Many In Industry Aid The Needy

I think it is commendable that The News features community service programs such as [the one covered in the article] "Contractors ‘Heat The Country'" in your Nov. 15 edition, but I would also recommend that The News make sure those that have served the industry for decades through programs such as MSCA's "HEAT'S ON" are duly recognized as well. MSCA contractors and their employees have been helping the elderly and disabled all across the country since 1988 and continue to provide that assistance today.

MSCA's Project HEAT'S ON (Handicapped and Elderly Assistance to Service Our Neighbors) has been acclaimed and recognized for over 16 years by national publications, national organizations, and even the president of the United States.

Hundreds of local MCA-affiliated association chapters working in conjunction with their local pipefitter unions have participated; hundreds of MSCA member companies have donated their service vehicles and provided support, thousands of service technicians have volunteered their time and expertise and, as a result, heating systems in thousands of homes were better prepared for the winter months and working safely and efficiently.

And, it has been estimated, that this program has saved homeowners over $15 million in repair costs for home heating equipment.

National acclaim for Project HEAT'S ON has been tremendous over the years. In 1991 MSCA was presented an Award of Excellence for Project HEAT'S ON, out of over 300 entries, at the first Associations Advance America Awards sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives.

Modern Maturity magazine featured the program in a 1990 issue. Several local programs received special commendation and distinction by being awarded one of President [George H.W.] Bush's Thousand Points of Light service awards. Many programs have been featured on local news programs and honors have been bestowed on many programs by congressmen, senators, mayors, and other local officials.

However, it has been the thousands of service technicians that volunteer one Saturday in the fall to ensure that the heating equipment of elderly and handicapped residents in their area will be working and operating safely for the winter months ahead that are the heart of this program. Their work includes routine inspections, necessary repairs or, in some cases, complete overhauls or new equipment installations.

In addition, they have made sure smoke detectors are working properly and have installed carbon monoxide detectors. Their commitment to this program is evident in the fact that each year they are anxious to volunteer and assist once again. This program has truly exemplified labor-management cooperation at its finest and our nation's less advantaged have truly been served by this long-running and very successful program.

Barbara Dolim
Executive Director
Mechanical Service Contractors Of America
Rockville, Md.


A Solution To The Early Startup Issue

I read with interest the article ["SMACNA Plans To Address Early Startup"] concerning early startup of HVAC equipment in the Nov. 29 issue of The News.

Having spent the last 33 years in the temporary air management field, I have witnessed some horror stories similar to the ones mentioned in the article. I can sympathize with the HVAC contractors who are being pressured to bring permanent systems on line before the completion of the project. The use of permanent systems for construction heat, cooling, dehumidification, and air filtration is neither a cost-effective nor an efficient way to achieve temperature and humidity goals.

It must be remembered that the design parameters of a building's HVAC system are created for a specific completed building and not the same building while it is in the construction state. It has been my experience that the ventilation rates provided by a permanent system are usually woefully inadequate to control building conditions in a construction environment.

Concrete, drywall installation, painting, fireproofing, and wet construction materials add moisture to the building. If excess moisture is not removed from the building, the potential for moisture damage is increased dramatically, the possibility of mold growth rears its ugly head, and construction processes are delayed by slow drying.

The HVAC contractor is asked to come into a wet and dirty environment, turn on the permanent system, manage the crisis, and make things right. In most cases, it is just not going to happen. Coils will be plugged, duct will be exposed to moisture, warranties will be voided, and the lawyers will decide who will be liable and who will return the equipment to its original state.

The better route is to plan on using temporary air management services from the start of the project. Temporary services should be written into the bidding process to eliminate the temptation of bringing the permanent system on-line prematurely. A properly sized temporary system can be in place from the beginning of the project, taking care of the building envelope and preventing the crisis situation from happening.

A qualified temporary air management company can work with contractors to correctly size equipment to provide a ventilation rate suitable for a building under construction. They can supply a full range of cooling, heating, air movement, site monitoring, air filtration, and dehumidification. The temporary air management provider would assume the responsibility for providing the HVAC services that in all likelihood could not be efficiently accomplished using an early startup.

The problems of temporary power, moisture, dirty site conditions, and warranty issues are transferred to the temporary air management company. The HVAC contractors can then concentrate on what they actually are being paid for providing: the HVAC system for a completed building.

Jim Goodman
Technical Applications Manager
Temp-Air
Burnsville, Minn.

Send letters to Reader Mail, The News, P.O. Box 2600,Troy, MI 48007; fax to 248-362-0317; or e-mail to chrisking@achrnews.com.

Publication date: 12/13/2004