Increasing Your Market Share With New Product Availability
Whether you’re new to hydronics or a seasoned veteran, recent technology advancements in the arena of tools, piping & fitting materials, controls, and appliances have made installing a hot water based heating system faster and easier.
I’m of the opinion that there needs to be a more “universal” or “appliance-like” approach to assembling a hydronic heating system that brings us closer to a standard installation and farther from the “Frankenstein-like” piping arrangements that often intimidate new owners or caretakers of systems.
For some time now “Preassembled Pump/Control/Piping Panels” have been made available by various manufacturers. The main objective here is that the preassembled units offer time savings on the job through proven piping arrangements and already tested equipment. Just order the configuration needed to satisfy the project at hand, include the desired controls, and attach to the heating plant. Voila! Your mechanical room-in-a-box will have you collecting more profit and providing your clients with a working, logical system that functions properly the first time.
Innovations In Piping Materials And Fitting Technology Available
Whether you live in an area where black iron piping is more of the norm than copper tubing, in recent years the popularity and availability of press-type fittings has changes the way we do business.
Steam is not king here in the Midwest, therefore copper tubing will be found on nearly all hydronic systems. This has brought about the use of copper press fittings for both near boiler and distribution system piping; allowing for huge time savings during installation and repairs. Of course the initial investment in tools is considered a roadblock for many, but the payback is immediate with the first press of a button through time savings and the ability to do more in a day. If your go-to process still has you warming near frozen tubs of flux and hoping you have enough solder in the truck to make your next repair, then you’re behind the times.
The same can be said about iron pipe installations. With new technology, manufacturers have already marketed the tools necessary to install iron press fittings rated for low pressure steam, hot water, gas, and fuel oil. Leave the gargantuan threading machine and oil bucket at the shop. Save the backs of all your installers; pressing iron pipe will get them in and out much faster, allowing the possibility of scheduling additional work each day or cutting the time allotted for installation by as much as 60%.
Another consideration in the field of piping and hydronics would be PAP, or PEX-AL-PEX. Whether called by its manufacturer’s given product name or simply PAP, it is simply PEX tubing that incorporates an aluminum layer in the mix that provides an oxygen barrier and expansion and contraction rates as close to copper tubing as you’ll get in a PEX material. Don’t discount the opportunity it affords you and your team to save labor through faster installations.
Jobsite Labor Savings Is Great, But
To bring the whole project full circle, and provide the best possible end product to your customer, boiler and/or system controls have to be at the top of the list. For the less experienced let me just say right now that at this point the idea of installing a standard water heater as the heat source has been totally ruled out. Even the most simple hydronic systems require the proper, purpose engineered heat source to operate efficiently, and last for an acceptable lifecycle. Non-space heating domestic water heaters need not apply.
The quickest way to create comfort and efficiency would be to incorporate Outdoor Reset Control (ODR). ODR simply monitors outdoor temperatures and resets, or adjusts the supply water temperature to the system. This mode of operation affords for minimal energy usage, and if applied properly to just about any system it creates happier homeowners and building owners with lower utility bills. ODR has been in use for decades and with today’s modern equipment it is often built in as part of the boiler control.
I’ll be the first to say I myself continue to learn new things everyday about hydronics and running a business. The point I’m trying to make in this forum is that there are many facets to making our installs and repair projects run a little smoother. Whether it’s taking the leap and investing in new tools and materials to increase daily production or taking advantage of control packages that increase your projected job acquisition there is always room for improvement. If you’re new to the hydronic market and simply looking to make the move to increase your market share there are some exciting new product innovations available that will help you become successful.
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