Industry Blogs

The 2019 AHR Show in Atlanta is in the rearview mirror. Before I get into the meat of the show, I wanted to touch upon some of the “infrastructure” surrounding the show. First, most of the activities surrounding the Georgia World Congress Center are fairly concentrated, and that causes traffic problems at peak traffic times Read More

The 2019 AHR Show in Atlanta is in the rearview mirror. Before I get into the meat of the show, I wanted to touch upon some of the “infrastructure” surrounding the show. First, most of the activities surrounding the Georgia World Congress Center are fairly concentrated, and that causes traffic problems at peak traffic times. But I can’t express enough how with a great offering such as Uber and Lyft are, they weren’t a very efficient means of getting around, at least in this city. Most of the GPS coordinates were off, causing long waits or canceled trips. And, to my surprise, many drivers weren’t even familiar with the downtown area, as they were not even from around the area. Not all, but enough for me notice.

I stayed in an AIrBnb for the first time, and although the accommodations were nice, I was told by a driver that I was on the edge of the bad part of town. Not really something you want to hear upon arriving. I really hope everyone’s experience of the city was a good one. Just think, Atlanta sets the stage for one of the biggest events I n the world in a couple of weeks — the Super Bowl!

The AHR Show

The Expo drew more than 65,000 attendees, with 1,809 exhibitors total, 496 international exhibitors from 35 countries and 107 first time exhibitors. I thought the show itself was very good. Well organized, fairly easy to get to and from the two exhibits halls via a connector, once you knew where it was located. It seemed that a lot of the booths had girth, size, and were well presented and represented.

Taco’s John White, Jr. (l) presents the Taco Comfort Solutions 2019 Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award to Dan Foley.

Eric Aune tests the VR experience in the REHAU booth at AHR.

The show opened up on Monday, and the Mechanical Hub crew was busy before the opening bell. Eric Aune and his wife Heather were getting the scoop, shooting video on Milwaukee Tool’s new M18 Threader. Look for more information and videos here and on our YouTube channels coming soon. Tim Ward was visiting with our friends at Uponor, learning more about its Copper Press Adapter. Finally, I was visiting with Taco, watching good friend Dan Foley receive the Taco Comfort Solutions 2019 Dan Holohan Lifetime Contribution to Comfort Award. Congrats, Dan!

John Mesenbrink checks out the VR experience in the Bosch Thermotechnology booth.

Some trends worth noticing was the ever-emphasis on energy efficiency, lowering GHG emissions, virtual reality, and interconnected devices, combining Alexa with thermostats, for example, piggybacking off of the CES Show earlier this year, and some products at last year’s Builder’s Show.

Lochinvar had a big announcement, telling the media it has partnered with Danish company, EC Power, to offer a cogeneration system, which pulls waste heat into water storage tank. Using an internal combustion natural gas engine, Micro CHP (< 50 kW/hr), is designed to be an efficient and easy-to-install system intended for light commercial use. Using natural gas as a fuel, a commercial facility with a cogeneration system like the XRGI25 can produce both energy-efficient heat for domestic hot water and electricity to reduce energy consumption from external power sources.

Some pre- and post-show events were held at the nearby aquarium. #breakfastwithbelugas

Xylem Bell & Gossett introduced its new line of double suction centrifugal pumps designed specifically for HVAC systems. The Series e-HSC features advanced hydraulics for powerful performance and best-in-class efficiency, along with a compact design for easier installation and maintenance.

In the end, some would say that the best part of the AHR Show—other than being the largest HVAC event of the year—is connecting with industry peers and catching up with good friends. There were plenty of pre-show/after-show parties, including Taco, Rheem, Bell & Gossett, Emerson, Burnham/U.S. Boilers, Mestek, Weil-McLain and Viega. Thanks to all for their hospitality.

In the end, it’s all about the relationships. Tim Ward winds down after the show with the crew from Bradford White.

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Forward

Solar DHW Selfie

Looking back, or should I be looking forward? 19 Cities. 47,321 miles in the air. 6 new tool shows. 4 industry trade shows. 4.3 miles of 1/2 “ radiant tubing installed. 12 condensing boilers. 7 cast iron boilers. 3 electric boilers. 11 tankless water heaters. 6 indirect water heaters. 21 no-heat calls 36 YouTube videos Read More

Looking back, or should I be looking forward?

  • 19 Cities.
  • 47,321 miles in the air.
  • 6 new tool shows.
  • 4 industry trade shows.
  • 4.3 miles of 1/2 “ radiant tubing installed.
  • 12 condensing boilers.
  • 7 cast iron boilers.
  • 3 electric boilers.
  • 11 tankless water heaters.
  • 6 indirect water heaters.
  • 21 no-heat calls
  • 36 YouTube videos
  • Countless IG & FB posts

I just boarded my flight to Mexico for a Aune family vacation as I type this. While 2018 comes to a close I cannot help but to look back at all the craziness that comes my way as partner owner of The Hub and owner/operator of Aune Plumbing.

The balancing act of running a small one-man plumbing & heating shop while helping grow the MH brand can be daunting some days. I would be lying if I said I could do it all alone. While I take over 100K MH friends along with me into countless mechanical rooms and to multiple trade shows and private events for our social media channels, the busy work of business is getting done by the team of true professionals and friends working mostly behind the scenes.

The Team

John Mesenbrink, partner owner of MH, and close friend can often be found interviewing contractors from literally all over North America. If he’s not working on the next feature article John is likely traveling as well. Divide and conquer is the only way the two of us could possibly manage to be at every major event, show, ribbon cutting, training center opening, symposium, foundry or factory tour.

Tim Ward (sales & marketing) has been a longtime friend and partner to both John and I. Tim has directed so many trade show videos for The Hub I can’t even count. When he’s not planning the next video shoot or contest Tim is in his home office in Champainge, IL working with all our partners of industry on the next collaboration.

None of what I do would be possible without the support and often needed direction of my wife Heather. From an advisory standpoint, she keeps me on track and focused on the endgame always. Her day job is crazy. As an administrator for the Boys and Girls Club in our town she oversees and directs the finances and staff for three clubs. If that wasn’t enough work Heather teams up with John’s wife Monica to handle all of The Hub’s finances.

Thank You!

Last, but definitely not least, I look back on all the awesome conversations, pictures and videos shared from everyone of you that follow us and share your own experiences. Whether you’re following along on one of our trips or just me as I break thru the 120+ year old stairs into a client’s basement [that happened two weeks ago, lol], from all of us at The Hub I extend a huge thank you. Here’s to an adventurous 2019 and beyond!

In partnership with our friends at OLFA, the Japanese maker of high quality utility knives and rotary cutters, we invite you to take advantage of a limited time offer of a free model LA-X 18mm Snap Blade Utility Knife. All you have to do to get your knife is CLICK HERE to enter your shipping Read More

In partnership with our friends at OLFA, the Japanese maker of high quality utility knives and rotary cutters, we invite you to take advantage of a limited time offer of a free model LA-X 18mm Snap Blade Utility Knife.

All you have to do to get your knife is CLICK HERE to enter your shipping information and you’ll be all set to receive your free knife loaded with OLFA’s ultra-sharp black snap-off blade.

With more and more homeowners looking to smart technologies to automate their homes, people can now automate almost anything — lights, garage doors, windows, blinds, appliances, clocks, speakers, door bells, surveillance cameras, home security systems, climate control systems, cleaning systems, sprinkler systems, lawnmowers — even food preparation. So, what about their plumbing systems? If you Read More

With more and more homeowners looking to smart technologies to automate their homes, people can now automate almost anything — lights, garage doors, windows, blinds, appliances, clocks, speakers, door bells, surveillance cameras, home security systems, climate control systems, cleaning systems, sprinkler systems, lawnmowers — even food preparation.

Phyn Plus installed with Pro Squad installer

So, what about their plumbing systems? If you think about it, homeowners would love to be connected to their plumbing systems. What if a pipe bursts when they’re away? Or, there’s a tiny leak that’s been quietly wasting water (and money) for months (think: toilet flappers, dripping faucets or pinhole leaks in corroded metal plumbing systems). For those that only get their water bill on a quarterly basis, that little leak could add up to quite a big cost over time (not to mention a tragic waste of water, our precious natural resource).

And, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a leak. There are those forgetful homeowners (or their children) who leave a faucet running and leave the house with the water going continuously. I’ve even heard of pets (typically cats) that accidentally turn on faucets and leave them running for hours until the homeowner returns to find little Fluffy has just wasted hundreds of dollars down the drain. Certain smart water detection systems can even alert homeowners of abnormal water events such as these.

Water leaks and water misuse are real, and every homeowner has experienced a water incident at one time or another. If you’re still not convinced, here are some interesting stats that might make you think differently.

  • According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage accounts for almost half of all property damage claims.
  • About one in 50 insured homes has a property damage claim caused by water damage or freezing each year, and water damage ranks as the second most common home insurance claim.
  • Of homeowners who have experienced a water leak claim in the past two years, 57% spent more than $5,000 on clean-up costs, and 15% spent $20,000 or more.
  • 41% of homeowners say a device that alerts them to water leaks is highly

If you haven’t thought about it, now’s the time. Intelligent water is the next frontier in the connected home, and plumbers can benefit greatly from this new technology. Adding a smart water technology offering to your plumbing business is a great way to gain new business and offer a valuable new benefit to existing customers.

How do you get started? First, you need to do your research. Certain manufacturers now offer smart water systems that are designed specifically with the professional plumber in mind. The Phyn Plus smart water assistant + shutoff, for example, is a connected plumbing device that is installed by a plumber in the Pro Squad nationwide network.

It’s helpful if you’re familiar with the internet and have some tech savvy in your background. But, for products that are installed through a professional, exclusive network, you can get the training you need right from the manufacturer. All that’s required from you is a willingness to learn.

Think about it. Homeowners are craving new ways to get connected to the things in their homes, and they are willing to pay for it. They will pay you for it! Plus, when there is a leak detected in their home, guess who they’ll call?

These smart water technology systems are a wonderful revenue generator for anyone in the plumbing industry — from the established contractor to someone just breaking into the industry. They can apply to any type of application from new construction to remodels to re-pipes. Essentially anywhere there’s residential plumbing, these systems will work.

And think about how great it would be to have your customers calling you straight from their connected device’s app whenever they need service due to a leak. It takes the guesswork out of the equation for homeowners regarding the best professional to call for the job, and it ensures a faithful client base for you. Win-win.

So, if you’re ready to up the ante in your business to offer a smart water leak detection system, think about all the positives it can offer and how easy it can be to get trained and up and running on a technology that is going to be in demand in the very near future.

You could be one of the first in your area to offer it, opening doors to customers you might never have the opportunity to encounter otherwise.

 

Kim Bliss is the content development manager at Uponor. She can be reached at kim.bliss@uponor.com.

Drain cleaning is in full-swing and if you’ve been thinking about ways you can add services to your business – diagnostics, inspection and locating – may be the perfect addition. Not only can it add an additional revenue stream year-round, but it’s a particularly beneficial service this time of year when home buying tends to Read More

Drain cleaning is in full-swing and if you’ve been thinking about ways you can add services to your business – diagnostics, inspection and locating – may be the perfect addition. Not only can it add an additional revenue stream year-round, but it’s a particularly beneficial service this time of year when home buying tends to pick up across the country.

While most homebuyers opt to have a home inspection completed as part of the home buying process, sewer inspection is not typically included. Many don’t know to ask for it and realtors aren’t always suggesting it as a necessary inspection.

Drain Mob, a camera, jetting and drain cleaning company in San Diego regularly provides camera inspection and drain cleaning services for clients after they’ve purchased a home and are experiencing issues, something they and other professionals think could be avoided if homebuyers and their realtors took the time to inspect the lines as part of the home inspection.

“Every day we see a lot of clients that did not have a realtor that would actually camera their sewer lines, they would always go on the inspection report from the inspector,” said Billy Teeter, Drain Mob Owner in a recent Instagram video talking to realtors. “It’s two to three hundred dollars, it’s worth the money. Hire a professional and you’ll be a hero with your client.  Protect your clients investment.”

How to Get Started

To begin offering services to this market, you don’t need to buy equipment all at once. Invest in equipment you’ll initially need most and then add-on as needed once you recoup your initial investment. For example, a RIDGID® SeeSnake® Compact2 Camera System paired with the CS6xPak Digital Recording Monitor is a good initial investment for residential jobs. All RIDGID digital monitors come standard with Wi-Fi allowing for easy capturing and sharing of images and video through the HQx Live App on your phone or tablet. This lets buyers and sellers quickly see any potential issues.

 

After your initial equipment purchase, marketing your new service becomes a priority. A few ideas as you get started are:

  • National Association of Realtors – Connect with your local National Association of Realtors chapter. The association represents 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries and has over 1,200 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations.
  • American Society of Home Inspectors – Reach out to local home inspectors about partnering to offer drain and sewer inspection as part of their services. The American Society of Home Inspectors, a professional organization for inspectors across the country, offers a searchable database of local inspectors on their website.

Additional Business Benefits

Incorporating diagnostic, inspection and locating services into your business provides additional benefits for a company. These include:

  • Expanded Capabilities Diagnostics is an investment that quickly pays for itself and continues to drive incremental income by letting contractors offer additional plumbing services. It also allows plumbers to take on more complex and difficult projects they previously would have had to decline.
  • The Added Value of Certainty – Clearly seeing the problem means being able to offer the right fix, no more and no less. For customers, seeing the problem that backs the estimate increases their trust in a contractor and the necessity of work being completed.
  • Find it. Clear it. – Contractors can serve more customers in less time with diagnostics, inspection and locating equipment because they can locate and repair problems faster. Many tools come standard with Wi-Fi capabilities, allowing for findings to be shared immediately with clients and co-workers, which leads to faster decisions and shorter projects.

In closing, regardless of whether you decide to target your diagnostic, inspection and locating services to homebuyers and realtors, these services and type of equipment can be a beneficial addition for your business and clients.

Article by Gina Hartman

Gina is Senior Global Marketing Manager of Underground Technologies, including inspection and diagnostic products, at RIDGID®. The company is a global manufacturer of more than 300 dependable and innovative tools, trusted by professional trades in over 100 countries. Learn more at RIDGID.com.