Sometimes simple control is better

Penn A19BBC-2 line voltage thermostat

The KISS method is one of my favorite acronyms, keep it simple stupid. It is not about insulting a contractor about their knowledge, it’s about making things easy. Decades ago the PENN electric switch company, bought by Johnson Controls in the 1980s, made a line voltage thermostat that required no outside power to operate. No internet of things, no calibration or BSME required to operate it.

We needed an thermostat to operate a Loren Cook Gemini exhaust fan to remove hot air in a lobby where we installed a condensing unit. The VRF unit is inside for demonstration purposes and when the training room need a lot of cooling we need to exhaust the heat outside. The Penn thermostat simply turns on the fan when the room gets above 78F. Simple 120V one wire current interruption when room temp is OK, engages when the room gets hot. So simple!

Gree Condensing unit with Price Industries exhaust grille connected to Loren Cook exhaust fan
The finished product installed

Recognition for a job well done

Engineered Systems magazine article photo

Congrats to the ACI Mechanical and HVAC team for their recognition as an Ambassador of Energy Efficiency. The award comes from engineers and contractors recognizing the contribution that our team has made. Recognition is my love language, just ask my wife Margaret!

We love helping building owners save energy, and our mission statement “Helping Building Thrive” says it in three words.

Selling products from stock works

Reznor unit heaters in Portland on our shelves

“You can’t sell from an empty wagon”, said Bob Nichols, the owner of Allied Refrigeration in Long Beach, CA told me when I was a young sales engineer at Johnson Controls. It was 1989 and I was blown away with this distributor’s high value, high service model. Bob passed in 2012, but his words stuck with me.

Part of the 40,000 square foot warehouse in Seattle

Thirty years later, as I get to make decisions with our leadership team about how to service customers, it is clear to me that being a hybrid manufactures rep and commercial HVAC distributor works. We increased our on-hand inventory over $1M as supply chain disruptions ran up the lead-times for products. It turned out to be a great idea to buffer longer lead-times with real on-hand products. We are selling more of nearly all of our products because we actually have it.

Thanks for the tip 33 years ago Bob!

#hvac #supplychain #customerservice

3 easy tips to solve HVAC air distribution problems

Cold office workers are everywhere!

We at ACI Mechanical solve cold office worker problems for our contractor and owners all the time. Here are 3 tips to make a difference for cold work spaces.

  1. Change the airflow patterns of diffusers and grilles

Many ceiling diffusers or grilles have the ability to be adjusted or closed down. Many designs have maximum airflow rates that are over designed for actual building usage. Facility engineers (or you with a ladder) can reduce the total airflow directed toward occupants. Change the diffuser from a fixed style to adjustable to have a choice.

Price Industries diffusers have adjustable controllers

2. Install VAV Diffusers to control local zones without extra wiring

We installed a 10″ neck Acutherm Thermafuser in a small conference room at ACI Mechanical in Seattle, changing the room from freezing cold to a perfect 72 degrees. It took a ladder, a new Panduit strap to connect the existing flex duct to the new diffuser, and an Thermafuser to solve the problem. It was a 10 minute installation, before picture shown:

A ladder and a simple diffuser replacement
This conference room is no longer cold!
Acutherm by Price Industries Thermafusers

3. Use Preheat strategies on thermostats and building controls for morning warm-up

We use our Verasys building control system by Johnson Controls to preheat the building at 5am, before the first worker arrives at 5:30am in Seattle. This gives the three rooftops the ability to “catch-up” from a weekend of unoccupied setpoints.

Verasys smart building hub connects to JCI equipment, smartphone image superimposed

Changing the way air flows in a building can make a difference for occupant comfort all year long. It is worth the time and effort!

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

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

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!