Most HVACR technicians will need to raise their levels of safety consciousness when servicing equipment using flammable hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants, such as R-290 (propane) or R-600a (isobutane), and the first place many technicians are likely to encounter these HCs will be in smaller kitchen equipment, such as reach-in coolers.
We all know that these are interesting times in Refrigerationland. CFCs are history, HCFCs are on their way out, and HFCs are being scrutinized and phased down; dozens of new refrigerants are in the works or have already arrived on the scene; naturals are poised to claim a bigger share of the market; we’re in the Paris agreement and then we’re out, and no one knows what that might mean for the Kigali Amendment; and the Department of Energy is always lurking about, ramping up efficiency standards.
The NEWS asked seven of its Best Contractors to Work For contest winners to share the best business advice they’ve ever received. Each individual offered unique advice, ranging from clearly defining a company’s purpose to fully trusting in God’s omnipotence. Here for your perusal are the insights, advice, and opinions as provided by the Magnificent Seven.
“DOE has been taking up all my (expletive) time.” That’s the kind of statement you can overhear at a trade show that you wouldn’t necessarily see on company letterhead. And, in fact, it’s exactly what I overheard between two gentlemen as I made my way from booth to booth at the recent National Restaurant Association show.
Although there may be a temptation to simply treat A2L refrigerants as equivalent to ammonia with respect to flammability hazard, ammonia really is an entity unto itself. Like an A2L, it exhibits a low-flame velocity in flammability tests, but ammonia has the unique safety advantage of a strong and unmistakable odor that is typically present long before the onset of a flammability hazard. All of the current A2L refrigerants, on the other hand, are odorless.
Things are changing in the chiller market — especially in regards to air-cooled models, variable frequency drives (VFDs), and refrigerants. Contractors are challenged to stay abreast of these trends in real-time.
An investment in a new chiller is not one that building owners make lightly. Owners typically need and appreciate the guidance of a knowledgeable HVAC contractor when making this purchase as there are a number of factors that go into the selection process, and not all of them are necessarily related to the actual chiller itself.
Commercial building owners and managers count on HVAC contractors to take care of their buildings in many ways. They’re expected to keep their facilities cool and comfortable, ensure their processes and procedures continue to hum along, provide quality IAQ, and, of course, maintain their equipment. On this last point, the proper maintenance of chillers takes top billing.