for lower-flammability A2L refrigerants and larger charges of R-290 in specific commercial refrigeration end uses.

    “In anticipation of the imminent approval of these lower-GWP alternatives, Copeland has been optimizing our compressor platforms to meet market demand,” he said. “Copeland continues to lead in the development of state-of-the-art, fully integrated CO2 compression, system, and case system controls technologies, as well as essential high-pressure valves and components. Our commitment to innovation has resulted in improvements in reliability, performance, and energy efficiency — while simplifying the application of CO2 in commercial refrigeration.”

    Copeland currently offers subcritical CO2 scroll compressors, transcritical CO2 semi-hermetic compressors, and subcritical CO2 semi-hermetic compressors. The CO2 transcritical and subcritical semi-hermetic compressors are equipped with on-board electronics to enable communication with the E3 supervisory control, designed specifically for CO2 systems, said Knapke. In addition, the company offers scroll compressors, hermetic reciprocating compressors, condensing units, drives, and electronic componentry rated for use with R-290. Copeland is also expanding its high-horsepower, R-290, scroll platform from .75 to 4 HP, supporting charges up to 500 grams.

    Finally, Copeland scroll, semi-hermetic, hermetic reciprocating, and condensing unit platforms are being optimized for use with R-455A (146 GWP), R-454C (148 GWP), and R-454A (238 GWP).

    “We’re integrating our leading-edge compression technologies, leak detection sensors, and E3 supervisory control platform to create next-generation solutions designed to maximize A2L application safety and refrigeration reliability,” said Knapke. “Copeland is also optimizing its variable-speed compression technologies for use with lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives, such as CO2, R-290, and A2Ls.”

    Zero Zone manufactures refrigerated display cases, as well as commercial and industrial refrigeration systems, that cover a wide range of applications utilizing low-GWP refrigerants. For example, their Genesys Natural Refrigeration Solutions, CO2 (R-744), and ammonia (R-717) systems, not only meet regulatory demands, but present the end user with unique options to seamlessly fit their business needs and sustainability goals, said Jason Harren, industrial sales manager-Central at Zero Zone.

    Zero Zone Edge Cooler.

    DAUNTING TASK: Making a mechanical change from HFCs to low-GWP alternatives can be a daunting task for food retailers. (Courtesy of Zero Zone)

    “The Genesys product line presents a complete solution — a package system ready to install and commission,” he said. “Keeping service in mind, Zero Zone is currently designing systems that are better for service, while offering support and training to technicians and customers transitioning to the use of low-GWP refrigerants. Our reputation is built on over 60 years of innovation, quality, and responsiveness, and we intend to continue down the path as the world transitions to low-GWP refrigerants.”

    “Overall, leak detection can help mitigate the potential of a refrigeration system running inefficiently, reduce service costs, and eliminate food loss.”

    - Christopher Gangemi
    Regional segment marketing manager of refrigeration solutions

    Making the Change

    That said, making a mechanical change from HFCs to low-GWP alternatives can be a daunting task for food retailers — especially because each of the alternatives has different cost impacts, whether upfront or in the future, said Harren.

    “One major factor that food retailers need to consider is the energy efficiency and operating costs of some of the alternatives,” he said. “In addition, store owners will have to consider whether there are local contractors who can service the new equipment, as well as the status of local codes and service part availability. These factors could drive owners to repair rather than replace their equipment, but the decision cannot be made without weighing all options.”

    Gangemi agrees that food retailers must look at first cost, budgets, and availability of properly trained technicians when considering low-GWP systems. Regardless of the choice made, any existing HFC equipment and systems will need to be decommissioned and replaced by new equipment designed specifically for the low-GWP refrigerants, he said. That’s because there is not a drop-in, low-GWP replacement refrigerant available today for existing equipment. However, new low-GWP systems will benefit end users in several ways.

    “For food retailers with a facility management program, leak detection technologies can provide early detection of leaks as they emerge and allow for appropriate actions to be taken to prevent the leak from spreading too far,” said Gangemi. “Overall, leak detection can help mitigate the potential of a refrigeration system running inefficiently, reduce service costs, and eliminate food loss.”

    The advancement of low-GWP technologies will also provide opportunities for food retailers to achieve energy-efficiency, performance, and sustainability improvements, said Knapke. For example, he noted that Copeland variable-speed compression technology can modulate capacity from 25% to 180% and deliver 20% to 30% energy-efficiency gains over their fixed-speed counterparts.

    “From a refrigeration performance perspective, this enables precise load matching, tighter temperature control, and improved food quality and safety,” he said. “When compared to fixed-speed compression, our lab testing shows that variable-speed technology reduces compressor cycling by 90% — eliminating excessive compressor wear and tear, lowering maintenance costs, and extending equipment lifecycles.”

    Knapke added that food retailers are also maximizing the sustainability potential of CO2 by deploying heat reclamation strategies in their facilities for a variety of purposes, such as HVAC, hot water, and concrete slab heating.

    Contractors can help their food retail customers make the right choice of low-GWP equipment by having a full understanding of the refrigerants and regulatory landscape, said Bolaños. This includes understanding the latest updates to facilitate an effective, comprehensive discussion with customers to make sure they are clear on the options available, what the advantages and disadvantages are for each, and how to best think through selecting the right refrigerant and technologies for today, tomorrow, and the foreseeable future.

    “In addition, lean on a company like Heatcraft to whatever extent you need, whether it is simply for a quick update or in-depth scenario reviews where it may even make sense for us to join in the conversation,” he added. “And be sure you fully consider federal, state, and municipal regulations, codes and standards to avoid any surprises.”

    Contractors and technicians should also be fully trained on how to work with the alternative refrigerants, as safety is the top priority, said Bolaños. “Whether working with the mildly flammable A2Ls, the quite flammable A3s like propane, or the higher pressures of CO2, all of us must be experts in handling refrigerants and installing, servicing, repairing, and maintaining equipment.”

    Heatcraft Technician.

    SAFETY FIRST: Contractors and technicians should be fully trained on how to work with alternative refrigerants, as safety is the top priority. (Courtesy of Heatcraft)

    Future Technologies

    Looking toward future advancements, Copeland anticipates that lower-GWP systems will take the lead as the primary technologies in the commercial refrigeration sector. In making this refrigerant transition, said Knapke, it is likely that manufacturers will conduct evaluations for full-system improvements, which could include energy-efficient, variable-speed compression technologies, which have been underutilized in commercial refrigeration.

    “Connected technologies that leverage the internet of things (IoT) will also likely become more commonplace — simplifying system complexities, automating performance management, and opening opportunities for grid interactivity and load shedding,” said Knapke.

    Danfoss also believes that IoT connectivity, along with cloud technologies, remote monitoring, and artificial intelligence are trends that will change the industry, said Gangemi. He noted that these technologies are expected to lend to better equipment performance, faster responsiveness to failures, and predictive maintenance.

    “Capturing and reusing heat created as a byproduct of refrigeration systems is a trend that is also expected to grow,” he said. “Heat recovery units that capture this heat can be deployed and then used to heat water and space heating needs.”

    As the industry continues to develop new and improved energy-efficient technologies — especially for CO2 — Harren expects to see advancements in parallel compression, adiabatic gas coolers, ejectors, and pressure exchangers. “Zero Zone is also exploring alternative low-GWP solutions utilizing propane units that offer more of a plug-and-play approach,” he said.

    Heatcraft believes that the increased popularity of CO2 and propane will likely come about as regulations tighten and standards start allowing larger charge amounts of flammable refrigerants.

    “Consider the possibility of CO2 becoming the norm, particularly in food retail, in the coming five to 10 years,” said Bolaños. “Nobody has a crystal ball, but watch for developments in federal and state laws and regulations that provide compelling indicators one way or the other.”


    Contractors Are Key In Refrigerant Transition

    When it comes to helping food retailers manage their existing refrigeration systems, as well as choose new low-GWP systems, Kurt Knapke, vice-president solution strategy at Copeland, has the following advice:

    Contractors need to be prepared to help their retail customers evaluate their end-of-life equipment strategies and prioritize which systems need to be replaced or remodeled first. For legacy systems that will be in operation for many years to come, contractors will need to make sure to follow refrigerant management best practices. This starts by making the most of their existing HFC supplies by properly recovering and reclaiming refrigerant when working on legacy systems. In addition, it will require making sure that proper leak detection devices are installed on legacy equipment to minimize leaks, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and ensure peak system performance. Contractors play an integral part in helping to lower the food Retailer Scope 1 emission by finding and eliminating refrigerant leaks.

    Contractors will also need to help their retail customers decide whether to repair their existing systems or replace them with new, lower-GWP systems. Lower system charges are driving the move away from large, centralized architectures toward more distributed systems. As a result, contractors and system designers may begin the transition by looking for underperforming sections of existing systems and gradually replacing them with a new, lower-GWP system, such as an A2L remote condensing unit. If a complete store remodel is in order, then a CO2 transcritical booster system may serve as a full-system replacement. Standalone R-290 units will continue to provide flexibility in retailers’ refrigeration portfolios, with the prospect of larger charges supporting even higher-capacity units.

    What is important to note is that unlike legacy refrigeration technologies, there is no one-size-fits-all architecture for the next generation of food retail refrigeration. Although retailers will need to balance all factors in the decision-making process when selecting their next-generation system replacements or remodels, total cost of ownership is not always the deciding factor. Sustainability initiatives and operational preferences must be considered for the long term.

    November 21, 2023 - By Joanna R. Turpin, ACHR News 
    Innovative Technologies In Low-GWP Refrigeration Systems | ACHR News

  • Wednesday, November 01, 2023 11:50 AM | Anonymous

    Simplifying the mystique behind static pressure can be challenging for contractors

    MANOMETER MEASUREMENTS: Total external static pressure (TESP) can be identified by placing a manometer probe above the filter and another adjacent to the blower. (Courtesy of National Comfort Institute)

    October 18, 2023

    Static pressure refers to the forces acting on the inner surfaces of HVAC system ductwork. It serves as an indicator of airflow and can be affected by numerous forms of resistance, including the filter, coil, and design of the duct system.

      Static pressure readings offer insight into a system’s effectiveness and efficiency. In addition to serving as an indicator of a system’s health, HVAC contractors may use it as a gateway for system improvements and upsells. Unfortunately, though, many technicians choose not to complete static pressure tests, providing a disservice to customers and leaving potential operational and financial gains on the table.

      “We typically want to see a static pressure of less than or around 0.5-inch WC [water column]. Once we reach 0.8-inch WC or higher, we start to see reduced blower motor efficiency, shorter blower life spans, and more overall issues.” - Jesse Testerman, Senior technician Kalos Service

      How to Measure Static Pressure

      Total external static pressure (TESP) can be identified by placing a manometer probe above the filter and another adjacent to the blower. Manometer probes should point in the opposite direction of airflow to yield the most accurate readings.

      Static pressure may either push against the ductwork (positive, on the supply side) or pull against it (negative, on the return side). A technician can measure airflow resistance by adding the readings together.

      Numerous obstacles within the system may create unnecessary airflow resistance, said Jesse Testerman, senior technician, Kalos Services, Clermont, Florida.

      “Dirty coils or filters can reduce the supply static pressure and will make the TESP low if static pressure is measured before the filter in the return, which can be a misleading airflow indicator,” he said.

      When using a manometer as a diagnostic tool, readings can be obtained with or without the filter. A comparison of the two measurements can help determine how much the filter (clean or dirty) may be contributing to the system’s static pressure drop.

      “We typically want to see a static pressure of less than or around 0.5-inch WC [water column],” said Testerman. “Once we reach 0.8-inch WC or higher, we start to see reduced blower motor efficiency, shorter blower life spans, and more overall issues.”

      Manometers can also be used to locate duct restrictions, as obstacles, such as collapsed ducts, may cause static pressure to increase as the airflow reaches the restriction.

      To measure the static pressure drop across the coil, place a manometer probe before the filter or immediately before the blower (above the coil). The reading should show a negative static pressure.

      “Some diagnostic apps may have trouble calculating TESP readings in those locations, so you may have to do the math yourself to figure out the pressure drop across the coil,” said Testerman.

      Explaining Static Pressure to Customers

      In all of her years, Nancy McKeraghan, co-owner, Canco Climate Care, Ontario, Canada, has never received a call from a customer complaining about high or low static pressure.

      “Customers simply don’t understand static pressure or the issues it may cause,” she said. “We have to educate them so that they understand exactly what their needs are. Technicians have to take the necessary readings, provide evidence through evaluations, and offer the appropriate solutions.” Describing those problems and solutions can be challenging. To simplify the science, the National Comfort Institute Inc. (NCI) utilizes a custom-designed blood pressure chart. The diagram explains a system’s “health” in a simple, easy-to-understand visual.

      “It doesn’t matter if a patient has a stuffy nose or a broken leg, a blood pressure reading is taken on every visit,” said David Richardson, director of training, NCI. “HVAC contractors should take the same approach.”

      Static pressure readings, much like blood pressure readings, provide technicians with valuable baseline information and clues to underlying, invisible issues that could be otherwise missed in an HVAC system, said Richardson.

      “If a doctor reports high blood pressure, and hints that a heart attack may be on the horizon, patients should be privy to potential solutions,” he said. “Your customers have the same concerns regarding their HVAC systems. If you can predict a premature failure of their system due to high static pressure, shouldn’t they know about it and be offered solutions to correct the problems?”

      When Should a Static Pressure Measurement Occur?

      Brian Wright, owner and principal, Crossway Mechanical LLC, Tomball, Texas, said his company performs static pressure measurements every day.

      “It takes us around 10-15 minutes to drill the ports and test a single-stage system,” he said. “Zoned systems take around 30-45 minutes, because we test each zone. Some homes in our area have three or four zones, so it takes a bit more time.”

      When asked how frequently a static pressure test should occur, John Whitehead, co-owner, Honest Heating and Cooling Inc., succinctly replied: on every visit and every piece of HVAC equipment.

      “Proper system performance directly affects a customer’s security, safety, and comfort,” he said. “It’s important for us to make sure we’re optimizing each of these attributes for our customers. If we’re not performing static pressure readings, we’re not doing our job to the best of our ability.”

      Mark Johnson, vice president, TM Johnson Bros., Grandy, Minnesota, said his company requires static pressure readings on every job, no matter how busy the company’s technicians are.

      “We’ve established a culture that calls for a static pressure or combustion test on every call,” he said. “By doing so, we’re creating a savings account for the shoulder seasons. I’d wager about 90% of our customers have static pressure issues, and we’re not doing them justice by not testing or bringing these issues up on every visit.”

      Customer Delight

      A properly executed static pressure test often leads to more comfortable customers with healthier systems. And happy customers lead to greater customer relationships and more referrals.

      “We strive to have a strong customer relationship at every touchpoint,” said McKeraghan. “That rings true when it comes to static pressure, as we want to ensure customers’ systems are running optimally.

      “We call customers to remind them of their annual maintenance checks and make conversational notes to follow up with customers who may have been out of town, asking them how their trip went,” she continued. “We are not box sellers; we're solution providers. Most of our customers come from referrals. So that, to me, means we're doing a great job.”

      A static pressure test verifies if a system is running improperly and that you’re capable of diagnosing such a problem, said Michael Greany, manager, Aire Rite Air Conditioning.

      “Static pressure provides us an opportunity to improve the lives of our customers,” he said. “The data that’s collected shows that improvements need to be made. While customers may not move forward with a solution, it’s your job, as an HVAC professional, to do everything you can to identify and communicate the problem.”

      Article courtesy of: Herb Woerpel, ACHR News

    • Monday, October 23, 2023 12:58 PM | Anonymous

      Ultimately, if you’re not talking with your customers about available incentives, you are doing homeowners a disservice

      Allied Air Heat Pump Installation

      PRE-CAPTION: In milder temperatures, a heat pump can generally handle the heating load more efficiently than a gas furnace. (Courtesy of Allied Air Enterprises)

      I often get asked about how and when to share incentive information with homeowners. Promoting incentives to homeowners — when it’s not a promotion you’re offering — can have risk written all over it. How long will it take you to research the program so you’re comfortable talking about it? What if the government changes the qualifications? What if a consumer doesn’t have a tax liability and ultimately can’t take the tax credit? It’s understandable that many dealers simply walk away from talking about tax credits — the homeowner’s system broke down, they need a new one, and they’re going to buy something anyway — so why complicate things?

      Federal incentives now in place in both the U.S. and Canada are making new heat pump system more enticing for homeowners when they compare it to what they would typically spend on replacing their air conditioner. Many dealers say they are committed to providing consumers with the right solution at the best price possible, especially since our industry has had so many price increases in recent years. Consumers continue to struggle to afford to repair or replace their systems. Why wouldn’t we offer a solution to help people save on upfront costs while also helping to reduce their heating costs throughout the winter months?

      Two issues tend to come up when discussing this incentive: “I don’t want to be on the hook for the tax credit in case a consumer doesn’t qualify,” and “we don’t really do heat pumps around here, so I’m just going to stay away from it.” What you’re really selling the consumer on is the fact that the system match meets the qualifications for the incentive. It’s up to them to talk to a tax professional and/or legal advisor to understand if they personally meet the qualifications to use the program. The responsibility of whether a consumer qualifies or not is the responsibility of the consumer, not the contractor. In addition, upfront transparency is important — verbally tell them it is their responsibility to check program qualifications and build it into the written quote the consumer signs when they accept your bid. You likely already have some legal support that can help protect you and your business, and it is wise to consult your legal advisor.

      Be prepared for the future!

      “We don’t do heat pumps around here” is a sentiment of the past. The market is shifting to heat pumps. Your business can either prepare for this change and get the training needed or get left behind and lose business to your competitors. Heat pumps are not the products of 30 years ago; the technology and the ease of installation have improved substantially. You’ll need to brush up on best practices for installation and weigh in the charge (for example), but it’s important to your business to tackle these things today.

      Another misperception: Consumers need or should replace their furnace with a heat pump; they can really just add a heat pump to their furnace with a dual-fuel application. If you think heat pumps don’t produce enough heat, then keep the furnace as part of the system and let it handle the heating load when temperatures are extreme. In milder temperatures, a heat pump can handle the heating load more efficiently than a gas furnace.

      Ultimately, if you’re not talking with your customers about available incentives, you are doing homeowners a disservice. Very few people wake up and think to themselves, “you know, it’s time for a new heating and cooling system…” and start to research what’s out there. Because it’s almost always unplanned, consumers are not faced with this type of purchase on a regular basis. It’s up to you to educate them — so it’s best to do it in a transparent way, where your business is protected and prepared for the shift to heat pumps.


    • Friday, October 20, 2023 6:29 AM | Anonymous

      Cool New Tools for A2L Refrigerants

      The transition to mildly flammable alternatives will require spark-free tools

      Yellow Jacket P51 TITAN and Series 41 Digital Manifolds

      The 2020 AIM Act gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to phase down the consumption and production of high-GWP HFC refrigerants in the U.S. by 85% over the next 15 years. This includes R-410A, which is found in just about every type of residential and commercial air conditioning equipment in the U.S.

      While R-410A is a nonflammable (A1) refrigerant, its current replacements for comfort cooling products — R-32 and R-454B — are mildly flammable (A2L). In order to install or service equipment containing these new refrigerants, HVAC contractors and technicians will need to invest in tools that are compatible with the new A2Ls.

      Spark-Free Equipment

      “A2L compatibility requires intrinsically safe features and arc/spark mitigating build designs.”- Andrew Greaves director of customer experience


      The good news for HVACR contractors and technicians is that they don’t have to replace all their tools in order to work on A2L systems. In general, tools that don't touch the refrigerant circuit — such as scales and non-electric hand tools (e.g., wrenches, pipe cutters) — can usually be used for both A1 and A2L systems. However, most of the electronic tools and testing equipment must be rated for use with flammable refrigerants, although these same tools are usually compatible with A1 systems as well.

      “Technicians can continue to utilize all their existing service tools and equipment, but they will need a new analog or digital gauge for R-32 or R-454B,” said Chris Carroll, HVACR sales manager at Mastercool Inc. “The other three product categories where they need to review their existing equipment are recovery machines, vacuum pumps, and leak detectors. Existing Mastercool equipment can still be used, but our new spark-free equipment adds another layer of safety when working with A2L or mildly flammable refrigerants.”

      One of the key distinguishing factors between tools designed for A1 and A2 systems lies in the spark-free designation. Spark-free tools and test instruments are specifically crafted to minimize the potential risk of ignition, eliminating sparks or arcs that could lead to fires or explosions while working on A2L equipment. That is why all electrical and electronic products must be rated for use with A2L systems, as this prevents the possibility of a spark during operation, said Gary Lampasona, vice president of sales and marketing at Ritchie Engineering Company/Yellow Jacket.

      “A2L compatibility requires intrinsically safe features, and arc/spark mitigating build designs such as brushless or sparkless motors, soft-contact switches, and other manufacturing choices that can nearly eliminate the risk of ignition in the field,” said Andrew Greaves, director of customer experience at NAVAC. “For example, NAVAC’s NP7DP2, one of our A2L-compliant vacuum pumps, uses triac-style switches instead of the typical centrifugal switches that use mechanical contact points. Additionally, it uses a sealed thermal overload for the motor versus the typical open-style near-the-motor windings.”

      There can be challenges when it comes to designing tools and test instruments for A2L equipment, though. As Diana Liem, head of marketing at Fieldpiece Instruments Inc., noted, “There is more need for sealed switches and for designs to ensure they will not ignite. Different A2L refrigerants also ignite at different temperatures, so the product design needs to ensure they will never reach those temperatures.”

      Tool Options

      As mentioned above, the four main tool categories that require A2L compatibility are gauges and manifolds, recovery machines, vacuum pumps, and leak detectors. Here are some of the options that are currently available.

      Gauges and manifolds

      Fieldpiece: The SM480V–SMAN Refrigerant Manifold 4-port features super rugged construction, data logging, temperature-compensated system tightness test, A2L compatibility, water resistance, and the ability to send and receive wireless readings.

      Mastercool: The Spartan Series smart four- and two-way manifolds are A2L compliant and offer a large 4-inch color LCD touchscreen display, wireless technology — and, with the tap of a finger, technicians can diagnose and service an air conditioning system. The new compact Black Series Mini-Fold 94261 features 93 refrigerants and also has pre-programmed A2L refrigerants, providing a more affordable digital option. In the analog category, the three-way aluminum manifold 51261 can be used with R-410A and R-32 and is available with easy to read 3-1/8-inch gauges.

      NAVAC: The refrigerant-agnostic digital N2D4H manifold gauge features Class 0.4 accuracy, while the analog N2A4B manifold gauge effectively measures the pressure of various gases and liquids used in HVAC systems, including R-32 and R-454B.

      Yellow Jacket: The P51 Titan and Series 41 digital manifolds are A2L refrigerant (R-32, R-454A, and R-454B) compatible with PT charts programmed in the product. The A2L Brute II, Titan, and Series 41 analog manifolds and gauges feature large, easy-to-read, and 3-1/8-inch gauges designed for R-32, R-454B, and R-410A.

      Recovery machines

      Fieldpiece: The MR45 Digital Refrigerant Recovery Machine features a smart, variable-speed, DC motor that accelerates during vapor recovery. The lightweight, A2L-compatible machine also includes an oversize compressor that pumps refrigerant easily and quietly and a large backlit display that shows status messages and pressures.

      Mastercool: The 69395 combustible gas recovery machine is built with spark-free components with all electrical wiring and switches sealed. It is compatible with CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs and can handle both A2L and A3 refrigerants. The 69400 Mini Twin Turbo combustible gas recovery machine is a compact unit that is designed for both A2L and A3 refrigerants, which are commonly used in small self-contained refrigeration systems.

      Mastercool 69395 Combustible Gas Recovery Machine.

      SPARK FREE: The 69395 combustible gas recovery machine is built with spark-free components with all electrical wiring and switches sealed. (Courtesy of Mastercool)

      NAVAC: The A2L-compatible NRDD recovery machine features a brushless DC motor, making it lightweight and efficient; a large backlit display; and twin cylinder compressor with two-row oversized condenser. The NRDC4M DC inverter 4-cylinder recovery unit operates up to 40% faster than two-cylinder units and utilizes an efficient brushless DC motor and ultra-effective condenser with an oversized microchannel coil and three cooling fans.

      Yellow Jacket: The TurboRecover (with BLDC motor) and Recover XLT recovery machines feature fast and efficient refrigerant recovery; dual gauge design, which allows for monitoring the system and tank pressures simultaneously; and integrated purge circuit, which clears residual refrigerant.

      Vacuum pumps

      NAVAC A2L-Compliant NP7DP2 Vacuum Pump.

      NEW SWITCHES: The A2L-compliant NP7DP2 vacuum pump uses triac-style switches instead of the typical centrifugal switches. (Courtesy of NAVAC)

      Fieldpiece: The VPX7 – 10 CFM Vacuum Pump weighs only 24 pounds and features a ¾-HP DC motor; RunQuick oil change system, which offers on-the-fly oil changes in seconds; and backlit oil reservoir. Also available are the VP87 – 8 CFM and VP67 – 6 CFM vacuum pumps. All are certified for use with A2L refrigerants.

      Mastercool: The 90066-BL-SF 6 CFM, single-stage, spark-free, Black Series vacuum pump features all sealed and protected electrical switches, as well as easily removable vapor discharge/oil fill port; large oil level sight glass with max/min level indicator; and easily accessible oil drain valve.

      NAVAC: The NP4DLM and NP2DLM vacuum pumps are part of the company’s BreakFree Series of cordless HVACR solutions. The NP4DLM features a high-performance lithium battery capable of up to one hour of continuous running time. The NP2DLM is a compact, lightweight unit suitable for residential HVAC systems up to 5 tons with high-speed evacuation hoses. Other A2L-compatible offerings include the NP7DP2, NRP8Di, and NRP6Di vacuum pumps.

      Yellow Jacket: The SuperEvac Plus II and Bullet DC vacuum pumps feature a BLDC motor for high torque and high efficiency; a 10-foot power cord; and locking IEC power cord connector.

      Leak detectors

      Fieldpiece DR82 Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector.

      IR LEAK DETECTOR: The DR82 – Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector detects all HFCs, CFCs, HCFCs, HFOs, and blends. (Courtesy of Fieldpiece)

      Fieldpiece: The DR82 – Infrared Refrigerant Leak Detector detects all HFCs, CFCs, HCFCs, HFOs, and blends and features state-of-the-art infrared sensor; large backlit LCD screen; and can sniff out leaks at <0.03 oz./year, which is 20 times more sensitive than soap bubbles. The DR58 – Heated Diode Refrigerant Leak Detector detects all HFCs, CFCs, HCFCs, HFOs, H2N2 (tracer gas), and blends and features a bright, LCD screen with easy-to-see bar graphs and numeric readings.

      Mastercool: The 55800/55900/55975 Intella-Sense refrigerant leak detectors provide fast response time and employ a new metal oxide gas sensor for the high-sensitivity detection of all combustible gases, hydrogen, and CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs.

      Yellow Jacket: The 69320 AccuProbe IR leak detector uses infrared technology for ultimate sensitivity, accuracy, and reliability with audible and visible leak indication.

      A2L service tools are already readily available, and many HVAC equipment manufacturers are planning to start introducing their A2L systems later this year or in the first quarter of 2024. That means now is the perfect time for contractors to make sure their technicians have the correct tools and test instruments in order to service these new units.

      Greaves added, “In addition to the features and build factors crucial for A2L compatibility, contractors should look for tool manufacturers that provide generous warranty periods, responsive technical support, and commitment to improving their product experience.”

      Source: Cool New Tools for A2L Refrigerants | ACHR News
    • Thursday, October 12, 2023 12:46 PM | Anonymous

      Diagnosing the Failed Compressor

      Picture this scenario: It's the end of a long day, and you arrive at your final call to find a malfunctioning HVAC unit. You hope it's a simple issue like a faulty capacitor, but after testing, you realize the compressor may be the culprit. To confirm this, several crucial checks need to be performed.

      Photo Credit: Panchita Chotthanawarapong

      1. Verify High Voltage and Capacitor: Check the high voltage from the contactor, ensuring it meets specifications. Additionally, ensure the capacitor produces the correct microfarads stated on the capacitor by measuring with a multimeter.

      2. Assess Compressor Windings: For permanent split capacitance (PSC) compressors, measure the ohm values of the common, run, and start windings. The sum of the ohm values from common to run and common to start should match the run to start reading. For three-phase compressors, all windings should have similar ohm values.

      3. Test for Resistance to Ground: Check the resistance between each compressor pin and ground using a multimeter. Any reading less than one megaohm indicates an electrical failure. Consider using a megohmmeter for more accurate results.

      4. Amp Draw and Locked Rotor Amp Rating: Compare the measured amp draw of the compressor to the locked rotor amp rating stated on the unit's data plate. If the amp draw exceeds the rating, the compressor has failed to start.

      Determining the Cause of Failure

      While electrical tests can identify compressor issues, mechanical failures also occur. To determine if the compressor has mechanically failed, follow these steps:

      1. Confirm Proper Voltage and Windings: Ensure the compressor receives the correct voltage, the windings are within manufacturer specifications, and there is no path to ground.

      2. Check Start Components: Verify that the start components are functioning correctly, as a faulty component can prevent the compressor from starting.

      3. Assess Temperature Change: Measure the temperature difference between the compressor's inlet and discharge pipes. If the temperatures are similar, it indicates compressor bypassing or internal mechanical issues.

      4. Verify Phasing (for Three-Phase Compressors): Check the phasing using a phase meter in commercial units. Switching two incoming power wires can help identify if the compressor fails due to out-of-phase supply power.

      The Wrap Up

      By diligently performing these diagnostic tests and investigations, HVAC technicians can accurately determine the causes of compressor failures. Understanding electrical and mechanical aspects allows for better decision-making when replacing compressors, reducing callbacks, and ensuring customer satisfaction. Remember, thorough compressor autopsies are crucial to maintaining the integrity of HVAC systems and preserving professional reputations.


      This article is adapted from the CE HVAC Tech Tips podcast hosted by CE Customer Assurance Managers. Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

      Jack Cauffman and Brooks Whitson

      Note: All the information shared in this article is intended for licensed HVAC professionals. Only trained and qualified personnel should design, install, repair, and service HVAC systems and equipment. All national standards and safety codes must be followed when designing, installing, repairing, and servicing HVAC systems and equipment. The Contractor is responsible for meeting local codes, standards, and ordinances.

      Source: Carrier Enterprise

    • Wednesday, October 11, 2023 1:53 PM | Anonymous

      TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s attorney general, a steadfast ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, on Wednesday kicked off a new legal fight against the Biden administration that centers around a contentious new law regulating unions that the governor has boasted about on the presidential campaign trail.

      Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a federal lawsuit in Fort Lauderdale that asserts top White House officials — including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg — are violating federal law because they are threatening to withhold hundreds of millions in federal grants unless a state panel grants waivers to Florida’s new union law.

      “Florida passed laws to protect workers from being strong-armed by unions,” said Moody in a statement. “Biden, intent on driving our country into the ground, continues to try to force states to implement his bad policies.”

      Moody, who endorsed DeSantis’ bid for president, has engaged in a long-running series of battles with the Biden administration, especially over immigration. Moody is widely viewed as a potential 2026 candidate for governor.

      DeSantis made Florida’s new union law one of his top priorities during the 2023 session that was supposed to be a springboard to his presidential campaign — an effort that has recently seen him drop to third place or worse in some polls. The law, which took effect on July 1, includes including a prohibition on public employers from deducting union dues from employee paychecks and making it easier to decertify unions.

      Critics said the law was aimed at DeSantis’ political enemies — such as Florida’s teacher union — since the provisions did not apply to unions that represent law-enforcement officers and firefighters.

      But this latest confrontation was foretold months ago. The bill was changed on the Senate floor to include a potential carve-out from the law for mass transit workers after questions were raised about whether the legislation conflicted with federal labor laws that could put federal funding at risk.

      Since the law took effect, local transportation authorities and local governments have asked the state’s Public Employee Relations Commission for waivers from the law after federal officials contended that Florida’s new law conflicts with federal requirements.

      The commission, which is overseen by DeSantis appointees, agreed to issue waivers but made them time-limited and conditional. But a top official with the Department of Labor said those types of waivers did not comply. In a late August letter to the state commission, the Florida Public Transportation Association said that more than $800 million in federal funding for mass transit systems was in jeopardy if the commission did not hand out permanent waivers.

      Moody’s new lawsuit was filed against the Department of Transportation, the Department of Labor and the Federal Transit Administration as well as top officials in those agencies. It asks a federal judge to block the agencies from withholding federal grants as well as declare unconstitutional the part of the federal law the Department of Labor is relying on to question Florida’s law.

      A spokesperson for Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation declined to comment on “ongoing litigation.”

      Meanwhile, lawsuits have been filed against Florida’s union law in state courts, including one that alleged it violated collective bargaining rights guaranteed in the state constitution. A circuit judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit filed by three South Florida public employee unions and three union members but Judge J. Lee Marsh did leave the door open for the lawsuit to be refiled.

      Source: POLITICO Pro

    • Wednesday, October 11, 2023 1:46 PM | Anonymous

      Putting a lien on a house in Florida can be a complex and intimidating process, but it is an effective way to secure payment for services rendered or debts owed. Whether you are a contractor seeking payment for construction work or an individual seeking repayment of a loan, understanding the steps involved is crucial. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to put a lien on a house in Florida, along with five interesting facts about liens. Additionally, we will address fourteen common questions related to this topic.

      Section 1: How to Put a Lien on a House in Florida

      Step 1: Understand the Lien Laws

      Before proceeding with placing a lien on a house in Florida, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the state’s lien laws. These laws outline the requirements and procedures that must be followed to ensure a valid and enforceable lien.

      Step 2: Provide Preliminary Notice

      Florida requires that a preliminary notice be provided to the property owner before filing a lien. This notice should contain information about the work performed or services rendered, along with the amount owed.

      Step 3: File a Claim of Lien

      To officially put a lien on a house, you must file a Claim of Lien form with the county clerk’s office in the county where the property is located. This document should include details about the property owner, a description of the work performed, the amount owed, and other necessary information.

      Step 4: Serve the Lien on the Property Owner

      Once the Claim of Lien has been filed, you must serve a copy of the lien on the property owner within fifteen days. This can be done through certified mail with return receipt requested or by hand delivery.

      Step 5: Enforce the Lien

      If the property owner fails to respond or settle the debt within the specified timeframe, you may proceed with enforcing the lien. This typically involves filing a lawsuit to obtain a judgment against the property owner, which can result in the forced sale of the property to satisfy the debt.

      Section 2: 5 Interesting Facts about Liens

      1. Types of Liens

      There are various types of liens, including mechanic’s liens, tax liens, judgment liens, and mortgage liens. Each type serves a different purpose and carries different rights and obligations.

      2. Priority of Liens

      In Florida, the priority of liens is determined by the date they are recorded. Liens recorded earlier generally have a higher priority, which means they will be satisfied first in the event of a property sale or foreclosure.

      3. Homestead Exemption

      Florida has a homestead exemption that protects a certain amount of equity in a primary residence from being seized to satisfy a debt. This exemption can complicate the process of enforcing a lien on a property.

      4. Notice of Commencement

      In many cases, before starting a construction project in Florida, a Notice of Commencement must be filed. This notice provides information about the project and allows potential lien claimants to protect their rights.

      5. Time Limitations

      Florida has strict time limitations for filing liens. Generally, a Claim of Lien must be filed within 90 days of the last day of work or services provided. Failure to meet this deadline could result in the loss of lien rights.

      Section 3: 14 Common Questions about Liens in Florida

      1. Can I put a lien on a property for any type of debt?

      No, liens are typically reserved for debts related to services performed or materials provided for the improvement of the property.

      See also What Does It Mean When Social Security Is in the Payment Center

      2. Can I put a lien on a property if I subcontracted the work?

      Yes, subcontractors have the right to file a lien if they have not been paid for their services.

      3. How long does a lien remain valid in Florida?

      Generally, a lien in Florida is valid for one year from the date it is recorded unless an action to enforce the lien is initiated within that period.

      4. Can I foreclose on a property if I have a lien?

      Yes, if the property owner fails to satisfy the debt within the specified timeframe, you may initiate a foreclosure action to force the sale of the property.

      5. Can I negotiate a settlement instead of enforcing the lien?

      Yes, it is often beneficial to explore settlement options before proceeding with legal action. In some cases, property owners may be willing to negotiate a payment plan or settlement amount.

      6. Can I put a lien on a property if there is an existing mortgage?

      Yes, a lien can be placed on a property even if there is an existing mortgage. However, the mortgage holder generally has priority over other lienholders.

      7. Can I file a lien on a property if I am not a licensed contractor?

      Yes, both licensed and unlicensed contractors have the right to file a lien in Florida. However, unlicensed contractors may face limitations or additional requirements.

      8. Can I file a lien on a property if I did not provide a written contract?

      Yes, a written contract is not always required to file a lien. However, having a written agreement can strengthen your case.

      9. Can I remove a lien once it has been filed?

      Yes, a lien can be removed if the underlying debt is satisfied or resolved. This can be done through a lien release or by court order.

      10. Can I file a lien on a property if I did not provide a Notice of Commencement?

      Yes, not providing a Notice of Commencement may limit your rights in some cases but does not necessarily prevent you from filing a lien.

      11. Can a lien be transferred to another property if the original property is sold?

      No, a lien is specific to the property on which it was filed. If the property is sold, the lien does not automatically transfer to the new owner.

      12. Can I file a lien on a property if I am an unpaid subcontractor of a subcontractor?

      In most cases, only those who have a direct contractual relationship with the property owner or the prime contractor have the right to file a lien.

      13. Can I file a lien on a property if the property owner files for bankruptcy?

      The filing of a bankruptcy petition by the property owner may complicate the enforcement of a lien. Consult with a bankruptcy attorney for guidance in such situations.

      14. Can I file a lien if the property owner has died?

      Yes, the death of a property owner does not automatically invalidate the lien. The lien can still be enforced against the deceased owner’s estate.

      In conclusion, placing a lien on a house in Florida involves understanding the state’s lien laws, providing preliminary notice, filing a Claim of Lien, serving the lien on the property owner, and, if necessary, enforcing the lien through legal action. Remember to consult with a qualified attorney or professional to ensure compliance with Florida’s specific requirements and to protect your rights as a creditor.


      How To Put A Lien On A House In Florida | INVESTOR TIMES

    • Thursday, September 28, 2023 12:19 PM | Anonymous

      The rights and responsibilities of a subcontractor were under scrutiny in a recent case (Katz v. FM Construction, Case No. 19-27439) reviewed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey. This case is an interesting example of issues involved with third-party complaints and counterclaims, further complicated by one party being in Chapter 11.

      Background of the Case

      Hollister Construction Services, LLC (Hollister), a commercial construction services firm, was doing business with FM Construction Group, LLC (FM), a subcontractor. FM had a master agreement contract with Hollister, which addressed all projects involving both parties. They agreed to execute separate project-specific contracts for particular details on given projects as needed. In September 2017, Hollister signed a construction management contract with the owners of residential buildings in Harrison, New Jersey. Hollister and FM then entered into a project-specific subcontracting agreement. FM agreed to provide specified services to Hollister for that particular project. In September 2019, the project was still underway when Hollister filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11.

      A few months after that filing, in December 2019, Hollister, the property owner, FM, and other subcontractors signed a settlement agreement. According to that agreement, FM would receive a 60% reduction in the fees owed before the filing, but the subcontractor would be fully compensated for work completed after the filing.

      As time passed, the project was delayed for several reasons. Therefore, FM could not resume its work. Then Hollister and the owner resolved the issues, amended the settlement agreement, and extended the completion date. However, FM claimed it was not consulted about the contract revisions and never signed the amended agreement. The subcontractor also contended that although it was ready to continue work, the project was not in the necessary condition for it to do so. Eventually, Hollister sent FM a “48 Hour Notice to Perform” letter. It contended that FM failed to perform per the subcontract and the settlement agreement. Hollister then ended the subcontract with FM, noting it was terminated for cause.

      As this was going on, Hollister’s bankruptcy case proceeded. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the plan of liquidation and appointed Bernard Katz (Trustee) as the trustee to oversee Hollister’s assets and settle its business. As part of that confirmation, claim holders were not allowed to file claims against Hollister or the Trustee for any issues before the plan’s effective date, April 30, 2021.

      After Hollister terminated FM, it hired another subcontractor to complete the work. On January 31, 2022, the Trustee filed a complaint against FM. Its intent was to recover Hollister’s costs for completing FM’s scope of work. Hollister stated the Trustee incurred more than $500,000 above the contract balance to cover FM’s obligations. FM filed a response, and the parties tried mediation, but it was unsuccessful. FM then filed counterclaims against Hollister, as well as a third-party complaint against the property owner.

      Specifically, FM accused Hollister of 1) breach of contract, 2) unjust enrichment, 3) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, 4) quantum meruit, and 5) declaratory judgment that termination was wrongful and done in bad faith. It also alleged 6) fraudulent inducement. FM’s claims against the owner were similar.

      In response, the Trustee filed an opposition to FM’s motion. It then filed a cross-motion through which it sought to enforce the court’s directions and the parties’ agreements. The Trustee stated that FM was bound by the terms of the liquidation plan and the parties’ agreements. Therefore, it contended that FM was precluded from filing any claims for issues before the plan’s effective date. The Trustee went on to assert that FM’s claims should have been barred as a matter of law.

      What the Court Decided

      In February 2023, the court began by reviewing FM’s claims against the property owner. It considered whether it had the jurisdiction to address claims between FM and the owner, given that it is a bankruptcy court and these parties were non-debtors. It determined it did not have jurisdiction in the matter since the third-party complaint was not directly related to the liquidation plan. Therefore, it denied FM’s motion, with prejudice.

      Next, the court reviewed the counterclaims against Hollister. Regarding the fraudulent inducement claim, FM alleged that Hollister knew it could not manage the project. However, according to the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b), there is a heightened pleading standard for fraud accusations, and specific details must be provided. Since those specifics were not offered, the court denied that claim, without prejudice.

      As for the other five claims, since they accrued prior to the plan date, the court denied them as affirmative claims. However, during the court proceeding, FM explained it was not seeking claims that “go beyond its preserved setoff or recoupment rights.” The court acknowledged that the confirmation order and liquidation plan allow for setoff and recoupment rights. In this case, setoff was not applicable, but recoupment was. Therefore, FM’s motion regarding claims 1 through 5 was granted, but it was limited to its right to recoupment “as a means to extinguish or reduce the Trustee’s recovery herein.” The Trustee’s cross-motion was denied.

      Final Thoughts

      It isn’t every day that a subcontractor finds itself in a situation like this one—a delayed project, questionable termination, and bankruptcy for the other party. However, it is interesting to understand what the court granted and what it did not. The fraudulent inducement claim did not hold because FM lacked the documentation and specifics. As always, paper wins the day. Had FM kept meticulous records and provided them to the court, the decision might have been different. But in the end, it was still able to pursue recoupment. So even if the battle seems to be uphill and unwinnable, it is often worth the fight.

      The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.

      Trent Cotney is a partner and Construction Practice Group Leader at the law firm of Adams and Reese LLP a. You can reach him at or call 866.303.5868.

      Trent Cotney

      Article provided by:

    • Wednesday, September 20, 2023 12:51 PM | Anonymous

      HVAC industry groups are hailing federal legislation that would define nationwide deadlines for meeting new energy-efficiency requirements based on the date equipment is manufactured or imported rather than the date it’s installed.

      The SMART Energy Efficiency Standards Act was introduced this summer by Rep. Debbie Lesko, R-Arizona, who represents several communities in the Phoenix area.

      Her one-sentence proposal would amend the Energy Policy and Conservation Act so that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in updating efficiency requirements, would set a date by which all newly manufactured or newly imported products must meet or exceed new standards. Current rules allow for date-of-installation deadlines, which critics say are burdensome for distributors and contractors who may risk being stuck with equipment that cannot be legally installed in their region of the country but met efficiency requirements at the time it was produced.

      “Regional HVAC standards are the only Department of Energy efficiency standard that uses date of installation to determine compliance,” said Talbot Gee, CEO of Heating Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI). “Distributors are asked to risk millions of dollars to have the products the market demands in inventory, and this flaw in the statute directly penalizes HVAC distributors and ultimately hurts consumers while doing nothing to actually improve energy efficiency or carbon emission savings.”

      “The bill is a common-sense solution to an unnecessary problem,” said Chris Czarnecki, director of government relations and advocacy at Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA). “It simply changes compliance from ‘date of installation’ to ‘date of manufacture,’ meaning that if it’s passed into law, any system that was manufactured in accordance with guidelines in place at the time could be legally installed anywhere in the country.”

      Czarnecki and Alex Ayers, HARDI’s government affairs director, both said their organizations will lobby in favor of Lesko’s proposal. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, of which Lesko is a member.

      The 2023 regional DOE energy-efficiency requirements that kicked in on January 1 defined compliance deadlines, for a/c products, differently in different parts of the country: Those manufactured through 2022 that met the requirements in place at that time can continue to be installed in the North, but in states in the Southeast and Southwest, a/c units installed after December 31, 2022 had to meet or exceed the new standards.

      That created inefficiencies, critics say.

      “The (stranded) equipment is still installed, but now with extra trucking to get it to the new location,” said Ayers. “Based on our calculation, if a single unit is transported 600 miles, which is often less miles than it takes to leave the region where it cannot be installed, the amount of fuel used to transport it (represents) more energy than the entire lifetime energy savings of the unit.”

      Lesko’s bill was co-sponsored by Rep. Robert Latta, R-Ohio, who represents several communities in Northern Ohio.

      “Regional standards created by the Department of Energy set up two different compliance dates, which created unnecessary confusion and burdened distributors, who were left with unusable products,” Lesko said in a press release. “While our nation is facing supply-chain and cost-of-living crises, we should not be making it harder for consumers to obtain appliances.”

      Samantha Slater, vice president of government affairs at The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), said the industry has been pushing for such legislation for some time, and last came close to getting a version passed in 2014.

      “It just didn’t get across the finish line,” she said. “It was so close.”

      Slater said the measure’s best chance this time around might come if it’s tacked onto a larger bill toward the end of the year.

      “It’s not something that’s going to move on a stand-alone basis,” she said. “It’s usually included in a larger energy package.”

    • Thursday, September 14, 2023 2:16 PM | Anonymous

      What HVAC Professionals Need to Know

      Residential heating and cooling technologies are changing

      In 2022, Americans bought more than 4 million heat pumps — compared to approximately 3.9 million gas furnace purchases — pointing contractors toward a shift in customer sentiment: Households are looking toward energy-efficient heating and cooling alternatives.

      But aside from the clear deviation from traditional technologies by way of purchasing data and trends, local energy providers and governments are taking part through updated rebate structures to new construction natural gas bans in states like New York and California. Notably, Chicago’s largest energy provider, ComEd, has foregone central air conditioning rebates in a strategic effort to direct consumers to climate-friendly options as of July 1, 2023. The utility certainly won’t be the last to do so.

      In the coming months and years, local bodies will continue to align with the federal government’s push toward electrified technologies with legislation such as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to lower household energy costs. HVAC professionals should be adept and in tune with these industry-altering transformations, so as not to lag and stay stagnant in a space that is inherently and undoubtedly progressing.

      So, let’s break down what recent changes and existing rebates mean.

      Residential Heating and Cooling Technologies Are Changing

      Heat pumps are up to three times more efficient than gas furnaces for heating and are able to cool homes as well. Rather than generating heat, heat pumps transfer it and therefore use less energy than a traditional electric or gas system. And for contractors, dual-purposed heat pumps allow for ease of installation without the need for two separate heating and cooling units and an effortlessly streamlined process.

      When 69% of U.S. adults are in favor of the U.S. taking steps to be carbon neutral by 2050, the assumption that heat pumps and similar systems will dominate the industry landscape in the coming years is not very far-fetched.

      Not only that, incentives and rebates are playing a monumental role in the shift to energy-friendly technologies.

      New Incentives Spearhead a Shift

      To meet the U.S. government’s goal of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, incentives are in place to aid homeowners in their efforts to help achieve this benchmark. The IRA allocates more than $20 billion for direct spending on clean home upgrades. Through the IRA, states can offer up to $8,000 in rebates for electrified products based on income, and consumers are eligible for federal tax credits of up to $2,000.

      Chicago’s ComEd offers up to $2,000 in rebates for air source heat pumps, and up to $1,350 for mini-split heat pumps, heating and cooling solutions that don’t require ductwork but rather use outdoor compressors and indoor air-handling units.

      Along with Chicago, local and state governments in New York, Colorado, Maine, and Massachusetts are offering utility incentives to help in modernizing and updating current systems. Maine, in particular, has surpassed its target of 100,000 new heat pumps installed by 2025 — having given out rebates for 116,000 heat pumps.

      As these incentives, and others surely upcoming, continue to pass through, American households will be inclined to replace older, inefficient systems, leaving savvy contractors eager to aid in the process to reap the benefits.

      Aligning with a Developing System Is Key

      Being up to date on what incentives are available in their area, as well as consumer purchasing trends, will position HVAC professionals to go to market smartly and purposefully. The following guidelines will help in that process:

      Optimize new construction to allow for updated, energy-efficient systems. Be sure space is appropriately allocated, and the space will be able to support heat pumps, mini splits, and other emerging technologies. And pro tip: Make sure to have a surefire way to maintain documentation of the systems installed; it will be important when applying for incentives.

      Continue to learn about local incentives and invest in continued training. Researching what incentives are offered in the communities in which the service is being performed will equip the installer with the knowledge needed to provide optimal, knowledgeable customer service. Investing in training programs and certifications, on the other hand, allows HVAC teams to garner the expertise needed to be leaders in the field.

      Educate customers. To play a role in climate-neutrality and the planet’s sustainability journey, educate customers on the benefits of energy-efficient technologies.

      Work with experts. Consider conversing with renewable energy experts to gain additional skills and strategies on how to play a role in sustainable compliance.

      By following these steps, HVAC professionals can continue to play a vital part in this exciting and electrified future of heating and cooling solutions.

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