Industry Blogs

Rinnai supports skilled trade gap by partnering with Folds of Honor The skilled trade industry is in desperate need of enthusiastic workers as the baby boomers are retiring. However, vocational school has become an obsolete term for high school students, the exact age employers are targeting the most.Skilled Trade Gap Baby boomers are beginning to Read More

Rinnai supports skilled trade gap by partnering with Folds of Honor

The skilled trade industry is in desperate need of enthusiastic workers as the baby boomers are retiring. However, vocational school has become an obsolete term for high school students, the exact age employers are targeting the most.Skilled Trade Gap

Baby boomers are beginning to retire and recruiters are looking for new skilled trade workers to fill their shoes. What is the problem? There are not enough laborers equipped to fill them. With a push toward a four-year college degree, many generational skilled trade workers are leaving the family business, and only a few men and women are choosing trade career options.

Vocational school is soon left out of the conversation when teenagers are told that going to a four-year institution would provide them with a more reliable and better paying career. Even though vocational school is less expensive, provides students with a valuable skill, and most students are hired immediately into the workforce upon completion. Knowing these statistics, teenagers made the decision to go to college which created a large gap between themselves and the current baby boomers in the industry.

There are 31 million skilled trade positions needing to be filled, according to Adecco US. It is important to reopen the conversation and benefits of vocational school with high school students as well as introduce them to these ideas as soon as the word “college” is mentioned.

How Can We Help?

Rinnai is dedicated to helping close the skilled trade gap by encouraging more students to seek a vocational education. By partnering with Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization started by Major Dan Rooney, Rinnai will be providing trade-specific educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members. For every Rinnai tankless water heater or boiler sold this year, Rinnai will make a contribution up to $250,000 to fund scholarships in the plumbing and HVAC trades. We hope our contribution will help to strengthen our industry for the current generation to provide skills for the future.

We encourage you to join Rinnai by honoring our service members’ sacrifice and educating their legacy, by donating to Folds of Honor, by visiting https://www.rinnai.us/FoldsOfHonor.

UMC and IMC Committees Vote to Disallow Flammable Refrigerants in Direct Systems and Maintain Current Safety Restrictions. One of the hottest topics in the mechanical code world is that of flammable refrigerants and their applications. The issue is currently playing out in the model code arena.  In the United States, jurisdictions have a choice of Read More

UMC and IMC Committees Vote to Disallow Flammable Refrigerants in Direct Systems and Maintain Current Safety Restrictions.

2021 Mechanical Code Committees Vote to Keep Restrictions for A2L Flammable RefrigerantsOne of the hottest topics in the mechanical code world is that of flammable refrigerants and their applications. The issue is currently playing out in the model code arena.  In the United States, jurisdictions have a choice of two model mechanical codes. The Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) is developed by the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO); the International Mechanical Code (UMC) is developed by the International Code Council. 

Uniform Mechanical Code

The IAPMO recently held their Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) technical committee hearings to update the 2021 edition of the UMC in Denver Colorado on May 1 and 2. Several proposals would have allowed A2L (flammable) refrigerants to be used in direct, high probability systems in residential and commercial buildings.

It was a divided house as producers and manufacturers presented their respective cases on both sides of the issue. The committee allowed discussion to proceed for approximately 2 hours and experts from all facets of the industry debated and informed the committee’s decision makers. In the end, the committee sided with those who presented safety concerns about the introduction of flammable refrigerants before the risks were appropriately addressed. Assuming the committee’s decision is final, the 2021 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code will not allow flammable refrigerants, including A2L refrigerants in direct air conditioning systems.

International Mechanical Code

The International Code Council (ICC) completed their 2021 International Mechanical Code (IMC) development process last year and also rejected code change proposals that would have loosened the restrictions on flammable refrigerants.

Summary

At both ICC and IAPMO mechanical code development hearings, a handful of manufacturers and industry associations advocated for enabling language to permit A2L refrigerants to be used in high probability direct air-conditioning systems for human comfort.  They offered a great deal of testimony in support of their proposals. In the end, both technical committees came to the same conclusion: it is premature to allow flammable refrigerants to be widely used in direct, high probability systems.

Although they are forbidden in direct systems, both codes allow their use in indirect systems located in refrigeration machinery rooms due to the known attributes of such spaces, such as, size and volume of the room, current availability of reliable detection and ventilation and dilution rates.

Research is currently underway to inform those who are developing equipment and installation standards; this research includes an assessment of refrigerant detector characteristics; post-ignition risk assessment; effectiveness of mitigation strategies being proposed; ignition potential from electrical devices and more. This research should be used to develop equipment and installation standards. When the research is finished, the installation standards and equipment safety standards are completed, and the refrigerant technicians are trained, it’s likely the code development committees will look more favorably on the use of flammable refrigerants in these applications.  

Forced air is still the traditional method of heating homes, but radiant heat is gaining significant momentum as an alternative. According to HGTV, the growth rate of in-floor radiant heating systems was estimated at 30 to 50 percent per year. At the heart of this shift is not just one single benefit. It’s a variety of advantages Read More

Forced air is still the traditional method of heating homes, but radiant heat is gaining significant momentum as an alternative. According to HGTV, the growth rate of in-floor radiant heating systems was estimated at 30 to 50 percent per year.

At the heart of this shift is not just one single benefit. It’s a variety of advantages that radiant floor heating systems bring to the table, the combination of which enhance the daily lives of a home’s occupants:

Even Heat Distribution

When a house is heated by a forced-air system, it will always be warmest near the vents that distribute the air. This can lead to “hotspots” on one end of a room while the other side of the room remains cool. And because hot air rises, upstairs rooms will be warmer than those downstairs.

With radiant floor heating systems, homeowners control how heat circulates in their home. Rather than heating the surrounding air, the heat that radiates from the floor warms other objects in the room and is evenly distributed without the potential for heat loss.

Improved Air Quality

While air pollution is more often associated with the outdoors, indoor air can be dirty as well. Whether it’s dust, pet dander or chemicals from fragrances (among other sources) that pollute the air, forced-air systems exacerbate the problem for allergy sufferers. That’s because the forced, heated air will stir up and mix with these airborne particles.

Since radiant floor heating systems don’t move air to deliver heat, the circulation of indoor particles is minimized. With less pollutants blown around, indoor air quality improves, which benefits allergy sufferers.

No Ductwork

The ductwork in forced-air systems further contributes to air pollution. When it’s riddled with cracks and holes, more dust and odors can enter and circulate. Without proper insulation, these same cracks and holes can cause air to leak out of the system and hinder its overall efficiency.

With no ducts, radiant floor heating systems reduce the churn of dust and allergens while curtailing heat loss. The absence of ducts means less work for homeowners as it eliminates the need for repairs like cleaning out ducts clogged with particles or adding insulation when heat loss mounts.

Energy Savings

With their uneven distribution of heat and potential for heat loss, traditional heating systems can be energy hogs.

Depending on how well a house is insulated, radiant floor systems can save up to 30 percent compared to forced-air systems. In terms of bills, the impact is quite significant as space heating is the largest energy expense for the average U.S. home, accounting for around 45 percent of energy bills.

Noiseless Operation

Homes should be quiet, but forced-air systems can be noisy as furnaces cycle on and off, gaps in the ductwork whistle and loose parts rattle.

By comparison, radiant floor heating systems are exceptionally quiet.

As consumers learn more about the advantages of radiant heating, its popularity will continue to grow.

Josh Quint is product manager, heating and cooling, for Viega LLC.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the complexities of smart home appliances and products. However, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the smart HVAC features and products that are sought by today’s customers. Before the dawn of the smart age, HVAC controls were synonymous with Read More

It’s easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about the Internet of Things (IoT) and the complexities of smart home appliances and products. However, it’s never too late to educate yourself on the smart HVAC features and products that are sought by today’s customers.

Before the dawn of the smart age, HVAC controls were synonymous with a simple thermostat that provided comfort from a system designed to focus only on heating or cooling a space. Functionality and practicality were the most vital roles of an HVAC system. With the increased role that technology plays in our daily lives, a lot has changed.

It’s no secret that smart home technology has reshaped the way consumers interact with their homes on a day-to-day basis. Now more than ever, consumers demand the ability to change their home’s climate with the push of a button or a simple voice command – without ever touching the thermostat and from anywhere, whether sitting on a couch or away on vacation. The focus has gone from practicality to the accessibility and convenience that come with an integrated smart HVAC system. Simply put, consumers demand more from their HVAC systems.

Considering this smart home revolution, technology advancements have allowed for HVAC systems to evolve faster than can be absorbed by those in the field who must explain the functionality of the systems they are selling.  How can one fully learn and understand the value of today’s smart HVAC?  Dedicated time to learn about this rising tide of technology is important, but equally as helpful is to install and use similar HVAC-connected smart products within your own home. First-hand experience and determining how it can benefit your life will simplify explaining the value proposition to customers.

While the smart home revolution has markedly changed the products, services, and accessibility HVAC dealers can offer, making the sale comes back to the homeowner’s perceived financial outlay and return on investment. Knowing how to explain the value in energy savings and diagnostic capabilities throughout the life of the product can help make the case for the more costly, higher efficiency system.  Similarly helping consumers understand the value of convenience from a connected systems, such as voice interactions through Alexa, or even Geofence-based set points through the app, are paramount to moving customers up to a connected system.

It also provides an avenue to become a trusted advisor for your customers while building lifelong relationships for not only yourself, but also for the brands you’re selling.  While a robust consumer value proposition is key to making the initial sale, the long term value to a contractor of a connected customer is even more impactful. Using remote diagnostic capabilities, servicing dealers can better maintain the customer relationship over time, deliver more efficient service when required, and be in the best position for a proactive replacement at the end of the product lifecycle.

By being transparent and showcasing factors such as energy savings, user experience, cross-device capabilities, etc. dealers can leverage the smart home revolution to position themselves as knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Because smart home technology has reshaped the way HVAC systems are viewed within the greater home ecosystem, it should be noted that not everyone (or every home) is right for a smart HVAC installation. Consumers often do their own research before consulting dealers about whether a technologically advanced HVAC system is right for their home. In the end, an educated consumer can be the best barometer for whether upgrading to a smart HVAC system makes the most sense.

George Land, Connected Home Solutions General Manager for Ingersoll Rand Residential HVAC

The difference between cast iron soil pipe and plastic is easily understood when it comes to sound. Cast iron drain waste and vent pipe systems are superior when it comes to sound attenuation. For commercial office buildings, hospitals, high-rise condominiums or high-end hotels, no one wants to listen to the flowing of fluids when a Read More

The difference between cast iron soil pipe and plastic is easily understood when it comes to sound. Cast iron drain waste and vent pipe systems are superior when it comes to sound attenuation. For commercial office buildings, hospitals, high-rise condominiums or high-end hotels, no one wants to listen to the flowing of fluids when a toilet is flushed from the floor above.

Specifying cast iron for waste piping provides a plumbing system that is up to 11 times quieter than an all-plastic system. This is how it got its name – the Quiet Pipe®.

A primary factor in cast iron’s sound-dampening quality is its microstructure. Graphite flakes absorb and dampen vibration applied to the iron. The microstructure isn’t the only advantage when it comes to noise.

Cast iron installation plays a primary role in sound attenuation. The use of neoprene rubber gaskets to join sections of cast iron pipe provides additional sound dampening. Sections of pipe do not touch as the rubber gasket creates a buffer, and so contact-related sound is eliminated. In contrast, plastic systems are installed as rigid systems that are solvent cemented. Noise is created as the rigid system expands and contracts with heating and cooling.

A frequently used tactic attempts to create a solid barrier between the pipe and the wall: wrapping plastic pipe in insulation to muffle the sound of rushing water and fluids through pipes. An insulated plastic pipe, however, can be sound-enhancing rather than sound-deadening. The “fix” results in additional installation costs incurred for both product and labor.

Specify cast iron soil pipe and enjoy the benefits of the Quiet Pipe®.

Check out cast iron soil pipe’s other benefits.

Dave Parney is the Executive Vice President of the Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute (CISPI) and a former Master Plumber in the Chicago area.