News

Changes to EPA’s Section 608 Impact HVAC/R Techs

The EPA has recently added new record-keeping requirements to their Section 608 Refrigerant Management Program, among other changes.

The requirements apply to any appliance containing 5-50 pounds of refrigerant

According to Jeremy Arling, refrigerants team lead in the EPA’s stratospheric protection division, techs will need to keep accurate records of “the location, date of recovery, and type of refrigerant recovered for each disposed appliance; the quantity and type of refrigerant recovered from disposed appliances in each calendar month; and the quantity and type of refrigerant transferred for reclamation or destruction, the person to whom it was transferred, and the date of the transfer.”

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12 Tips For HVAC Companies To Hire And Retain The Best Technicians

It’s no secret that skilled trade industries, including HVAC/R, are experiencing a serious labor shortage. With more and more qualified technicians nearing retirement and a much smaller amount of young people entering the industry, it’s more difficult than ever to find, hire, and keep good talent.

HVAC recruiter Karen Schaper has developed twelve tips for ensuring your company has the qualified technicians needed to grow and prosper.

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Smart home tech: contractors must learn to swim or be drowned by competition

The term “smart home” triggers a variety of responses in people — confusion, excitement, dread, wonder. This is especially true for those in the HVAC industry, which has an important, yet still developing role in the future of smart home technology.

To help address this issue, Honeywell hosted an event called “Smart Tech, Smarter Experts” aimed at connecting HVAC contractors and other stakeholders for roundtable discussions and talks from experts.

Stacey Higginbotham, owner and founder of StaceyOnIoT.com, emceed the event and stated that smart homes are no longer a far off fantasy.

“My theory is that connected devices are like toilets, eventually every home will have them and you’ll take them for granted,” she said.

Despite the growing demand for smart home technology in HVAC-related products like thermostats, many contractors have been hesitant to dip their toe in the water. When “cost, security, privacy, and shelf life of the technology” is taken into account, it can be intimidating.

However, many experts are declaring that it’s either jump in and learn to swim, or be drowned by the competition.

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Under-Insulated Homes & What They Mean For HVAC Contractors

According to the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA), a whopping 90 percent of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. Many homeowners have no clue about the negative impact this lack of insulation can have on their HVAC equipment and energy bill, which presents HVAC contractors with a valuable opportunity to educate, satisfy, and sell.

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The Very Real Hazards of DIY HVAC Work

Extra holes in your drywall could be the least of your problems when DIY-ing a thermostat installation. Photo credit: HVAC.com

Any HVAC technician with at least a few months experience under his or her belt has seen what damage an HVAC DIY project gone wrong can cause. In the age of online tutorials and DIY guides, the urge to tinker and toy with something all in the name of saving a buck can be hard to overcome. If anyone understands that urge, it’s HVAC technicians — dedicated tradespeople who prefer to do everything with their own two hands.

However, technicians have spent countless hours as students and apprentices to become experts on diagnosing HVAC problems, determining the best solution, and installing equipment. Ask anyone in their first HVAC-related class at technical college and they will wholeheartedly assure you it is not simple or easy. And, unfortunately, the risks non-professionals face when they pick up a wrench and give in to that do-it-yourself mentality can be extreme.

It goes without saying that dealing with electricity, complex equipment, and chemicals can be dangerous, but listen to what Jeff Chapman, an Angie’s List contributor, had to say about refrigerants in a 2016 article.

“Handling [refrigerants] can be deadly if the proper precautions aren’t followed,” Chapman said. “Proper training and safety gear is essential to make sure no one is injured by or exposed to deadly chemicals used in [HVAC] systems. Handling these chemicals also requires certification.”

When a non-professional tampers with an air conditioner, they void the unit’s warranty. Photo credit: American Standard.

And, of course, the monetary risks are huge. A non-professional who tampers with an air conditioning unit, for example, automatically voids the manufacturer’s warranty, likely hurting their wallet far more than an hour of a professional’s time would.

A poorly installed thermostat can cause electrical issues that affect an entire home. It can also damage the thermostat itself, so when the do-it-yourself job fails and a technician is called in, a whole new thermostat must be purchased and then installed properly.

Additionally, what may seem like a small, easy-to-fix issue could very well be a symptom of a much larger problem, and the sooner it’s detected the cheaper it will be to fix. Only a true professional has the knowledge required for an accurate diagnosis.

Hiring a professional HVAC company to do the work for you and focusing your DIY efforts elsewhere will save you time, money, stress, and maybe even a finger or two.