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HVAC-R report 1st Quarter of 2018

All HVACR Product Segments show increase in the 1st Quarter of 2018

Mississauga, Ontario – All products showed increases in the shipment numbers in the 1st  Quarter of 2018  beginning with Chillers (32%) followed by Air Handler Units (24%), Residential Furnaces (16%), Ductless Split Systems (9%), Residential Air Conditioning (8%), Commercial Air Conditioning (4%) and Unit Heaters (2%)

The following chart provides specific data for each product; YTD Canadian shipments for select HVACR equipment ending the 1st quarter. An expansion factor has been included to compensate for the non–participating portion of the market.

HRAI16052018B

The following chart shows the quarterly residential market comparison which denotes the percentage change in residential product shipments between this quarter and the same quarter last year.

Quarterly Residential Market Comparison

 

2017

2018

%Chg

Quarterly Res. Market Comparison

Residential Air Conditioning

41188

44616

8%

2017

106,790

   

Residential Furnace

65602

76105

16%

2018

120,721

11.54%

Change

 NOTE:  Minor adjustments have been made to 1st quarter 2017 and Year-to-date for Residential Furnace shipment totals.

“Residential air conditioning” means ducted split system air conditioning and heat pumps up to 5 tons; “ductless splits” means heat pumps and conditioning condensing units (cooling only); “commercial air conditioning” means rooftops (combination heat/cool), packaged cooling and packaged heat pumps; “furnace” means residential forced air furnaces of all types (gas, oil, electric and combination);  “chillers” include large tonnage liquid, reciprocating liquid and absorption chillers; “unit heater” means self-contained automatically controlled vented units limited to heating of non-residential space and also includes duct furnaces; “air handling unit” means a device used to condition and circulate air containing a blower, filter, sound attenuators and dampers.

Leaking evaporator coil is the problem

Formicary or “ants’ nest” corrosion on the outside of air conditioning coils is not new, but it is becoming such a problem that members of one Ontario contractor group have decided that they will only install equipment with aluminum evaporator coils.

“We have had a lot of issues with it,” remarked Dave Murtland, owner of D&B ClimateCare in Simcoe, Ont. “It can happen only a few months after putting it in.”

“We’ve had to replace new equipment coils in year one, two and three,” added Nancy McKeraghan of Canco ClimateCare, Newmarket, Ont.

“When contractors come back in the spring (to do the spring AC service) they are seeing significant refrigerant depletion,” reported Mario Bernardi, ClimateCare executive director. “They’ve got storage rooms full of coils that they’ve removed.”

Last fall the ClimateCare Co-operative, a group of 34 independent Ontario HVAC contractors headquartered in Burlington, Ont., decided to go aluminum only for evaporator coils in their private label air conditioning equipment. With parts and labour warranties up to 12 years, they will simply not sell equipment with copper coils. “That way we can eliminate the corrosion,” said Murtland.

A perfect storm

It’s important to note that the issue doesn’t affect the equipment of only one manufacturer; most, if not all, of the majors have been affected. A multitude of factors have come together to make failing evaporator coils a significant problem in the past three years, reported Glenn Mellors, ClimateCare director of training and implementation.

These include indoor air quality and tighter homes. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that gas off from carpets, building materials, furniture, etc. combine with oxygen and moisture to create an acidic solution that reacts with the copper to cause pinhole leaks. “The homes are tighter and there are not enough air exchanges. It slowly eats away at the coil,” said Murtland.

The problem is worse in areas with poor outdoor air quality – pollution, added Mellors. Cases of formicary corrosion are higher in industrialized southern Ontario than in the Ottawa Valley, for example.

In some cases, manufacturers have modified the copper coils to improve efficiency, using thinner wall and/or rifled copper tubing to maximize heat transfer.

“It all has to do with, in my mind, the striving for higher efficiencies,” said Mellors.

No visible signs

Formicary corrosion can easily be identified if it is on the outside of a coil. It appears as a dark stained “soil” buildup around the leak. When the corrosion is internal, it’s a different matter. Often, when a technician diagnoses an air conditioner suffering from formicary corrosion, there are no visible signs, but the refrigerant level is low. “It’s almost like the refrigerant is leaking by osmosis,” said Mellors.

The quick and dirty fix is to just “fill and go,” or perhaps add a leak sealant and then fill. That might get the coil through the warranty period, but it’s going to leave one very unhappy homeowner faced with a problem that can only get worse. It’s unprofessional and not something ClimateCare contractors would do, added Mellors. So, they replace the coil, typically losing money on every warranty repair.

It’s a big job, typically taking a full morning, noted Peter Steffes, long-time Windsor, Ont. contractor and, today, supervisor of commercial sales for Vollmer Inc., Windsor, Ont. And yet manufacturers will only cover two hours labour. To make matters worse, getting the warranty approved can be difficult because of the lack of visible damage. “They ask you to take a picture of the coil and show where the break is,” remarked Bernardi. “Warranty is a big cost. It’s very onerous.”

Solution slow in coming

Contractors have been frustrated because manufacturers have been slow to acknowledge the problem, added Murtland. Or, as Mellor says, “they’ve been in denial” due, in part, one would expect, from a number of lawsuits in both Canada and the U.S. over formicary corrosion.

That being said, some time ago Carrier released a report titled Indoor Coil Corrosion. The company also offered a solution in the form of tin-plated copper coils. Some other manufacturers adopted aluminum coils.

However, the switch to aluminum has taken time because manufacturers had to have those coils certified as a match with their equipment so that the homeowner could qualify for energy efficiency rebates. It’s an expensive and time-consuming process. Getting each coil certified with each air conditioner costs thousands of dollars. Some manufacturers still don’t have a full line of aluminum coils, noted Murtland.

And while aluminum may not suffer from formicary corrosion, other issues may come up down the road. “I am not that sold on aluminum either,” said Steffes, who installed many air conditioners with aluminum coils in the 70s. They are more difficult to repair. “You can do it, but you’ve got to have a lot of finesse.”

Consumer anger

Failing air conditioners are a major topic on consumer and homeowner blogs. As noted above, some manufacturers are facing or have faced class action lawsuits either in Canada or the U.S. Johnson Controls recently settled one U.S. lawsuit. Among other conditions of that settlement, if a homeowner has a copper coil fail twice within the five-year standard warranty or ten-year extended warranty period, it will be replaced with an aluminum coil free of charge,

Much of the anger has, not surprisingly, been directed at installing contractors. “We’re telling the homeowner that their new air conditioner will run for years,” said Murtland. Needless to say, when homeowners run into leaking evaporator coils within the first few years, they are not happy.

“As an industry, we have to wake up and say we aren’t going to use a product that won’t last in newer homes,” says Murtland.

Article by : Simon Blake originally published on plumbingandhvac. ca

 

Lennox Price Increase Announcement

Lennox Industries will be increasing prices between 5 – 8 percent on residential and commercial equipment, accessories, and parts, effective June 18, 2018. The increase is due to inflationary pressures.

Source : achrnews. com

UTC Climate, Controls & Security Announces Price Increase

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida – UTC Climate, Controls & Security, which manufactures products under the Carrier, Bryant, Payne and ICP brand names, announced a price increase of up to 6 percent on residential and commercial heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning equipment. It will be implemented effective 07/01/2018.

Source : achrnews. com

The rebate debate

This industry has long had a love/hate relationship with government rebate programs. When rebates are in place, contractors are busy and everyone's making money. But if there are no rebates, then people tend to hold off upgrading their HVAC systems until the next rebate program comes along. And there will always be another one, or so it seems, and that skews business for the industry.

In 2006 the Conservative government under Stephen Harper shut down the EnerGuide for Homes rebate program. Well, it was a Liberal program after all. But it didn't take long for the Conservatives to launch their own program – the Eco-Energy Retrofit Homes program. It ran for about five years until 2012 when the federal government suddenly, without notice, shut that down, leaving wholesalers and contractors alike up the creek with equipment they couldn't sell and contracts they couldn't fulfil.

If you read the last issue of Plumbing and HVAC, you know that the Ontario geothermal industry is optimistic in part because the Ontario government has announced significant rebates for the installation of heat pumps financed by the province's "carbon market" – 4.3 cents on every litre of gasoline, cap and trade auctions, etc.

But this could all change overnight. There is a provincial election June 7. The Conservatives are way ahead in the polls and have promised to do away with carbon taxes – so no more money for rebates. I suspect a lot of wholesalers and contractors are not investing too heavily until they see what happens with the election. Likely, it's going to be boom to bust again.

The other issue with rebates is the money attracts all kinds of sketchy people and companies into the industry. With the federal programs, we saw companies suddenly spring up, calling themselves things like 'EnerGuide Contracting' and 'Eco-Energy Contracting'. I would like to see their trade licenses.

Interestingly, with the Ontario heat pump program, the government is having the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) qualify the contractors. That should go a long way towards keeping the fly-by-nighters out.

At the end of the day, rebates give certain sectors of the industry a temporary boost while hurting other areas. There’s a lot of cash out there right now for heat pumps and not much for high efficiency natural gas or oil – and that's a shame.

This article originally featured on plumbingandhvac. ca

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