December 2022 Newsletter

A Word from our President

Shawna

by – Shawna Cooley-Fenix Heating & Cooling

Hello,

Tis the season!

We would like to thank Daniel Fenn with Federated Insurance for the great information at last month’s general meeting. There is no general meeting in December, but don’t forget about the Christmas Party TONIGHT @ 5:30pm. 

January’s meeting is Stoney with MABCD, join us on Thursday January 19th, 2023 @ 11:45am.

The KCCA wishes you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Please feel free to email or call Shawna at (316) 945-4842 or shawnac@fenixheat.com with any concerns or questions.


Education

Be on the look out for upcoming information about classes starting February 2023.  These classes will be both in-person and online.


KCCA $500 TOOL SCHOLARSHIP
The board revised the Tool Scholarship a little. KCCA wants the employee to be working for the KCCA member for 3 months before they are eligible for the $500 tool Scholarship. So in short the employee or employer need to submit application and proof of graduation from one of our local trade school after the employee has worked for them for 3 months.


November’s General Meeting

KCCA would like to thank Daniel Fenn from Federated Insurance for coming and speaking to the group about OSHA.  Daniel talked about fines, the inspection process and top violations.  We had a GREAT turn out, lets keep it up!  Congratulations to Luke Parthemer from Fenix for winning the $100!

Hope to see you @ future meetings!! All general meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday of every month except August & December.


2022-2023 Meetings

 
December             NO MEETING (Christmas party 12/14/22)
January 19th         Stoney W/MABCD @ Scotch
February 16th        WTI @ WTI
March 23rd            RGF @ Scotch
(Switched from the 16th due to Spring Break)
April 20th               Federated @ Scotch
May 18th                WSU Tech @ WSU Tech
June 16th

This list is subjust to change due to speakers not able to make the date we have selected for them.

Department of Energy May Bump Up Furnace Standards

ACCA, AHRI weigh in on plan that would phase out noncondensing models

By Matt Jachman

SPLIT DECISION: The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) opposes a proposed phase-out of non-condensing gas furnaces, while the Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute endorses the plan, with some qualifications. (File Photo)

Two major HVAC industry organizations have weighed in on a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) proposal that would phase out noncondensing gas furnaces for consumer use beginning in about six years.

In letters to Julia Hegarty, an engineer in the DOE’s Building Technologies Office, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) strongly opposed a phase-out, while the Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), which represents manufacturers, offered a mild, and qualified, endorsement.

The written remarks came just before the DOE closed a period of public comment on its plan to require a minimum annual fuel utilization efficiency standard of 95% for non-weatherized, gas-fired furnaces. If adopted, the rule would mean an eventual ban on noncondensing furnaces and would steer consumers toward condensing furnaces, which typically have AFUE ratings of 95% or greater, and electric home heating equipment such as heat pumps.

DOE Decision Next Year

DOE deputy press secretary Jeremy Paul Ortiz said public comments will be considered as the department decides on a final rule, which a court order requires it to do no later than next September 30. New standards, if adopted, would apply to furnaces manufactured in the U.S., or imported, starting five years after the date the rule is published.

The DOE is also considering a rule that would limit furnaces to drawing 8.5 watts of electricity when they are off or in standby mode, a move AHRI opposes.

According to a DOE analysis, the estimated energy savings, reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and health benefits of the proposed standards would greatly outweigh the costs. The standards would mean $536 million per year in increased equipment costs, the DOE said, but would annually yield $1.48 billion in reduced operating costs, nearly $1.04 billion in climate benefits, and $785 million in health benefits.

The DOE also said that a consumer who replaces a non-condensing furnace with a condensing model could save about $60 a year in utility costs, and that the proposed standards would reduce CO2 emissions by 373 million metric tons over 30 years.

“Consumers, especially those in lower income brackets, often times do not have the luxury of worrying about operating costs over an extended period of time.”
Barton James
CEO and president, ACCA

ACCA: Consumers Would Be Hurt

In his letter, ACCA’s president and CEO, Barton James, said that condensing furnaces have to be vented differently than noncondensing models, requiring building modifications that will end up costing consumers. In some types of housing, such as townhouses or row houses, building limitations may rule out horizontal venting, he said, and some building codes may prohibit horizontal venting as well.

“Consumers, especially those in lower income brackets, often times do not have the luxury of worrying about operating costs over an extended period of time,” James wrote. “Rather, their primary concern is whether they can afford the new appliance at all, even without the cost hurdle of new venting. For these residents, the higher costs for a condensing gas furnace will mean they switch to a less efficient heating source, which will result in higher monthly utility bills.”

James argued that the DOE should instead focus on educating consumers about and requiring installation standards for HVAC equipment, saying that would result in savings on energy and utility bills.

“If DOE would turn their attention to educating and incentivizing homeowners to demand that HVAC systems are installed according to the industry’s recommended minimum standards, including proper equipment sizing, duct re-design and sealing, and appropriate refrigerant charges,” energy efficiency improvements of 25% to 30% would result, he wrote.

AHRI Calls For Exceptions

In her letter to Hegarty, Laura Petrillo-Groh, AHRI’s senior director of regulatory affairs, said that “AHRI believes that DOE has conducted sufficient analysis to amend active mode energy conservation standards” and had also provided sufficient opportunities for interested parties to comment on the proposal. The rulemaking process should be completed as proposed “to bring certainty to the marketplace,” the letter said.

However, in a separate letter, Petrillo-Groh objected to a 95% AFUE standard for furnaces in mobile homes, arguing that the DOE had not factored in its energy-conserving construction standards for mobile homes that will take effect beginning next June, years before a new furnace standard would kick in. The new construction standards will decrease furnace usage in those mobile homes, she said, therefore decreasing the energy savings that could be expected with the use of higher-efficiency furnaces and weakening the economic case for mandating them.

AHRI’s letters also argued against a proposed electrical power limit of 8.5 watts for furnaces that are off or in standby mode, saying such a rule “would limit necessary innovation in furnaces and related connected devices powered through the furnace and possibly prohibit significant energy-saving features.”

Many HVAC system devices, Petrillo-Groh wrote, rely on electrical power from the furnace, even when it is off or on standby. Those include thermostats, gas valves, diagnostic sensors, and germicidal lights. The industry is also looking at other electronic add-ons, such as refrigerant leak detectors and COsensors, that would improve furnace safety but would be incompatible with an 8.5-watt power limit, she said.

“Utilities, consumer groups, and third-party suppliers are all seeking ways to connect users with their furnaces and to better control the furnace itself for energy savings and safety,” she wrote.

Petrillo-Groh’s letter proposed that even if the DOE adopts a higher 11-watt standard for furnaces that are off or in standby mode, any electricity that’s drawn by control and safety devices required by UL or by state or other agencies should be excluded from counting against that limit.

The proposed gas furnace efficiency standards come at a time when the federal government is introducing tax and consumer rebate incentives for high-efficiency HVAC products, including electric heat pumps.


Funny Photos


risk management corner

Inclement Weather Driving

Driving is a dangerous task — it takes focus, awareness, knowledge, and patience to operate a vehicle safely. So when the weather takes a turn, events such as: snow, sleet, ice, rain, fog, wind, and extreme temperature fluctuations can contribute to potential disruptive moments on the road, and extra care is needed to continue driving safely.

Watch the Weather before Getting Behind the Wheel
While weather forecasts aren’t 100 percent accurate, they offer a good starting point for you and your drivers. Most meteorology services, such as the National Weather Service publish their predictions a week or more in advance and update them as conditions change.

If you have fleet drivers out on the road, they face unique risks as they are tasked with protecting your business’ cargo, the vehicle, and themselves. If inclement weather occurs, your employees need to know how to safely react. Keep emergency kits in all fleet vehicles, encourage consistent communication, have your driver inform others of their location and destination, and remind them to keep cell phones charged should they need to call emergency services.

Driver and Vehicle Tips
It is important for all drivers to plan out a driving schedule and remain aware of weather conditions that could impact you or others on the road. At all times behind the wheel, it is a good safety practice to utilize Drive S.A.F.E. techniques (Speed, Attention, Fatigue, Emotion), and expect potential delays if the weather isn’t looking good.

Don’t forget — it’s not just you that needs to be ready for whatever the weather sends your way. Remember to prepare your vehicle as well by:

  • Regularly maintaining your vehicle, and checking tire pressure and tread
  • In cold weather, warming your vehicle before driving it, clearing accumulated snow, and scraping windows
  • Ensuring any cargo is safely secured
  • Packing emergency supplies, including jumper cables, extra layers, food and water, and first aid.

Reach out to your local marketing representative for more information on coverages that could help protect your business. Federated® clients can also access mySHIELD® for disaster preparedness risk management resources that can help them when severe weather is on the radar.

1. https://www.weather.gov/sjt/WatchWarningAdvisoryExplained. Accessed 10/7/22.

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