Hydronics is becoming more complex each day. According to the Canadian Hydronics Council (CHC), training is the key to ensuring contractors can provide the best service to their customers. This is the reason CHC, a council within the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating (CIPH), is launching its new certification program.

"Getting trained on hydronic installations is a smart move right now," said CIPH Chairman, Ken Webster of Viessmann Manu- facturing Ltd. "Energy efficiency and the environment are on the minds of customers. Plus, the comfort and convenience of being able to zone your heating system is a feature customers like."

According to the Wholesalers Statistics Survey produced by the CIPH, the market is growing at a rapid average of 10 percent per year. Plus, baby boomers are retir-ing and studies show they have more disposable income than ever before - and are using it to buy their retirement homes.

Delivered via the Web, correspondence, or at one of several technical institutes across the country, the two categories of training allow students to become a Certified Installer or Certified Designer.

The Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) developed the curriculums. CHC Chairman, Barry Cunningham of Triangle Supply, Red Deer, Alberta, shares the reason for partnering with NAIT explaining, "NAIT currently provides over 50 percent of pipe trades training in the country and their hydronics programs are without peer anywhere in North America," he said. "They're a leader in our industry and they know how to train people. It was a natural fit."

He added that provincial recog-nition is another strong point for becoming certified. "CHC's certification satisfied a need in Alberta created by a provincial Standata issued by Alberta Municipal Affairs' Safety Services branch," Cunningham said. "The province acknowledges the certification program as acceptable training for hydronics professionals in the province."

As the number of hydronic installations grows, inspectors want qualified people performing them so that their job is spent inspecting, rather than educating contractors on how to do a proper job. "In my opinion, it is only a matter of time before other provinces/territories create similar regulations requiring this training," Cunningham said.

Contractors who have been in the business of hydronics for years can bypass the training requirements altogether and choose the exam. Or, if they prefer, they can only take the training module(s) that they feel they need to brush up on before taking the exam.

Graduates of the CHC certification have a comprehensive overview of design, system components, installation practices, wiring, control scenarios, distribution piping, and boiler piping.

To become a member of CHC or for more information on the certification program, contact Jason Bourque, CHC's program manager, at j.bourque@ciph.com or 416-695-0447 x310. Or, visit www.ultimatecomfort.ca.

Publication date: 10/16/2006