Industry News

Two historic companies are joining forces to serve San Antonio  San Antonio, Texas — Two of San Antonio’s oldest home services companies— Shafer Services Plus and Steve’s Plumbing—are joining forces to become one of the area’s largest and most experienced plumbing and HVAC businesses. The catalyst for this partnership is the upcoming retirement of Steve’s Plumbing founder Read more

Two historic companies are joining forces to serve San Antonio 

San Antonio, Texas — Two of San Antonio’s oldest home services companies— Shafer Services Plus and Steve’s Plumbing—are joining forces to become one of the area’s largest and most experienced plumbing and HVAC businesses. The catalyst for this partnership is the upcoming retirement of Steve’s Plumbing founder, Robi Jalnos, who has served San Antonio for more than 40 years. Robi started Steve’s Plumbing out of his mother’s garage in 1978, naming the business after his father, Stephan Jalnos, a Holocaust survivor and plumber who passed away when Robi was a young man.

Robi and Eileen Jalnos

Since then, Steve’s Plumbing has grown to become one of San Antonio’s premier plumbing contractors currently serving some 4,500 customers throughout the area. Robi has become a plumbing leader, not just locally but regionally, serving on the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners where he was of Chairman of the Examination, Medical Gas, Water Supply Protection Specialists, and Personnel Committees for seven years. Robi also serves as an expert witness on plumbing-related matters across the country. He’s considered a national plumbing expert in all aspects of plumbing installation and products, holding a Green Plumbers Certification and is an expert in solar water heating.

“For decades, our teams have had a mutual respect for one another’s history, skills, and dedication to putting customers first—so you can imagine our delight in uniting to become San Antonio’s preferred option in plumbing and HVAC services,” said Chase Anderson, President and CEO of Shafer Services Plus.

Shafer Services Plus is San Antonio’s oldest plumbing company. They added HVAC services to their offerings upon the invention of air conditioning in the early 1900s. Since then, the Shafer team has built much of San Antonio’s residential and commercial infrastructure including installing the first commercial air conditioning in a high-rise office building in the United States at San Antonio’s own Milam Building in the heart of downtown. Today, Shafer serves more than 6,000 residential and commercial customers, and is consistently rated among San Antonio’s best plumbing and HVAC contractors.

Chase Anderson (l) and Jimmy Shafer

In searching for a compatible plumbing partner, Robi Jalnos selected Shafer Services Plus because of the organization’s knowledgeable team and commitment to putting customers first. Robi will be working with the united Steve’s Plumbing and Shafer Services Plus teams for the next three years to assist in the transition.

“It has been my honor to serve San Antonio for the past 40 years,” said Robi Jalnos, founder of Steve’s Plumbing. “This has been more than a job for me. It’s my life’s work. That’s why I wanted to partner with the Shafer Services Plus team to ensure that my employees and customers will continue to be cared for like family for generations to come.”

Both Shafer Services Plus and Steve’s Plumbing attribute their longevity to top-quality workmanship and a customer-focused business model. Through their union, they will operate under five core values: treat people like family; do the right thing, even when no one is watching; be easy to do business with; exceed expectations; and provide mutual respect for all.

“The Shafer and Steve’s Plumbing teams are not satisfied with marginal service,” added Chase Anderson. “We are committed to bringing value and world class service to everything we do because it is an honor to be invited to work in someone’s home, an honor that we will continue to earn for generations to come.”

Information provided by ASA It has been a long time coming, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on July 29, 2020 issuance of the final rule “Use of Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder, and Flux for Drinking Water.” In the final rule, EPA is implementing regulations associated with the Reduction of Lead in Read more

Information provided by ASA

It has been a long time coming, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on July 29, 2020 issuance of the final rule “Use of Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder, and Flux for Drinking Water.”

In the final rule, EPA is implementing regulations associated with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act (RLDWA) issued in 2011 and fully implemented on Jan. 4, 2014. Some of you may remember this as the “Get the Lead Out” initiative.

The RLDWA amended the Safe Drinking Water Act with a new definition of “lead free:”

(1) Not containing more than 0.2% lead when used with respect to solder and flux; and
(2) Not more than a weighted average of 0.25% lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.

The new ruling is intended to provide a framework of compliance to the 2011 amendment and addresses areas such as: further defining products covered under the RLDWA; means of showing compliance; and providing an implementation date for complying with the compliance requirements. The good news is that the final rule should have zero to limited impact on products currently in the supply chain!

To begin with, the final rule does not change the definition of “lead free” from the definition enacted in 2011. The final rule does provide some further clarification related to the product covered or exempted from the definition. The current act exempts the following products from the prohibitions on the use or introduction into commerce based on the definition of “lead free”:

  • Pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings or fixtures, including backflow preventers, that are used exclusively for nonpotable services such as manufacturing, industrial processing, irrigation, outdoor watering, or any other uses where the water is not anticipated to be used for human consumption
  • Toilets, bidets, urinals, fill valves, flushometer valves, tub fillers, shower valves, service saddles or water distribution main gate valves that are 2 inches in diameter or larger; and
  • Fire hydrants

    In addition to the above exemptions, the following products were added to the exemption list: clothes washing machines, emergency drench showers, emergency face wash equipment, eyewash devices, fire suppression sprinklers, steam capable clothes dryers and sump pumps.The final rule requires manufacturers with 10 or more employees, and importers entering products purchased from or manufactured by manufacturers with 10 or more employees, to obtain third-party certification by an ANSI- accredited third-party certification body. The requiring of third-party certification will not pose a significant impact on the current products sold since current model plumbing codes adopted by state and local authorities already require that plumbing system products intended for potable water applications comply with NSF/ANSI 372, Drinking Water System Components – Lead Content.

    NSF/ANSI 372 is based on the current “lead free” definition in the RLDWA. In addition, products certified against NSF/ANSI 61, Drinking Water System Components – Health Effects, which is also referenced in model codes, automatically comply with NSF/ANSI 372. The model codes do not limit the requirement for products to be third- party certified based on the number of employees. Products produced by manufacturers with less than 10 employees are allowed to self-certify compliance with the “lead free” definition and provide a certificate of compliance with the products.

    This final rule includes three exclusions from the certification requirement for those products required to be lead free: product components of assembled pipes, fittings or fixtures do not need to be individually certified if the entire product in its final assembled form is lead-free certified; direct replacement parts for previously installed lead-free- certified products do not need to be individually certified if the weighted average lead content of the wetted surface area for the part does not exceed the weighted average lead content of the original part; and dishwashers.

    The initial proposed rule published in 2017 for public comment included requirements for the labeling of products to demonstrate to consumers compliance with the “lead free” definition. Fortunately, the U.S. EPA decided to not include labeling requirements in the final rule based on comments received. The U.S. EPA determined that the requirement for third-party certification will adequately address labeling of the products, and having additional labeling requirements in the final rule would not add value and represented a significant cost to manufacturers in having to comply with additional labeling requirements.

    There is one labeling requirement noted in the final rule and it impacts solders and fluxes. The labeling requirement states:

    Solder and flux that is not “lead free” as defined in § 143.12(a)(1) must bear a prominent label stating that it is illegal to use the solder or flux in the installation or repair of any plumbing providing water for human consumption.

The implementation of the new certification requirement will go into effect 3 years following the official publication of the rule in the Federal Register. Again, due to existing product standards and model codes referencing NSF/ANSI 61 and NSF/ANSI 372, the majority of products in the marketplace already comply with the requirements. It is simple to determine if the products you are currently distributing comply with the third-party certification requirements — certified products are required to carry the mark of the certifying body on the product and/or packaging along with the standard the product was tested to.

As noted at the beginning of this article, the publication of this new rule is a long time coming from the original adoption of the “lead free” definition in the 2011 RLDWA. The good news is that the U.S. EPA took the comments received from industry related to third-party certification and labeling and came out with a final rule that will have a limited economic impact on the manufacturers while also having almost no impact on wholesalers/distributors that sell the products covered under the RLDWA.

Seminar attendees can earn credits and certifications. Broomfield, Colo. — Viega LLC is adding more classes to its schedule of online seminars for contractors who want to increase their knowledge and add skills. While Viega’s seminar centers in Colorado and New Hampshire are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the company is making the valuable training Read more

Seminar attendees can earn credits and certifications.

Broomfield, Colo. — Viega LLC is adding more classes to its schedule of online seminars for contractors who want to increase their knowledge and add skills.

While Viega’s seminar centers in Colorado and New Hampshire are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the company is making the valuable training available for free to contractors, distributors and others.

Viega, the leading manufacturer of pipe fitting installation technology, is offering classes in such subjects as ProPress, MegaPress and PureFlow PEX, as well as radiant and flushing systems training. The classes are taught by Viega’s expert instructors. Some courses offer Continuing Education Units while others include the opportunity to earn industry credentials from Viega.

Classes are free, but registration is required. For a schedule of Viega classes and to learn more, click here.
In addition, Viega is continuing its “TechTalk LIVE!” program. Master plumbers and Viega training managers Troy Locke and

Bo DeAngelo will discuss technical topics and answer questions from viewers in realtime.

The next webinar is Wed., Aug. 26 from 5 to 6 p.m. CT. Previous sessions are available on Viega’s YouTube channel.

Atlanta — The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has developed guidance on the operation of HVAC systems to help mitigate the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic year. The 41-page Presentation includes convenient checklists to prepare educational buildings to resume occupancy such as starting up HVAC systems as well Read more

Atlanta — The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has developed guidance on the operation of HVAC systems to help mitigate the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic year.

The 41-page Presentation includes convenient checklists to prepare educational buildings to resume occupancy such as starting up HVAC systems as well as checks and verifications to maintain during the academic school year. The guidance is meant to provide practical information to school districts and university campus environmental health managers, facility managers, administrators, technicians and service providers.

“As schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic semester, it’s important to keep children and school staff safe,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “ASHRAE’s school reopening guide will serve as a resource to school leaders as they work in lockstep with health experts to finalize plans to keep everyone safe.”

The guide includes the following topics:

  • Determining Building Readiness
  • Equipment & System Specific Checks & Verifications During the Academic Year
  • New/Modified Facility Design Recommendations
  • Filtration Upgrades
  • Operations of Occupied Facilities
  • Controlling Infection Outbreak in School Facilities
  • Higher Education Facilities Recommendations

Also included is guidance formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems as well as new guidance on student health facilities, laboratories, athletic facilities, residence halls, and large assemblies, lectures and theatres.

“School and university officials are challenged with making very difficult decisions on how to best protect both students and staff as education facilities reopen, said Corey Metzger, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools Team lead. “This guidance offers a solid framework on ventilation control, filtration and maintenance that can be applied to different climate zones, building types and HVAC systems.”

For the complete ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force school reopening guide and other COVID-19 resources, visit ashrae.org/COVID-19.

Mokena, Ill. — ASSE 1090-2020, Performance Requirements for Drinking Water Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG), has been designated as an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is now available for purchase. ASSE 1090 was created to test point of use and commercial drinking water generating devices, which are designed to create Read more

Mokena, Ill. — ASSE 1090-2020, Performance Requirements for Drinking Water Atmospheric Water Generators (AWG), has been designated as an American National Standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and is now available for purchase.

ASSE 1090 was created to test point of use and commercial drinking water generating devices, which are designed to create potable water from atmospheric humidity. Critical components of these devices include a condenser, storage tank, and filtration/disinfection controls to address potential chemical, particulate, and microbiological water contamination. The standard also includes consideration for the energy efficiency of the AWG.

ASSE 1090 started its life as ASSE LEC 2004-2019, Listing Evaluation Criteria for Drinking Water Treatment Systems Using Air as a Source. ASSE International Listing Evaluation Criteria (LEC) documents provide manufacturers with an avenue to certify unique, novel products that do not fit the scope of an existing standard. If these products gain traction and market acceptance, the LEC can then be developed into an ASSE Standard through the ANSI-accredited standards development process. ASSE 1090 is one example of an LEC that has gone through the process of becoming an ASSE American National Standard.

With AWG products, water-from-air becomes a real source of water supply in places where tap water is not available, or the quality of the tap water does not meet the consumer’s requirements. Creating a product performance standard to help ensure that these products produce safe, potable water was desired by the water treatment industry.

“Standards legitimize an industry and should also make it easier to assess solution providers,” said Frank A. Brigano, Ph.D., ASSE 1090 Working Group Member and Vice President, Senior Research Fellow, at Marmon Water, a division of Berkshire Hathaway. “The beauty of AWG systems is that they are disconnected from municipal systems and their inherent ‘issues.’ Thus, making claims of ‘free from heavy metals and organics, worry-free from boil water warnings, PFAS, etc.,’ is what makes these systems attractive.”

To become a source of drinking water under this standard, the water-from-air should meet two primary criteria:

1)   The water should be produced for a reasonable cost so that it’s affordable to the user. The cost of the water is based on the energy efficiency of the atmospheric water generator system — electrical energy consumption per liter of water produced.

2)   The water quality produced by the atmospheric water generator must be safe to consumers.

To purchase ASSE 1086, please visit the ASSE International Webstore at www.assewebstore.com.