New HVACR technology and high-quality technical training crossed paths in the Great Lakes state as Behler-Young hosted the 2016 HVACR Expo of Michigan, Sept. 29, at the Suburban Showplace in Novi, Michigan.
Attendees were greeted by more than 100 vendors and booths featuring new technologies from manufacturers, such as Daikin, Hart & Cooley, Honeywell Intl. Inc., RenewAire LLC, and others. Information from organizations, including ACCA, the National Comfort Institute (NCI), North American Technician Excellence (NATE), and others, was provided to keep attendees informed.
“With our 90th anniversary in 2016, we wanted to celebrate with an industry event,” said Doug Young, president, Behler-Young. “We invited vendors, service providers, several HVAC trade schools, NATE, contractor organizations, and the foundations that work to get more veterans and students into the HVAC industry. The expo far exceeded our expectations. The reaction of the vendors and the contractors has been outstanding. My father, Dick Young, who did product shows for 20 years, said this was ‘over the top.’ I’m already looking forward to Behler-Young’s next expo.”
More than 1,100 hours of professional sales and technical training was offered as more than 20 renowned trainers, including David Richardson, curriculum developer and trainer, National Comfort Institute; John Barba, residential training manager at Taco Comfort Solutions; and Dick Foster, president, ZoneFirst; held educational seminars.
Barba hosted a session that focused on radiant flooring titled, “When You're Hot, You’re Hot.”
Throughout the interactive class, Barba entertained by sharing the magic formula he referred to as the eternal triangle which defines how warm a floor has to be to deliver the Btu per square foot necessary to satisfy a thermostat on the coldest day of the year.
“The warmer the radiant floor surface is, the more Btu it gives off. And, we’re designing these systems for a specific panel surface temperature for the coldest day of the year. How many Btu per square feet do I need to deliver on the coldest day of the year?” said Barba. “The thermostat set point, surface temperature of the floor, and required Btu per square foot output are directly related. They all work together in what I call the eternal triangle, which is a simple math formula. Let’s say our design conditions call for 70°F indoors at 0° outdoors. So, the formula is to take the Btu load per square foot and divide it by 2, which is the heat transfer coefficient of radiant floor heating. Then, add the set point temperature. This will give you the desired or required floor temperature.
“If the Btu per square foot load is 20, the floor temperature needs to be 80° to reach the set point, because 20 divided by 2 is 10, which is then added to 70°, totaling 80°.”
Richardson led the course, “Improve Installation Quality with Residential Air Balancing.”
“Think of static pressure as blood pressure,” said Richardson. “Measuring the ‘blood pressure’ of a system is the first step to helping a customer realize that there’s something going on. If you have a fan rated at 0.50 inch external static pressure, that’s the same thing as a blood pressure measurement of 120 over 80. You’re in good health. However, our national average is 0.82. This is the equivalent of an HVAC heart attack. This system needs emergency care.”
Nexstar Legacy Foundation executive director Renee Cardarelle and president Julie Wieman explained that if you want to be competitive in a tight labor market, you must have the right systems and the right marketing strategy in place to attract quality techs.
“When you’re recruiting, you have to think outside the box. Take the time to talk with those who are unhappy with their current jobs. Talk with restaurant servers or auto technicians and inform them of the opportunities HVAC offers,” said Wieman during the pair’s “Getting and Keeping Good Techs” seminar. “Maybe they don’t know what they want to do for their careers. We need to talk about the trades with our own kids and have them spread the word with their friends. We need to be the ones who facilitate this change or nothing will ever change.”
TRADE SHOW FLOOR
The trade show floor was jammed full of new HVACR technologies.
Representatives from Bryant were on hand to showcase their new Côr home automation system, which enables homeowners to secure, control, and remotely manage their home’s most critical systems from the convenience of an intuitive mobile app. It builds on the company’s commitment to deliver the “heart” of a smarter home and provides homeowners a single solution to easily connect their home’s most important systems: heating and cooling, safety, and security.
Honeywell showcased its new Lyric T5 Wi-Fi thermostat, which features Apple HomeKit™ compatibility for simple, secure control using voice with Siri, or the new Apple Home app in iOS 10. The Lyric T5 delivers comfort when you’re home and savings when you’re away with a sleek, minimalist design. The T5 is also compatible with Amazon Alexa-enabled devices and Stringify.
“Feeling connected and in control at home can factor into how comfortable we feel, perhaps as much as the actual temperature can,” said Jeremy Eaton, vice president of Honeywell’s Home Comfort business. “The Lyric T5 thermostat gives people even more choice, easy connectivity, and control, along with the reliability and innovation for which Honeywell is known.”
Aprilaire displayed its Wi-Fi Thermostats with IAQ Control. These automation thermostats provide several solutions, from a hardwired, serial-based thermostat to Wi-Fi thermostats controlling not only temperature but also other IAQ features such as humidity, ventilation, and air purity.
Humidity control can be programmed as manual or automatic control to ASHRAE 62.2-2010 and -2013 codes with high- and low-temperature and humidity limits. Aprilaire has an open protocol that communicates directly with the home automation control system. The thermostats can also be configured for control with the Aprilaire Wi-Fi Thermostat App.
“Aprilaire designs its thermostats to ensure reliable control of the HVAC and IAQ systems in addition to protecting it from extreme conditions,” said Jon Fischer, automation sales manager, Aprilaire. “Our domestic tech support is also here to help users partner with the pros in the HVAC industry, ensuring the controls installed are the best fit for clients’ homes.”
Drawing hundreds of attendees, show organizers were pleased with the results.
“Behler-Young feels it is our responsibility to help prepare the HVACR contracting community for the future and felt there was a need to give all HVACR contractors in Michigan an opportunity to get face-to-face with vendor partners to see the latest in products and also the breadth of all products offered, along with business, sales, and technical training,” said Naomi Bistline, marketing manager, Behler-Young. “We feel we accomplished our goal enthusiastically.”
NATE reps offered certification tests throughout the event.
“Behler-Young has been a partner of ours for years and they invited us here and John Lanier to speak. This is a pretty good turnout,” said Valerie Briggs, director of marketing and business development, NATE. “We hosted testing and helped people get certified in different aspects of HVACR. We’re certainly glad to be a part of this.”
Many of the contractors said the event was an absolute hit.
“Contractors are desperate for technicians. In fact, I know companies where the techs are making more than the owners simply because they’re so valuable,” said Matt Dickow, president of Absotemp Climate Control Inc. in Walled Lake, Michigan. “When dealing with school-age kids, we need to stop saying, ‘Where are you going to college,’ and instead say, ‘What are your plans after high school?’ Events like this expo are the perfect places to start these conversations.”
Carlo Serafini, owner, Fire and Ice Heating and Cooling in Canton, Michigan, said he came to see the latest and greatest technologies HVAC has to offer.
“I was impressed with the number of hydronic and geothermal options available at this show,” Serafini said. “I’m always interested in learning how I can diversify my company and teach customers new things, and this had everything I was looking for.”
Clayton Erickson, owner of Air Flow Heating and Cooling in Flint, Michigan, said outside of the ASHRAE show, this was the biggest and best trade show he’s ever attended.
“I was absolutely impressed with the number of vendors and the layout of the event,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, no one’s really done this before in Michigan. I really hope they come back and do it again next year.”
SIDEBAR: A FOUR-STEP PROCESS TO FINDING YOU NEXT GREAT TECHNICIAN
Nexstar Legacy Foundation executive director Renee Cardarelle and president Julie Wieman’s presented a session on behalf of Troops to Trades and Explore the Trades that focused on finding your next great technician.
“We know that 94 percent of students coming out of high schools are not considering any kind of trade career; and when they do, they lack the information to help them make good decisions about the trade they choose,” said Cardarelle.
Then, she outlined a four-step process a contractor can take to locate high-quality prospects.
- Step 1 — Outline a profile of what makes a great technician in your company. For example, great technicians are motivated. They show up early, meet the day with a smile, and don’t balk at doing extra activities. They also have great personalities. They enjoy meeting new people and helping them solve problems. My best technicians are the ones who provide superior customer service, have a can-do attitude, and don’t get bogged down by problems.
- Step 2 — Create a business card or other promotional piece that welcomes individuals into residential service.
- Step 3 — Plan a system for reviewing and onboarding individuals who apply — Try a monthly hiring open house or an online process that encourages prospects to connect with someone at the company. The key is to make sure they feel welcomed. You will also need a system for onboarding and training. Think about who will work with your new technician in-house who will take him out in the field and what type of training you will provide.
- Step 4 — Ask everyone in your company to look for individuals who fit your model. It could be friends or family, the server at the local coffee shop, the person who helped you at the store, etc. If you want to take it a step further, offer incentives or rewards for successful recruiting.
Information courtesy of Troops to Trades. For more information, visit www.troopstotrades.com
Publication date: 12/12/2016