An innovative software product that streamlines the Manual J process is the winner of the gold award in the Contractor Services and Software category of the 2015 Dealer Design Awards. An added bonus: The software is available to HVAC contractors for free.
Distributor Corp. of New England’s (DCNE’s) Cool Calc Manual J software uses advanced imaging technology and algorithms to automatically detect building footprints, wall area, ceiling area, floor area, and exposures of a home, all from Google Maps. Additionally, the software uses a home’s property tax records and location to automatically select the building materials required to meet local building codes for that location when the home was built. By combining the dimensional data with the material selection, a contractor can perform an ACCA-approved Manual J calculation in less than one minute.
Cool Calc Manual J can be used to gather dimensions and exposures of a home remotely, allowing a contractor to perform a preliminary Manual J load calculation before ever visiting the home, cutting down the time required during a site visit. It also significantly reduces the learning curve and necessary skill set of users.
“It’s hard enough to nail down a homeowner to schedule an appointment,” said Bill Fiore, director of operations, DCNE. “Why spend that valuable time taking measurements? Cool Calc helps avoid labor-intensive site surveys and allows the contractor to spend more face-to-face time with the homeowner selling solutions.”
Fiore added that an office administrative assistant can perform the preliminary load calculations remotely and then provide them to the contractor or sales rep for verification during a field visit.
“The software was designed for use without a manual or formal training,” he said. “I have received several calls from office administrators who are amazed they can perform a load calculation after only being in the industry for a few months.”
Tim Cutler, president, TJ’s Plumbing and Heating Inc., Attleboro, Massachusetts, said using Cool Calc streamlines his company’s Mass Save proposal platform. Mass Save is a state program that offers homeowners and contractors rebates and incentives for installing and using energy-efficient products.
“There are a lot of rebates available that are contingent on using an Energy Star Quality Installation Verification or a heat load analysis program like Cool Calc,” Cutler said.
“Cool Calc is a very accurate and convenient way to obtain a quick Btu analysis,” he added. He said that nine times out of 10, he can get an idea about the size of the building and have a Btu calculation in hand before he even goes out to look at the project.
John Robichaud, president and owner, Robies Heating and Cooling, Hyannis, Massachusetts, said his company has been using Cool Calc for several months and is becoming more comfortable with it every day.
“We’re finding it easy, intuitive, and actually kind of fun to use,” Robichaud said. “It’s looking like this could be a pretty good time saver for us.”
Robichaud noted that, as with any Manual J product, it’s still necessary to check some parameters on site.
“For example, the program may know that the house was built in 1970, but it doesn’t know that the homeowners recently updated their windows,” Robichaud said. “But, those parameters may be updated quickly and easily. The program has a spot for everything, and the results are right there.”
Fiore said Cool Calc is just the tip of the iceberg. “Geospatial technology is amazing and has so many applications,” he said. “We have only scratched the surface with the 2-D modeling we are using in Cool Calc.”
RazorSync is a mobile app and cloud-based mobile field service software created to streamline the operations of field service businesses. RazorSync is designed to allow users to easily manage customers, schedule and dispatch workers, invoice, take payments, and more, all from an iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or an Internet browser.
According to RazorSync, the system’s latest update created a more seamless integration with Intuit’s QuickBooks Online, giving users a more robust communications bridge for synchronizing their customer records, service items, invoices, and payroll with QuickBooks, thus achieving faster cash collections while also eliminating tedious data entry and reentry, costly errors, and wasted time.
In addition, RazorSync reps say its mobile app is designed to function even when there isn’t connectivity. When a technician is in a location where there isn’t a mobile signal or Wi-Fi, such as a basement, he or she can continue working without interruption, and the app will sync when the signal is restored.
The LG Smart Inverter Monitoring System (SIMs) 2.0 provides contractors with a convenient troubleshooting solution to support the maintenance of most LG duct-free split air conditioning systems. The monitoring device connects to the outdoor unit, sending system data directly to the SIMs smartphone app. The app displays real-time data and stores information as files for later access to ensure technicians have a streamlined experience when servicing LG systems.
The app displays a wide variety of operating information, including capacity, error code, operating mode, defrost mode, outdoor and indoor temperature, electronic expansion valves, indoor unit wind amount, outdoor unit fan speed, and a list of all indoor units. Specific details on the functionality of the indoor and outdoor units can also be displayed in separate indoor and outdoor tabs in the app.
In addition, the SIMs 2.0 app automatically incorporates a troubleshooting guide for the connected air conditioning unit that provides instant access to the page of the guide that pertains directly to a specific error code.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE WINNERS
Distributor Corp. of New
Cool Calc Manual J
LG Electronics USA
LG SIMs 2.0
Publication date: 7/20/2015