Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association

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  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    On Monday March 21st, 2022 Sarasota County Building officials met with representatives of MACCA to discuss needing engineered roof stands on a changeout when the roof was not being replaced. It was agreed that as long as we reinstalled it in the same manner that we found it that it would not have to be brought up to new wind load requirements.

    There was also discussion in regards to the installation of a mini split unit in a garage and it was explained that it is acceptable in Sarasota County with the standard Mechanical permit along with an electrical permit. No other load calcs or energy calcs needed.

  • Thursday, July 21, 2022 3:06 PM | Anonymous

    On Monday July 11th, a meeting was held between MACCA and Manatee county officials to discuss the use of hurricane rated condenser pads. It was a productive meeting in which MACCA was able to discuss the challenges we were having with Manatee county due to them not allowing us to use the Hurricane rated condenser pads. Also, Manatee county was able to discuss their side of the issue and explain the liability they face by not enforcing their interpretation of the code. In the end, Manatee county was able to find an interpretation that allowed them to enforce the code and allowed the AC contractors to continue to use the hurricane rated condenser pads. A win for all.

  • Thursday, June 23, 2022 2:32 PM | Anonymous

    New terminology is used with mildly flammable refrigerant

    The HVACR industry is in the process of transitioning away from HFCs such as R-410A to alternative refrigerants that are mildly flammable (A2L). Because of their flammable nature, these refrigerants are referred to in terms that may not be familiar to contractors and technicians.

    At the recently held HVAC Excellence National HVACR Education Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, Jason Obrzut, director of industry standards and relations at ESCO Group, explained the properties of A2L refrigerants, as well as what the terminology means.

    Levels of Flammability

    First of all, it’s important to understand that refrigerants have different levels of flammability (and toxicity), which are governed by ASHRAE Standard 34, Designation and Safety Classification of Refrigerants. In the U.S., residential and light commercial air conditioning equipment has almost universally used refrigerants that do not propagate a flame (A1), such as R-22 or R-410A. But now new refrigerants, such as R-32 and R-454B will be coming on the market, and these are mildly flammable, or A2L.

    ASHRAE Standard 34 assigns an identifying reference letter and number to each refrigerant to classify it according to the hazard involved in its use, see Table 1. The capital letter designates a toxicity class based on allowable exposure, while the numeral denotes flammability. As Obrzut noted, “‘A’ designates low toxicity, while ‘B’ is higher toxicity. The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are the levels of flammability, and the lower the number, the lower the flammability.”

    Image in modal.

    TABLE 1: ASHRAE Standard 34 assigns an identifying reference letter and number to each refrigerant to classify it according to the hazard involved in its use.

    As far as flammability is concerned, ASHRAE has designated four classifications of refrigerants (there is no nonflammable classification for refrigerants, as most are capable of ignition when exposed to a high energy ignition source such as an open flame):

    • Class 3 for highly flammable refrigerants such as hydrocarbons;
    • Class 2 for flammable refrigerants such as R-152a;
    • Class 2L for lower flammability refrigerants such as R-32 and R-454B; and
    • Class 1 for refrigerants that do not propagate a flame when subjected to conditions specified by ASTM Standard E681.

    A2L refrigerants were given that designation because of their lower flammability limit (LFL), which is an important term to understand. LFL is the minimum concentration of a flammable substance – in this case a refrigerant – that is capable of ignition when there is a sufficient mixture of air and the substance. It’s expressed as refrigerant percentage by volume, so the lower the number, the greater the probability for ignition.

    “For example, R-290 has an LFL of 2.1%, which means when it reaches 2.1% of the air by volume, it can be considered a competent mixture, and it will burn (see Table 2),” said Obrzut. “A2Ls have a higher LFL, so you need a greater amount -- a larger leak -- and enough oxygen or air in order to achieve that competent mixture.”

    Refrigerant R-32 R-454B R-1234yf R-717 Ammonia R-152a R-290 Propane R-600a Isobutane
    Safety Group A2L A2L A2L B2L A2 A3 A3
    LFL 14.4% 11.8% 6.2% 15% 3.9% 2.1% 1.8%
    Auto Ignition Temperature 648°C
    1,198.4⁰F
    496°C
    924.8⁰F
    405°C
    761⁰F
    651°C
    1,203.8⁰F
    440°C
    824⁰F
    455°C
    851⁰F
    460°C
    860⁰F
    Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) 30 – 100 mJ 100-300 mJ 5,000 – 10,000 mJ 100 – 300 mJ 0.38 mJ 0.25 mJ 0.6 – 0.7 mJ
    Burning Velocity 6.7 cm/s 5.2 cm/s 1.5 cm/s 7.2 cm/s 23 cm/s 46 cm/s 41 cm/s
    Heat of Combustion (HOC) 3,869 Btu/lb 4,420 Btu/lb 4,408 Btu/lb 9,673 Btu/lb 2,708 Btu/lb 19,905 Btu/lb 19,000 –19,200 Btu/lb
    TABLE 2: LFL is expressed as refrigerant percentage by volume, so the lower the number, the greater the probability for ignition. (Courtesy of ESCO Institute)


    R-32, for example, has an LFL of 14.4%, and R-454B has an LFL of 11.8%. On top of having a competent mixture of air and refrigerant, a high amount of energy is needed to ignite it, such as an open flame. “Essentially, we have to have a decent amount of refrigerant leak into a place where there’s enough air, and in that same place, we have to have some sort of open flame that keeps burning. The stars really have to align in order for ignition to take place,” said Obrzut.

    Read Other Important Terms and Full Article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146639-a2l-terms-you-should-know


  • Wednesday, June 15, 2022 1:18 PM | Anonymous

    Contractors should update inventory plans to get ready for equipment changes

    Big changes are coming to the HVAC industry, as of January 1, 2023, the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) minimum energy efficiency requirements go into effect for all newly manufactured residential and commercial air conditioners and heat pumps. On the commercial side, this will mark the second efficiency increase in HVAC equipment in the last five years, while on the residential side, there will be separate efficiency standards and installation requirements for central air conditioners sold in the northern and southern parts of the U.S.

    It is important for contractors to not only be aware of the changes taking place next year, but to take steps now to update inventory plans in order to be prepared for the new efficiency standards.

    Changes

    The new DOE standards will increase the minimum efficiency of residential equipment approximately 7%, or the equivalent of 1 SEER point and .6 HSPF for most equipment, said Jennifer Butsch, director of regulatory affairs at Emerson. What makes this transition a little more challenging, she said, is that OEM ratings will be based on a new test procedure and result in new metrics — SEER2, HSPF2, and EER2 (see sidebar).

    DOE 2023 Regional Residential Efficiencies Map.

    THREE REGIONS: Efficiency standards for single split central air conditioners are still divided into three regions: North, South, and Southwest, with higher SEER2 required for the Southern regions. (Courtesy of Johnson Controls)

    “Efficiency standards for single split central air conditioners are still divided into three regions: North, South, and Southwest, with higher SEER2 required for the Southern regions (the same as it is today),” she said. “The new SEER2 minimum will be 13.4 in the North [equivalent to 14 SEER] and 14.3 [15 SEER] in the Southern regions. The new efficiency metrics will be reflected on the updated FTC energy guide labels.”

    Another difference is that each of the three regions will have different date-of-installation and date-of-manufacture requirements based on product type, said Chris Forth, vice president of regulatory, codes and environmental affairs, ducted systems at Johnson Controls.

    “In the North, sell through of residential air conditioning units built prior to January 1, 2023 is permitted on or after January 1, 2023, but newly manufactured SEER2, EER2 products must meet the 2023 minimum requirements in addition to being tested to a new DOE test procedure,” he said. “Air conditioners in the Southeast and Southwest are date-of-installation products and must be completely installed no later than December 31, 2022; therefore, sell through of air conditioners is not permitted unless their EnergyGuide labels meet the new 2023 SEER/EER minimums.”

    The ratings published on a unit’s EnergyGuide label will determine whether or not an air conditioning unit for the Southeast or Southwest region can be installed on or after January 1, 2023, added Forth. The EnergyGuide labels must be at least 15 SEER (for products < 45,000 Btuh or 14.5 SEER for products ≥ 45,000 Btuh) in order to meet the new 2023 SEER minimums. Products in the Southwest must also meet the 2023 EER requirements.

    “It’s important to note that the DOE considers heat pumps of all types as a national standard and as thus they are not subject to regional efficiency standards with one exception,” said Forth. “The exception is for single package heat pumps in the Southwest, which requires units also meet a minimum EER.”

    On the commercial side, DOE increased the efficiency of air conditioning systems in two phases. The first phase occurred in 2018 and consisted of a 13% increase in minimum efficiency, while the second phase will take place in 2023 and require an additional 15% increase in part-load (IEER) efficiency.

    The commercial HVAC market does not have regional standards, and DOE compliance is based on the ship date, said Henry Ernst, regulations and industry organizations manager at Daikin Applied.

    Read full article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146585-prepare-now-for-2023-energy-efficiency-standards


  • Wednesday, June 01, 2022 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    Some HVAC contractors don’t even have to leave their shops to fall victim to crime.

    Crime is a growing problem in many parts of the country, and it’s affecting HVAC contractors. Thieves are stealing tools out of work trucks, along with the catalytic convertors — and in some cases, they are stealing the trucks. Thieves are also targeting the copper and other metals inside of HVAC units, and sometimes even the units themselves.

    AC Mechanical and Engineering, a commercial HVAC contractor, serves the greater Denver metropolitan area. Until recently, that included downtown Denver. The company recently made a public announcement that it would no longer service businesses in this area. Operations manager Tony Cirbo told a local news station that crews have come across drug paraphernalia, including needles, and were worried about being robbed.

    A viral video from Florida shows the kind of incident technicians worry about. It shows an attempted robbery of an HVAC contractor’s vehicle in broad daylight. According to a release from the Fort Walton Beach Police, a man named Elijah Sutton pulled a technician from Emerald Air Heating and Cooling out of his truck while the technician was stopped at a gas station.

    Sutton tried to run down the technician, but he ended up hitting another car and a fuel station. He then attempted to drive away but crashed into a utility pole. Police arrested him at the scene.

    Multiple Break-Ins

    Some HVAC contractors don’t even have to leave their shops to fall victim to crime. At the end of 2020, thieves broke into Sky Heating and Air Conditioning in Lincoln, Nebraska. Then it happened again eight months later. Owner Zach Arena told a local TV station that the thieves took torches, copper cases, power tools, and thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment.

    “They took anything that’s pretty much HVAC-related,” Arena told the TV station.

    Thieves don’t even have to get into a building to rob an HVAC contractor. Some of the most prized targets are sitting outside the building, underneath the fleet of work trucks. A plumbing company in Rochester Hills, Michigan, reported that thieves stole the catalytic convertors off all nine of their trucks, costing them not only the price of repairing the vehicles, but also a day’s work.

    Catalytic converters, which are found on all vehicles since the 1975 model year, contain valuable metals such as palladium. High commodity prices have made these units targets for thieves because of the metals. These metals are also found in air conditioning units, which have made them targets as well. HVAC units have been stolen everywhere from new-home developments to churches.

    There are a number of steps HVAC contractors can take to protect their employees and their property. They can mark the catalytic converters to improve the chances of recovery. They can also place a cage or steel shield over the converters.

    Some business owners are experimenting with placing GPS devices inside of the converters. These have proven useful in tracking down stolen vehicles, and one new-home developer used these devices to track down stolen HVAC units. If technicians take their trucks home at night, it’s recommended that they bring any tools inside with them.

    - May 31, 2022, Ted Craig, Business Management Editor, ACHR News

    #fleet tracking #HVAC equipment market #safetyandHVAC #servicevehicle #supply chain

  • Thursday, May 26, 2022 11:23 AM | Anonymous

    The HVACR industry is undergoing another refrigerant transition, as HFCs such as R-410A and R-404A are being phased down in favor of new, lower-GWP refrigerants, such as R-32 and R-454B. Unlike the last transition, which shifted from the use of one nonflammable refrigerant to another, many of these new refrigerants are mildly flammable (A2L), so additional training will be needed in order to safely use them.

    Building codes in most states do not currently allow the installation of comfort cooling units that contain A2L refrigerants, so this type of equipment will likely not be in widespread use for another year or two. However, “it is still vital for contractors to use this time to get the proper training on how to safely handle and use A2Ls, because, in the end, it will affect all HVAC professionals,” said Wes Davis, director of technical services at ACCA.

    Training Opportunities

    ACCA is one of the entities that is offering A2L training for the HVACR industry. Their program was developed based on the ASHRAE and UL safety standards and provides an introduction to the new refrigerant; instruction on how to handle it safely; and a review of tools that will be needed to work on equipment with A2L refrigerants.

    To ensure accessibility, ACCA designed its A2L training program to be affordable for entire teams. The program is available any time of day, 24/7, lasts just over two hours, and includes a digital workbook. Upon passing a test, technicians earn a certificate of completion that demonstrates a commitment to keeping customers and employees safe.

    The ESCO Group has also developed an affordable training program for A2L refrigerants, entitled Low GWP Refrigerant Safety: Flammable and Mildly Flammable Refrigerants. The program consists of a manual (available in print or online), an e-learning-style course, instructor PowerPoint presentations, and a closed-book safety certification exam. ESCO also offers train-the-trainer courses for those who want to offer low-GWP refrigerant safety courses.

    The 50-question, closed-book, safety certification exam validates that a person possesses the knowledge to safely work with low-GWP refrigerants and covers the following competencies:

    • General flammable refrigerant safety knowledge;
    • Core ACR knowledge;
    • Flammable system service safety;
    • Flammable system installation safety; and
    • Flammable refrigerant transportation and handling safety.

    ESCO has also partnered with the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) to provide A2L training for stakeholders across Canada later this year.

    But the time to start training is now, said Jason Obrzut, director of industry standards and relations at ESCO. “The industry has always been able to adapt to an ever-changing landscape, and leveraging new technology and refrigerants to produce extremely efficient, safe systems has been the norm. As with any industry transition, staying well informed is one of the main keys to being prepared. Training is another key component to a successful transition.”

    Other Resources

    Another place to look for more information regarding A2Ls is AHRI, which created its Safe Refrigerant Task Force to help ensure a smooth refrigerant transition. Its website offers a number of resources, including webinars, articles, and fact sheets, as well as a listing of service tools that will be needed to use with A2L refrigerants.

    Read full article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146235-take-time-to-train-for-refrigerant-transition

  • Wednesday, May 25, 2022 2:38 PM | Anonymous

    The applicable safety standards from ASHRAE and UL have been updated, but most state building codes do not currently allow the installation of stationary comfort cooling equipment that contains A2Ls.

    Refrigerant-Technician-1.jpgThe federal AIM Act, which will phase down HFC refrigerants 85% by 2036, was designed to encourage a safe transition to lower-GWP refrigerants such as R-32 and R-454B in comfort cooling equipment. However, these alternatives to R-410A are mildly flammable (A2L) and thus require updated building codes and standards to ensure their safe use.

    The applicable safety standards from ASHRAE and UL have been updated, but most state building codes do not currently allow the installation of stationary comfort cooling equipment that contains A2Ls. There are several exceptions, including Florida, Oregon, North Carolina, and Washington. These states have already updated their building codes to allow the use of A2L refrigerants in larger air conditioners and heat pumps, and several more states are looking to do the same — possibly later this year.

    State Approval

    The reason why some states are adopting A2Ls and others are not is that in the U.S., there are several building codes available, including the International Code Council (ICC) and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), and states typically adopt one or the other. The ICC has already updated its standards for the use of A2L refrigerants [in the 2024 edition], while the IAPMO has yet to finalize theirs, said Chris Forth, vice president of regulatory, codes and environmental affairs - ducted systems at Johnson Controls.

    “Most states follow ICC guidelines and are, therefore, free to adopt those standards at any time,” he said. “However, there are some states — notably California — that follow the IAPMO, and they are at risk of not having their codes updated by 2025.”

    That 2025 date is important, because as part of the rulemaking process for the AIM Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering banning the use of R-410A in new residential and commercial air conditioning equipment starting January 1, 2025. That date aligns with California’s HFC phasedown regulations, which require a 750 GWP limit for new air conditioning equipment starting in 2025, while VRF system manufacturers have until 2026 in order to comply with the new limit.

    Refrigerant Technician.POSSIBLE BAN: EPA is considering banning the use of R-410A in new equipment as of 2025. Here, Zac DesJardins, owner and operator of Tennessee-based Quality Comfort Inc., services a York heat pump. (Courtesy of Quality Comfort Inc.)


    In an ideal world, the model codes would be updated first, and changes to the model codes would cascade directly to the state codes, said Stephen Spletzer, principal engineer of Opteon™ refrigerants at Chemours. However, he added that model codes and state codes have their own cycles for doing updates, which often do not align.

    Read full article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146540-states-update-codes-to-allow-a2l-refrigerants


  • Tuesday, May 03, 2022 2:47 PM | Anonymous

    We are experiencing ever-rising gas prices, inflation rates at 40-year highs, supply shortages, and staffing shortages, among other things. You are likely feeling the pressure of one or many of these issues. What can you do? How can you prepare your company and team?

    Times are tough, and all signs show they are going to get worse before they get better. At one time, GE had a policy to let the bottom 10% of their staff go once a year to cut waste and improve production. We may not have that option in our current economic environment, but I have put a list together of some items you can do to prepare yourself and your company:

    • Pay off current debt. Don’t take on additional debt, and keep as much cash (or cash equivalent, i.e., gold and silver coins) as you can on hand.
    • Strike first and design new contract terms for your bigger projects. If an organization or individual is short on cash, you will be the first one they wait to pay. Get them to agree to better terms and higher late fees if they are late payers. Shorten all terms to 45 days or less.
    • Keep a close eye on invoicing and collections and get rid of problem clients. Fire them. Send them down the road to your competition.
    • Streamline your inventory and offerings. We offer two main brands; do I need to offer eight models of furnace from each brand? No, now we offer four from each brand. Follow suit with all your equipment.
    • Buy some inventory, if possible, on the items you use regularly, and replace inventory as soon as you use it. This will help with the shortages and delays we are experiencing.
    • Drop unprofitable products or services. Stop trying to be all things to all people. Be a specialist.
    • Play offense! During hard times, your competitors will pull back into a shell. Get out there and take advantage of cheaper advertising and less competition — and gain some market share.
    • Outsource what makes sense and cut expenses. When was the last time you went line by line through every expense you had? Chances are, you will be making some changes the moment you do.
    • Target your audience to those who are more insulated from a downturn. Higher economic brackets, certain industries, or geographic regions might be more insulated. Learn to sell high-end and value-based products to these groups.
    • Develop what I call a fighter line. This is the cheapest gas or heat pump system you can possibly do. Only break the glass on it if you are walking out of the house without a signed contract.
    • Watch OT and get rid of low performers now. You only need productive players during a downturn. Look for who is passionate about your business, and who is not.
    • Mine your own database looking for business. Big repairs in last year or two? Offer the repair cost back with new install. Similar incentives may work just as well.
    • Train your leaders on labor management. Show them the true cost of an hour of labor. Have open conversations about these costs to educate your leadership and employees.
    • Your vendors need to be shopped regularly to keep them honest. Don’t let loyalty drain you financially. Some will offer you the best rates regardless, but many will take what they can from you.
    • Sell unused equipment or assets and delay expensive purchases when prices are high, as they are currently.
    • Lead by example and make sure ownership and management are getting on the phones working their pipeline.
    • Introduce or re-introduce your company referral program to your customers and staff and consider raising the incentive. This also works on employee referrals for staffing shortages.
    • Team up with other business and cross sell to each other’s databases if possible. Can my plumber friend hand out HVAC flyers if I hand out plumbing flyers? Sure can. Service industries can lift each other up during such times.
    • Use your lawyers, your accountants, and your bankers. Ask them what you can do to cut costs and streamline your businesses. You may be surprised how much they can help.
    • Liquidate old inventory; the older it gets, the less worth that it has. Liquidate it in slow season every year.

    When times are tough and your business and your team members are feeling the pain, put on a smile. Be that beacon of hope that gives them strength. Don’t wait for things to get better. Lead yourself and lead them through it. Give them a plan. Give them a reason to believe in the long-term stability of your business. Offer exceptional service and focus on what you do best.

    An economic downturn is not bad unless we allow it to be. It is an opportunity to streamline operations, focus on profitability, and grow your business by making smart choices.

    Read full article: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146432-is-your-hvac-company-ready-for-an-economic-downturn

  • Saturday, April 16, 2022 8:42 AM | Anonymous

    Each year at the FRACCA Educational Conference, the Florida Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (FRACCA) hosts an awards ceremony recognizing individuals and companies within the HVAC industry. This year’s awards ceremony was held on Thursday, March 17, 2022, at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, and the following awards were given out:


    The 2022 Leadership Award was presented to Paul Stehle, a Manasota Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MACCA) Board Member, in recognition of his confidence, resilience, and grit which has helped to promote and elevate MACCA and FRACCA to the level they are today.

    2022 Chapter Innovation Award was presented to MACCA for their vision and dedication to their recent grant submissions. It was the first time MACCA applied for and was awarded grants in the history of the program. By securing these grants, it will positively impact and help increase the pool of qualified and trained technicians within the HVAC industry.

    2022 Outstanding Business Award was presented to Aqua Plumbing & Air for their commitment to improving the lives of their customers while also supporting the community and giving back. They are an exemplary example of a business showing good corporate and social responsibility.

    Finally, the 2022 Chapter Award was also presented to MACCA their overall excellence in a chapter and in recognition of their innovative approaches to membership, fiscal management, leadership, communications, and continuing education within the industry.

    Read article here: https://www.achrnews.com/articles/146437-industry-awards-presented-at-fracca-conference 

  • Wednesday, April 06, 2022 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    Add fast-rising fuel costs to the list of challenges that HVACR contractors face today.

    gas prices.jpgRetail gasoline prices in the U.S., which have been going up steadily for much of the past year, hit a nationwide average of $4.25 a gallon on March 9, an increase of just over 22% from a month earlier, when the price averaged $3.47 a gallon, according to AAA. Among the 50 states, average prices on March 9 ranged from a low of $3.79 a gallon in Kansas to a high of $5.57 a gallon in California, according to AAA.

    The March 9 average was 53% higher than a year earlier, when the nationwide per-gallon average was $2.77.

    With the Russian invasion of Ukraine and President Joe Biden’s decision to ban oil imports from Russia in response, prices aren’t expected to come down any time soon.

    “We do not see this being resolved in the foreseeable future given the current geopolitical state of the world,” said Chris Czarnecki, government relations manager at Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), in an email. “We hope we are wrong, but we believe this is something we will be seeing and dealing with for some time.”

    Ultimately, Czarnecki said, contractors will be forced to raise prices to cover the added costs. Some already have.

    For contractors already coping with a supply-chain slowdown, a labor shortage, and an inflation rate that’s at a 40-year high, runaway fuel costs are adding to their woes.

    To read the full ACHR NEWS article, click here.

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