The real stinkers in this industry are Frank Denny Plumbing (Menlo Park, CA), Premium Plumbing Co. (Beaumont, TX), Heartland Walcott Heating and Cooling (Mackinaw, IL), and L & D Associates (Madison, VA).

So believes RUS, a uniform service provider based in Culpeper, VA.

Last year RUS put the word out to the hvacr industry, looking for volunteers to … well, sweat in the name of science, so to speak. The company wanted volunteers to test out its new H2NO shirts, which have “moisture transfer technology” woven into them. According to RUS, this means its T-shirts dry 65% faster than all other blends “while still maintaining the softness and feel of cotton.” Volunteers were needed to help evaluate the product in real-life, real-work, frontline sweaty conditions.

The above-mentioned contractors heeded the call and, obviously, made a strong stink.

“We received some great stories of sweat and toil, and that was before last summer’s hottest days,” said Mike Wallner, brand manager with RUS. “Our shirts will be tested by some hardworking companies, but we expect them to hold up well.”

Kathleen Von Feldt certainly hopes so.


“Help me, please!” was the opening line from this employee of Premium Plumbing. “Every year I hate to see summer come because I know I will have to avoid our employees! They always want to talk to me, but I can’t stand the way they smell!

“Here it runs 90 to 100 degrees every day, with 100% humidity. By the time the guys come in at the end of the day, well, it’s hard to get within hearing distance. I try not to let them in the office because they leave but the smell doesn’t.

“They are great guys who work hard, but I’m the one who has to talk to them when they come in. I have asthma and my air is very precious. Help me keep it clean. We would love to test your T-shirts and do believe in miracles.”

At least Dale Chenoweth of Heartland Walcott Heating and Cooling was less graphic and more diplomatic.

“Since we are a small company, we pride ourselves in the way we look when we make our service calls, do replacements, etc.,” he wrote. “Our service vehicles do not have air conditioning. Therefore, it is very important to us to appear very neat and crisp when we arrive at the customer’s house.

“We feel if your product works as well as advertised, we should be able to accomplish just that on hot summer days. We could then be proud to represent both Heartland Walcott and RUS at the same time.

“As you know, first appearances mean a lot to older customers and commercial accounts, where the public is present. We would do our best to give a fair and impartial evaluation for your shirts.”

After receiving his company’s shirt supply, Nathan Walcott gave RUS an early review.

“I’ve just been up in an attic for an hour and everything on me is soaked — my pants, my socks — but my shirt is still dry.”


For what it is worth, Scott Denny will tell you that plumbers sweat more than hvacr technicians. He said it all in his testimonial.

“The hottest day I ever spent working was in the summer of 1973,” said the plumber from Frank Denny Plumbing. “I was with my father and my younger brother roughing in some chairs at a dental office. By mid-afternoon, the outdoor temperature was 110 degrees, which wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that by the time my brother and I were in the attic crawl space, it must have been 115 degrees-plus.

“Our hands were so wet from sweat we could hardly hold onto our tools. The salty water was dripping into our eyes and burning like hell. The quarters were so tight that when my brother rolled onto the trouble light, he burned his arm on the metal guard. When we got out of that attic, 110 degrees felt like a cool 55 degrees.

“I hope being plumbers won’t be held against us. Contrary to popular belief, plumbers are champion sweaters!”

You learn something new each day, huh?

Skaer is editor-in-chief. He can be reached at 248-244-6446; 248-362-0317 (fax); (e-mail).

Publication date: 02/18/2002