HVACR Business

MAR 2014

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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HVACRBUSINESS.Com 18 HVACR Business m a rc h 2 0 1 4 The RighT hVAC/R Tools CAn DRiVe FielD PeRFoRmAnCe Are you performing as effciently as possible using the right hVACR tools? T he typical goal of HVAC con- tractors and their customers is to extract maximum perfor- mance from installed equip- ment. This makes sense — it's a good investment, right? This usually equates to expending the least amount of energy necessary to satisfy the customer. Equipment perfor- mance might also relate to effcient use of space or low noise levels. You want to obtain the smoothest operation and highest effciency possible. Or, you fol- low this process: right size, appropri- ate equipment, correct installation, and proper commissioning. If good processes yield good equipment performance, then good job-related processes should yield high productivity, or good feld performance. Let's take a look at a contractor's work processes as they relate to the tools that are used. Are you performing as effciently as possible with the right HVAC/R tools? Are your tools and techniques fast enough to get the job done as effciently as possible? Fast comes in many favors: let's cover a few below. Physics on your side: A major vacuum/recovery unit manufacturer has spent years teaching the market that the proper use and right set-up can make all the difference. I am talking about valve core removal tools, large bore hoses, and proper fttings, which can dramatically decrease the time to achieving low micron levels in an AC/R system evacuation. This saves techs time while performing a thorough evacuation. What's funny here is that all of these vacuum principles were explained in a book that was born the same year I was. I think we are now rediscovering the Lost Art of HVAC/R; more on this in a future article. Wi-Fi, Wi-not? I've seen a lot of wireless, headless, separate-able, WiFi and BlueTooth® related products come out in the last 10 years. I was a skeptic at frst, but now I am fully convinced these are not gimmicks or fads. Manufacturers are paying attention to customers needs for more robust designs, longer wireless ranges and simpler set-up. In addition, multiple measurements (humidity, airfow, line temperatures, etc.) can be tied back into a main unit, providing richer information and even system diagnostics and troubleshooting. Tangle Tamer: Wireless probes and remote displays eliminate the need to plug in, manage and protect the cords and plug ends on many probes and instruments. You can now place the business end or probe where it needs to be and the display or screen in the most convenient viewing spot for your multimeter, multifunction IAQ instruments and visual inspection scopes, among many other tools and meters. saving steps: Remote system monitoring saves you time and frustration on the job site. Things have advanced so rapidly, for example, you can now operate the controls or thermostat yards away from the outdoor unit while watching system temperatures and pressures on your Smartphone. Wireless readouts and controls have also hit the building performance market. These game changing attributes are not without controversy. Search the popular "boards" to see the most recent market reactions. Form-ula for success: Well-organized contractors know the power of good data. Data to show "as found" and "as left" characteristics may save your asterisk in civil or criminal court someday! Plus, many utility and state energy programs are looking for very specifc data on forms in order for customers and contractors to receive rebates or fees. The last thing you want is to have paperwork hold up payday. Many digital tools today can store or print data. And the more sophisticated ones actually interface with software programs to produce professional, detailed reports. Today's Internet savvy, data-aware customers (both residential and commercial) are looking for the value in the services you perform. What better way to illustrate the value in your work than to produce a custom report that demonstrates the benefts you bring. A wave of new product systems that work directly with "the cloud" are now coming down in price and have broader availability. Hitting the right combination: As the manufacturers rack their development brains to provide differentiation and unique selling points, I have seen a trend toward product combinations. Many manufacturers are now either employing contractors or conducting surveys to determine what designs will be most benefcial. Multi-use step-saving tools save time and frustration on the job site. By Bill sPohn, cEO and cO-OwnEr Of TruTEch TOOls, lTd

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