Featured Articles

We have made it to the new year, a new decade. And with the turn of every calendar comes the rush of industry trade shows. Next week we will be traveling to Las Vegas for the IBS/KBIS Show or the Builder’s/Kitchen & bath Show. Following that, we will be in Orlando for the AHR Show Read more

We have made it to the new year, a new decade. And with the turn of every calendar comes the rush of industry trade shows. Next week we will be traveling to Las Vegas for the IBS/KBIS Show or the Builder’s/Kitchen & bath Show. Following that, we will be in Orlando for the AHR Show, North America’s largest HVAC show. Oh yeah, let’s not forget about World of Concrete, back in Vegas. The goal is to see, feel and test new products, learn and network with fellow attendees.

10 Tips for a Better Trade Show Experience, AHR Expo, Builders Show, IBS, KBIS, World of Concrete, navigating trade shows

The AHR Expo—Feb 3-5, Orlando—is one of the largest annual North American trade shows.

When attending these trade shows, it is best to have a plan. Having attended dozens of these show in the past, I have come up with some tips and strategies for a better trade show experience.

  1. Map Out Your Plan — All of these shows have corresponding websites with maps, and a list of exhibitors and events. I can’t stress enough to map out your day so you are the most efficient with your time, energy and steps on the trade show floor. (ahrexpo.com & www.buildersshow.com & www.worldofconcrete.com) Downloading the appropriate trade show apps is a must.
  2. Wear Comfortable Shoes & Clothing — We all want to look good, and professional, but gone are the days of stuffy apparel. I’d rather feel comfortable and fresh at the end of the day than out of sorts, sweaty and dogs a barking.
  3. Give Yourself Enough Time — The stress of a trade show can be daunting in and of itself. Take as much time as you need to take a deep breath and move freely on the show floor. It’s always a good idea to come in the day or night before a show to make sure all is in order and registration for the show is set. If you are planning a night out, make sure you make any necessary reservations ahead of time.
  4. Afterparty Over-Indulging — We all love to go out and enjoy ourselves, especially after a long day at a show. There are numerous manufacturer parties, dinners, soirees, etc. where one can relax and wind down. But staying out all night—and drinking—can be fun, and up to your discretion, but it isn’t advisable, especially if you intend to be at the show the following day. Nobody is impressed with the over-perspired, alcohol lingering on breath, bags under the eyes, headache pounding visit from on overserved attendee. Pro Tip: Keep hydrated and carry a protein bar just in case you get the munchies. The IAQ in these large buildings is usually very poor and the air can get dry.10 Tips for a Better Trade Show Experience, AHR Expo, Builders Show, IBS, KBIS, World of Concrete, navigating trade shows
  5. Plan Accordingly for Transportation — Most of the time at busy trade shows, transportation can, well, be a bitch, especially after a show. Keep this in mind as long taxi lines will form to and from the shows. Download your favorite rideshare app so you are locked and loaded.
  6. Travel in Packs — If traveling in groups, try to stay in one place or area. It alleviates costs on transportation and makes meetings much more amenable.
  7. Be Prepared to Exchange Contact Info — Make sure you have business cards on hand and be prepared to exchange info digitally, so make sure your phone is charged or bring extra chargers! Also, make sure you have proper badges for the show. For example, attendee, exhibitor and press badges all provide different access and different access times. Make sure you understand the limitations of your particular given badge.
  8. Follow-up with Contacts — Once the show is over, what it your end game? What better way to measure the results of a show personally than to document leads, follow up with new contacts, and were you satisfied with your expectations of information, contacts and overall impressions?
  9. Cellular/WiFi Service — Most shows do not offer WiFi on the show floor, or if they do, it usually sucks. There are certain spots at different venues you may be able to sneak a signal, maybe. Make sure your service is covered in the areas where you are, or be prepared to go without in the dark recesses of a concrete building.
  10. If Unable to Attend … — Be sure to follow your favorite social media outlets that are attending (Search Mechanical Hub on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram) and keep up to date on what’s going on from the show floor. First of the year trade show events are when companies have big product announcements, launches and press briefings.

Good luck, and have a great trade show experience!

There’s never a good time to lose hot water in a building – but days before a busy holiday weekend just might be the worst. It’s what happened at a hotel in New Hampshire. Father and son duo Kevin and Hunter Hart were able to get hot water going again for the hotel in just Read more

There’s never a good time to lose hot water in a building – but days before a busy holiday weekend just might be the worst.

It’s what happened at a hotel in New Hampshire. Father and son duo Kevin and Hunter Hart were able to get hot water going again for the hotel in just two days, instead of four or five, by using Viega ProPress.

“It was definitely an emergency. They had two boilers for hot water and two storage tanks. But they’d already lost one of the storage tanks back in the summer and waited to get it fixed, so when the second one went out, they were in a bind,” Kevin Hart said.

“We worked side by side for 14 hours, two days in a row to get it fixed up. But definitely with the Viega press, it cut the job time in half. That hotel could have been without hot water for five days.”

They used 2” to 3” ProPress adapters, elbows, tees and ball valves. They also needed MegaPress G fittings, in sizes ¾” and 1”, for the gas line to the boilers.

After first using Viega for a middle-of-the-night emergency repair a few years ago, Hart said he was hooked. Now he’s teaching 19-year-old Hunter the business. For Hart Plumbing and Heating, owned by Kevin and his brother Robert, the business definitely includes Viega fittings.

“We’ve got 13 guys in our crew and now all the trucks have a press tool and fittings,” Kevin Hart said. “When we do work in commercial buildings and things, it’s much safer to not have to light up torches for repairs. Being able to come in and say we’ll do a job in a short time is a huge plus for our business.”

Taco will be hosting a new, bi-weekly webinar training series, Taco Tuesday, throughout 2020. These fun, fact-filled, one-hour webinars will keep participants up-to-date with the latest HVAC systems, tools and technologies. The webinars will occur on Tuesdays at 12 noon EST and every month will feature one residentially-focused topic and one commercially-focused topic. Taco Comfort Read more

Taco Comfort Solutions Announces bi-weekly “Taco Tuesday” Webinar Training Series, HVAC, hydronics, John Barba

Taco will be hosting a new, bi-weekly webinar training series, Taco Tuesday, throughout 2020. These fun, fact-filled, one-hour webinars will keep participants up-to-date with the latest HVAC systems, tools and technologies. The webinars will occur on Tuesdays at 12 noon EST and every month will feature one residentially-focused topic and one commercially-focused topic.

Taco Comfort Solutions’ Director of Training, John Barba, has announced the first quarter 2020 webinar topics, below. Webinar topics and registration links can be found at https://www.tacocomfort.com/tacotuesday.

Taco Tuesday First Quarter 2020 Webinar Schedule:

January 7: Residential focus: The Truth about Variable Speed Circulators

Presented by John Barba

 

January 21:  Commercial focus: Expansion Tank Sizing

Presented by Rich Medairos, P.E., and Brett Zerba

 

Feb. 11:  Residential focus:  Zone Valves -vs- Circulators; Which is Better?

Presented by John Barba

 

February 18:  Commercial focus: Basics of Hydronic Solution Software

Presented by Rich Medairos, P.E., and Brett Zerba

 

March 10:  Residential focus: Making DHW Recirculation Easy and Effective

Presented by John Barba

 

March 17: Commercial focus: Pump Selection/Taco Project Builder

Presented by Rich Medairos, P.E., and Brett Zerba

My company, Foley Mechanical, Inc. was invited to bid on a large commercial radiant project in a new healthcare facility being built in suburban Maryland, about 20 miles north of Washington, D.C.  We would be the subcontractor of the primary mechanical contractor.  After considering doing the work in house, the primary contractor decided it would Read more

My company, Foley Mechanical, Inc. was invited to bid on a large commercial radiant project in a new healthcare facility being built in suburban Maryland, about 20 miles north of Washington, D.C.  We would be the subcontractor of the primary mechanical contractor.  After considering doing the work in house, the primary contractor decided it would be quicker and easier to bring us in as radiant is our specialty.

We submitted a proposal and were awarded the contract.  As this was a commercial project, full documentation was required which included design, shop drawings, and submittals.  The radiant tubing manufacturer, Mr. PEX, was instrumental in working with me to put together the design and submittal package.  After several revisions, the design package was approved and materials were ordered.

Several coordination meetings were held on site to determine scheduling, installation techniques, installation sequence, coordination with the concrete sub and other trades, and manifold locations.

We installed radiant floor heat in two areas of the building:  the cafeteria, which is slab on grade, and the main entry mezzanine, which is concrete poured over steel decking.  It was imperative for system operation to specify the correct insulation.  We used 2” extruded polystyrene under the slab on grade zone.  The mezzanine zone will have spray foam insulation under the steel decking.

Scheduling was critical.  We had one day for rough-in on each zone.  We arrived on site at 6am for a mandatory safety meeting.  Full safety gear was required:  work boots, hard hats, safety vest, eye protection and ear protection.  The first step was mounting the manifolds.  Then we started laying the loops, 14-loops for the first zone and 10-loops for the second zone.

We invested in three Pex-Gun tie tools to increase speed and productivity over cable ties or squiggies.  One man lays out the tubing while two men follow behind tying the tubing to the rebar with the Pex-Guns.  The tubing installation follows a scaled tubing layout design provided by Mr. Pex.  Another man attaches the tubing to the manifolds.  This set-up makes quick work of tubing rough-in.  My crew really liked the flexibility of the Mr. Pex tubing and the simplicity and ease of installation of the Mr. Pex manifolds.

After the tubing rough-in was complete, the entire system was pressurized with air to 100 PSI.  It had to hold pressure for 24 hours before the concrete was poured.  This pressure test was observed and documented by the primary mechanical contractor, the GC and the owner’s agent/engineer.

The concrete slab was poured the next morning.  We had one of our techs on site to confirm the pressure test and observe the pour.  This was a pumped pour so we wanted to make sure the concrete was poured without damaging the tubing.  Pressure was monitored continuously during the pour.  A repair kit was on hand in case the tubing was cut or damaged.  Luckily, it was not needed.

Both slabs were poured without incident and are holding pressure.  We will return when the building is complete and the mechanical system is started.  We will flush and purge the radiant loops, coordinate the controls and motorized valves, and test & balance the radiant system.  We have 10-turn balance valves on the return mains.  In addition, the Mr. Pex manifolds allow for micro-balancing on each loop.

The building owner is looking forward to warm comfortable floors once the building is occupied.  By partnering with the mechanical contractor, we both came out ahead.  The job was done quicker and easier as we do radiant on a regular basis.  We could not have done it without the help and support of Mr. Pex.

Dan Foley is owner of Foley Mechanical, Lorton, Va.

A construction project in Calgary, Canada, called Cube, features several firsts. It’s the city’s first office-to-residential space conversion and real estate developer Strategic Group’s first re-purposing project. It’s also the first building in Canada to feature the latest advancement in condensing boiler heating technology from Weil-McLain. The Cube—a 52,000-square-foot, seven-story building in Calgary’s Beltline neighborhood—features Read more

A construction project in Calgary, Canada, called Cube, features several firsts. It’s the city’s first office-to-residential space conversion and real estate developer Strategic Group’s first re-purposing project. It’s also the first building in Canada to feature the latest advancement in condensing boiler heating technology from Weil-McLain.

The Cube—a 52,000-square-foot, seven-story building in Calgary’s Beltline neighborhood—features 65, one- and two-bedroom residential rental units and is just a short walk from the city’s downtown area. Once the aging Stephenson office building, the 38-year-old building was converted to new residential and rental units in 2019.

The building’s developer, Ash Mahmoud, Managing Director of Calgary-based Strategic Builders Inc (SBI), the construction arm of Strategic Group, which owns, manages and develops office, retail and apartment properties across Canada, oversaw the conversion project.

“Cities like Calgary have seen office building vacancy rates as high as 27% in the past few years,” said Mahmoud. “Rather than let downtown buildings go unused, it has been one of our core missions to convert them into residential.”

In addition to incorporating contemporary designs and styling finishes, Mahmoud also sought the latest in boiler technology to heat the new development.

Next Gen Heat

To conduct the HVAC overhaul, Mahmoud turned to Nu-Mun Contracting, a Calgary-based HVAC company offering commercial and residential plumbing, heating, and air-conditioning services.

Working with SBI and the project engineer, David Muncaster, owner of Nu-Mun Contracting, devised a strategy to convert the building to a high efficiency boiler system and recommended specification of the latest advancement in condensing boiler technology: the Stainless Vertical Firetube (SVF) from Weil-McLain.

Eric Cameron, project manager with Nu-Mun Contracting, oversaw the boiler installation at the building.

“We have a long standing relationship with Weil-McLain, and we trust the quality of their boilers,” said Cameron. “The SVF boilers were the perfect match for the space.”

To meet the building’s heating style and load, the team installed two SVF 1100 MBH high-efficiency condensing gas boilers in the building. The SVF boilers features industry-leading thermal efficiencies up to 97.1%, a clover-shaped stainless steel fire tube heat exchanger for corrosion resistance, and the intuitive and user-friendly Unity™ control system to simplify installation and operation.

“With superior thermal efficiencies, the SVF line offers cost savings and energy efficiencies that could allow owners to qualify for local utility rebates, if available,” said Craig Demaray, National Sales Manager with Weil-McLain Canada. “The SVF also meets all market-driven bid specifications, and is designed for most heating needs including applications in schools and other educational facilities, public institutions, healthcare buildings, offices, hotels, multi-family, churches and more.”

The high-water content design of SVF heat exchanger means a low loss header is not required providing cost savings so the boilers can simply be piped in a primary-secondary design.

The on-board Unity™ control system allowed the boilers to communicate with each other in a Multiple Boiler System (MBS). In this configuration, a master boiler controls the modulation and sequencing of the boilers on the network to achieve the desired system supply temperature. “With the automatic sequencing feature, the boilers communicate directly with one another so they sequence themselves and rotate as needed,” said Cameron. “They operate to optimize energy use and efficiencies. When heat is required, the boilers will stage on as needed.”

Cube Completion

The Cube conversion project was completed in 12 months and more than two-thirds of the building is already leased to residents. Mahmoud praised the experience with Nu-Mun Contracting.

“Working together with Nu-Mun was a seamless operation,” said Mahmoud. “It was a really great relationship and, as a result, the job was a complete success.”

“The start-up and installation progressed smoothly in part due to the way these boilers are designed,” said Cameron. “The SVF boilers offers time-saving installation features that include heavy-duty roller casters for improved maneuverability in confined spaces, industrial-grade leveling legs, and an end-shot burner design requiring only 18 inches overhead space.”

Mahmoud appreciates the ease of maintenance that the boilers offer for the building staff

“The boilers are really user friendly,” said Mahmoud. “We can even conduct the annual maintenance on the units ourselves to keep them in tip-top shape.”

In addition to offering class leading serviceability, the new boilers also offer low operating costs and are expected to bring energy savings and a reduction in gas usage to the facility.

But most important, Mahmoud reported that tenants are extremely pleased with the climate and comfort of the building.