Arkansas HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

Published by Arkansas HVACR Association

News Magazine March 2021

Arkansas’ First and Only HVACRNewsMagazine


For Arkansans

Table of Contents

Chapter Meeting Schedule

PG 4

Editorial & Opinion Electric Dilemma

pg 6

Hearings & Outcomes

PG 10

Board Levies $750 Fine for “No License, etc”

Business & Marketing Suffering the “Superman Syndrome” (Tom Turner)

PG 12

Lunch & Learn

PG 17

Four & More

State, national, chapter news Getting a HVAC License – Taking the Test

PG 21

PG 23

Kirk’s Corner

PG 24

Little Rock Posts Job for Mechanical Inspector

PG 28

Return to Work by Nick Hall

pg 30

Just a Reminder — MINIMUM WAGE IS UP

Kirk’s Corner Education News Training Programs

PG 33 PG 31 pg 36 PG 36

Nick Hall Risk Management Tools

ESCO Learning Network

Rebate Programs & Incentives

PG 38

Tech News

PG 42

Flame Sensing – The Basics (Bryan Orr) Mini Splits (Emily Gutowski & Ryan Findley)

PG 46

Unique Arkansas Featuring Arkansas Culture

PG 56

Nana’s Vegetable Soup (try with a side of Cajun)

Check out the website new look & new information

chapter meetings

Central Chapter 4 th Tuesday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Whole Hog 2516 Cantrell Road Little Rock, AR 72202

October 27 November 24 February 23 March 23 April 27

September 1 October 6 November 3 December 1 January 5 February 2 March 2

Fort Smith Chapter 1 st Tuesday

5:30 Meal : 6:00 Program Location : Western Sizzlin 5200 Towson Avenue Fort Smith

April 6 May 4

Hot Springs Chapter 2 nd Tuesday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Smokin’ in Style BBQ 2278 Albert Pike Hot Springs North Central Chapter 4 th Thursday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location : Western Sizzlin ’ 905 Hwy 62 – 65 North Harrison

October 13 November 10 February 9

March 9 April 13

September 24 October 22 February 25 March 25 April 22

chapter meetings

North East Chapter 3 rd Tuesday

October 20 November 17 February 16 March 16 April 20

6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location : Western Sizzlin ’ 2405 East Highland Jonesboro 870/ 336 - 4417

North West Chapter 2 nd Thursday

October 8 November 12 February 11 March 11 April 8

6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Golden Corral 2605 Pleasant Crossing Drive Rogers 479/986-9201 South Central/ Camden 1 st Thursday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Ouachita Partners for Economic Development 625 Adams Avenue Camden 870/ 836 - 9354

October 1 November 5 February 4 March 4 April 1

South West / Texarkana 3 rd Thursday

October 15 November 17 February 18 March 18 April 15 Call for meeting Location

6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Rotates between restaurants. Call for a meeting location. 501/487-8655

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

all, what can the average consumer do about it? Good question. Let me suggest that even if the weather never returns to the 2021 level, there are other considerations. The move to reduce the supply of natural gas will have an even greater result because it will be a year round problem. That leaves us with the darlings of solar and wind. I spent years running numbers and stating that solar for residencies would not make sense until the cost per watt was less than $3.00. Well, it is below $3.00 now with very attractive financing. While that may make your overall electrical power bill low, low, low; it does not solve the problem we had with the cold weather of 2-21. If we convert our electrical supply away from fossil fuel generation, what will we do on days when 2-21 returns and solar is greatly reduced due to snow build up on panels and overcast skies? Again, what can the average person do. Energy Efficiency has the best opportunity to reduce electrical consumption and to benefit homeowners from day one of weatherization and high efficiency HVAC equipment. For that reason, I would encourage all contractors to at least provide homeowners and business with the option of improving their structures and installing high efficiency equipment. Also remember that Indoor Air Quality can and should be included in a total package. You, the HVAC contractor are in a super position to ensure stable electrical supply by reducing consumption while providing the most comfortable home and business.

Electric Dilemma

Appeals to Conserve Rolling Outages

Blackouts On February 15, the electrical grid managers — Southwest Power Pool and Midcontinent Independent System Operator asked their customers, Entergy Arkansas and Southwest Electric Power Company, to direct their homeowners and businesses to reduce electrical consumption. Why? Because demand for electricity was at all-time highs. Yes, we all know it has been cold but we don’t always realize how weather affects our normal life other than the snow on the roads. SWEPCO reached a level 3 which means they were required to implement power outages. How long? Well, you folks in northwest Arkansas know how long it actually affected you. SWEPCO’s statement said, “not…for more than a few hours whenever possible.” Entergy Arkansas reached a level 2 which required an appeal to its customers to reduce consumption. One nightly weather report asked homeowners to reduce their thermostat to 60 degrees. Man, that is cold. By the time you get this March issue of the NewsMagazine, the emergency will have passed and it will be old news in the minds of most folks. We are absorbed in our daily lives and something a week old is good coffee shop and hair salon conversation but that is about all. After

Protect Your Family From Energy Blackouts and Service Reductions

Affordable Comfortable

Proper Sizing , Duct Design & Installation

High Efficiency Heating & Cooling Systems

Energy Efficient Building Practices

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

Hearings & Outcomes

inspectors or by homeowners outside local inspection authorities. In most cases, the contractor has already been given an opportunity to resolve the issue; i.e., correct the code violations. While not required, it is also the norm for state inspectors to give the contractor another opportunity. The reasoning for this extended grace is to facilitate corrections providing the homeowner with a safe and effective comfort system. Avoiding legal penalties also helps the contractor pay for the corrections. Regretfully, by the time the state inspector gets involved, many contractors have abandoned the job or have shown a general lack of knowledge to make the corrections. If the contractor does not have the appropriate license, a licensed contractor must be called in by the homeowner to complete the install. Arkansas law does not provide a method for the Licensing program to require the contractor to make restitution for expenses incurred by the homeowner to correct and complete the system. Fines leveled by the HVAC Section help pay for operation of the program and cannot be used to help the homeowner. The homeowner ’ s only recourse is to file a civil suit against the contractor to recoup the additional expense. Restitution for the homeowner has been a discussion among Board Members for years but no proposals have been made to the legislature. The homeowner does have one little known opportunity. If the contractor is not licensed, the homeowner can refuse to pay and a mechanics lien cannot be levied; however, the contractor can file civil suit against the homeowner to collect. That has not been tested in court so it is uncertain if the court would rule in favor of the contractor or homeowner.

Van Buren … Defendant: Bradley Fry Viloations: A.C.A 17-33-104

(Did not obtain required local permit) A.C.A 17-33-301 (No HVAC License) A.C.A 17-33-304 (No license displayed) Fined: $750.00 On February 10, 2021, the Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing / HVAC Section heard testimony, passed judgement, and levied a fine in the case of Bradley Fry of Van Buren. State inspector, Tony Woodard, was brought into the case by Fort Smith inspector, Dennis Curry. Mr. Fry asked for a rough- in inspection but did not have a permit for the work or state license to do the work nor were his two helpers listed as registrants. As a result of these infractions, the job was shut down by Van Buren building inspector, Terry Wells, on December 11, 2020. During the investigation, Mr. Fry stated that it was the responsibility of the remodeler, Mountain Creek Holdings to pull the permits. (No one can pull a permit for HVAC work without a license.) Mr. Fry was given notice of the alleged violations via Notice of Hearing dated January 3, 2021. Mr. Fry did not attend the hearing to provide testimony.

Thoughts and Ruminations

Complaints regarding code violations and proper licensing are referred to the Arkansas Department of Labor and Licensing / HVACR Section by city


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5601 Old Greenwood Rd Suite 1 Fort Smith, AR 72903 479-259-9960

10600 Colonel Glenn Rd Suite 600 Little Rock, AR 72204 501-478-2030

487 Agnes Tontitown, AR 72770 479-717-7820

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

Business & Marketing Tips

 You ring the bell and are greeted by young lady.

Suffering the “Superman Syndrome ”

You enter the home and witness two kids--ages look to be three and five--eating Cheerios at the kitchen table. The home is clean enough to be safe but that’s about it. Mom tells the story about the home being hot the last two days and you already have a suspicion the condenser fan is the culprit with the description given. As you prepare to adjust the stat on the wall, you stop to check the indoor components. Filter hasn’t been changed in months and when mom is questioned, y ou’re told th at filters have been purchased and placed in the garage. You step through the kitchen--past the kids- - to the garage door. The washer and dryer stand aside with laundry stacked everywhere and after searching for a few seconds, you find them leaning against a wall. You remove one filter and return through the kitchen door to find the kids are gone. Walking back to the hallway you see the kids are playing videos while mom warns them for the third time to get ready for day care and school. Mom asks if you could lock up after fixing the problem and she leaves credit card information on the kitchen counter. As you suspect, the condenser fan motor and capacitor are toast.

All but the most disciplined have done it. You may deny it ; but, 90% of us do it on a regular basis. The temptation is always before us and we have vowed time and time again not to succumb to the desire. The fulfillment of the desire has

brought about pain, suffering, financial chaos, and personal loss to untold

How do we overcome the issue of giving away work?

numbers of contractors.

Not many in the workforce enjoy 140- degree attic work. Squirming through insulation or struggling to remove a condenser from behind a 6-foot privacy fence. There must be a reason behind the misery the HVAC contractor endures to make a living. I call it, the “Superman Syndrome” , due to a love for humanity.  You inventory the truck for all the necessary stock to make a day’s service round.  7:15 you stop at the convenience a mile from home.  15 gallons of fuel, sweet roll and cup of coffee and you’re off.  7:30 your first stop is a small home with a bike at the curb you must move, before you park the service van. Monday June 6 th 7a.m.

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

Business & Marketing Tips

Let’s analyze the issue.

The components are changed with little problem. The condenser is washed, condensate drain is cleaned, and you are on your way after checking the performance of the system. Stepping back inside the home you begin entering invoice data. Forget the reasons why, but it is apparent this is a single mom. You reach inside yourself and pull up the idea you must help the mom in some way.

First, did you make enough money last year to give things away? Did you net above 8%? Is your supply house bill paid up inside of 60 days? Did you borrow to pay taxes last year? Is your AP journal current paid current within 30 days? So many in our industry run without analyzing their financials monthly and adjusting when things don’t line up. Even with a total disregard for your own company’s fiscal health you impact customers and the industry in a negative manner. What will the customer ’ s expectation be on the next service request? Because you just discounted a service call, you have just given the customer an unrealistic picture of what it takes to run a profitable business. Because you discounted the job, your industry competes with lower pricing overall in the area. So -- we have done injustice to the customer , the community, and the industry when we discount our work without first making sure we can do so responsibly. A first step is admitting we have a problem with discounting work.

So, you discount the invoice by 50%.

Mission accomplished!

Job completed!

Feeling good!

You just helped a mom and her family.

Off to the next service call

But wait..... There’s a service van parked on your cape!

Your company just lost money. Not because you helped someone, but because your desire to help is not analyzed on a weekly basis. While everyone should give back to the community, all too often we continually discount parts, labor, or both. We need to think about the consequences.

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2021

Business & Marketing Tips

How do you know? If you don’t operate off a pricing schedule or flat rate you are discounting your work because you have no reference point for charges. Set up minimum charges for common processes so you don’t spend time figuring up each ticket and stick with the charges. Review gross profit often to make necessary adjustments. Review your service calls and installations making sure you have 35 to 45% gross profit over time on most sales, with a goal of 12 to 15% net for minimal revenue. Be sure you are not paying the supply house for a system you sold six months ago. Review AP’s to be sure you are current on all debts owed. Make sure you have cash (not credit) on hand for repairs or short downturns in business or other unexpected costs. Be sure your debt to income ratio does not exceed 30% of annual revenue and work to keep it below 20%. Once you settle the fact you are profitable, set up a schedule of what you desire to give back to the community. When you find the single mom, elderly or disabled and you desire to help, deliver an invoice for the full amount, and write off the entire ticket! No discounts! Then when you drive away you will be Superman to the person served, the community and the industry.

Don’t use hand-held phones while driving a CMV.

It’s the law. A CMV can be as small as a 3/4 T Truck and a Tandum Axle Trailer

©Copyright Employers Mutual Casualty Company 2017. All rights reserved. Image ©2012 RI6359

Lunch & learn

To view past programs go to the Association website Scroll down past the home page picture and click on the Lunch & Learn icon on the

Four & More --March 8-- Condensate Drains On 90+ Furnaces Lunch & Learn Zoom casts are providing information to Arkansas contractors

the 2 nd Monday each month at 12 Noon. Tony Woodard, State Chief Inspector of the HVACR program, provides code information and interpretation from the horses mouth. That is to say, it is “ the ” way code is interpreted, inspected, and enforced by State inspectors. It is also the foundation of all inspection programs. Local / city programs can be more stringent but not less. Each month the Arkansas HVACR Association sends an email to Arkansas Licensees and interested parties about the monthly topic and Zoom access link. In only four months, Lunch and Learn has covered • October : Clear Space to Disconnects • November : Fire Protection in Crawlspaces • December : Equpment & Inspector Access • January : Refrigerant Pipe Insulation

right side of the page. It will take you to links to past issues on Youtube. Those issues can also be found by clicking on the following icons.

The March program will discuss

If you are not getting the Lunch & Learn Zoom notices, please text your email to 501-487-8655. You can also send a text to

condensate drains on 90+ furnaces.

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Amessage fromEntergy $UNDQVDV ,LLC.©2019EntergyServices, LLC.All Rights Reserved. The Entergy Solutions program is an energy efficiency program and not affiliated with Entergy Solutions,LLC

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great, anxiety spikes and performance diminishes. So what is a prospective HVACR licensee to do? Obviously, it is important to prepare. Many that fail the test have never even taken the wrapper off the books you can use to take the test. That ’ s right. It is an open book test. On the other hand, some are so convinced they will fail that it is a self- fulfilling prophecy. It is important to prepare but also one should not stress over a possible failure. It is no big deal. In the worst case, you have an opportunity to see what the test is like. When you take it the next time, that anxiety is gone. You can focus on your preparation. Arkansas uses the testing service, Prov, located in Sandy, Utah. They have 8 testing centers in Arkansas; Conway, El Dorado, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Jonesboro, Little Rock, Paragould and Searcy. Prov has a Class “ A ” HVACR Practice Exam available for $25 at It has 75 questions with the key. Prov provides lots of information about testing on their website. It is easy to access by going to Click on “ Legislation & Regulation ” , Applying for an Arkansas License, Prov Licensing Information Arkansas HVAC. If you have been in the trade, you know more than you think. Relax and let the arousal lead to improved performance.

Getting a HVAC License Taking the Test There are advantages to having “ your own ” HVAC license even if you never go into business for yourself. Getting a license can be of benefit to your employer in the case of their death or retirement. When a company has only one license holder, that company can only exist as long as that license holder is alive and owns the business. Licenses are awarded in the name of the licensee, not the business. While getting an Arkansas HVACR license is the simplest and easiest of the trades, it is still no easy task. This is especially true for those that have test anxiety. There are some who know the trade but put them in a three or four hour test and they freeze. This is not uncommon and there is no need to feel that you are “ dumb ” . In other words, welcome to the very large world of test anxiety. Here are some thoughts. Getting anxious about a test is common and can be in your best interest. Yerkes-Dobson Law states that arousal can lead to improved performance. (OK! OK! Now get your mind back on HVACR.) It simply means that a little excitement and anticipation can increase your adrenaline and make you sharper. This is what happens when a coach gives a rousing speech before a game. It is an arousal moment. Problem is, when the arousal is too

An important way to distinguish your company from all the other “me too” HVAC dealers is to have the best employees that can be trusted in the homes of your clients / customers. More important than cool air or warm air is the peace of mind in knowing that one’s belongings and family are safe. A tech that has passed a background check and has a company photo ID demonstrates professionalism and trustworthiness to the client / customer. Employee background checks are also important for the dealer. The dealer can manage their liability and their insurance costs by making sure that their employees have passed a background check, a drug screening test, and a driving record search. A member of the Arkansas HVACR Association can have that peace of mind by using the endorsed service, CourtHouse Concepts. Their prices are affordable and their reputation is great. Association members that are already using CoutHouse Concepts have given them a glowing recommendation. Be sure to identify yourself as a member of the Association to get a 10% discount.

Here are some plan option:

Expanded Criminal Plan $25.00

Independent Drug Testing $40

Motor Vehicle Report $19.95

*Social Security Trace – match SS# to applicant and lists addresses *Nationwide Criminal History—500 million criminal records *Nationwide Sex Offender Search *Nationwide Courthouse Check—7 yr. County Criminal History--Court Fees are additional if applicable

Amphetamines Barbiturates Benzodiazepines - Cocaine - Ecstasy - Marijuana - Methadone - Methamphetamine - Opiates – Phencyclidine

~3 years driving record Speeding & violations DWI Accidents

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24 to 48 hours

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1 day or less

Paul J. Hickman III 3205 Shackleford Pass Little Rock, AR 72205 Main - 501-588-3973 : Direct - 501-588-7115 Toll Free - 877-750-3660

Arkansas HVACR Association, P. O. Box 1296, Little Rock, AR 72203, 501-487-8655 : ;

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Kirk’s Corner Energy-efficiency and you

When you think of energy-efficiency, how do you measure it? If you’re not looking at it from a full fuel cycle perspective – you miss the crucial role you play in helping your customers get the most value out of the energy they use.

Your role in customers’ savings

If you have any questions on helping your customers, please reach out to me at or visit For more information about natural gas, visit

The natural gas delivery system is 91% efficient from the point of extraction to your customer’s doorstep. Natural gas is a primary fuel, meaning there’s no energy lost in conversion like there is with the generation of electricity. Combine that with the energy savings from the high-efficiency natural gas equipment you’ve installed and you’ve earned a big thank you for helping customers save money and increase their energy-efficiency.

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City of Little Rock Posts Mechanical Inspector Job

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Opening continued

Specializing in Custom Risk Reduction Programs, Cross Pointe is here to help protect your business, your employees and your family.  Commercial Property & Casualty Insurance  Bonds

 Employee Benefits  Personal Insurance

* Cross Pointe is proud to be an Arkansas HVCAR Association Endorsed Agency.

Since 1889

Cross Pointe is your Arkansas Commercial Insurance Specialists, providing affordable coverage and risk reduction services.

Nick Hall, CIC Sr. Risk Management Advisor (501) 680-1186

Travis Hill Sr. Risk Management Advisor (479) 785-2912

Kyle Schnebelen Sr. Risk Management Advisor (501) 831-5221

Cross Pointe Insurance Advisors  12410 Cantrell Rd., Ste. 200A  Little Rock, AR 72223 Cross Pointe Insurance Advisors  1120 Garrison Ave.  Fort Smith, AR 72901

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already satisfied with your present company? Don’t change. The Association would never ask you to do anything that is against your best interest; however, if their quote is less and you get a 10% discount, “ WHY WOULD YOU NOT CHANGE ?” Your changing to EMC helps the entire industry because of the financial help EMC gives the Association. How is that true? Let me be very presumptuous and say that the Arkansas HVACR Association offers benefits to its members that are unavailable elsewhere at an affordable price. 1. The Association works tirelessly on legislative and regulation issues. 2. The Association has saved the industry thousands of dollars that most will never know about. It is usually behind the scenes. Just one example. Those that attended the Manual J classes this fall were part of a $22,250 cumulative savings. 3. The Association offers training and informative sessions in each of the eight chapters during their five meetings. Three especially important examples are a. “So Called” Drop In Refrigerants b. Mechanical Ventilation c. DOT licensing surprise requirements Again, these were made possible in part by EMC Insurance. So, I am not embarrassed to ask you to give EMC a shot at your business. What have you got to lose? (479) 424-4918 or (501) 581-1176

Why you owe it to yourself and the industry

OK! It is obvious that the Arkansas HVACR Association promotes EMC insurance. Truth is, there is something in it for us. EMC pays the Association an advertising/marketing fee that is important to the finances of the Association. BUT THAT ISN’T THE ONLY REASON! First, EMC came recommended by several HVACR companies in the Ft. Smith chapter. Why? Here are three reasons: 1. EMC is very competitive 2. EMC offers Association members a 10% discount in addition to their competitive rates 3. EMC has a record of quick and fair claims service. Second, the fee paid by EMC to the Association allows us to keep our membership dues low, only $200 per year. Most other Associations begin at $400 and go to over a thousand. Third, we sincerely believe that every HVACR contractor in Arkansas owes it to themselves to get a quote prior to their next renewal. Notice, I did not say buy from EMC. They still have to compete for your business with pricing and service. It costs noting to get a quote and the benefits can be substantial. What if they come in higher and you are

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Return to Work Program

By Nick Hall Cross Pointe Insurance Advisors In Partnership with Arkansas HVACR Association

For those of you that read our January edition, thank you and welcome back! For those of you that didn’t, in each issue of the NewsMagazine we are going to be teaching you a Risk Management Tool you can use to become a safer company and save money on your Insurance Program. In January, we highlighted the 5% Drug Free Credit you can receive on your Workers Compensation Policy if you are designated as a Drug Free Workplace by the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission. This month we are highlighting Return to Work Programs . A Return to Work Program is a formalized plan to get employees back to work as soon as possible post injury. The longer an injured employee is away from work, the more costly that injury is to the employer. By offering modified work or “ light duty, ” companies can reduce claim costs, improve employee retention, and minimize lost productivity - all saving you money . Let’s look at each of those key benefits a little closer: Reducing Claim Costs – After an injury that causes an employee to miss time

from work, Workers Compensation carriers are on the hook for the injured employee ’ s lost wages, subject to the state’s benefit statutes. When an employee goes on “l ight duty, ” you will pay them either: A) their regular wages – eliminating all indemnity payments from the carrier, or B) modified wages for their new modified duties – leaving the Workers Compensation carrier to pay up to 2/3rds of the difference between the new modified wages and their regular wages, up to the state maximum. This can significantly reduce the indemnity portion of the claim, directly benefiting your loss history and experience modification rate. Improve Employee Retention – On average, employees involved in a Return to Work Program return 1.4 times sooner compared to employees working for employers that do not participate. In addition, the longer an injured employee is away from work, the less likely it is they ever return. According to the US Department of Labor- Bureau’s Labor Statistics: • Employees away from work for 3 Weeks have a 75% Chance to return;

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managers/supervisors, and the injured employee themselves? • Proper Documentation – The Return to Work Program Document will have templates for Work Injury Report, Acceptance/Rejection of Light Duty by the Employee, Transitional Work Log, Training Records, etc… • Notice to Medical Provider - You will need the treating medical provider to let you know what restrictions an injured employee has and what roles they are cleared for as they continue to mend. As always, feel free to reach out to discuss Return to Work programs more in depth. We at Cross Pointe are happy to help you implement a program tailored for you. The final thought I want to leave you with today is D on’t Wait – the time to put this in place is now, before your employee is injured .

• After 6 weeks off that percentage drops to 50%; • After 52 weeks off there is only a 1% chance that employee returns to work! By getting them back into your business sooner, you are significantly increasing the chances that the injured employee returns to their original role within your company at all. Minimizing Lost Productivity – By increasing the likelihood that an injured worker does return to their job, you are decreasing the chances of needing to hire and train a new employee for that role. We all know that training new employees is costly and time consuming. Also, while the goal is to get the injured employee back to their original role as quickly as possible, they are still providing value while on light duty as well! Now that you know the benefits, let’s touch on the key components of a Return to Work Program. • Identifying Regular Work duties of your employees and Modified or Alternate Work duties employees are able to perform with medical restrictions. • Determine responsibilities of all employees associated with the program itself. After an employee is injured, what are the responsibilities of management, the program administrator,

Stay Safe Out There

Nick Hall

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NTI Business & Industry 550 Bain St, Springdale, Arkansas 72764 Ronni Hammond : 479-751-8824 SAU Tech 6415 Spellman Rd, East Camden, AR 71701 Eddie Horton : 870-574-4500 Southeast Arkansas College 1900 Hazel Street, Pine Bluff, AR 71603 John Pyland : 870-543-5900 UACC Hope / Texarkana 2500 South Main, Hope 71802 Leo Rateliff : 870-722-8507 UACC Morrilton 1537 University Blvd., Morrilton, AR 72110 3000 West Scenic Drive, NLR 72206 Robert Dixon : 501-812-2200 EEDD 1224 Fayetteville Road, Van Buren Rick Rosenthal : 479-926-7462 If you are a college or technical institute and want to be included in the list of HVACR education providers, contact the NewsMagazine 501-487-8655 We’ll make sure you are in the next issue. Also, if we need to correct your information, please let us know. (501) 977-2053 UA Pulaski Tech Add Your Name

Training Programs

Arkansas North Eastern College 4213 Main Street, Blytheville 72315 Rick Sones : 870-763-6222 Arkansas Tech University, Ozark 1700 Helberg Lane, Ozark, AR 72949 Kenneth Beeler : 479-508-3333 ASU Mountain Home 4034 Hwy 63 W, Mountain Home 72653 Eric Smith : 870-508-6221 ASU Newport 33500 US 63, Marked Tree 72365 Mark Constant : 870-358-8627 ASU Searcy 1800 East Moore Avenue, Searcy 501-207-6221 East Arkansas Community College Newcastle Road, Forrest City, AR 72335 Robert Jackson : 870-633-5411 National Park College 101 College Drive, Hot Springs, 71913 Kelli Albrecht : 501-760-4349 501-760-4222 North Arkansas Community College 1515 Pioneer Drive, Harrison, AR 72601 Jeff Smith : 870-391-3382 Northwest Arkansas Community College One College Drive, Bentonville, AR 71712 Michael Dewberry : 870-391-3382

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• Want to start an in-house training program for your techs? • Want to add substance and training material that your techs can use anytime? • Want training that is affordable? • Want training that is easily accessible? The ESCO Group rolled out the newest addition to their training material intended for schools, companies, and techs that want to improve their knowledge and move up in their career. You may know ESCO as the premier provider of EPA 608 training but they have come a long way and their work in education is now unsurpassed for individual or organized--classroom education. Many college programs have adopted their accreditation program but ESCO also makes a plethora of educational materials available for everyone — at affordable pricing. So what is available? Recorded Webinars — Free Danfoss:  Expansion Device Characteristics, Part 1 & 2  Preparing Tomorrow’ W orkforce for Flammable Refrigerants Honeywell:  Fundamentals of Refrigeraton

Welcome to the ESCO Institute elearning center, the ESCO Learning Network (ELN). Here you can access

digital curriculum, immersive learning, streaming videos,

 Environmental Regulations  Choosing a Refrigerant  Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle  Thermodynamic Properties  Refrigerant Resources  Retrofitting HCFCs and HFCs  Environmental Systems Solutions  Mechanical Codes  Compressor Capacity  Refrigeration Design Fundamentals ESCO Courses — Affordable Fee  Brazing and Soldering 38 Lessons, $32.95  Refrigeration Cycle, Refrigerants, and Components Training 136 Lessons, $19.95  Basic Refrigeraton and Charging Procedures 59 Lessons, $29.95 specific aspect of what the average HVACR service technician is likely to encounter in the field. ELN webinars, industry news and the work bench series, a compilation of short, concise videos targeting

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 R-410 Safety Training 39 Lessons, $24.95  Gas Heating: Furnaces, Boilers, Components, and Controls 11 courses, $59.95  EPA 608 Preparatory Course Bundle $28.95  Workbench Training Series 7 courses, $2.95 monthly Technical Training Associates: Jim Johnson — Affordable Fee  Technical Training Asssociates Subscription 32 Courses $29.95 monthly  HVACR Troubleshooting Series: A Heat Pump That Won’t Cool 4 Lessons $16.95  HVACR Electrical Troubleshooting Component Testing Video 4 Lessons $20.95 Technical Training Associates: Jim Johnson Articles — Free  Heat Pump Wiring Diagrams  Air Flow Performance and How it Affects RefrigerationSystem Pressure  EEV Fundamentals If you want to know more about ESCO, click on the following box . You’ll be impressed with their offerings.

The HVACR Association opens your mind to success

More Included

More To Come

Rebate Programs & Incentives

2021 Energy Efficiency REBATES

Rebate Programs & Incentives

Thoughts to ponder:

You can be the cheapest

You can be the Best

You can’t be both

It’s your call

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a small microamp (μA) DC current will be present as a path is made between the rod and the ions in the flame. This small DC current signals the board that flame exists and all is well with the world. If it does not sense this microamp (μA) DC current within a few seconds it will shut off the gas valve and try again. The board outputs this potential (voltage) on the flame sensing terminal right at the beginning of the sequence to confirm that the path is “open” with no flame. This ensures against false positives (sensing flame/current when there should be none) and once it goes from 0 current to the rated microamp (μA) current the board “knows” that flame is present. These flame sensing rods are “dumb” devices. They do not generate potential (volts) or current (amps), their predecessor the thermocouple (seen in standing pilot systems) does generate a potential itself which is often the source of the confusion. A flame sensing rod is a piece of metal with a ceramic insulator that keeps it from grounding out. That is all. However, because it is conducting in the Millionths of an amp (microamp) a lot can go wrong with it that a normal electrical component wouldn’t have any issue with. Tolerances are tight so small factors make a big difference. Flame sensors fail when:


Proving flame is an important part of the gas firing sequence. Without proof of flame, you risk dumping unspent gas into the heat exchanger resulting in an explosion. There are many ways to “prove flame” we are focusing on the flame sensing rod (Flame rectification) method here. Here are the facts- Flame sensing rods, also known as flame rectifier rods or flame rectification rods are commonplace in modern hot surface and ISI (intermittent spark ignition) gas-fired appliances. Flame sensing rods stick out into the flame and connect back to the furnace board. Once the board sends a call to the gas valve to open, it monitors the current flow on the flame sensing rod. It does this by generating a potential (voltage) at the flame sensing terminal, this terminal is connected to the sensor with a conductor. When no flame is present there will be potential at the rod and no current, when a flame is present

1. They short out due to a cracked insulator

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2. They Fail open because they are broken 3. They don’t conduct because they are not properly placed in the flame 4. They become coated in silica (glass) or carbon Before I go any further I want to address a common question. Do flame sensors have a special coating that can be rubbed off with improper cleaning? Well… If we are talking about a thermocouple or a thermopile then yes.. absolutely, but we aren’t discussing standing pilot systems here. I have seen a lot of flame sensing rods, and I have done a good deal of research and I have found no evidence that typical flame sensing rods have a special coating on them that can be rubbed off. Now, if you have real, quantifiable proof from a manufacturer that says otherwise.. PLEASE provide it to me so I can retract this statement. I think it’s more likely that issues techs see from cleaning are due to cleaning with sand cloth (Emory cloth) and leaving behind grit that can lead to a coating and poor conductance once heated. I chalk the other part up to confusing a thermocouple with a flame rod and bit to superstition.

the burner assembly. You should read a few ohms of resistance max, the lower the ohm reading the better grounded it is. • Make sure your polarity is correct, incoming hot connected to hot, neutral to neutral. • Ensure the rod is positioned so it will be covered in flame • Get a meter that reads in the microamp scale with a .10 resolution minimum. Use a good QUALITY meter for this and make sure your leads are in the correct locations. • Connect your leads in SERIES. This means you have to disconnect the lead from the rod, connect one lead to the rod and the other to the terminal to the board WITH THE CONNECTOR UNHOOKED FROM THE ROD • When the flame lights you should read between .5 and 10 microamps (μA) depending on the furnace. Readings between 2 and 6 are common. If you do not have a proper microamp ( μA) reading you can confirm the following:

Here are the steps to test a flame sensor –

• Ensure the furnace is properly grounded. You can do this by powering down the heater and taking an ohm reading between neutral and

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• That the flame rod is not open. Ohm from tip to the terminal on the rod. If the rod is open it is failed. • Check the insulator and make sure it isn’t cracked or grounded • Check for proper burner grounding and incoming power polarity (as mentioned) • Clean the rod… Now, this is a controversial one. I suggest using very fine steel wool or abrasive pad (magic erasers often work). remove and clean the rod and ensure you wipe it clean of any particles leftover from cleaning. Handle very gently. Once complete perform an ohm test from tip to terminal again to ensure you haven’t damaged during cleaning. If you want to be really crazy, use some electrical contact cleaner on it after cleaning to help remove any residue… just nowhere near the flame, unless you don’t want eyebrows.

working and set up properly you may end up with a misdiagnosis. Test and calibrate your tools regularly. Do every possible test before replacing a board. Many techs advocate just replacing a flame sensor if they suspect it isn’t conducting well. I am cool with that so long as 1. You don’t charge the customer for it is there was nothing wrong with it. 2. Your company is OK eating the cost of rods that were not needed 3. Or.. you just install a new one long enough to test. That is all fine and good if you have extra flame rods in your truck. Many techs do not have that luxury. Finally… If flame rods are getting dirty / coated often, you will want to find out why. There is something in the environment or the combustion that is causing it. Many techs notice that furnaces bringing their combustion air from laundry rooms or basements with cleaners nearby often get dirtier quicker. In Summary, flame rods should be

1. In the flame 2. Clean 3. Not open 4. Not shorted

Once you have established all of the above and you are still not getting the required microamps then you are left replacing the board. – Test your tools regularly. If you are trusting your meter and you aren’t 100% sure your meter is Word of warning

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function a little differently. Let’s dive into what’s different about them. Inverter-driven compressors : Right from the start, these systems use an inverter-driven compressor to control capacity (some have an AC compressor, others have a DC compressor; refer to the manufacturer’s literature or data plate). A circuit board has two possible functions. It may rectify incoming power to DC before inverting it back to AC to drive the compressor, or it may merely control the DC output to produce a variable speed effect. Compressor speeds are a function of meeting either the target evaporator temperature (cooling mode) or the target condensing temperature (heating mode). TE (target evaporator) and TC (target condenser) calculation come from how far off setpoint the return air temperature, room controller temperature, or remote controller temperature is. The further off the setpoint is, the faster the compressor will run (the lower the TE or higher the TC). Run speed is published typically in RPS (revolutions per second). The typical range on most units is 25-120 RPS. EEVs : Electronic expansion valves are electronically controlled devices that meter the flow of refrigerant through the system. One-to-one units will have one expansion valve, while multi-splits will have one per port. If it’s a four -port unit, there will be four EEVs in the machine. Each EEV controls refrigerant flow to each indoor coil attached. EEVs either


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This article will be geared toward HVAC techs who are new to mini-splits. As the mini-split market continues to grow, technicians face more and more challenges with these systems. The most critical challenges would be insufficient training and the lack of proper tools to work on mini-splits effectively. To start, I advise going to as much manufacturer training as your employer will allow. I will give you some highlights of how mini-splits work, how to troubleshoot them, and what tools you will need to be effective at troubleshooting them. Mini-splits, like their bigger VRF machine cousins, have a lot of mystique that surrounds them. In my opinion, they don’t warrant the mystique. Mini - splits still operate under the same rules of thermodynamics that standard unitary equipment does. They just HOW MINI-SPLITS ARE DIFFERENT

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control the superheat (AC mode) or the subcooling (heating mode). We aim to get these values to specific numbers, called superheat/subcooling targets. Superheat/subcooling targets are anywhere from 8-15° F and typically vary depending on how far off setpoint you are. This is important information to remember, as it will help you evaluate the charge without weighing it out just yet. We will touch on EEVs again later. Four-Way Valve : Commonly called the reversing valve in unitary equipment, a four-way valve diverts refrigerant to the indoor coil for heating mode or outdoor coil for cooling mode. Most manufacturers’ valves default to cooling and energize in heating mode. Thermistors: Thermistors are devices that change resistance based upon temperature. Common thermistor types are discharge pipe temp, gas pipe temp, liquid pipe temp, room temp, return air temp, inverter temp, and compressor body temp, to name a few. There are many different thermistor ohm ratings. Refer to your specific manufacturer’s literature for your temperature to resistance charts. Common ones are 10k thermistors, which come in PTC or NTC varieties. Protection Modes : Unlike traditional unitary systems, mini-splits use many forms of protection control to prevent serious damage from occurring. Different manufacturers have different limits, but generally speaking,

they all look at the same things. Some examples are: • Low-Pressure Protection: Once the unit gets below a certain suction pressure, the compressor will be commanded to slow down or maintain its current speed. There’s a possibility you can get hung up in a low-pressure stepdown where it doesn’t get high enough to allow it to try to ramp up again, so it will look to you as if the machine is just running at a low RPS. • High-Pressure Protection: Once the unit hits a certain head pressure, compressor speeds will be limited and slowed down if needed to lower the discharge pressure. • Discharge Temperature Stepdown: Discharge pipe temperature step down occurs if the thermistor on the compressor’s discharge line is too hot. This could mean any number of things, but one of which could mean it’s low on refrigerant. The machine will limit the compressor speed to save the compressor from being damaged. • Inverter Temperature Step: If the temperature of the inverter board heat sync becomes too hot, inverter operation could stop, or compressor speed will slow down to prevent damage to the board. You could run into this if someone recently replaced the board without applying heat sync paste. It’s also imperative that all screws get replaced in the proper position, or you will not get good contact on the heat sync, and the board will likely overheat.

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• Piping Diagrams : Below, you’ll see a typical piping diagram shown in a service manual. These can be helpful tools in troubleshooting an issue. Note that the red arrows indicate flow direction during heating operation and blue for cooling operation. The upper line coming into the four-way valve is always discharge gas, and the middle line coming out of the four- way valve is always suction gas. This unit’s EEV is also located in the outdoor unit, meaning the lines leaving the outdoor unit are the expansion line and the gas pipeline.

it will show you an OL even though the thermistor is n’t actually open. Instead, it’s just a value that’s higher than what your meter is capable of reading. If you’re unsure, check the spec sheet for your respective meter. Make sure you have a nitrogen regulator that is capable of 600 PSIG. That way, the proper pressure test can be performed. I also recommend having a good thermometer that’s capable of reading pipe temperature.


Let’s touch on a couple of things that could very well help you out if you are on a mini-split call. 1. Leaking Flares : Leaking flares are among the most common causes for a service call and one of the easiest to avoid. Using a good, sharp blade on your tubing cutter, deburring the copper, making a proper

Tools Required : If you are going to work on mini-splits, there are a couple of items that you MUST HAVE. A good multimeter that can read a high resistance is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE. Most thermistors’ values are 5 -75K ohms. If you do not have a meter capable of reading that high of a resistance value,

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