Sunday, March 15, 2015

Getting Satisfaction....From Ice
If there is one thing I cannot comprehend, it is drinking lukewarm liquids. I enjoy hot liquid. I enjoy cold liquid. Unless I am to the point of death (or attempting not to offend a host who has just handed me a glass of lukewarm liquid), I refuse to drink lukewarm liquid.

It's All About Temperature

If you think about it, temperature is quite amazing. It's amazing that heat can excite molecules enough to affect flavor. It's just as amazing what a glass of ice water will do on a hot summer day in the middle of mowing the front lawn... nothing tastes as sweet and refreshing. Ice is one of those things that will make or break your cold drink sales. You doubt me? Pretend that your ice machine broke down and serve all of your customers ice-less drinks during your next lunch rush. If your waitresses haven't plotted mutiny, and your phone survey line isn't flooded with complaint calls then you are doing very well indeed. I used to work at a coffee shop and one day our ice maker went down. Try telling the customer who always gets her large strawberry and whipped cream icey that she is going to have to go slushy-less for a day... not a pretty sight.

Why Should I Care About Ice Machines?

At this point you may be tempted to say, "Ok Kirk, we all agree that ice is a necessary convenience for restaurant owners. Stop wasting our time writing about stuff we already know." Well, as with anything, not all ice is created equal. Do you want full cubes or half cubes? How much ice do you want? What kind of water filter do you need to make your ice taste great? These and many other questions are what you should be asking yourself (and the sales rep you are talking too) when you consider purchasing a new ice machine.

Commercial Ice Machine Blog Series...What Now?!

This will be the first of a new blog series we would like to do focusing on ice makers. In my next post (and periodically throughout the rest of the series as well) we will attempt to point you to some excellent ice making machine brands by means of answering questions like these:

  1. What brand of ice makers is the best?
  2. Do I need a bin with my ice maker? Do they come together? Separately?
  3. How big of a bin do I need for my store?
  4. What is the difference between ice makers that produce ice that is half-dice, full-dice, shaved, cube, nugget, etc. etc. etc.?
  5. What kind of ice cube is the best for my needs?
  6. How much ice does an ice machine produce?
  7. How much ice would I need in a day?
  8. Do ice machines require a special electrical source?
  9. What is the difference between air-cooled, water-cooled, and remotely cooled? Which is best for me?
  10. Are there different kinds of ice making machines for different kinds of businesses? Which would I need for my business?
  11. Are there environmentally friendly, energy efficient choices of ice makers out there?
  12. Do I really need a water filter, I mean... really?
  13. Is there a warranty on ice machines?
  14. How long can I expect my ice maker to last?
  15. If I don't like the ice maker I buy from Prima, can I return it?

In the next couple of months, we will answer all of these questions (and then some) so you can become an expert on ice machines before you purchase, making your transaction with us enjoyable for everyone involved. Stay tuned! And as always, if you have a question you would like to see addressed, leave us a note in the comments. Ready to buy but not sure where to start? Then check out these great commercial ice machines

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

When a small appliance breaks down, it's usually a no-brainer to throw it out. Sure, some consumers may have the inclination-and the skill-set-to recalibrate the thermostat of a fritzing toaster, but most of us wouldn't think twice about replacing it for a mere $20. The same, of course, can't be said for a conked-out oven or leaky fridge-particularly, when the price tags for such items can easily soar above $1,000. Consider these tips the next time you're considering a major repair.

Not built to last

Your parents' appliances may have lasted for decades-in fact, they're probably still going strong-but don't expect the same from today's machines. "The old saying, 'They don't make them like they used to' is absolutely true," says Aaron Cohoon, an appliance technician in Nova Scotia and frequent CBC Radio One guest. "I've seen 30-year-old Maytags work like the day they were rolled off the showroom floor, and I've seen brand new Maytags get chucked out after four or five years."

Bypassing breakdown

Luckily you can make smart decisions before buying your next appliance to help put off that inevitable "repair it or chuck it" quandary, says Cohoon. For instance, he says front-load laundry machines are more likely to break down than traditional top-load washers, due to the weight placed on the configuration of the washing barrel. Keeping things simple can help too. Today's fridges come with an abundance of optional features-automatic ice-makers, quick-cooling departments and filtered water dispensers to name a few. But those nifty gadgets not only increase upfront costs, they add to your future repair bills too.
Regular maintenance is another way to increase the lifespan of appliances. Emptying your dryer's lint filter after each use is self-evident to most, but less obvious tips from Consumer Reports include cleaning your refrigerator's condenser coils every few months and checking your oven's door seals to ensure heat isn't escaping.
(George Peters/Getty Images)
(George Peters/Getty Images)

The right repair

Thanks to a plethora of online instructionals, many people can now do simple fixes on their own if they just involve replacing parts, says Cohoon. But when it comes to big repairs, like faulty digital controls, a qualified appliance technician is usually required. Sites like can point you toward reputable repair companies, as can asking friends for recommendations, says Cohoon. "Talk to your neighbours, or post a message on Facebook. Just stay away from the fly-by-night guys who put ads on Kijiji or Craigslist."
Bottom line: today's major appliances have lifespans that only make major repairs worth it if they're done within two to four years of purchase. That was the finding of a recent Consumer Reports study-particularly when it came to items like laundry machines, dishwashers and ovens. Even then, you shouldn't spend more than 50% of the cost of a new product on repairing an old one. After four years, you should carefully consider whether to replace the appliance. And, as depressing as it sounds, once eight years have passed, it's almost always time to chuck it out and move on, the study concluded. The only exception? Refrigerators, which have higher replacement costs-particularly if they're built-in.

Monday, February 16, 2015

New Bryant® Legacy™ Line Energy Recovery Ventilator Offers Streamlined Installation and Optimal Efficiency

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 12, 2013 – Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems announces the release of the Legacy Line Energy Recovery Ventilator (ERV), which provides application flexibility through direct mounting to home furnaces or ductwork, without requiring a separate wall control. Bryant, a leading supplier of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).
In addition to straightforward installation due to its two-duct connection design, the Legacy Line ERV offers a solution to the growing need for fresh-air ventilation, particularly in today’s energy-efficient new homes. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the average American spends up to 90 percent of their time indoors, with roughly 23 million people, including about 6.8 million children, in the U.S. suffering from asthma. The DOE found a correlation between the disease and indoor airborne pollutants such as dust, mold gases and chemicals.1 The Legacy Line ERV reinvigorates the home with a continuous stream of fresh outdoor air while exhausting airborne pollutants, resulting in improved comfort and humidity levels.
Installation is easy with the two-duct connection design of the Legacy Line ERV, when compared with a traditional four-duct connection system. Not only does the unit have a smaller cabinet than other products available, it can connect directly to the furnace or ductwork, which eliminates the need to accommodate a separate unit and costly duct connections.
Another key feature of the Legacy Line ERV is its ventilator motor that quietly circulates air through the system, while maintaining optimal efficiency. In addition, multiple fan-speed selections allow the system to provide just the right amount of fresh air year-round.
"Bryant’s new Legacy Line ERV is the perfect ventilator for today’s increasingly efficient homes," said Tom Archer, senior product manager, Bryant. "This new product will provide the homeowner with freshly circulated air, while operating quietly and efficiently. Coupled with the compact, two-duct connection design and the Legacy Line ERV provides a logical solution for efficiently ventilating new homes."

About Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems

Bryant has been dedicated to customer comfort and satisfaction since 1904. In addition to its best-in-class network of distributors and dealers, Bryant offers exceptional reliability and energy efficiency through an extensive line of durable heating and cooling products. Bryant is devoted to doing Whatever It Takes to deliver the highest quality in HVAC products and services for consumers nationwide, which is why so many people have trusted their indoor comfort needs to Bryant. Bryant is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit
1Page 8, U.S. DOE EERE, Retrofit Techniques & Technologies, PNNL-19284, 4/2/10

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Reaching 100-year mark, Trane continues to stretch the idea of what’s possible
TYLER, Texas - After 100 years of reliability, innovation and countless technological and engineering firsts, history has made one thing abundantly clear: It’s Hard to Stop a Trane. Today Trane, a brand of Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR), marks the beginning of a yearlong celebration honoring a century of exceptional service, premium quality and unrivaled reliability, even as it continues to stretch the world‘s idea of what‘s possible for the future.
"Since the beginning, Trane has been obsessed with building heating and air conditioning systems. Today that passion lives on, making us the most recognized brand in the industry for equipment durability and reliability.1 Now, as we reach our 100-year mark, we‘re proud to continue that legacy of innovation every day, in everything we do. There‘s still excitement in the air," said Jim VerShaw, chief engineer, Trane.


In many ways Trane is a classic American success story that grew the company into a global icon. In 1885, founder James Trane opened a plumbing shop in La Crosse, Wis. Inspired by the area‘s cold winters, he invented the Trane Vapor Heating System. His son Reuben, born in 1886, shared his father‘s inventiveness and grew up to be an engineer. Together, the two began manufacturing operations and incorporated The Trane Company in 1913.
Now, a century later, Trane is among the most preferred HVAC brands on the market. According to a 2012 priority research survey, Trane touts the highest satisfaction among homeowners of any HVAC brand on the market, as well as the most reliable, longest-lasting and highest quality equipment on the market.1
Throughout 2013, the company is celebrating its success with a variety of activities recognizing customers, dealers, distributors, employees and others. Among the first initiatives is a commemoration of James Trane‘s birthday with the ringing of the New York Stock Exchange closing bell on April 29, 2013. Other activities will include a company-wide anniversary scavenger hunt; anniversary celebrations in dealer locations; distributor recognition; plus several charitable initiatives including donations to regional community projects where Trane has locations; support for nonprofit home-building organizations; and scholarships to engineering and business students to seed the next generation of innovators. Watch for updates.



1923 – Reuben‘s invention of a convector radiator firmly establishes the company‘s reputation as an innovator. Using a coil through which steam or hot water is circulated, it is a lightweight, efficient replacement for the heavy cast iron radiators of the time.
1926 – Trane establishes what is known today as the Trane Graduate Engineering Training Program. In the program, engineering graduates from prominent colleges and universities are recruited to receive intensive training in sales, engineering, HVAC systems design and application. After completing six months, the graduates advance to sales or management assignments within the company.


1931 – Trane‘s idea of using technology to give people relief from the summer heat is a radical and unproven idea that leads to what we know today as air conditioning. The first units are designed for offices, restaurants, ships, department stores, factories and movie theaters.
1938 – Trane fundamentally changes the concept of air conditioning large buildings with the launch of Turvovac, the industry‘s first hermetic centrifugal refrigeration machine. It begins a long chain of innovations leading to the CenTraVac, the industry standard for large commercial air conditioning systems.


1940s – During World War II (WWII), Trane uses its proven technologies in heating, process cooling and air conditioning to create products for the armed forces. One product, the Aircraft Intercooler, is a major breakthrough in the War effort, permitting Allied warplanes to fly higher and faster than before.


1950s – Taking advantage of the post-war construction boom, Trane expands its air conditioning and fan lines, and begins to manufacture its own reciprocating compressors, solidifying its position as an industry leader. Trane offers a complete line of HVAC products for commercial, institutional and industrial buildings.
Mid-1950s – Trane ventures into self-contained air conditioning units for commercial use. The compact packaged products are delivered to customers ready for installation and operation, lowering their installation costs and shortening construction schedules.


1960s – Trane‘s innovation continues with new heat pump technology and the launch of the first Weathertron® Heat Pump.


1971 – Trane‘s innovations reach outer space when the basic heat exchanger design of its WWII Aircraft Intercooler is used on the Lunar Rover of the Apollo 15 mission.
Late 1970s – With the acquisition of Sentinel Electronics, Trane moves into the building automation and management field. The first to offer integrated controls for all its products, the company becomes a leader in the still-new field of energy management.


1982 – Trane becomes a leader in residential air conditioning, acquiring General Electric's Central Air Conditioning Division.
1984 – Trane is acquired by American Standard Companies and remains the largest of its three businesses: Air Conditioning Systems and Services, Vehicle Control Systems (WABCO) and Bath and Kitchen.
1988 – Trane relaunches the American Standard Heating & Air Conditioning brand, introducing a new generation of families to the century-old American Standard tradition of making quality products for the home.


1992 – Trane introduces its new iconic tagline It’s Hard to Stop a Trane, reinforcing the brand‘s reliability and durability.


2002 – Trane creates the WeatherGuard II™ Top for its residential outdoor air conditioning units. The distinctive design provides an additional layer of safety to protect family members from moving parts, while also protecting inside components from damage. The design also makes Trane air conditioning units instantly recognizable everywhere.
2006 – Trane achieves a true technological breakthrough with the launch of Trane CleanEffectsTM, a whole-house air filtration system that removes up to 99.98 percent of airborne particles and 99 percent of common flu viruses from the conditioned air, helping families breathe easier in their homes.
2007 – American Standard Companies splits its three businesses, leaving each free to concentrate exclusively on the markets it knows best. WABCO is spun off as an independent corporation and Bath and Kitchen is sold. Trane becomes its own company, reflecting its business focus and leadership in integrated HVAC services and solutions.
2008 – Global diversified industrial company Ingersoll Rand acquires Trane, furthering its transformation into a multi-brand commercial products manufacturer designed to serve customers in diverse global markets. With Trane now part of the family, Ingersoll Rand is better able to provide products, services and solutions to enhance the quality and comfort in homes and buildings, and enable companies and their customers to create progress.
2011 – Launch of the Trane ComfortLinkTM II Control brings Trane into home automation. More than a thermostat, the advanced control center puts comfort literally at homeowners‘ fingertips, enabling them to monitor indoor/outdoor temperatures, adjust their HVAC system for energy efficiency, and learn when it‘s time to change a filter or schedule routine maintenance. Popular Mechanics dubs it one of ?The Year‘s Most Transformative Products
2012 – Trane takes home automation to the next level by partnering with Schlage® to offer Nexia™ Home Intelligence, leveraging the advanced technologies of both brands to make everything in the home speak one simple language. Nexia enables consumers to remotely manage door locks, heating and cooling, video surveillance, lights, shades and energy usage via any Web-enabled computer and most smart phones.
2013 – Reuben Trane‘s original idea of using technology to give people relief from the summer heat comes full circle, growing the company into a multifaceted business that helps make lives easier, more comfortable and efficient for homeowners and businesses around the world. Trane marks its 100th anniversary with a yearlong celebration honoring its legacy of innovation while continuing to innovate new and exciting products.
"As we look to the future, new chapters of growth through innovation are being written every working day. Our momentum continues to build because — as our people have said for years -'It's Hard to Stop a Trane,'" said VerShaw.


Ingersoll Rand (NYSE:IR) advances the quality of life by creating and sustaining safe, comfortable and efficient environments. Our people and our family of brands—including Club Car®Ingersoll Rand®Schlage®,
Thermo King® and Trane®—work together to enhance the quality and comfort of air in homes and buildings; transport and protect food and perishables; secure homes and commercial properties; and increase industrial productivity and efficiency. We are a $14 billion global business committed to a world of sustainable progress and enduring results. For more information, visit
Preston's Air Conditioning And Appliance LLC


Saturday, February 14, 2015

10 Tips to Help the Dishwasher Run Better

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If you're lucky enough to have some (mechanical!) help with your dishes, how's your helper doing these days? Winter cooking can be tough on the dishwasher. All those goopy soups, milk-crusted mugs, and baked-on casseroles can overload it; perhaps you're feeling like things aren't running so smoothly or smelling as good as they ought to in there.
Well, we're here to help, with ten tips for making your dishwasher run its best.
Some of these tips came from Amy Wood of Mr. Appliance; she shared a few dishwasher efficiency tips after an earlier post on 7 Kitchen Crannies To Clean Before The Holidays.
Are these tips familiar to you? I had already been doing several of them, but a few were new, so I thought they might be to you as well.
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10 Tips to Help Your Dishwasher Run Better

  1. Don't confuse scraping with washing: No one wants to wash their dishes before they wash their dishes; it's just silly. But you wouldn't want to eat a Thanksgiving dinner and then go run a marathon right after. Well, neither does your dishwasher. Scrape food bits off before loading up to help reduce particles stuck on dishes once the cycle is over.
  2. Don't overcrowd the dishwasher: It's something that's easier said than done. It's quite tempting to layer in one more bowl or plate to avoid hand washing. Just remember, it's better to wash a few pieces by hand than it is to rerun an entire load because things were too tightly packed.
  3. Run hot water before starting the dishwasher: Before starting the cycle, turn on the faucet and run until the water is hot to the touch. This means your first dishwasher fill cycle will be hot, instead of cold, until it finally makes its way over from the hot water heater. This is an especially important tip in winter time as it takes longer for the water to heat up.
  4. Use the correct cycle: It can be tempting to use a shorter, lighter setting to save on time and water bills, but make sure you're washing all your super dirty dishes by hand if that's the case. Just like doing your laundry, keep soil levels together when washing to end up with the best performance.
  5. Don't double up on rinse aid: When looking to purchase a new soap for your dishwasher, make note if it includes a rinse aid. If it does, then there's no need to add any extra. If it doesn't, skip the extra purchase and just fill the reservoir with white vinegar. It'll do the trick every time!
  6. Run an empty dishwasher with vinegar: It’s the same concept as running a vinegar load in your washing machine. You simply toss a cup of white vinegar into the bottom of an empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. It cleans out old food particles to keep your dishwasher smelling fresh.
  7. Clean the dishwasher trap: Down in no mans land, under the lower sprayer, there's usually a piece that is removable. Under it you'll usually find bits of food that didn't make it out the drain or even pet hair (eww) if you have a fur-ball of any kind running around your home. Sometimes the tray comes out fully so it can be rinsed in the sink; sometimes a towel is needed to remove the gunk build-up.
  8. Clean the dishwasher seals: After a few months of use, your dishwasher accumulates a little bit of ick and stick around the rubber gasket in the door as well and often around the soap door as well. Make sure to give them a once-over with a damp towel to keep the grime down.
  9. Check your water heater's temperature: There's a joke about where to put the thermometer, but we'll pass this time around. Make sure your water heater is set between 120 and 125 degrees. Many units are shipped new set to a much lower heat. This is the ideal temperature for washing dishes; don't be tempted to turn it higher or else it will cause water to flash dry and not roll off your dishes, taking the ends of the dirty bits with it.
  10. Test your water: Hard water is killer on dishes and your ability to really get things clean. Make sure to have things tested and soften accordingly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

APC f FF frugal appliance maintenance 0214.jpg
Most people depend on their kitchen appliances for daily use and occasionally for a cooking marathon before a holiday feast. They’re staples of the kitchen, and expected to work. But as soon as the refrigerator stops cooling or the oven won’t warm, panic sets in.
Appliance repair pros say regular, routine maintenance and care can prolong the life of kitchen appliances and prevent untimely repairs.
Check out these tips to keep your appliances in tiptop shape.
1. Refrigerator maintenance
“The most important maintenance you can do on your refrigerator is to clean the condenser coils regularly because the coils are covered with dirt, grime, debris, pet hair and all that kind of stuff and it overheats the refrigerator,” said Bill Krier, president and CEO of Broad Ripple Appliance in Indianapolis. He said the debris puts added stress on the refrigerator’s components, including the compressor. “The parts have to work harder and don’t last as long,” he said.
To access the coils, remove the grill at the bottom or back of the fridge and use a broom or vacuum to clear debris. For sub-zero refrigerators, the coils are usually located on the top of the unit.
2. Dishwasher maintenance
“The biggest thing you can do to keep your dishwasher running well is to clean food off your dishes before you put them in,” Krier said. Food bits get stuck in crevices, gum up moving parts and cause bacteria to form.
Krier recommends using a dishwasher cleaning product every three to six months to remove calcium buildup. Calcium deposits can clog the dishwasher’s sprayer arm and impact cleaning efficiency. He said cleaning products containing citric acid effectively remove calcium buildup.
For another trick to remove calcium buildup, place a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf of an empty dishwasher and run a load with hot water.
3. Microwave maintenance
Krier recommends cleaning your microwave regularly to remove food particles. “Even though it’s stuck on there, the microwave is going to keep heating the food pieces,” he said. “After time it’s going to get hard as a rock.” Krier said microwaves heat food particles at high temperatures, which can then burn the top and sides of the microwave. He recommends cleaning the inside of the microwave with glass cleaner.
To remove stubborn food bits, boil a cup of water or white vinegar in the microwave to loosen the food particles, which you can then easily wipe off with a sponge.
4. Stove and oven maintenance
Have you ever placed aluminum foil on the bottom of your oven to catch food spills? Although it seems like an easy way to keep your oven clean, Krier said aluminum foil blocks airflow and can interfere with the heating element, causing it to fail or require recalibration.
To keep a smooth-top stove looking new, Krier recommends scraping off burned food bits with a razor blade and cleaning the surface with glass cleaner

When your washing machine breaks and dirty laundry piles up, you have to hope that the manufacturer or retailer quickly fixes the problem. But one glimpse at Consumer Reports’ user reviews tells you otherwise: “Poor customer service and unwillingness to fix what is not a minor problem, but a major defect, speaks volumes." "Customer service is horribly bad, no service at all." "Worst consumer service ever. I’m so done!” were some of the comments from our readers. So who has the best support and service when it comes to getting an appliance fixed? The worst?
The user reviews of any washer we’ve tested represent a tiny portion of the number sold. But when it’s your washing machine that’s broken, it’s a big deal. It was for Lewis Fevola when his LG high-efficiency top-loader repeatedly took four hours to finish a load and he tried to get the washer fixed. Mr. Fevola ranted on Twitter and emailed LG’s CEO. Then he wrote to us. Result: Problem solved.
Appliances do break and terrific customer service is the solution. We surveyed subscribers about their experiences with more than 21,000 appliances. The appliances serviced were overwhelmingly ones that were bought by readers and not appliances that had been left behind by a previous owner. Washing machines and refrigerators accounted for about half of all those serviced. The survey was done in spring 2012 and subscribers told us about appliances serviced over a year or more before.
The iconic Maytag repairman retired

Best and worst appliance repair services

“Subscribers who called an independent repair shop expressed higher satisfaction with their experiences than those who called other types of repair services, such as the ones provided by manufacturers or retail chains,” says Karen Jaffe, a manager in Consumer Reports’ survey research.
That said, most manufacturers and retailers got average scores for actually solving the problem. Lowe’s, Sears, Kenmore, GE, and Samsung were among the better appliance services and got average scores for resolving issues. But LG was below average and Frigidaire, Maytag, and Whirlpool seemed to have even more trouble getting problems fixed.
Reaching a reliable appliance repair service is just one factor to consider when buying a new appliance. There's also the matter of brand reliability, something we take into account when making selections for our lists of recommended models. (You can find the reliability information on our Ratings charts.) Take washing machines, for example. LG front-loaders are less repair-prone than Frigidaire and GE but then the LG repair service left something to be desired.
Of course, the most important thing to consider is performance. In our washing machine tests, our top-scoring front-loader is the Samsung WF56H9110CW, $1,600. Samsung is one of the least repair-prone front-loader brands and Samsung was middle of the pack in our appliance repair service survey. Our top-rated HE top-loader is the LG WT5680HVA, $1,200. We don't have reliablity data on LG top-loaders and LG was lackluster on the repair survey. So if you buy an LG washer and it breaks, consider calling your local repair shop first.
Kimberly Janeway  

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Emerson Climate Technologies offers to help supply chain move to lower-GWP refrigerants

Compressor giant Emerson Climate Technologies has announced that it is willing to devote more resources to hasten adoption of new refrigerants in wake of F-Gas and expected US EPA rules

Compressor giant Emerson Climate Technologies has responded to the focus on reducing GWP in the F-Gas regulations and US EPA proposals by promising more investment in qualifying low-GWP alternatives. The firm said with restrictions expected on R404A, R507A and R134a in the US to follow those in Europe, it was prepared to support its customers in promoting replacements.
Rajan Rajendran, vice president, systems innovation center and sustainability for Emerson Climate Technologies said:. “Emerson has a long-standing commitment of proactively investing in and evaluating sustainable alternatives for commercial refrigeration, specifically for components and controls with environmentally friendly refrigerant capability. Emerson has invested in a full line-up of R407A/C/F compressors for commercial refrigeration applications and CO2, propane and ammonia offerings for appropriate applications, depending on regulation and performance.”
In addition, Emerson said it is ‘prepared to support customers and devote more resources to qualifying lower GWP A1 refrigerant alternatives such as R448A, R449A, R-450A and R513A. Customers interested in field or lab testing alternatives [having GWPs of 600-1500] should contact Emerson or their refrigerant manufacturer now.”
The firm added that ‘production release of ‘a wide range of scroll and semi-hermetic compressors for these alternatives is expected later this year.’
“To help our customers lessen the resource constraints and costs associated with a shift of this magnitude, we have been working to develop products and equipment that will not only comply with this delisting proposal, but also those in the foreseeable future,” said Rajendran.
Emerson has also developed a number of resources, including online webinars and design expertise, to help those in the commercial refrigeration industry understand the implications of these rules as well as long-term options. Please contact your local Emerson representative to understand more about our resources, refrigerant evaluations and pending low-GWP qualified product releases.

Toshiba extends AC Digital Inverter series

Toshiba Air Conditioning, a division of Toshiba Carrier UK Ltd, has extended its Digital Inverter 4 range with the introduction of two new outdoor units and seven new indoor models.

The units, delivering 1hp (2.5kW) and 1.5hp (3.6kW), complete Toshiba’s light commercial line-up, which now ranges from 1hp through to 10hp and offers models across the spectrum in this important sector.
Boasting exceptional efficiency and fully compliant with the ErP Directive (Lot10) threshold for 2015, the new models have a sector-leading operating range, delivering cooling from -15 up to 46deg C and can provide heating in ambient conditions as low as -15deg C, eclipsing industry rivals by a significant margin.
The company says efficiency is assisted by the use of a power-save function, which enables the user to set the degree of performance covered, between 50 and 100per cent, in one per cent increments.
The new models allow small capacity systems to be fully integrated with VRF systems and BMS controls via a RBC-PCNT30TLE interface (not required on wall mounted systems). The new units are compatible will the full and extensive range of light commercial and commercial control options.
Outdoor condensing units can be connected to four types of indoor unit: compact four-way cassette, slim duct unit, hi-wall, and ceiling-suspended unit. The most efficient combinations can produce a SEER figure of as high as 6.1 and are rated at A++ for energy performance.
The indoor units can also be connected to existing larger outdoor units to provide twin, triple and quad split systems ensuring a solution for all applications.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ryan Brown, a technician for AirTight Mechanical in Charlotte, North Carolina, services a portable R-22 system used for data center hot spots. (Photo courtesy of AirTight Mechanical)October 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its plan for phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22, or R-22, by 2020. The plan called for a drastic cut in R-22 production and importation in 2015 followed by a linear phaseout between 2015 and 2020.
While the EPA allowed 51 million pounds in 2014, it is only allowing 22 million in 2015, 18 million in 2016, 13 million in 2017, 9 million in 2018, and 4 million in 2019. After that, new or imported R-22 will be banned in the U.S. due to its harmful effects on
the environment.
Meanwhile, proactive HVAC contractors have been working to educate their employees and clients on the inevitable phaseout. And, with the price of R-22 already starting to rise in many areas, educated contractors are finding it easier to convince customers to replace aging R-22 units with newer, more efficient models.

Making an Adjustment

For many contractors, the phaseout schedule has already had an impact on business. Many have already begun training staff and educating customers as the supply of virgin R-22 begins to dwindle.
Steve Moon, owner, Moon Air Inc., Elkton, Maryland, said the phaseout is interruptive. “First, it is good for Mother Earth,” he said. “Second, it has been forced on us, so we have to comply. So, let’s move forward as an industry and do the right thing by everyone. The biggest problem is our industry is full of guys who have been doing the same thing the same way for many years. We are creatures of habit. Change is painful.”
Jim Crews, service/sales, project manager, Environmental Conditioning Systems, Mentor, Ohio, said the company stays current on the best new refrigerants and equipment because it is what’s best for business.
“Our techs are aware of new refrigerants and have been trained on the different new oils. All the necessary instruments and tools are already on the trucks,” Crews said. “Business-wise, buying the dry-shipped equipment, connecting, and charging with R-22 is not good advice for the customer; this perpetuates old technology and exposes them to uncontrolled repair costs as the phaseout continues.”
Butch Welsch, owner, Welsch Heating and Cooling Co., St. Louis, said his company is cautioning customers who wish to order dry-shipped R-22 equipment.
“We have installed virtually no dry-charge units as of late because, in my opinion, they are against the spirit of the regulation, if not the word,” he said. “[The phaseout] was mandated, so it is our obligation to abide by it. That’s what we have done.”
Bobby Ring, president, Meyer & Depew Co., Kenilworth, New Jersey, said the phaseout has been “years in the making,” and contractors need to learn to adjust. “Science says eliminating R-22 will be good for the environment. This was all decided a long time ago by folks who have the education and credentials to support the conclusions they reached.”
Ann Kahn, president, Kahn Mechanical Contractors, Dallas, said the phaseout is good for both the environment and contractors alike. “It has been proven time and time again that we are creating the problem of global warming ourselves,” she said. “It’s not a big change. Most people are aware of the situation through newspaper articles, TV specials, and other publicity.”
Tim Paetz, general manager and co-owner, Bud Anderson Heating and Cooling, Lowell, Arkansas, is glad the U.S. is phasing out the production and importation of R-22.
“We’ve been talking about it for more than 20 years, and we trained our technicians for years to educate customers about the phaseout,” Paetz said. “We leave all the old dinosaur equipment in the past and have to carry fewer parts. R-410A is higher efficiency, and, by now, we’ve worked out all the bugs.”
Greg Crumpton, president, AirTight Mechanical, Charlotte, North Carolina, also agreed the phaseout is a good plan, though he said the timeframe doesn’t seem logical.
“There are millions of systems out in the real world that utilize R-22; these will continue for a long time, and, obviously, how well these systems are cared for will ultimately dictate their replacement,” he said. “I think it is an aggressive schedule, but, overall, I support it, for sure.”

Rising Prices?

The most immediate fallout from the phaseout in 2015 will be the rising cost of R-22 across much of the nation.
“My business is affected mostly due to the volatility of the actual gas pricing — not only from our supplier, which is predominately C.C. Dickson Co., but also from the OEM of the gases forcing the issue at the wholesale level,” Crumpton said. “Prices soared upon the release of the [phasedown] schedule, but, like most things, [it will come] back to an equilibrium that the market will support. The import gases, legal or not legal, affect what the market will tolerate, as well.”
“The pricing keeps rising,” Kahn said.
Crews said the price has gone up 23 percent, and, according to Welsch, the worst is yet to come.
“We paid $198 per jug for a skid of R-22 in October 2014,” Welsch said. “We checked pricing today at two locations and we’ve been told $240 — but subject to increasing to $295 at any moment. And, another vendor quoted us at $293. We were told it is anticipated to be at $400-$450 per jug by summer. That’s quite an increase. However, they told us last year it was going to increase dramatically, and it never did. As we do with any change such as this, we believe strongly in communicating to everyone, including employees and customers, exactly what is happening and what we know.”
Prices haven’t jumped unilaterally, however. Moon said he “has not seen a change as of yet,” and Paetz said prices have remained stable for the last quarter.

Residential Versus Commercial

Contractors in the commercial market may have a harder time adjusting to the phaseout due to the rising cost of R-22 and the prevalence of the refrigerant in commercial equipment.
“I believe commercial contractors are affected more only because there are a greater percentage of commercial clients still heavily invested in R-22 systems, and those systems generally use larger quantities of R-22,” Ring explained. “I would estimate that 60 percent of our residential clients and 80-90 percent of our commercial clients still have R-22 systems.”
“In the future, obviously, the cost to replace equipment in order to go to R-410A will be much higher with rooftop units and other similar commercial pieces of equipment,” Welsch agreed.
Additionally, the cost of retrofitting equipment to use a new refrigerant is higher for commercial contractors, Crews said. “The equipment cost, labor, and materials [required] to change from R-22 to a new refrigerant far exceed those of residential,” he said.
Moon agreed: “Their [residential contractors] volume of R-22 per system is drastically higher. They have some very good drop-in replacements that work well, and there should be very few problems.”
Crumpton, however, said residential and commercial contractors are affected equally by the phaseout. “We are all dealing with the same stuff and issues,” he said. “The residential guys have to have the same conversation with their customers — they just have to do it a lot more often.”

Incentive to Convert

Rising costs to charge and maintain R-22 equipment have provided forward-thinking contractors with plenty of ammunition to help convert customers to newer refrigerants and equipment.
“Upwards of 75 percent of the equipment we service still runs on R-22,” Kahn said. “Customers are always offered equipment with alternative refrigerants. If they refuse, which they often do, they are advised that virgin R-22 is scarce, and reclaimed refrigerant will soon be all that is available — at a very steep cost.”
“I would estimate that we service a fleet of equipment that is 85-90 percent R-22-based,” Crumpton said. “The phaseout plan makes us think ahead and discuss with the end user the benefit of repair or replacement. Many times, the severity of the issue will drive the decision. Small leaks or major component failures — each will require a different discussion.”
Crews estimates 50-60 percent of the equipment they service still runs on R-22. Phasing out the refrigerant has presented the opportunity to generate new equipment sales as well as make a name for the company as a leader in the industry, he said.
“It’s actually helped customers with the decision to replace equipment near the end of its service life instead of repairing,” Crews said. “Although, initially, the refrigerant leaks on new condensing units with the higher running pressures have been difficult to understand and costly for us and customers.”
Moon also said the phaseout has created replacement opportunities that may not have been there before.
“In the residential world, we see a lot of R-22 systems,” he said. “With the cost of gas rising, systems will be replaced with R-410a earlier than they used to. When the repair costs exceed the system’s worth, it’s time for it to go. It’s made us focus on complete system changeouts instead of just an outdoor unit changeout, which the white-van guy loves to do. They are cheap, but definitely not in the client’s best interest.”

Parting Advice

For many contractors, the release of the phasedown schedule late last year has provided a better idea of what to expect and how to plan for it over the next few years. A big part of that preparation, they stressed, is education.
“Start educating your clients on smaller carbon footprints,” Paetz advised. “Just knowing this issue will finally be done will affect us in a positive way. Before, when the EPA went back on the phaseout and delayed whether or not it was going to allow dry R-22 units — this was a big letdown to us. We want to do the right thing.”
Crumpton also advised educating customers about the phaseout as soon as possible. “Educate your people and customers as to when is the right time for a system upgrade. There are so many moving parts to the equation — tubing sizes, cabinet and coil sizes, etc. Essentially, there is no standard answer, so work on each opportunity to find the best and most timely answer for each situation.”
Ring also advised other contractors to “get out in front of the issue with clients and employees,” and Welsch said to be open and communicate what you know to customers and employees.
“Get training,” Moon added. “Our vendors are happy to help us understand and comply. Ask for help. This is nothing new, since we went through the R-12 phaseout. I think contractors are far less fearful and ready to accept it.”
Finally, Crews said, while there are some exceptions, contractors should strive not to perpetuate the use of R-22.
“We will all miss the reliability and simplicity of R-22 and mineral oil, as we did with R-12,” he said. “But, we survived R-12 being gone, and we will do so with R-22, too.”
Publication date: 2/9/2015

For as long as there has been recovery and recycling, there has been reclamation. But reclamation is a bit of a different animal.
Recovery and recycling of refrigerant takes place on site with equipment toted to the site by the service technician. Reclamation typically involves refrigerant recovery and shipment to a reclaim facility. Reclamation can be more time-consuming, but it provides the best assurance that a reintroduced refrigerant is of the highest quality.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the definition of reclamation is: “To reprocess refrigerant to at least the purity specified in the AHRI [Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute] Standard 700-2006, ‘Specifications for Fluorocarbon Refrigerants,’ and to verify this purity using the analytical methodology prescribed in the standard. Reclamation requires specialized machinery not available at a particular job site or auto repair shop. The technician will recover the refrigerant and then send it either to a general reclaimer or back to the refrigerant manufacturer.”
The pending final phaseout of virgin and imported R-22 by 2020, at the latest, is again drawing attention to the reclamation sector, as it provides a way for existing supplies of the refrigerant to continue to be used.
To see where the sector is headed over the next five years, The NEWS collected comments from numerous companies involved in reclamation services. Here, in alphabetical order by company, is a collection of the responses.

Airgas Inc.

Comments by Ken Beringer, senior vice president
The future direction of refrigerant reclamation is very uncertain at this time, but the industry will always move toward the products that produce the greatest return on investment in buildings, equipment, technology, and labor. Due to many factors, the products that will have the greatest shortage are unknown at this time. The picture will be much clearer when the EPA makes a decision on the HCFC [hydrochlorofluorocarbon] phaseout for 2015 through 2019 and the future of HFC [hydrofluorocarbon] gases.
Reclamation of R-22 grew dramatically after the EPA accelerated the phaseout of HCFC gases in 2012 and retreated almost as rapidly when additional production and importation rights were granted in 2013. When this happened, the price of new R-22 plummeted and created a chain reaction with reclamation companies, lowering the purchase price of used product from as high as $8.50 per pound to as low as $1 per pound. The incentive to return used product was no longer attractive to mechanical contractors and end users. This resulted in a dramatic reduction in the volume of used R-22 being reclaimed. There have been many companies reaching out to the EPA to reduce HCFC allocations, which, in turn, will reduce the oversupply and raise prices enough to entice people to return used product again.
The government is attempting to lower the amount of GWP [global warming potential] refrigerants being released into the atmosphere and HFC gases represent a great portion of the problem. If HFC gases are phased out as expected, reclaimed products will be in demand to cover the needs of most automobiles and many large industrial skids. This will be similar to the early days of reclamation when CFC [chlorofluorocarbon] production ceased and the industry was created.
Companies will need to invest more in technology, especially separation, as virgin gas supplies diminish. The industry should be very attractive over the next five years, and the reclamation of HCFC and HFC gases is encouraged by responsible government action.


Comments by Patti Conlan, marketing manager
Arkema anticipates the requirements for reclaimers to tighten up over the next five years with the EPA’s recently proposed HCFC rule. The EPA is looking at increased requirements around record keeping, reporting, testing, and accountability for all refrigerants. This includes expanding reports of processing and inventory by refrigerant type, increasing reclaim certification requirements, and expanding end-product testing requirements. In the long term, we would expect reclaimers to handle fewer CFCs and HCFCs and more HFCs with recent SNAP [Significant New Alternatives Policy] announcements concerning R-134a and R-404a. In addition, reclaim capacity and technical know-how will need to expand to serve a wider group of mixed refrigerants with different physical and chemical properties.

Consolidated Refrigerant Solutions Inc.

Comments by James Sweetman, president
When determining where our industry is headed, we should take into account how our industry has evolved over the past several years. Traditionally, contractors had only one outlet for used refrigerant, and typically it was an inconvenient and costly process. There were few reclaimers willing to provide cylinder management services directly to contractors, and incentives, if any, were reserved for the distributor. Where this has always been our focus, at last, many reclaim facilities are now willing to provide services and incentives directly to the contractor. Even the large corporations, which typically only served the distribution side, are realizing the importance of serving contractors directly. Moving forward into the years ahead, we see this trend continuing.
We have always believed that the future of the reclaim industry would lie in its ability to provide contractors with exceptional services and incentives for reclaiming recovered refrigerant. It is the regulatory landscape and the commitment to environmental responsibility that mandates responsible recovery practices. But, it is the reclaim industry that lessens the burden of such regulations and commitments. Yes, there will be new technologies, and yes, the regulatory landscape will continue to change. But one aspect that should continue to progress and evolve is our industry’s commitment to simplifying the process for mechanical contractors. We believe that the future success of our company, and that of our industry, lies in our ability to deliver efficient, compliant, and profitable reclaim services directly to mechanical contractors.

Coolgas Inc., a division of A-Gas Intl.

Comments by Gus Rolotti, vice president, technical sales and marketing
In the recent past, based on EPA’s estimates for consumption and production, the industry expected to experience shortages of R-22 that could only be alleviated by using retrofit refrigerants (such as R-434A, R-407A/C, etc.) and reclaimed R-22. However, our very dynamic refrigerant market and the lower demand for equipment due to a weaker economy changed that, producing more options for retrofits and greater availability of virgin R-22. The net effect was reclaimed R-22 taking over a much smaller portion of the market than originally expected.
The future of reclaim will be a direct result of the availability of virgin R-22 and its price, with less material at a higher price being an incentive to use reclaimed R-22. It will all depend, of course, on what allocation levels the EPA selects for 2015 and beyond. If the EPA decides to reduce supply by setting lower allocation limits in order to expedite the transition out of HCFCs, the amount of reclaimed material needed and used by the market will very likely increase.
Coolgas Inc., and its sister companies under the A-Gas banner, is ready to assist the market by supplying AHRI 700-compliant reclaimed R-22. Our company is aggressively purchasing not only recovered R-22 to reclaim, but also CFCs to take care of them in an environmentally responsible manner to reduce GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions. We are also supplying virgin R-22 and good R-22 retrofit options as market demand dictates.

Diversified Pure Chem

Comments by Bill Auriemma, CEO
In 2019, R-22 will remain the most heavily used refrigerant regardless of which phasedown route the EPA chooses later this year. Therefore, there will continue to be a strong need for R-22 recovery and reclamation. At the same time, we will start to see greater use of replacement products as the next generation of refrigerants works its way into the market. Subsequently, reclamation companies must be equipped to reclaim a wider variety of refrigerants and separate mixes that may entail a broad assortment of transitional and new gases.
The focus will shift from R-22 to the reclamation of other refrigerants, especially HFCs, as the EPA continues its efforts under the Climate Action Plan. The focus will also shift to whether a North American Amendment (NAA) succeeds to include an HFC phasedown in the Montreal Protocol. In the likely event of an HFC phasedown, reclamation will center on popular refrigerants such as R-410A and R-134a, and their sales will mimic that of R-22 — albeit to a lesser degree. Additionally, reclaimers may have an increased opportunity to participate in carbon credit programs as more gases become eligible for destruction.
While EPA activities will continue to steer the direction of the reclamation market, it is up to the HVACR industry to adapt. By preparing now, we can ensure a smooth transition for our customers and our businesses into the next decade and beyond.


Comments by Debra Goodge, refrigerants reclaim manager
For the five years prior to 2012, reclaimed R-22 had been running steady at a rate of 5-6 percent. In 2012, there was an increase in the amount of reclaimed R-22 reported, up 1.1 million pounds to 8 percent of the EPA’s estimated total demand. We believe this is attributed to a delay in the final rule being published, causing the marketplace to operate at roughly 40 percent less R-22 supply for a good part of the year. The impact from supply uncertainty appeared to stimulate contractors to take action and transition their customers away from R-22 to avoid supply concerns while alternative refrigerants were readily available. In addition, distributors and others were offering value-based incentives and access to the reclaimed R-22. With the EPA evaluating several phase out scenarios for 2015-2019, the five-year accelerated phase out schedule would reduce allowances to 22 million pounds beginning in 2015, which is a 29 million pound reduction from 2014. The EPA estimates various levels of recovery, in its November 2013 “Updated Projected Servicing Needs Report,” but it’s important to note that, even in the lower recovery scenario, 32 million pounds of supply will come from reclaimed R-22 beginning in 2015. Whichever phase out approach is finalized later this year, a major step change in service practices will be needed to supplement supply. DuPont and its Authorized Refrigerant Reclaim Centers continue to simplify the process and offer incentives for recovered R-22, as well as other value-added services, such as recordkeeping reports for compliance purposes and refrigerant asset management to assist customers and end users in refrigerant management plans.

Golden Refrigerant

Comments by Carl Grolle, president
It’s important to remember that refrigerant reclamation is basically just a specialized waste treatment service. We collect wasted, used, or otherwise unwanted refrigerants and purify them by removing contaminates. These refrigerants are then resold to the marketplace. It’s a fairly competitive market between the various reclamation companies, and we fight for the used refrigerants from a rather steady and limited supply of refrigerants returned from contractors.
The focus during the next five years will be on the diminishing supply of R-22. As the R-22 supply shrinks, it will certainly lead to significant increases in the cost of remaining R-22. From the reclaimer’s standpoint, most of the price increases will be offset by the increasing price paid for used R-22.
Some projections have suggested that there could be a significant increase in the amount of refrigerant being returned for reclamation. We are very skeptical that this will happen. In the 18 years we have been reclaiming, we have seen very few contractors who don’t care about following the regulations. Ever since the regulations have prevented venting, the yearly amount of refrigerant returned to reclaimers has been relatively stable. We are also concerned that if good service practices are not followed, much of the R-22 being returned from change outs could be mixed with newer replacements. It is more important than ever for the HVAC service community to help itself by recovering as much R-22 as possible without mixing it.

Polar Technology

Comments by Ted Atwood, president
As a reclaim company, our job is simple: We have to be the best at recycling refrigerant and giving our customers the solutions they need to ensure profitability, growth, and market competitiveness. Because of this, we have to pay close attention to the EPA’s proposed rule on the adjustments in HCFC allocations and how this affects the market along with movement in price relative to reclaim volume. Polar Technology has done an internal analysis on this dynamic and has noticed that as price goes down, reclaim volume picks up, but as price goes up, hoarding occurs, displacing reclaim companies from the market. As R-22 prices jumped and supplies seemingly were shrinking, contractors were acting quickly to buy cylinders and store material to hedge against the pending shortage. This activity was driving incredibly high prices.
Based upon market research and data, there does not seem to be a direct correlation between the price of R-22 as it rises and the quantity of reclaim received. Initial reviews show the inverse — reclaim drops as pricing rises. One theory is that certified 608 technicians are the total conduit for the connection to system owners. System owners and noncertified 608 technicians cannot buy refrigerant. Licenses are granted to individuals who are not held accountable for reporting refrigerant usage. Therefore, as the price of refrigerant increases, companies will horde refrigerant, which decreases reclaim volume.

Rapid Recovery

Comments by Adam Dykstra, president and CEO
There are three things that motivate refrigerant recovery: altruism, fear, and money. Those who recognize that venting refrigerant is harmful to the environment and care about the world they leave their children and grandchildren will recover simply because it’s the right thing to do. Contractors who fear the $37,500 EPA fines associated with venting violations will comply with the law and return their recovered refrigerants to reclaimers, as required. The final motivator is money. As the value of recovered refrigerant rises, and ultimately exceeds the cost of recovery, contractors will gladly recover or contract a recovery specialist to recover all refrigerants.
It’s likely that supplies of HCFCs (read R-22) will tighten over the next five years. As a result, new refrigerant prices will rise along with contractor recovery incentives. Supply is controlled by the EPA allocation phase down (import and manufacture of new refrigerant), contractor compliance through EPA enforcement, and contractors who simply do the right thing. Together, these actions determine how significant any shortage may be.
The reclamation industry has sufficient capacity to meet the entire industry’s supply need. The question is: Will it be properly utilized as a result of contractor recovery efforts? Five years from now, the only HCFCs available for servicing your customer’s equipment will come from those who properly recover. Will you be one?
Publication date: 4/7/2014