AHR Las Vegas is a success

HVAC product exhibit halls were busy with people at the opening day Jan 31, 2022. It was great to connect with industry leaders and talk business.

Team ACI with our friend from Denver

Big manufacturers like Johnson Controls, Carrier, and Daikin had large booths with the latest equipment. They were packed with mask wearing engineers and contractors. We had no fewer than 20 different meetings with factory reps outside of the expo and in. No where else can I go and get that all done expect to AHR!

Plus it’s Vegas, so you get free Chihuly art!
Minus5 Bar with Rick and Anthony
Nice equipment stands look big in person!

#ahrexpo #hvac

Baby, it’s cold outside

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944 and popularized in the 1949 film Neptune’s Daughter, says Wikipedia. Dean Martin made it great, and now John Legend makes it modern. I love this old school image below.

Dean Martin film image Courtesy of Genius.com

But that’s not the point, I am talking about staying warm inside with air distribution and how we make buildings feel great. We have Price Industries linear slot diffusers to separate cold windows from work spaces; smart, high performance heat pumps that far outperform electric heaters, like 3 to 1 better, and big fans that push warm air down from the ceiling in a large building. It is fascinating stuff, how a machine can effectively make you quietly comfortable. Take Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle for example:

Look closely for one of the three Big Ass Fans at Climate Pledge Arena
Zoomed in view of the PowerFoil fan that is 26 feet in diameter!

Heat rises, the air molecules are lighter than cold air because they are farther apart from each other. When you get the warm air circulating with cold air, life gets better for the occupant. Even though it’s cold outside we at ACI Mechanical and HVAC Sales know how to use science to make people comfortable!

Why trade shows and trade meetings matter

I am always learning new things from others in the HVAC business. For example, at the SMACNA Annual Convention this week I learned a lot from Steve Taylor. He is probably one of the smartest engineers in our business. He balances practicality and energy savings with high building performance. Here is a slide from the conference where he aggregates the real causes of COVID transmission:

The words are smaller related to their actual transmission effectiveness, from Steve Taylor PE, Taylor Engineers

The summary: Vaccines work, and keep your distance if you can. Also, adding lots of outside air to a building really does not have any effect on transmission! This was a surprise to me, but his explanation of the science proved it.

My point of this blog is two fold,

1. If you don’t go, you don’t know. I was not expecting to learn what I did from Steve Taylor.

2. Relationships matter, we all know it, but going and talking with others in our commercial HVAC business helped all in attendance. Thanks SMACNA for an outstanding event.

Bob and Keith in their ACI Mechanical uniforms!

#smacna #hvac #taylorengineers #acimechanical

Core Values come up again – No Excuses

Core values at ACI Mechanical and HVAC Sales

Jay Rifenbary, 2017 Vistage Speaker of the Year, gave his 695th presentation to my Chief Executive group at a retreat this past weekend. His focus was on Core Values, and having no excuses for accountability and balance in your life and your career.

Good stuff!

Positive review on growth in PNW, despite costs

Cle Elem river in Suncadia

Growth is happening at a quick rate in the Pacific Northwest. Natural beauty is all over the place. It costs more to live here, but people want to be around the mountains and water.

Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Boeing, and a host of others want to be where high quality employees can be found. We have seen high costs in construction, yet the work keeps coming.

Hermanson Commercial Construction Cost Index Q3 2021

Supply chain disruptions and steel prices contribute to the higher prices here, and expectations are the increase level off. My friend who leads a large retailer supply chain group says it might not get better until 2023!

At least I get to work through these problems in a beautiful place.

Mt Rainier from the road to Paradise

Supply chains and privately held companies in HVAC

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Who knew months ago that supply chains would be disrupted in HVAC the way we see today? It is not just HVAC. I ordered a replacement car last month for my leased car ending December 2021. The new car won’t arrive until December! Good timing.

Most of the factories we represent at ACI Mechanical and HVAC Sales are privately held, and had fewer product availability problems, than publicly held firms. In my opinion it is because private companies Like Loren Cook Co. and Price Industries are not afraid to have real inventory on hand. We stocked up on Gree Mini Splits and VRF last year, and it is paying off with customers buying our products, in part because we simply have the products on hand! We just sold out of all of our 50 foot line sets, just because we had them.

Gree Mini VRF In Stock
Gree and Kinghome on hand

We like to follow the old saying “You cannot sell from an empty wagon”.

Simply better in person

HVAC applications are often complex. Solving them in person is far more fun than over email or Teams. Our Portland office celebrated with an Open House on July 13th with over 170 guests in attendance. Face to face problem solving and relationship building!

Photos from ACI Mechanical Portland Open House

We had a featured speaker from the Oregon Energy Trust, teaching on changes in the Oregon Energy Code. Many manufacturers taught on their latest products for comfort and efficiency by design.

Some of my favorite photos included or stand-in Mark Trader, away for his Honeymoon with new wife Katie!

Mark Trader, Katie and Brian Wolford

#hvac #Fans #energyefficiency #heatpumps

Finally back to near normal-let’s celebrate!

Six months ago we gambled by setting a July date for ACI Open House events in Portland and Seattle. You know…the kind where we shake hands, talk about products and projects, and frankly just connect in person. It looks like the right decision!

Seattle opens up “fully” on June 30th. The city celebrated 70+% vaccination rates, the first US City to make it.

If you are in Seattle or Portland during the week of July 12-15th stop by and say hello!

Inflation in HVAC Products is real

I have worked in the HVAC Products business since 1988, and never once time have I seen the inflationary pressure than this year. Look at this three year graph of cold rolled steel:

reference fred.stlouisfed.org

Some of our manufacturers have issued three price increases within five months. Normally increases look like 2.5% to 4% in one year. Now we are seeing 10% + increases on products made of steel. For customers it is a real challenge, and for us it becomes an exercise in extra tight communication with our contractors to keep them ahead of the increase curve.