Arkansas HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Published by Arkansas HVACR Association

News Magazine March 2022

Arkansas’ First and Only HVACRNewsMagazine

Part V HVAC Air Flow Performance page 25

Arkansas HVACR Programs Receive Recognition page 16

Tom Turner (Air Evangelist)

A New Model for Business page 6

SEER 2 2023 : Caution is Required pg 15

Welcoming Craig Migliaccio to the Tech Table

pg 40

10 Reasons a Mini-Split May Leak pg 41

Kirk ’ s pg 19 Corner

ASU Searcy HVAC Receives Equipment pg 12

Page 44

Nick ’ s Insurance Tip pg 20


For Arkansans

Table of Contents

Chapter Meeting Schedule

PG 4

Editorial & Opinion A New Model for Business

pg 6

State, national, chapter news ASU-Beebe Searcy Receives State of the Art Equipment from Association

PG 12


pg 15

Arkansas HVACR Programs Receive Recognition

PG 16

Kirk’s Corner (Summit is the New Player in Arkansas Natural Gas)

PG 19

Nick Hall : Insurance Risk Transfer

PG 20

Education News Training Programs

PG 31

Rebate Programs & Incentives

PG 18

PG 25 pg 30 PG 33 pg 36 PG 32

Tech News

HVAC Air Flow Performance (Tom Turner – Air Evangelist) Low Voltage Wiring for Heat Pumps (HVAC School, Emily Gutowski)

PG 40

Welcoming Craig Migliaccio to the Tech Table

PG 41

10 Reasons Why a Mini-Split Ductless Flair May Leak Refrigerant

Unique Arkansas Featuring Arkansas Culture

PG 45

Nana featuring Grannies’ Favorite Peach Cobbler

chapter meetings

Central Chapter 4 th Tuesday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Larry’s Pizza

March 22 April 26

12911 Cantrell Road Little Rock, AR 72202 501-224-8804

Fort Smith Chapter 1 st Tuesday

March 1 April 5 May 3

5:30 Meal : 6:00 Program Location : Golden Corral 1801 South Waldon Road Fort Smith 479-484-1040

Hot Springs Chapter 2 nd Tuesday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Smokin’ in Style BBQ 2278 Albert Pike Hot Springs 501-767-9797 North Central Chapter 4 th Thursday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location : Rotates March Meeting — El Chico in Mountain Home

March 8 April 12

March 24 April 28 Call for meeting Location 501-487-8655

chapter meetings

North East Chapter 3 rd Tuesday

6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location : Golden Corral 2405 East Highland Jonesboro 870/ 351-3212

March 15 April 19

North West Chapter 2 nd Thursday

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: Rotates Call for a meeting location Camden / El Dorado South West / Texarkana 3 rd Thursday 6:00 Meal : 6:30 Program Location: Rotates Call for a meeting location. 501/487-8655

March 10 April 14

March 3 April 7 Call for meeting Location 501-487-8655

March 17 April 21 Call for meeting Location 501-487-8655

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

and prices have gone through the roof. We’re now suppose to know everything about ventilation and SEER ratings are on the way up effective 2023. How are we to keep up? Another thing that is crazy. McDonalds is paying $15 an hour for folks that can almost walk and chew gum. I hear unbelievable amounts that retail stores are paying for entry level employees. Three years ago, I thought $15 an hour was absurdly high. Today, it almost seems cheap; but I guess that is OK because President Biden says that we should cut costs not labor. OK, OK, I’ll stay off the national politics. 1. Recalculate your cost of materials monthly. Prices are changing too fast to do an annual reassessment. 2. Recalculate your cost of labor at least quarterly, maybe even monthly, when you send Uncle Sam the employment taxes. 3. Re-price. You cannot carry the weight of increasing costs on your shoulders. 4. Revaluate what it will take to keep your employees and adjust cost accordingly. If you do not, your employees will find a company that will value them. 5. Revaluate your “BRAND”. Who are you in your market. Is that who you want to be? 6. Get with your accountant. Have them set up your books so you can easily accomplish 1, 2, 3. If you don’t, you’ll be worried about more than where the customer keeps their money. YOUR NEW MODEL MUST INCLUDE---

A New Model for Business

Posted in the drive through window of a “restaurant”. Yes, it is real and I won’t say which restaurant or which town because I don’t want to risk embarrassing anyone; but, I am sure that some of our readers could identify it. Our point is not to poke fun but to illustrate that everyone is getting serious about how they run their businesses these days — at least they should. In this case, a burger and fries could no longer be paid for with money stored in private or, shall we say, unsanitary locations. It is particularly funny to me because as a teenager I was a delivery boy at a drug store. Many of the sweet little ole’ ladies would reach down their bra to retrieve a little lace hankie. That is where they kept their money — a few bills and even some change. It embarrassed me; but, at the same time it was “interesting”. I guess “what ever works for you.” How does this apply to our industry? Welllll---times they are a changing. Defaults no longer work. We are perplexed by the sudden proliferation of mold and equipment is in short supply

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ASU-Beebe Searcy Campus receives state-of-the-art equipment from Arkansas HVACR Association SEARCY, Ark. – Thanks to a donation from the Arkansas HVACR Association in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Occupational Skills Development and the Arkansas Energy Office, students in the HVACR Technology program at the ASU-Beebe Searcy Campus are training with cutting-edge technology grounded in a solid instructional foundation. Tom Hunt, Executive Director of the Arkansas HVACR Association, presented students and program instructor Brad Cooper with Bluetooth- enabled equipment that can be utilized in conjunction with the measureQuick app, as well as a BluFlame combustion analyzer. The measureQuick application collects measurements, aggregates data, and diagnoses faults to help service technicians determine if units are performing as designers intended. Cooper said the software is grounded in foundational scientific equations.

“The app allows senior techs to observe what newer techs are seeing in the field while they are working on a piece of equipment and provide guidance. It has the ability to change the way companies d o business,” Cooper said. Cooper said the class was also provided with better designed equipment for creating vacuums and an instructional book titled “Review of Vacuum for Service Engineers” that was originally created in 1959 and revised in 2020. “It’s very interesting. They really went back to the beginning to foundational knowledge to provide the basis for this new technology,” Cooper said. “It allows us to understand how the app works and what goes into the app, so we know it is working correctly.” Hunt said a major need in the HVACR industry was a method to train technicians to evaluate if equipment is functioning at full capacity as intended by designers. “Without this type of

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equipment, we may not know if the unit is functioning efficiently. It allows techs to easily and efficiently determine if the unit is performing at full capacity,” Hunt said. Hunt noted that the Arkansas HVACR Association is committed to working with college HVACR programs across the state because they provide the best opportunity for not only training the next generation of technicians, but also for providing continuing education to current industry professionals. The organization formed the first Instructor’s Council in the state to provide an atmosphere where HVACR educators can freely give and receive instructional advice, feedback, and support. Cooper is one of the inaugural members of the council. “You don’t have many opportunities to be the first. Brad took this opportunity to be among the first in the state to start the Instructor’s Council to collaborate with other instructors to provide consistency in HVACR education across the state,” Hunt said. “He is one of the most passionate people in the state for doing his job and providing this type of instruction.” Hunt said the association provided a class for instructors to “train the trainers ” led by HVACR industry guru Jim Bergmann focusing on diagnosis and commissioning with measureQuick. Cooper completed the program and will now be able to provide training to

HVACR contractors currently working in the field. “It’s a great way for contractors to be connected to the college and receive the higher level of training in commissioning and diagnosis that they need,” Hunt said. The training format has been so well received, Hunt said the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory provided an endorsement for the program. The PNNL is a leading center for scientific discovery in chemistry, data analytics, and Earth science, and for technological innovation in sustainable energy and national security. “They said it would be a great model for the rest of the country, so Arkansas is leading the charge in providing that higher level of training to technicians ,” he said. For more information about ASU-Beebe programs, call (501) 882-3600, or visit the website at institution of the Arkansas State University System. With campuses located in Beebe, Heber Springs, Searcy, Little Rock Air Force Base, and online, ASU-Beebe offers associate degrees, certificates, and non-credit training for business and industry. Arkansas State University-Beebe is an operationally separate, two-year

To contact the HVACR program … Brad Cooper

HVAC Instructor 1800 East Moore Searcy, AR 72143 501-207-6221

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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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units require 14 based on the old rating methodology. This is too complex in narrative form. Let’s look at a chart.


SEER 2 ?? Are we going backwards? No, is not a new rating. It is a new way to rate and that generates a new rating. OK, semantics. January 2023 brings a new generation of equipment that must comply with EPA’s new method of rating. In the past, the ratings were calculated based on 0.1 IWC static on the fan. The new standard uses 0.5 IWC . Don’t know about you but I never realized that. In fact, how it was ever set on the 0.1 is a mystery? It was based on a lab test. I assume that it did not have an evaporator coil or ductwork. I don’t know but it created an unrealistic set of data. Someone woke up and said, “This is crazy” Wel l, maybe they did not say that; but, they did realize that 0.5 was much closer to real life and that a static pressure of 0.5 would result in a higher cost of operating the fan. That would then result in a lower EER / SEER. Thus, we have a new method of rating — SEER 2. It’s the new SEER 2 rating that requires a higher rating to achieve the goal of reducing the cost of operation. We learned to live with new ratings for many years — from 10 to 12 to 13 to 14. The new old fashion method of rating now requires a SEER of 15. But not exactly. That applies to AC and heat pump systems smaller than 45,000 Btu. For AC systems larger or equal to 45,000 Btu, it requires 14.5 based on the old rating method. All AC package

The old, “legacy”, SEER methodology is listed under SEER. The new methodology, SEER 2, is listed in the next column. The SEER 2 is less because it takes the higher, more realistic, fan pressure into account. You’ll also notice that Heat Pumps have a different level. OK, OK, OK!! This is no big deal except for one “CAN OF WORMS” and it is a big one. The transition from legacy to new; i.e. SEER to SEER 2 is based on date of install, not date of manufacture. This means any equipment that does not meet the new levels of efficiency cannot be installed after January 1, 2023. Big Problem. Here is my suggestion to avoid getting stuck: • Eliminate ALL pre-SEER2 stock before 2023 • Submit bids for pre-SEER2 stock only if they can be installed before 2023 • Have an equipment up or out clause for jobs that are close to 2023 This transition is fraught with potential bites in the backside and you must be aware and careful not to get stuck with equipment that you cannot install.

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Arkansas HVACR Programs Receive Recognition To recognize the important role of two year colleges in providing education and opportunities for the HVACR industry, the Arkansas HVACR Association provided banners of support to 12 of the 17 programs. These programs are participating in the Instructor’s Council, a voluntary organization of HVACR instructors dedicated to improving their programs by sharing ideas with the other members. The goal is to provide skill based, competency assessed instruction for the students and a well- qualified applicant for the contractor. Without the Instructor’s Council, instructors and programs operate in silos, frequently feeling they are all alone. Even though they work along- side of other technical trades, the HVACR industry is unique requiring a knowledge of high and low voltage, psychometrics’ , refrigerant pressures, plumbing, air flow, gas furnaces, heat pumps, building design for load calculation, duct design, and indoor air quality. It is a complex field and being able to vet and share ideas is very helpful. The Council members share ideas and successes. No need to

reinvent the wheel. Just learn and share with others. Eleven of the programs are participating in the Association’s “Residential Commissioning : The Arkansas Model ” with classes offered to their regular students as well as local contractors. The goal is to help designers, installers, and techs verify the equipment as installed is operating to manufacturer’s stated capacity and efficiency. Not all systems as installed operate to maximum capacity. It is a matter of taking the extra steps to test, assess, adjust, and verify. It provides greater comfort and lower utility bills. This is an extension of the “Train the Trainer” program sponsored in part by the Occupational Skills Development and the Energy Office in October. According to Hunt, Executive Director of the Association, “W e welcome the cooperation and partnership with the Instructor’s Council and their programs. We’ll have a better trained student and applicant and the consumer will benefit from greater comfort, lower utility bills, and safe operating systems.

Rebate Programs & Incentives

2021 Energy Efficiency REBATES

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Kirk’s Corner New year, new company

Looking ahead

As we welcome 2022, I wanted to inform you that we are now part of Summit Utilities, Inc. Though we are under a new company, the same great rebates remain. Rebates to help you sell Our rebates help your customers save on the price of high-efficiency equipment and help you close sales. By submitting a qualifying residential rebate, you'll receive a $50 check at the end of each quarter. • Heating system rebates : Your customers can receive up to $600 for forced-air furnaces — and receive an additional $50 when you install a qualifying smart thermostat at the same time. We also offer a rebate of $1,500 for a condensing combination boiler or a combination 95% furnace plus tankless water heater installation. • Water heater rebates: Your customers will receive $500 for tankless water heaters and rebates up to $200 for tank water heaters for residential and small business installations. We also offer a $1,500 rebate for a combination 95% furnace plus tankless water heater installation.

To ensure that your customers are receiving the best possible deal — double-

check with your manufacturers to see if they have rebates available in addition to our great high-efficiency rebates. Additionally, it is never too early to begin submitting rebates. We look forward to having another successful year working with you. For more information about natural gas, contact Kirk at

Trout Fishing in Arkansas

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Insurance Risk Transfer

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

I hope you all have had a great start to 2022! It is no secret that Auto Insurance Rates have been increasing in recent years. There are several factors behind these increases from higher claims costs to more distracted drivers, but the fact is rates are increasing and we don’t see that changing very soon. We want you to reduce those insurance costs as much as possible, and the best to do that is to eliminate or decrease your number of accidents. Anytime you have a vehicle over the road, there is the risk of an accident. Nothing you can do can eliminate that entirely, but there are several things you can do to mitigate that risk. Having the right people behind the wheel is one of the most significant. A driver’s past driving record is one of the best indications of their future driving performance. Statistics show that drivers with two or more accidents or violations in a three-year period are 2.5 times more likely to have an accident

than a driver with a clean driving record.

With that in mind, establishing clear Driver Guidelines and pulling each drive r’s Motor Vehicle Record (MVR) is a key element for any business to decrease their risk of an accident. Driver Guidelines can (and should) vary from industry to industry, company to company, and even employee types within an organization, but the elements of each should be fairly consistent. Those include requirements such as a valid driver’s license, age and experience requirements, and Driving History Standards. Driving History Standards can also look very different, two of my favorite ways to structure these standards are: • Creating a Point System where each violation is valued with different points based on severity, and each driver with a total sum of points at or above a set number is not allowed to drive or not hired. • Splitting Violation Types into Categories and allowing a certain number of violations in each category or zero in the most severe category.

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We recommend pulling MVR’s both pre hire as part of the screening process and regularly throughout the course of your driver’s employment with your company. Pre-hire you can have candidates sign a waiver allowing you to pull their MVR for them or you can ask them to bring a copy of their MVR with their application. I hope you all have a safe 2022 and would be happy to help you establish Driver Guidelines for your company. If I can answer any questions please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, please let us know if you have any questions! Nick Hall, CIC Sr. Risk Management Advisor Cross Pointe Insurance Advisors, LLC 12410 Cantrell Road, Suite 200A Little Rock, AR 72223

Need to Save Money and Get Great Service? Now may be the best time to review your commercial insurance: General Liability, Workers Compensation, Vehicle, Building, etc.

Travis Hill……………....(479) 424 -4918 Nick Hall…………………(501) 680 -1186 Cash McMillin…….….(501) 581 -1176 David Hoffmans…….(501) 90 8-2395 Association Members Receive 10% Discount What is Saint Patrick ’ s Day? Saint Patrick ’ s Day is celebrated to honor Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland. It is believed that he brought back hope to Ireland and converted Pagans to Christianity. His name is associated with many legends, one of them being that he drove the snakes from Ireland. Another is that he used Shamrock to explain the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He is also credited with establishing many churches, schools, and monasteries.

March 17

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News

seen multiple compressor failures and replacement made without recognizing the cause for failure. Most often, compressor failure is related in some way to inadequate air flow. We have heard it ad nauseam, must perform a Manual J. The only instance where a Manual J can be repeated without additional inputs is when the home is repeated in similar orientations Appropriate Manual J-

HVAC Air Flow Performance

Part Five of Five-

Tom Turner, Air Evangelist

As the last installment of a Five-part series, we will summarize all we have discussed in the previous Four articles.

Plug and play hardly describes the trade of HVAC but too often equipment is replaced or installed with little more than a cursory review. Like for like does not happen often. Each time we install new HVAC equipment, we can bet the capacity of

equipment is different, regardless of the nominal tonnage marked on the package. The only incident where we can treat the HVAC system change out, as a plug and play operation, is when same generation equipment is replaced, and the charge was initially weighed in. We must also remember there is a reason the initial equipment install failed. As you can see, we should treat every installed unit as the new piece of equipment with an assessment prior to installation. We have

in a new subdivision with new construction. This of course it includes similar shading orientations. Every home is different, and we must realize that complexity of construction materials and their implementation in differing areas by different builders who have totally different views on construction. We must investigate every home and what went in it when it was built.

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News

In the state of Arkansas, we will seldom see this type of equipment selection criteria. Here high humidity is ever present, even in winter. For efficiency purposes we generally focus on a 75- degree dry bulb indoor, 63-degree wet bulb indoor temperature and a 95-to- 100-degree ambient temperature dependent upon location within the state. Please be careful to note heat pump performance in the winter on your Manual J. Some higher SEER heat pump products lose substantial capacity below 35 degrees. You may have to slightly oversize the cooling capacity to meet wintertime requirements, or you may need to find another brand or type of heat pump to deliver the necessary capacity for heating at lower ambient temperatures. Some inverter heat pumps offer performance to below zero.

Manual S adjustments for equipment-

Selecting equipment is an important part of the installation process. The capabilities of the installed equipment are when dependent upon ambient temperature, indoor wet bulb temperature delivered CFM fan setup selection. When we select equipment without regard of these factors, we guarantee the equipment will fail to provide the solutions we seek. The attached table gives examples for indoor dry bulb temperatures of 70 degrees, CFM settings for either 800 or 900 with an ambient temperature of 100 degrees. From these setting we would guess the system is installed somewhere humidity levels are low and daytime maximums are high. We must never forget to investigate where the condenser is located. If on the roof of an apartment building, we should probably move to a higher temperature demonstrated across the top of the chart.

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News

Pressure. New testing criteria will now require performance testing at 0.5 External Static Pressure to more accurately reflect the conditions that meet real time installed systems. Correct fan settings as required by manufacturer- The manufacturer understands air flow through the air handler or furnace, and it is up to the contractor to ensure those air flows are accurate at installation. Read the information supplied by the manufacturer for setting up fan flows accurately. If return statics are above 0.1 add more return air and or filter surface. If supply side statics are above 0.3, we must adjust the distribution system either by adding more supply air or reconfiguring the distribution if our rooms have the necessary duct sizing. Never adjust fan speed to lower static pressures as this can lead to inefficient equipment and or premature mechanical failures.

Adequate grill area for cfm-

As discussed in a previous section, return air or cold air returns remain at top the list for providing a chokehold on HVAC performance. The formula is simple. Required CFM divided by 2. 1200 CFM = 600 square inches of grill area Low restriction filtering is the second only to the above paragraph. One-inch filters should be abandoned immediately if you advertise as an expert on indoor air quality. Media filters several inches deep are required to keep air flow efficient and evaporators clean. Where delivered CFM of equipment is above 1200, more than a single filter of any type must be employed to keep static pressure low for efficient fan loads and noise levels.

Transition for airflow across the entire filter surface is a must, as air will not flow beyond a 22-degree arc. Anything greater and portions of the filter will not be utilized, and static pressure will be driven higher consuming more energy and creating more noise. Manufactures understand the issue and testing criteria for new equipment is about to change. Previously, testing criteria held the manufacture to test at 0.1 External Static

Appropriate plenum design with adequate surface area for tapping air supply-

Poor plenum design is rated third on contributing to poor air flow. Never change direction of the air flow less than 18” from the evaporator . If the coil case is substantial longer than where the top

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News

or end or the evaporator terminates, this length can be added to the 18” required prior to changing direction. At the end of the plenum, we must employ the use of rebound zone for terminate plenums or a reduced trunk on extended plenums. This keeps velocity up so once the distribution branches take over the air will have enough energy to move through the terminal device (register) effectively. 20” x 20” plenums in lengths of 4’ ( 1.5 tons) to 8’ (5 tons) nomi nal capacity is needed to provide enough surface area for tapping ducts. Properly configured and sized duct for the correct cfm and velocity- Over sizing duct will increase the chance of running out or air and lowering the velocity so air just trickles out the duct and never makes it to targeted ceiling, walls and windows. Under sizing ducts will place pressure against the fan either causing an old fan to slip in the air stream or a variable speed fan to use more energy and become noisy during operation. Correctly placed registers that target the proper placement of air- Terminal device (registers) placement is extremely important. Air flow above 50 feet per minute should never push against a perpendicular (wall) surface. We must utilize the insulation in the ceiling and walls as a buffer against ambient air temperatures. The low energy air during cooling or high energy air during heating, loads the insulation to push back ambient temperatures. It is good to remember high sidewall delivery with sidewall grills are the most efficient method to distribute air. Curved blade

grills that keep the air high against the ceiling is the second preferred method of delivery. Whenever possible abandon perimeter duct systems as they do not deliver air as efficiently or effectively as does the interior to exterior methods. This is particularly true in cooling dominate climates. A system where the refrigerant charge is weighed in- As a last point, nothing saves more time than weighing in a charge on a new installation, whether new construction or replacement. If evacuation procedures are followed and the charge is weighed in, chance are minimal you will have a callback at the address. Most install issues are charge related. By utilizing the process, you can rest assured the charge is correct and not due to an issue of temperature or pressure.

Your job is not an easy one. Poor performance of installed equipment proves the fact time after time. Make your job stand out with duct systems that allow the equipment to deliver air as the manufacturer intended. If you do, you will have more business than you ever believed possible.

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NWTI Business & Industry 709 Old Missouri Rd., Springdale, Arkansas 72764 Michael Dewberry: 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 Carroll Chism: 3000 West Scenic Drive, NLR 72206 Robert Dixon : 501-812-2200 UA Monticello / Crossett 1326 Hwy 52W, Crossett, AR 71635 William Campbell : 870-460-2010 (501) 977-2053 UA Pulaski Tech 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. 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 Brad Cooper: 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

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News

Low-Voltage Wiring for Heat Pumps Emily Gutowski HVAC voltage-wiring-for-heat-pumps/ Time and time again, low-voltage wiring gets the better of HVAC technicians everywhere. Sure, the wires are color-coded, but that doesn't mean they're easy to understand. On top of that, schematics sometimes look like ancient tablets written in hieroglyphics or something. But that's where HVAC School comes in. There is a new 3D animation video on the YouTube channel showing how the low-voltage electrical circuit works and how it's wired. You can watch it below, but we're also going to go over the same information in this article.

to go over the same information in this article. Before we can begin to understand low-voltage wiring, we have to know how to read the wiring diagrams and understand what each component type does. Schematics show how components are connected and whether connections are normally open or normally closed. These connections are at switches, which are power- passing devices that don't consume power but merely allow it to move. Normally open switches do not allow electricity to flow through, as the circuit is incomplete. A normally closed switch would allow electricity to flow because there is Switches and contacts

Brushing up on basics

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

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a path; it's like a drawbridge that allows cars to cross a river. There are many types of switches in low-voltage wiring, but a basic switch symbol will consist of two circles and a line. A normally closed switch shows that line connecting both circles. On the other hand, a normally open switch will have a line extending from one circle without making contact with the other.

You'll also see contacts in schematics, especially on relay connections. These may also be normally open or normally closed. As with switches, when contacts are

Every type of switch will contain two circles and a line to show whether they're normally open or normally closed. For example, a pressure switch looks like a basic switch symbol but with a bell shape extending from the bottom. A thermal switch has angled squiggly lines underneath, and a float switch has a circle extending from the bottom.

normally open, there is no path for electricity to flow through.

HVACR NewsMagazine March 2022

Tech News


In simple terms, loads are the parts of the circuit that actually do something. They take the power and transform it into some other kind of energy. (For example, a lightbulb is a load that takes electrical energy and converts it to heat and light energy.) Unlike switches, loads consume power when they operate. Examples would be the reversing valve solenoid and the contactor coil. On schematics, a load may look like a coil or a line that goes up and down between two circles (as you'll see in the contactor coil example below). In the case of the contactor coil, the contacts up top are the switches, and they are normally open. Because they are normally open, there is no path for electricity to reach the equipment, meaning that the compressor and condenser fan can't turn on. When a call for Y sends 24v to the contractor coil and energizes it, the electromagnet pulls the contact in, creating a path for electricity to go out to the outdoor components.

Thermostat wiring

The cool thing about thermostat wires is that they tend to be mostly color-coded. That is, G matches up with green, O matches with orange, etc. However, each wire has a specific function when it comes to low- voltage wiring. Here are the functions we typically use on a thermostat for a heat pump (colors are in parentheses):

• R H : constant 24v power for heating mode (red)

C: common (blue)

Y1: contactor (yellow)

G: blower (green)

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• O/B: reversing valve in cooling mode (usually orange; dark blue on Ruud or Rheem systems) • W2: auxiliary heat, backup heat, or heat strips (white) • ACC+: dehumidification (black) In this case at least

and purposes, the transformer is where our 24v power comes from. A transformer is designed to take 230v from the power company and drop it to 24v. So, 230v comes in on the primary, and 24v goes out the secondary. Although power transfers from the primary to the secondary, the two don't actually touch; they interact electromagnetically. After 24v exits the secondary, it goes to the integrated circuit board at SEC1 and SEC2. When 24v power leaves the transformer and goes to the integrated circuit board, it goes through a 5-amp fuse and powers the R terminal on the thermostat. We can configure the float switch to break R or Y when it trips. When the float switch opens the circuit by breaking R, 24v power shuts off to the thermostat AND the condenser defrost control because the wires to the thermostat and defrost control are kept together under the same wire nut. The defrost board needs constant 24v power to run its timer and logic. That is where the trail begins... Breaking circuits on R and Y

The electrical circuit

Now that we know a little bit about the low-voltage wiring of a heat pump, let's go into the electrical circuits. We will explain how transformers work, how float and pressure switches can break power on certain terminals, and how the defrost board and thermostat are connected. The source of all power: the transformer Maybe that heading isn't TOTALLY accurate. After all, solar panels and fossil fuels exist. But for our intents

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Blower on G

If the float switch breaks Y instead, then power can't access the contactor coil, meaning that it can't pull in the contactor. Without pulling in the contactor, an electrical path cannot be made to the compressor and condenser fan. As a result, those critical components fan can't run. The Y circuit also goes in and out of the high-pressure and low-pressure switches before it even reaches the contactor coil. As with the float switch, if either of those pressure switches open, Y would break, and the system would not run. The white wire that goes to the W terminal on the thermostat also goes to the W terminal on the defrost board from the terminal block, which is a junction point within the air handler. When the backup heat kicks in, a signal also travels to the defrost board, which allows the defrost board to back feed and bring on heat strips, too. In other words, both the thermostat AND the defrost board have the ability to bring on the backup heat. Auxiliary heat on W

The G terminal supplies constant 24v power to the blower motor. If the fan setting is set to ON instead of AUTO, there will be 24 volts of electricity going to the blower motor at all times. Common feeds directly from the secondary of the transformer to the thermostat wire and the defrost board. We need common because it's the path back to the transformer; without common, we wouldn't have a complete circuit, and the heat pump wouldn't work. The orange wire goes from the thermostat to the terminal block near the transformer and then to the condensing unit, where it can energize the reversing valve solenoid. When we use the ACC+ terminal for dehumidification, the wire runs right from the thermostat to the DH terminal on the terminal block. The blower can't come up to full speed unless the DH terminal is energized. Common on C Reversing valve on O or B ACC+ for dehumidification

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Preparing the wires

touch, but they shouldn't be exposed past the wire nut.

Getting the wires all ready for operation will take some practice, but it becomes easier with time. You'll want to make sure that you avoid nicking the conductors and that you have plenty of bare conductor space to work with (but not too much). Stripping back the outer jacket of the thermostat wire is the first step, and it's a deceptively tricky task. You'll need a quality wire stripper for best results. In any case, you start by making a cut at the top and then peeling the jacket back. When you've exposed enough of the wire, you can cut the peeled part of the jacket off. Be sure to cut the tips of the wires as well to get rid of any possible nicks you may have made when cutting into the jacket for the first time. Those nicks can lead to issues in the low-voltage wiring, including shorts and opens. Then, you can remove the outer wire to expose the conductors. Do this carefully, and try to get roughly the same amount of conductor exposed across all the wires. When it's time to put the wire nut on, the bare conductors should all be able to

Likewise, if you're hooking the wires up to the terminal block, you will want the bare conductors to make sufficient contact without being exposed outside the terminal block. When you have too much bare conductor exposed, you risk causing a short circuit by making contact with another wire or metal object.

Short vs. open

"Short" is one of those words that seems to have lost its meaning in recent days. In many cases, people will refer to any type of electrical

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problem as a "short," but that's just not how it is. A short is a specific condition that happens when the circuit is shorter than it should be. For example, if two wires rub out against each other and touch where the bare contacts have been exposed, they will draw high amperage due to the circuit being shorter than intended. That is the true definition of a short circuit. In cases where shorts occur in circuits with fuses, the amperage may be high enough to cause the fuse the blow. When the fuse blows, it breaks the circuit so that electricity can no longer flow through and potentially cause a dangerous situation. An open circuit happens when there is an incomplete path, such as in a case where a conductor is severed entirely. You can think of an open circuit as being similar to a switch that prevents electricity from flowing through a circuit. (However, in most cases, open circuits are unintentional.) Improperly stripping back the wire jacket can cause you to cut the conductors. In extreme cases, a

conductor may come apart and cause an open circuit.

Wire routing best practices

Routing your wires cleanly and properly is perhaps the best way to prevent short circuits. Short circuits happen when conductors are allowed to chafe or rub against other nearby objects. So, when you're routing your wires outside of the air handler, you'll want to use the proper grommets to prevent the wires from rubbing out against the metal cabinet. It also pays to be mindful of metal stud work when routing wires between the air handler and thermostat. Some of those penetrations are sharp and can damage the conductors, which may eventually lead to short circuits. The same principles apply to the high-voltage wires inside the condenser panel. It's a good idea to keep the wires neat, routed through proper grommets, and kept out of the capacitor's and contactors way. In both the low-voltage and high-voltage wiring, you also don't want there to be too much slack in the wires, if possible but also not under pull out tension.

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Inside the condenser, you'll also want to make sure that the wires aren't rubbing against the copper tubing, compressor, or reversing valve. It may help to use a zip tie to keep certain wires together and prevent them from loosely hanging around. When running control wires out of the condenser, you'd also be wise to run them through conduits to avoid damage from landscaping tools like weed-eaters. Low-voltage wiring is a delicate and sometimes confounding thing that we all have to deal with.

But it doesn't have to live up to its challenging reputation if we get the basics down, understand what the wiring really accomplishes, and take measures to protect the conductors from damage.

“ Just because I understand how to maintain heating & cooling systems in the world ’s biggest buildings doesn ’t mean I understand the tax code ”

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Click Here to Access Craig ’ s Website

Craig Migliaccio

to the Tech Table

Great news!! Graig Migliaccio is the newest contributor to the Arkansas HVACR NewsMagazine. Craig ’ s newest book, “ Refrigerant Charging and Servicing Procedures for Air Conditioning ” , is thorough but simple to understand with lots of full color pictures. It is perhaps the best publication out there for supplemental use by college training programs. Additionally, it is super for contractors building their own training programs. In fact, it would be a big help to installers and techs for self improvement. Craig is licensed in New Jersey as a Career and Technical Education Teacher of HVACR, sheet metal, and building maintenance. He is also the owner of a HVACR contracting business with over 16 years of experience. “ Refrigerant Charging and Service Procedures for Air Conditioning ” also has an accompanying workbook and quickguide cards making referencing to training easy in the field. In addition to the content, two of the great things about the book is the large print and large colorful pictures. It just makes it user friendly. We encourage you to access the plethora of Craig ’ s information available at You can view his videos on YouTube and read over 50 articles on the website. In addition you ’ ll find the following:

Super Heat Calculator

• • • •

Refrigerant Weight Calculator

CFM Calculator

PT Chart

• Drawings for Electrical Training Board • Even a Quizz Section for Those Wanting Re-inforcement of their training. As you can see, Craig Migliaccio is a busy man, dedicated to training which makes him a natural addition to the Arkansas HVACR Association NewsMagazine. You ’ ll find his articles reprinted in future issues and we extend him our greatest thanks for sharing his information and experience.

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Problem #1: The Flare Size is too Small

10 Reasons Why a Mini-Split Ductless Flare May Leak Refrigerant!

· At the end of the copper tube, the surface on the flare face must be big enough to take up the full amount of space inside the flare nut. The reason for this is so that the tube's flare face entirely covers over the seat of the flare adapter. This will give you the best chance at sealing this connection point. · If the tube flare is not very wide, it will only cover half of the connection point and will barely seal the joint. · The flare may accidentally be made too small if the flare block is not tight enough. If the block is not tight enough, the copper tube will slide while you are trying to make the flare. Use the rod that comes with the flare block to tighten the block as hand tightening may not be sufficient.

On a mini-split ductless system, two copper tubes are needed to transport the refrigerant. These copper tubes are referred to as the line set and they connect the indoor head unit to the outdoor heat pump or condensing unit. Two flare connections are needed at the indoor head unit and two flare connections are needed at the outdoor mini-split unit. Things to consider: · A standard system has four flare connections while a multi-zone system has more flare connections for the additional indoor head units. · The pressure of the refrigerant in the system will be anywhere from approximately 100-400 PSI depending on whether the unit is in heating or air conditioning mode. Therefore, it is essential to have all the flare connections correctly sealed so that refrigerant does not leak out of the system. Listed below are the ten most common reasons mini-split flares may leak.

Problem #2: Over-Tightening the Flare Connection

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Problem #4: No Refrigerant Oil on the Flare Face

· This could be caused by using adjustable wrenches that are too large. If the wrenches are too large, you will not feel when the joint is tight and you will easily over-tighten the joint. · Over-tightening can cause the threads of the flare nut and adapter to become stripped/de-threaded. · This causes the flare face inside the nut to be crushed or cracked. · Over-tightening may cause the tubing inside the flare nut to spin, which scratches the flare seat or flare face so that it no longer has a good seal. · Always use a torque wrench when connecting mini-split lines. The mini-split manufacturer’s installation literature should list the correct amount of foot- pounds that the connections need to be tightened to. Each manufacturer's required foot-pounds may be different.

· A small amount of refrigerant oil or Nylog Blue (which is compatible with all refrigerants) should be applied to the flare face before tightening the connection. · Make sure that oil or Nylog does not get onto the threads of the flare as this will act like a lubricant. This may cause you to accidentally over-tighten the flare or to strip the threads on the nut or the flare adapter. · You don’t want to get the Nylog Blue inside the tubing as it may clog strainers if it is pushed into the system by the refrigerant. · Carry a small container of POE oil, PVE oil, mineral oil, or other comparable oils with you if you choose not to use Nylog.

Problem #3: The Cone is Scarring up the Flares

Problem #5: An Incorrect Flare Nut is Being Used

· This may be due to the fact that refrigerant oil was not added to the cone of the tool before flaring the copper. · It could be because the cone itself is bad or rough. · An eccentric flaring tool would likely be the best tool to avoid scarring the flare face. This is because the cone of this tool has the least amount of surface contact while forming the flare out of any tool.

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