We have discussed Emerson Climate Technologies’ transition from mechanical pressure switches for system control and protection in refrigeration equipment to electronic controllers onto Copeland™ condensing units with its Electronic Unit Controller in recent blog posts. This advanced device replaces all mechanical pressure controls, simplifying set-up and provides better performance with reduced call-backs.
Condensing Unit with Electronic Unit Controller
In an effort to generate awareness, increase comfort, and educate HVACR professionals, Emerson has developed a platform to support the transition called the “One Minute Challenge.” This campaign was designed to help contractors overcome the “black box” syndrome of using new technology and to create awareness that this game-changing piece of technology simplifies commercial refrigeration system operation while increasing system accuracy, protection, and capabilities. The One Minute Challenge is an online simulator that shows users how they can now complete a standard, 25-minute job in 1 minute.
Here’s how it works:
The online simulator allows the user to set-up the electronic unit controller as if they were on the actual jobsite. It times how long it takes each user to complete, and it establishes a leader board showing the top 20 contractors and wholesalers. The tool can be used on iPads and other tablets, as well as a computer.
The top five leading wholesalers and contractors include:
John Tillack, Poleward Refrigeration – 7.90 seconds
Bob Smith, Bob’s A/C – 9.54 seconds
John Jones, Jones HVAC – 13.92 seconds
Lee Page, Equipment Service Company – 14.03 seconds
AJ Milbes, Rio Ranch Market – 15.17 seconds
7.90 seconds is the top time to beat in the One Minute Challenge! Do you think you have what it takes to dominate the top? See for yourself just how easy the Electronic Unit Controller is.
In January, Emerson Climate Technologies introduced a new website for homeowners, facility managers and contractors to provide answer to questions on their air conditioning and heating needs. AC & Heating Connect is a valuable and informative tool for anyone looking for basic information about various air conditioning and heating solutions. The website was developed with the goal of helping customers understand the HVAC industry while actively engaging the visitor in the process. Visitors to the site can find articles on various HVAC topics written by industry professionals and they can also gain access to numerous other resources. Although the AC & Heating Connect site is supported by Emerson Climate Technologies it doesn’t promote specific products and solutions, but rather discusses all industry solutions with readers. The website also allows interaction with Emerson Climate Technologies professionals where visitors can post comments and questions related to the article they are reading. Emerson Climate Technologies values reader’s thoughts and opinions on industry topics and is happy to help provide input on many solutions to visitors.
AC & Heating Connect is a three tiered website with separate landing pages for homeowners, facility managers and contractors. Since the HVAC industry is diverse and answers need to be tailored depending on who is asking them, Emerson Climate Technologies has designed the website to meet the needs of any visitor. Each section contains articles which were posted with that viewer’s needs, interests and outlook in mind. This allows for website viewers to get the appropriate answer to their questions and become more informed on HVAC solutions and industry topics. Contractors and facility managers can also access the HVAC Pro’s Toolkit which provides other important industry insight and technical information. This includes tools for use on the job and when contractors are interacting with their customers. The facility managers and contractor tabs also have webinars and videos that help inform and educate visitors looking for more technical information.
I can remember when I first started in the HVACR industry; there were only three colors of refrigerant bottles in the back of the truck – green, purple and white. Along with these limited color options, I can remember using cardboard slide rules and calculators to determine charge amounts and system failure diagnosis. Fast forward to today, it seems the industry has run out of colors to select and represent all the different flavors of refrigerant. With each new eco-efficient refrigerant, several replacements have appeared and in turn, new colors. Along with these changes, out went the cardboard tip cards and calculators, and in came the mobile apps.
App is a shortened slang term for an “application.” These are small software programs that can be used on a variety of different device platforms. Several HVACR manufacturers, along with industry associations have developed apps for computers, smart phones and tablets. Mobile apps started becoming popular just a few short years ago, but their growth has increased exponentially since 2009. Today there are millions of apps for basically every aspect of our lives, including the skilled trade industry.
Applying Mobile Apps for the HVACR Industry:
In my mind, the useful apps developed for the skilled trades fall into one of two categories, Product related or Industry related apps.
Product related apps are developed to provide instant mobile help on a particular OEMs device or component. Product apps are designed to replace the printed technical literature scattered throughout the service office or truck. This direct access to product knowledge looks to enhance the contractor’s experience by reducing research time and providing the most up to date information available.
Industry related apps refer to the cardboard calculators I mentioned earlier. These apps are designed to replace the previous generation of static printed calculators with better interfaces, content, and easily updated calculations. I see these more as tools used in conjunction with a system, like you would a screw driver or wrench. These apps allow for increased accuracy in the servicing and troubleshooting of the system.
Most HVACR manufacturers have developed mobile apps to make information easily available at the contractor’s jobsite. Emerson Climate Technologies Mobile Toolbox is designed to help contractors find solutions to common issues in the field quickly and easily. Related to the Product category, apps such as Emerson X-Check™, Copeland X-Ref™, and White-Rodgers Mobile™ focus on finding replacement parts and technical product information. HVACR Fault Finder™ focuses on understanding the compressor electronic module line, along with allowing contractors to input the diagnostic code for help with compressor troubleshooting.
In the Industry related category, Emerson PTPro™ and HVAC Check & Charge™ are technical resources. Emerson PTPro is a quick refrigerant pressure/temperature app designed to replace those worn out multi-fold micro charts supplied to the industry for years. It offers information on over 20 different refrigerants, along with adjustment for high altitude applications. The HVAC Check & Charge app allows for a quick calculation for adjusting initial air conditioning system refrigerant charge. This system charge calculation is based on the cardboard superheat slide rulers used for years. Since the emergence of “dry-charge” units, these calculations have a renewed interest, now more than ever.
While HVAC manufacturers often design mobile apps with contractors in mind, some have also produced apps for consumers. An example is the Emerson e-Saver™ app. This app helps contractors and homeowners understand unit replacements respective to their current system. This app allow for users to better understand the true cost of operation in different locations and how those units would match up against optional replacement systems. This app also includes a custom report for homeowners to reference these replacement options.
Emerson Climate Technologies’ website offers HVAC mobile apps content that explains each of the apps, as well as offers links for easy download. All of the apps can be downloaded for free through their respective app stores for the Apple and Android platforms, and a few of the apps are also available for the Blackberry platform.
Technical Communications, Air Conditioning
Emerson Climate Technologies
From an outsider’s perspective, the commercial refrigeration industry will not seem fast-paced compared to what is being read and heard about in other industries, like at Silicon Valley for example. However, the landscape is changing and will continue to change based on many key factors.
Knowing what the potential changes are and understanding why they are taking place will help HVACR professionals embrace the developments and be better equipped to handle them in the field.
Forces driving changes include …
Many factors are at play as to why commercial refrigeration systems and refrigerants are changing. Foremost on retailers’ minds is always cost. Cost can come in many forms: first cost, energy cost and maintenance cost. Retailers must take a balanced approach to these cost drivers to get the overall best value, and the answers can be very different depending on facility location.
Regulations are also driving the market. Refrigerants that deplete the upper atmosphere ozone (such as R-22) and refrigerants that have relatively high GWP values (such as R-404A with a GWP of 3,922) have and will be looked at by agencies like the EPA. In order to curtail usage, other regions in the world have already implemented tighter leak requirements and taxes on the use of certain classes of refrigerant gases that are detrimental to the environment. Regulations will also impact system efficiency levels. A/C systems have been regulated for years with little energy requirements given for commercial refrigeration. Smaller systems (such as ice machines) have ENERGY STAR ratings, but bigger rack systems found in grocery stores have not been subject to energy standards. Regulations such as California’s Title 24 will change that over time.
Also, there is a significant movement for retailers to become green and develop sustainability measures. The role of refrigeration is very prominent in terms of energy consumption and emissions that could potentially escape to the atmosphere, two very important sustainability measures. Today, retailing organizations may have a vice president of sustainability, a role that would not have existed 10–15 years ago. Companies release sustainability reports and join voluntary groups, such as the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership. This type of visibility leads to an increased interest in measuring results. The measuring of results leads to new programs to achieve desired outcomes.
After reading the article, I’d enjoy hearing from you. Has your company taken the plunge into natural refrigerants? Are you following the recent trend toward distributed and secondary loop systems? If you’re a contractor, have you experienced the benefits of the advanced electronics in troubleshooting problems?
Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies
One of the key challenges facing the HVACR industry is a shortage of qualified technicians. We thought it would be interesting to elevate this issue and create a list of top 10 states for HVACR, based on our conversations with contractors and HVACR students and instructors about what motivates young people to pursue careers in this industry.
Do you live in one of the top states for HVACR jobs, salaries, training or service calls?
Emerson’s Top States to Work in HVACR
We arrived at our ranking by drawing on HVACR salary and employment data from the U.S. Department of Labor; trade school locations recognized by the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation; heating and cooling degree days calculated at DegreeDays.net; residential home values from the U.S. Census, and certified contractors by state from North American Technician Excellence (NATE). We also looked at wholesaler locations, plus commercial service volumes from our ProAct™ Service Center.
We gave a few contractors an early look at our list, including frequent Climate Conversations commenter Mitch Byrne of Northeast Cooling LLC in Illinois. He said: Commercial refrigeration service is in high demand due to all the businesses related to food service and the restaurants in the Chicago area. We may start off the day working in a max security prison and then end up working on a cruise ship docked at Navy Pier! You never know what the day will bring when working the trade in Illinois and that’s what keeps it interesting!
For more information and analysis on the Top 10 States to Work in HVACR, see our summary and press release.
Do you agree with our list? Want to make the case for another state? Be sure to share your comments here.
Commercial & Residential Solutions is a global innovator of energy-efficient heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. www.emersonclimate.com