Installation Clearances

There’s a billion ways to ball up an installation or replacement…give or take a million.

Fortunately, one of the most common mistakes is also easily avoidable; setting the unit.

From access concerns to performance issues, there’s more to locating HVAC equipment than keeping the arrow on the ‘This End Up’ sticker pointing skyward.

There are three primary placement concerns, and they’re as easily to remember as SOS.

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Posted in It's Technical, Tricks & Tips Tagged with:

The Room Temperature Room!

The true meaning of Room Temperature!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxxYqE4Gil8

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Posted in It's Humor

Heat Pump Reversing Valve 101

 

The reversing valve; the second most confusing part of a heat pump
(Yes, the defrost board still holds first place for the most confusing part)

The confusion.

The confusion is understandable; a big round cylinder with three large tube connections on top, a smaller connection on the bottom (wait, there’s a top and bottom?)

and a miniature solenoid valve with three minuscule tubes hanging off the side…scary.

The reversing valve is the heart of a heat pump, without it there is no heat pump.

 The good news is they are easy to troubleshoot once you understand its purpose and how it operates.

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Posted in Heating, It's Technical, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Good news! Skilled trades are in demand! Question: does anyone care?

An article on Construction Dive (if you’re not following them, you should) by Emily Peiffer found that 69% of general contractors are having a tough time filling craft positions. While the article is based on the construction industry its close relative, the service industry, is having the same issue.

What’s a craft position? Craft positions are what some called “Skilled Labor” in the early 2000s, “The Trades” in the nineties and “Blue Collar” in the eighties. Before that? People just called them jobs.

Whatever you call them, in the broad spectrum they include the likes of carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, welders and HVAC technicians just to name a few.

Why the shortage? You know the answer as well as we do; parents and schools focus on the children entering college; very few parents or schools want little Jenny or little Johnny to swing a wrench for a living.

You can almost picture the conversation in a high school guidance counselor’s office-

Counselor: “little Johnny isn’t doing well in school, we should steer him towards the (gasp) trades before he turns to a life of crime”

Parents: “working with his hands?!” (the mother faints, the father swallows his nicotine gum)

Father: “so, prison may still be an option…” (sigh of relief)

Yes, we’re obviously exaggerating (save the snarky replies for another post) …but you get the point. The trades are typically not first on many peoples list of career choices.

ZenHVAC is asking you to do your part by telling anyone and everyone who will listen that the trades are a legitimate career choice that pays well, is in demand, and is a career path to be proud of.

Hint; make sure your message targets those who are not already in the trades; trades people already know the advantages of entering the trades.

Happy New Year from the folks at ZenHVAC!

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Posted in Business Operations, It's Business, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,

Ammonia a 19th Century Solution to a 20th Century Problem ?

n3Problems aren’t solved by people who don’t question…well…everything.

And, sometimes, the answers to the questions aren’t necessarily new. This week Kathy Jackson brought us her thoughts on a new / old solution to an relatively recent issue.

If you’ve been working in the HVAC service industry for a while,  you’re probably (SHOULD BE!) well aware that the EPA is phasing out Freon (HCFC-22 or R-22) and plans to ban it completely by 2030. What will replace Freon? It’s a question on a lot of technicians’ minds. When looking to the future of refrigerants, it might be worthwhile to consider the past.

An efficient and effective refrigerant since the 1850s, Ammonia could experience a renaissance as Freon disappears from the market. If ammonia is so great, why did it fall out of favor to Freon in the 1920s? Toxicity. Ammonia can be as dangerous to humans as Freon is damaging to the environment.

Harnessing the risks of working with ammonia could prove less challenging than you’d think—and the benefits might be well worth it. Check out the quick facts about ammonia below to see why its use might become more widespread in the HVAC industry. Read more ›

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Posted in Cooling, Uncategorized Tagged with: , ,

The Future of Your Business is Directly Related To Your Workforce

Patrick PetersonTake a good look at your company’s employees, specifically your service crew, and answer this one simple question: How old are they? Most of you will find your technicians are in their 40s and 50s. You may have a couple of apprentices in their 20s or early 30s, but the bulk of your work force is made up of middle-aged employees. (For all you middle-aged technicians out there, don’t worry about being middle-aged; you’re worth your weight in gold.)

Now let’s take a little trip back in time to the late 80s and middle-90s, and take a look at the average HVAC company’s employee roster. The apprentices were in their late teens to early 20s. The first-year mechanics were in their mid- to late-20s. The seasoned technicians were 30 to 40, and the sales people, estimators and service managers were in their 50s and 60s.

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Posted in Business Operations, It's Business, Why Didn't I Think of That Tagged with: ,

I’ve been doing this for 20 years

Technicians are quick to tell trainers “I’ve been doing this for 20 years”

And, we’ve all heard the old sayings, “Work smarter, not harder”  Measure twice, cut once”  “There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel” “Don’t eat the yellow snow” bla bla bla….

Training is darn close kin to “don’t re-invent the wheel”.

If you can learn from someone else’s mistakes, you don’t have to make them yourself. We never have enough time to do it right the first time, but we always have time to go back.

Yeah…not really.
Don’t assume your team knows everything they need to know…you know what happens when you assume…you make an ass of you and me…and them…

Don’t be an ass, Invest in training

And stay away from that yellow snow!

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Posted in It's Business, It's Humor, It's Learning

Twenty Years of Experience…One Year at a Time

There are 1st year technicians with 20 years of experience under their belt….and there are 20 year technicians who have 1 year’s experience under their belt….20 years in a row…don’t be that guy.

Your time in the trade doesn’t mean squat, it’s what you did with the time that counts.

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Posted in It's Humor, It's Learning

Excellent Customer Service; How to Walk the Talk

Everyone talks about how they provide “Excellent Customer Service”, but what does Excellent Customer Service mean?  If you ask 10 people, you’ll get 11 different answers.

Here’s an idea,  lets look at what customers think Excellent Customer Service is…..I know, I know, crazy talk….what was I thinking.

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Posted in Customer Diplomacy, Field Operations, It's Business, Marketing, Sales Tagged with: ,

Cooling Towers Part 2: Measuring Performance with Range and Approach

There are two terms you need to understand if you want to sound somewhat competent when describing a tower’s performance: Approach and Range.

Range is the temperature difference between the inlet water and the outlet water.

The formula is EWT (95℉) – LWT(85℉) = Range (10℉)

The higher the range, the more efficient the tower.

Approach is the difference between the outlet water temperature and the entering air wet bulb temperature.

The Higher the approach the less efficient the tower.

The formula is LWT (85℉) – WBT (78℉) = Approach (7℉)

Range Approach

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Posted in Cooling, It's Technical Tagged with: , ,