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The oyster appetizer tray made its way around the table during our group dinner, and I asked the guy sitting next to me if he wanted first dibs, to which he replied, “No thanks, I know where they’ve been.” I mean, I kinda knew, but maybe not as much as this guy? So I declined Read More

The oyster appetizer tray made its way around the table during our group dinner, and I asked the guy sitting next to me if he wanted first dibs, to which he replied, “No thanks, I know where they’ve been.” I mean, I kinda knew, but maybe not as much as this guy? So I declined, as well.

Turns out, “that guy” sitting next to me was Frank Sidari, PE, BCEE, Technical Director, Special Pathogens Laboratory (SPL), and one of the featured speakers at a recent Watts Water Technologies Healthcare Symposium. Sidari was there to speak about Legionella and its growth, and the growing concern in the industry.

Legionella, Legionnaires' Disease, Legionellosis, Waterborne illness, respiratory disease

“No one should die from a preventable disease caused by bacteria in water,” said Sidari, suggesting that Legionnaires’ Disease is on the rise. Part of this rise correlates to the fact that there wasn’t really any testing being done for Legionella. Yet, it’s one of those “It’s never going to happen to me”-type diseases. What could have been mistaken for other ailments, the disease was often times diagnosed as pneumonia or the flu in older people, or those with auto-immune disorders.

According to the SPL presentation, public water supplies may contaminate the plumbing systems of hospitals and other large buildings. In fact, Legionella bacteria is not ubiquitous, but are found in 50% of building water systems—not all—which consist of:

  • 12-70% of hospital water systems
  • Up to 60% of large high-rise buildings
  • 10-40% of residential homes
  • 30-50% of cooling towers colonized with Legionella

Legionella can be found in building warm water systems such as faucets, showers, hot water tanks, decorative fountains, pools, spas and cooling towers, for example.

Transmission of pathogenic Legionella in the water system is the aerosolization and aspiration from an environmental source into the lungs—when the exposure to contaminated water reaches the airways—and because it is chlorine tolerant, it can survive the water treatment process and pass into the water distribution system. It grows in the water systems in the right conditions, i.e. water temperature, sediment and commensal microbes. Again, the disease can occur if the host is susceptible.

Legionella, Legionnaires' Disease, Legionellosis, Waterborne illness, respiratory disease, Frank Sidari, Special Pathogens Lab

Frank Sidari

Variables such as water flow, distribution, velocity and temperature and play an important part for risk reduction. Risk factors such as water supply, building use and size, system design and hot water set-up all contribute to a safe and effective plumbing system.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Legionella accounted for 66% of reported drinking water-associated outbreaks, and Legionella in building plumbing systems lead to drinking water-associated outbreaks.

As there has been movement for the Center of Disease Control to develop a water management program to reduce Legionella growth in buildings, Illinois senators, for example, sent a letter to the leaders of three health-related agencies—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the EPA—asking for their help in responding to a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at a state-run veterans home, in Manteno, says Dain Hansen, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, The IAPMO Group.

This comes on the heels of a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at an Illinois veterans’ home in Quincy that killed 14 people since 2015.Traction is being made in Illinois. “In response to the ongoing crisis, Illinois’ new governor, J.B. Pritzker, has established a Legionnaires’ disease task force, and the senators also requested that the three federal agencies participate in that effort,” says Hansen.

In New York state, environmental assessments are required with a Legionella sampling and risk management plan is in place where <30% distal outlet positivity requires corrective action.

Industry-wide, ASHRAE Standard 188, the first Legionella standard in the U.S., which was approved in 2015 and revised in 2018, establishes minimum Legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.

According to the Special Pathogens Laboratory, zero Legionella is virtually impossible to achieve in complex water systems so zero cases is the goal, not zero Legionella through Legionella control. The SPL suggests that in hospitals and long-term care facilities—and other facilities I would presume—establishing water management policies to reduce the risk of growth and spread of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens, conducting a risk assessment and implementing a water management program are all very good ideas for a facility.

Each building owner must assess the risk and validate their water management plans to demonstrate control of the hazard. The SPL suggests that in hospitals and long-term care facilities—and other facilities, I would presume—establishing water management policies to reduce the risk of growth and spread of Legionella and other opportunistic pathogens, conducting a risk assessment and implementing a water management program are all very reasonable considerations for a facility.

Legionella, Legionnaires' Disease, Legionellosis, Waterborne illness, respiratory disease

Source: Special Pathogens Lab

 

 

RIDGID 2019 Experience, RIDGID tools, plumbing, RIDGID Trade Trip

RIDGID Experience Contest Open for Entry Elyria, Ohio—The RIDGID® Experience, an all-expenses-paid, VIP trip to RIDGID world headquarters, is back for its third consecutive year. Beginning today, the most passionate RIDGID fans can enter to be one of six winners selected for the trip July 31st – August 2nd, 2019, that includes a VIP tour Read More

RIDGID Experience Contest Open for Entry

Elyria, Ohio—The RIDGID® Experience, an all-expenses-paid, VIP trip to RIDGID world headquarters, is back for its third consecutive year. Beginning today, the most passionate RIDGID fans can enter to be one of six winners selected for the trip July 31st – August 2nd, 2019, that includes a VIP tour of RIDGID headquarters, the opportunity to build their own custom pipe wrench and more.

RIDGID 2019 Experience, RIDGID tools, plumbing, RIDGID Trade Trip

The Hub’s Eric Aune (3rd from the right) attended this exclusive event last year and can’t express enough its awesomeness.

To enter, visit the RIDGID Facebook page – facebook.com/RIDGIDTools, fill out the entry form and upload a photo or video of you and your favorite RIDGID tool. Deadline to enter is April 26th, 2019.

“The response from RIDGID fans wanting to participate in the RIDGID Experience has been overwhelming the last couple of years and we’re thrilled to continue this great tradition,” said Becky Brotherton, manager, marketing communications, RIDGID. “Being able to celebrate our most loyal fans and their role in the trades is an incredible experience for us and we can’t wait to welcome this year’s winners to our world headquarters.”

RIDGID 2019 Experience, RIDGID tools, plumbing, RIDGID Trade Trip

RIDGID Experience Contest 2018 Custom Wrench Building

The prize package includes:

  • VIP RIDGID headquarters tour
  • A custom RIDGID pipe wrench
  • Photoshoot for upcoming ad campaign
  • Share insights and get one-on-one time with product, engineering, research and development managers
  • Suite seats to see the Cleveland Indians
  • Fishing excursion on Lake Erie
  • And much moreWinners will be announced in May. Visit the RIDGID Facebook page for complete entry details and rules.

“Tradesmen.” It’s a generally accepted term in this industry. Every once in a great while, you’ll hear the term “tradespeople.” It’s rare that there’s a need to substitute “men” for “people.” Our industry is definitely male-dominated, but exceptions do exist. Deb Page is one such exception. Aside from being a certified Master HVAC Technician and Read More

“Tradesmen.” It’s a generally accepted term in this industry. Every once in a great while, you’ll hear the term “tradespeople.” It’s rare that there’s a need to substitute “men” for “people.” Our industry is definitely male-dominated, but exceptions do exist.

Deb Page is one such exception. Aside from being a certified Master HVAC Technician and mechanical business owner, she leads a relatively “normal” existence. She grew up in Howell, NJ, has five kids, and loves nothing more than to spend time in her meticulously-kept garden.

heat pump, Antigua Mechanical, HVAC, Contractor, Women in the Trades

Deb Page checks the refrigerant charge on an existing heat pump.

If you’d have asked her 15 years ago if she thought that she would become an HVAC technician, she’d have told you, resoundingly, no. She used to manage a large food truck. She was a PTA member and single soccer Mom while raising three kids of her own.

Making the leap to the HVAC trade was more of a necessity that a choice for Deb.

heat pump, Antigua Mechanical, HVAC, Contractor, Women in the Trades

Running soft copper for a heat pump installation.

“I got divorced and was losing my house to foreclosure,” she explained. “My ex-husband was a plumber, and I took a job working in the office of a local HVAC company where I learned the ins and outs of the business; load calculations, billing, estimates, etc. At roughly the same time, I started dating my now-husband, Jim, who was a mechanical contractor before a serious illness took him out of the trade for awhile. I knew that the mechanical industry was the only trade where I could make enough money in time to save my home and keep my children in their schools.”

When Jim and Deb started dating, he told her that he could teach her everything she needed to know about the trade. After all, Deb already had a firm grasp on the business side of things. He was willing and excited to teach a woman who wasn’t scared to dive in.

There was a lot to learn. They stayed up late every night. Jim is an excellent instructor, and Deb was in her own private HVAC school.  They had blackboards, white boards and bulletin boards all over the basement. Jim taught her the terminology, how to look up codes, high voltage, low voltage, gas piping, venting, and just about everything Deb needed to build, as Jim called it, “a solid foundation of learning the trade.”

Today, Deb does it all with Jim as her mentor. She’s the owner and operator of the small company, while also being a mom and avid gardener. Their oldest son helps out when an extra person is needed.

heat pump, Antigua Mechanical, HVAC, Contractor, Women in the Trades

Deb drills through a concrete block while beginning to run high voltage for a mechanical system.

“More than anything else, I love wiring and piping,” said Deb. “Both are like puzzles. They take calculations, and you have to follow a path to complete them.

To say that Deb’s venture into the trade didn’t raise some eyebrows would be incorrect. Family and friends might have thought she was a little crazy when she started out. But when they started to see the business take off, everyone was soon pulling hard for her.

heat pump, Antigua Mechanical, HVAC, Contractor, Women in the Trades

Wiring a ductless mini-split.

“People know I’m serious,” said Deb enthusiastically. “Friends and customers alike see that I put 110% in everything I do. I managed to pull my home out of foreclosure, I learned a trade with a lot of help from Jim, and now I have a very rewarding career. Life is stable for the kids, and I get to make people happy.”

heat pump, Antigua Mechanical, HVAC, Contractor, Women in the Trades

Furnace maintenance is just part of a day’s work at Antigua Mechanical, LLC.

For Deb, gratification comes from a job well done. It’s hard work, but providing comfort, savings and solutions for people in need makes the job worthwhile. Really though, the best part of the work she does is getting to work with Jim every day.

Only once did she ever feel as though she was looked down upon being a woman in the trade. A general contractor was very rude, and made it apparent that he didn’t approve of her being on the job. That isolated experience didn’t come close to taking the wind out of her sails.

Three years have gone by since Deb earned her Master’s License. She enjoys interaction with a variety of people. She works hard to build sincere customer relations, and more times than not, she makes new friends.

“My advice to anyone looking to get into the trades is to do it while you’re young, and don’t be afraid to call tech support,” said Deb. “My advice to women is…. Kiss your finger nails goodbye!”

Navien’s official entry into the commercial boiler market We caught up with Brian Fenske, Director of Commercial Sales to learn about the Navien NFB-C commercial boiler while at AHR Expo. First let us acknowledge that no official press info has been released with delivery date, technical specifications etc at this time. As soon as we Read More

Navien’s official entry into the commercial boiler market

We caught up with Brian Fenske, Director of Commercial Sales to learn about the Navien NFB-C commercial boiler while at AHR Expo.

First let us acknowledge that no official press info has been released with delivery date, technical specifications etc at this time. As soon as we receive that information from Navien, we will be the first to share here and on our social media.

Now for all the details

Here’s what we do know about the Navien NFB-C boilers:

There will be two models available, the NFB-C-301 and 399. Each number corresponding to the Btu input rating. The model name [NFB-C] translates to Naven Firetube Boiler – Commercial. Each boiler will have at its core Navien’s unique in-house design and manufactured stainless steel heat exchanger. For more info on their new firetube click here.

These boilers will have the usual negative pressure gas system and as stated in the video, can be adjoined in cascade [up to 4 units] with common venting. Brian Fenske does a great job explaining all this and more in our video from AHR Expo, please watch below.

Check out more videos like this

Lastly, if you would like to see more videos of new tools and products we learned about please subscribe to our YouTube channel: MechanicalHubTV.

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

It’s been a decade since Captain Chesley Sullenberger glided US Airways Flight 1549 to a soggy emergency landing on the Hudson River. The plane touched down gently, not far from the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, in Weehawken, N.J. All 155 passengers and crew members survived. Without being instructed to do so, ferries left their docks Read More

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC

Johnstone Supply assisted Dash Mechanical with VRF training and design support.

It’s been a decade since Captain Chesley Sullenberger glided US Airways Flight 1549 to a soggy emergency landing on the Hudson River.

The plane touched down gently, not far from the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, in Weehawken, N.J. All 155 passengers and crew members survived. Without being instructed to do so, ferries left their docks and hurried to pull people from the frigid January waters.

“Everyone called it the ‘The Miracle on the Hudson,’” said Keith McGowan, commercial sales associate at Johnstone Supply. “It was 19°F that afternoon, and everyone was fortunate that the ferries were able to get there quickly. The ferries weren’t as busy then as they are now, and the Weehawken shoreline looked much different than it does today.”

When McGowan was a service tech, in the late 90s, the ferry terminal was the only thing on the west shore of the river. Today, construction occurs at a blistering pace.

Conduit to the city

“The Port Imperial Ferry Terminal has become a main aorta for commuters headed into the Big Apple,” he said. “It connects many of New Jersey’s bedroom communities with high-paying jobs in the city. But it wasn’t until more recently that development hit full stride. This past year was the first I’d put my expertise to the test in the construction. I was involved with a unique Fujitsu Airstage VRF installation right beside the ferry terminal.”

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

This project was the first VRF system that Dash Mechanical installed.

New condos, daycare facilities and parking garages now fill the streets leading to the ferry terminal, relying completely on the conduit to Manhattan that Port Imperial provides. Construction took place so rapidly that it seems like developers never considered where commuters might stop to grab a bite to eat.

“There are almost no restaurants here,” said McGowan. “When a unique space opened up on the ground floor of a new parking garage directly across from the terminal, a Texas-style barbeque, called House of ‘Que, jumped to make it their own.”

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

Dave Ashenfelter, president of Dash Mechanical, worked with the mechanical engineer to change the spec to two, smaller VRF condensers instead of one, which the original design called for.

Founded in 2013, House of ‘Que has one existing location in Hoboken, which also overlooks NYC from the far side of the Hudson. The restaurant’s owner knows Dave Ashenfelter, president of Dash Mechanical, and brought him in early on the HVAC system design to address the particular challenges the space presented.

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

House of Que is heated and cooled by a Fujitsu AirStage VRF system located in a parking garage above the restaurant.

“This is a plan/spec job where we collaborated with the engineer,” said Ashenfelter, whose company focuses on commercial and industrial plumbing and HVAC throughout New Jersey. “Limited space, and the fact that the restaurant sits below a parking garage, made for a lot of unique considerations.”

While the House of ‘Que dining experience—complete with live stage, open-air atmosphere and a menu to die for—will be the same in Weehawken as it is in Hoboken, the mechanical system takes a page from a different playbook.

In Hoboken, the eatery is heated and cooled by a large central system operated by the Port Authority. In Weehawken, owners and managers at the House of ‘Que wanted to keep the mechanical systems in-house, with comfort and efficiency prioritized.

Conditioning unique space

“In the original design, a single VRF condenser was going to serve the entire space,” explained Ashenfelter. “I worked with the engineer to change the spec to two, smaller Fujitsu Airstage VRF systems. The restaurant owner preferred two condensers instead of one. If a condenser fails, the restaurant can at least maintain half its heating or cooling capacity.”

The restaurant is at ground level, and almost the entire front of the venue has folding glass doors that open to the street, and to the view of the city across the river. For roughly nine months of the year, the doors are open. To extend the open-air season and limit the entry of insects and dirt, Johnstone supplied 60 feet of Mars air curtain.

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

Large, high static air handlers are used to heat and cool the seating area through exposed spiral duct.

“The use of the air curtains causes a wash of air over the entrances to prevent outdoor air from rushing indoors, and helps keep insects from entering,” said McGowan, who has worked on the project with Ashenfelter since the beginning. “Without air curtains, the heating or cooling load would be much higher.”

Table seating is provided at ground level, and the bar area was excavated several feet below grade. A stage and a pair of massive TV screens above the bar are also at street level, providing pedestrians a view of the entertainment inside.

Two, eight-ton high-static Fujitsu Airstage air handlers are used to heat and cool the seating area through exposed spiral duct. An office and locker room space behind the bar is conditioned by a three-ton air handler.

HVAC, VRF, Fujitsu, retrofit, Johnstone Supply, House of Que, NYC, Dash Mechanical

Keith McGowan (R), with Johnstone Supply, visited the construction site frequently during mechanical system installation.

The Fujitsu Airstage condensers—one eight-ton and one 10-ton—are mounted in the parking garage on the second floor, separated from cars by a set of bollards. Even though the parking garage is open to the outside, the ceilings are low enough that the design called for condenser hoods. These are used to discharge air horizontally, out of the parking garage.

A first of many

“I’ve been in the trade for nearly 40 years, and founded Dash Mechanical about five years ago,” said Ashenfelter. “This was our first VRF project, so we were grateful for the Fujitsu factory training, on-site support from Johnstone Supply, and design input from Umair Surani, Mid-Atlantic Sales Engineer at Fujitsu.

“That support made the install easier than I expected, despite the fact that everything inside the restaurant is custom made, and the building is all steel and concrete,” he added.

As soon as Dash was contacted about providing a solution for the restaurant last year, Ashenfelter asked McGowan where to get solid VRF training. Several Dash employees then attended Fujitsu’s VRF training courses over the winter.

Known for its smoked meat dishes, House of ‘Que is located across from the Weehawken Ferry Terminal.

“Keith has been in this industry a long time, and like everyone at Johnstone, he’s always been a great resource,” continued Ashenfelter. “He comes out to jobs anytime I need him, and he’s certified for VRF start-up as well. Johnstone supplies a level of service and expertise that isn’t common among wholesalers.”

Dash stayed one step ahead of construction progress and maintained attention to detail. The use of sound attenuators and purging refrigerant lines with nitrogen before brazing will go a long way to elevate the customer dining experience and ensure long system lifecycle. With the success of the project, Ashenfelter is confident that House of Que will duplicate the system if they open new locations.

The restaurant’s grand opening took place in late November, and if the customer response since then is any indication, expansion may be a serious consideration. In the meanwhile, Dash Mechanical has more VRF projects on the calendar.