Contractors Can Help Others Be Stewards of Equipment

I enjoyed the bad guy-good guy (negative viewpoint-positive viewpoint) approach to the green movement articles (“Some Would Call It Green Greed,” by Mike Murphy and “Making Fence-Sitting an Art Form” by John R. Hall) which appeared in the Nov. 17, 2008, issue.

We believe green and stewardship are closely related. When it comes to the big ball that we all live on, it behooves us all to be involved in stewardship. Also, it goes without saying that HVACR systems in buildings - commercial and residential - can have a major impact on our environment; and it’s the owner of that building that is ultimately responsible for the stewardship of their HVACR systems. However, as providers (contractors) of HVACR systems, it’s our (unspoken) responsibility to provide to owners a “management program” to guide them in becoming better stewards of their HVACR systems. Providing a management program is how we can still have an effect on things and stay in touch long after installation is complete. Would this not be the noble and right thing to do? I say this believing in the following:

• Contractors, given their experience, expertise, and network of resources can strive to do more to educate and prepare owners to better interact with and manage their HVACR systems.

• Capitalizing on the resources of a multitude of HVACR industry stakeholders (the Environmental Protection Agency, utilities, manufactures, vendors, associations, and other contractors), we can provide a HVACR management program to empower residential and commercial (medium to small) owners to become better stewards of their systems.

Contractors are in the best position to have a personal encounter with the owner whereby they can present and implement the program and offer ongoing guidance to the owner in responsibly and efficiently managing his/her HVACR system.

Now back to the (bad guy-good guy) articles, I am coming off the fence and on the side of the good guy. Sorry, Mike.

Jerry Grendahl
Grendahl Mechanical Inc.

Sealing the System Permanently

I find it ironic to see the lead articles “Stricter Installation Standards” and “Duct Tape Improvements Help HVAC Contractors” juxtaposed on the cover of the Oct. 13 issue. Regardless of the rating given to duct tape, it will be used as a mechanical connection device if it is allowed on any mechanical job. That is why California’s Title 24 doesn’t allow it and why other West Coast states also don’t allow it (except for filter door access when needed).

We like to joke, “What’s the biggest gap you can fix with 2-inch wide duct tape?” Some people answer “2 inches” but if you just overlap another layer, you can always bridge a bigger gap.

Codes with real teeth and inspectors who know what’s what don’t allow any sort of duct tape. Sheet metal screws, zip ties properly tightened, and duct mastic are permanent and even the “best” tapes have a much greater chance of failure within one to five years. If the industry wants to promote itself as installing permanent duct systems, it should step up to requiring permanent mechanical fastening and sealing materials and practices.

Bob Davis
Energy Researcher
Ecotope Inc.
Portland, Ore.

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Publication date:01/12/2009