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August 2023

2J Supply Newsletter

2J August Newsletter - HVAC Industry Updates & Exclusive Promotions!

Welcome to the August edition of the 2J Newsletter! Stay up-to-date with the latest industry news, product innovations, and exciting promotions to boost your HVACR expertise. Join us at The Evacuation and 454B Refrigerant Summit, and don't miss our exclusive LG Package Deals and Dunkirk boiler promotion! Discover how IoT is revolutionizing HVAC and explore the benefits of Forane® 32 refrigerant. Read on for insights that elevate your HVAC business to new heights!


Court Scraps EPA Cylinder Rule: A Victory for HVAC Contractors and Cylinder Manufacturers

In a significant win for the HVACR community and refrigerant cylinder manufacturers, a recent decision by a federal appeals court has overturned the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rule that aimed to enforce the use of refillable refrigerant cylinders and QR codes for tracking purposes.

On June 20, 2023, a panel of judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit voted 2-1 to strike down the EPA's regulation. The ruling came as a relief to three HVACR trade organizations and Worthington Industries Inc., the sole domestic producer of refrigerant cylinders, all of whom had taken the rule to federal court. The opponents of the regulation argued that the EPA had overstepped its authority by mandating the use of refillable cylinders and QR codes, pointing out that this move would place an unjust burden and added costs on the HVACR industry.

In a statement following the court's decision, Andy Rose, President, and CEO of Worthington Industries, expressed his gratitude, saying, "We applaud the D.C. Circuit's decision, which ensures that Worthington can continue to provide American-made, reliable, safe, and affordable cylinders that are critical to the domestic refrigeration industry, while recognizing EPA's authority to advance our shared goal of phasing out certain potent greenhouse gases. We encourage EPA to accept the decision and quickly take steps to comply with the Court's directive."

The overturned cylinder rule, initially scheduled to take effect in 2025, was part of the EPA's broader plan to phase down the usage of HFC refrigerants, which are known to be potent greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. The EPA had justified its regulatory action by citing the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020, which authorized the gradual reduction of HFC usage.

The court's ruling comes as welcome news for HVAC contractors and technicians, as it preserves their flexibility in using non-refillable refrigerant cylinders and eliminates the need for QR code tracking, which would have added complexity and costs to their operations. Furthermore, with Worthington Industries being allowed to continue providing domestically manufactured cylinders, the HVACR industry can rely on a stable supply of reliable and safe equipment for refrigeration purposes.

While this decision marks a victory for the HVACR trade organizations and cylinder manufacturers, it also showcases the ongoing importance of the EPA's role in overseeing the reduction of greenhouse gases. As the HVAC industry continues to adapt to evolving environmental regulations, it remains vital for stakeholders to collaborate with regulatory bodies and work towards sustainable solutions that benefit both the environment and businesses in the sector.

Introducing the RUTGH & RUTG Series: Tankless Gas Water Heaters with Proven Reliability and Modern Design

Ruud® is thrilled to unveil the latest generation of its RUTGH Series Super High Efficiency Condensing and RUTG Series High Efficiency Non-Condensing tankless gas water heaters. Building on the trusted performance that both plumbers and homeowners have come to rely on, this enhanced tankless line now comes with a sleek modern design, offering not only reliability but also aesthetics.

Deible indoor/outdoor model, making it perfect signed with installation flexibility in mind, the RUTGH Series boasts a field convert for tankless replacements and new construction installations. For those opting for the RUTG Series, universal venting options effortlessly replace other tankless brands, making it an ideal solution for new residential builds. Additionally, the RUTGH Series and RUTG Series boast a smaller and lighter design, streamlining the installation and servicing process even further.

RUTGH Series - Condensing Specs:

  • High Efficiency: Enjoy high-efficiency water heating with up to 0.93 UEF (Uniform Energy Factor).
  • Integrated Digital Display: Gain access to diagnostic information for confident installations and easier service calls.
  • Outdoor Conversion (RUTGH Series): Simplify your inventory with one product that can be installed either indoors or outdoors, thanks to an available outdoor conversion kit.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: Stay informed with real-time service alerts and control your water heater from anywhere using the EcoNet® Mobile App (available on select models).
  • Industry-Leading Clearance Requirements: With only 1/2" side and front clearance needed, these tankless water heaters fit snugly in closets and other tight spaces.

RUTG Series - Non-Condensing Specs:

  • High Efficiency: Benefit from high-efficiency water heating with up to 0.82 UEF (Uniform Energy Factor).
  • Integrated Digital Display: Access diagnostic information for easy installations and service calls.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: Stay connected with real-time service alerts and control using the EcoNet® Mobile App (available on select models).
  • Flexible Venting Options: Universal venting options make replacing other tankless brands a breeze.

Key Line Features:

  • Super High & High Efficiency: Both the RUTGH Series and RUTG Series offer remarkable energy efficiency with up to 0.93 UEF and up to 0.82 UEF, respectively.
  • Integrated Digital Display: The built-in digital display provides diagnostic information, ensuring confident installations and easier service calls.
  • Outdoor Conversion (RUTGH Series): Enjoy the flexibility of installing one product indoors or outdoors, simplified by an available outdoor conversion kit.
  • Integrated Wi-Fi: Stay connected with your water heater through the EcoNet® Mobile App, receiving real-time service alerts and enjoying remote control capabilities (available on select models).
  • Industry-Leading Clearance Requirements: With only 1/2" side and front clearance requirements, the RUTGH and RUTG Series can fit into closets and tight spaces with ease.

Ruud continues to lead the way in innovation and efficiency, providing HVAC contractors and homeowners with top-notch products. The RUTGH and RUTG Series tankless gas water heaters combine proven reliability with a contemporary design, catering to the evolving needs of the industry and ensuring a consistent supply of hot water for all. Upgrade to the RUTGH and RUTG Series for superior performance and aesthetic appeal.

HVAC Training and Education

Promoting Workplace Safety: Preparing for and Navigating OSHA Inspections

At 2J Supply, we understand that the safety and well-being of every employee are paramount. Workplace safety is a fundamental right, and as part of our commitment to the HVAC contractors community, we aim to provide valuable insights on how to ensure a safe working environment. The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), plays a pivotal role in monitoring workplace safety and enforcing compliance with safety standards.

For over 50 years, OSHA has been issuing rules and guidelines, known as standards, with the goal of improving workplace safety. To ensure adherence to these standards, OSHA conducts thousands of workplace inspections and audits each year. These inspections are the primary means through which OSHA identifies safety hazards and unsafe practices in workplaces.

In recent times, workplace safety has received heightened attention, with President Joe Biden directing OSHA to double the number of compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) and increase safety audits across the country. Despite some delays due to the COVID-related government shutdown and employee furloughs, employers should be prepared for unannounced OSHA audits to increase in the coming months as the directive continues to take effect.

Preparing For an Inspection: While employers have little control over when or why an OSHA inspection occurs, they do possess significant control over the outcome. Although internal company safety audits are not mandated under OSHA regulations, they prove to be one of the best steps employers can take to prepare for an OSHA inspection. By conducting thorough and regular self-audits, companies can identify and address workplace safety hazards and unsafe practices well in advance of any OSHA visit. Regular safety reviews, ideally conducted on an annual basis, enable employers to rectify deficiencies and hazardous conditions proactively. Monthly safety committee meetings further reinforce the importance of maintaining a safe workplace.

Ensuring that required OSHA posters are prominently displayed and that records, such as OSHA 300 logs, 300A summaries, and 301 incident reports, are kept current can help avoid common recordkeeping violations during audits. Likewise, keeping up-to-date training logs, equipment inspection records, and health/safety policies allows for a comprehensive response to any document requests made by CSHOs during an audit.

The Inspection Process: OSHA audits typically commence with an opening conference, during which the CSHO explains the reason and scope of the audit. At this time, the CSHO may request relevant safety documents, including 300 logs, Form 300A, and Form 301. Other documents, such as written safety programs, employee safety training notes, and a list of chemicals on-site, may also be requested. If the inspection is in response to a workplace injury, documents related to the incident and relevant equipment may be sought.

Throughout the inspection, a management representative should accompany the CSHO at all times. In situations where the inspection is a response to an accident, the employer representative can limit the review to the specific work area and relevant equipment. If the CSHO insists on inspecting other areas, cooperation may be advantageous, assuming the employer's self-audits have ensured a safe and compliant workplace.

Employee Interviews: Employee interviews are common in OSHA workplace inspections. Employers are encouraged to prepare employees for potential interviews while also informing them of their right to refuse to speak with the CSHO. Employers, however, may not direct employees to decline interviews. Preparing employees ensures accurate statements and prevents unintentional admissions due to a lack of understanding. Management representatives are not allowed during employee interviews, but witnesses may have company counsel present. All witnesses should be informed that they are not obligated to sign any statement prepared by the CSHO, but they may request a copy if they do so.

The Closing Conference and Appeal Process: After the on-site inspection, the CSHO holds a closing conference with employer representatives, where findings, proposed citations, and potential penalties are discussed. Management representatives should request the factual basis for any proposed citations and provide clarifications if necessary. In the event of an imminent danger identified during the inspection, the employer must take prompt action to address the hazard.

Following the inspection, an employer has 15 working days to file a written contest or appeal of any citation issued. It's also advisable to request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, which can sometimes lead to reduced penalties. However, such conferences do not extend the 15-day appeal deadline.

By regularly prioritizing workplace safety, employers can be well-prepared to navigate OSHA inspections successfully. Ensuring a safe working environment not only complies with OSHA regulations but also upholds the rights of every employee to work in a secure and protected setting. At 2J Supply, we encourage HVAC contractors to prioritize safety, foster a culture of compliance, and be proactive in protecting the well-being of their workforce.

The IoT Revolution in HVAC: Unlocking Efficiency and Profitability 

According to Zion Market Research, the global smart HVAC control market is set to reach a staggering $28.3 billion by 2025, highlighting the transformative impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on the HVAC industry. With the integration of IoT technology, contractors are experiencing remarkable advancements in managing HVAC systems across residential and commercial settings, leading to improved efficiency and increased profitability.

The Benefits of IoT-Enabled HVAC Solutions The incorporation of IoT in HVAC systems empowers manufacturers, contractors, and end-users with real-time monitoring and predictive maintenance capabilities. IoT sensors play a pivotal role in detecting potential issues before they escalate into major outages, ensuring timely service calls, reducing unnecessary truck rolls, preventing equipment failures, and facilitating compliance with energy efficiency requirements. Furthermore, the IoT paves the way for new revenue streams and value-added services, elevating the overall value proposition for both contractors and customers.

Here, we delve deeper into the top five applications of IoT in HVAC:

  1. Preventative Maintenance: In the past, HVAC contractors predominantly responded to issues reactively, waiting for customers to report outages and request service. Additionally, they relied on time-based preventative maintenance schedules, which often led to inefficiencies and high costs. With IoT sensors in place, contractors can now adopt a more condition-based approach to preventative maintenance. Real-time data from HVAC systems is sent to a cloud-based platform, allowing contractors to remotely assess performance and diagnose potential problems. Armed with this knowledge, technicians can proactively reach out to customers, dispatch the right personnel with the necessary tools and parts, and resolve issues swiftly and efficiently in a single visit, thus saving time, effort, and costs.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Legacy HVAC systems lacked the ability to monitor energy efficiency in real-time, making it challenging to make timely adjustments to power consumption. IoT sensors provide instant access to usage trends and weather predictions, enabling HVAC systems to regulate indoor climate control optimally and minimize energy waste. This connectivity also positions HVAC systems as essential components of IoT-enabled smart grids.
  3. Remote System Monitoring and Control: IoT technology has revolutionized remote system monitoring and diagnostics. Through smartphone apps or web portals, homeowners, property managers, and contractors can access detailed insights about the HVAC system's status. Real-time data, including pressure, vibration, temperature, and fault tolerance, enables technicians to make accurate assessments without being physically present on-site.
  4. Regulatory Compliance: Meeting regulatory compliance requirements can be cumbersome for HVAC businesses, often involving manual checks and extensive paperwork. IoT-enabled HVAC systems simplify this process by recording and saving real-time data, which can be converted into compliance reports effortlessly, streamlining the compliance verification process.
  5. Recurring Service Plans: IoT opens new possibilities for recurring service plans. Contractors can proactively monitor and manage HVAC systems, only scheduling service calls when necessary, thereby offering a true hardware-as-a-service model. Additionally, IoT facilitates the provision of real-time data to customers, allowing them to monitor energy consumption, receive energy-saving tips, and even have remote control capabilities, all of which can be bundled with service contracts to create new recurring revenue streams.

In conclusion, the Internet of Things has ushered in a new era of efficiency and profitability in the HVAC industry. Embracing IoT-enabled HVAC solutions empowers contractors with the tools to optimize performance, prevent disruptions, and provide top-notch service to their customers. At 2J Supply, we recognize the transformative potential of IoT in HVAC. We are dedicated to supporting the HVAC technician community in harnessing innovative technology to elevate their businesses to new heights of success.