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Earlier this month I had the privilege of joining Hill College President Dr. Pam Boehm, Hill College Dean of Community and Workforce Education and  ACCA Secretary and Treasurer Stephen Pape, former ACCA Chairman Steve Lauten, Executive Director of the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association (TACCA) Devorah Jakubowsky, President of TACCA Nick Watkins, as well as a number of business owners, educators, students, and community leaders for a  roundtable discussion with Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) on workforce and the skilled trades. The event was hosted by Hill College at their technical center in Cleburne, Texas which houses their HVAC and welding ...
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When we think of Amazon Prime Day, we often think of blockbuster deals and one-of-a-kind special promotions. Unfortunately, many cyber criminals use this as an opportunity to create hundreds of fake domains using the words “Amazon” and “Prime.” According to the Better Business Bureau, customers must be vigilant during Amazon Prime Day as fraud experts claim that 2,300 new website domains have been registered within the last 30 days with the intention of impersonating Amazon. In fact, this number marks a 10% increase from the previous Amazon Prime Day in October of last year. As today marks the first day of Amazon Prime Day, we want to remind you to stay ...
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If you have not had the chance to visit the Quality Assured (QA) Contractor Directory , you should! It provides a place for HVACR customers, builders, contractors, and raters to find a Quality Assured (QA) Program Accredited contractor. All QA contractors are licensed, registered, and insured. They are also eligible to install HVAC systems for construction projects that follow the  ENERGY STAR® Certified Homes requirements . Builders and home energy raters often use the ENERGY STAR® website to find our accredited contractors for HVAC installation projects. When our users send requests for information to contractors through our directory, it helps you set yourself ...
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At the direction of the Codes Subcommittee, ACCA will be submitting a Public Comment opposing the rejection of ACCA’s proposal to revise the International Residential Code (IRC).  As reported in my blog last January, our proposal would require the installation of pull-down stairs to access equipment or appliances located in attics for servicing. The proposal exempted attics that already have existing appliances. ACCA’s reasoning was that although the IRC specifies an attic access opening to be sized for the largest equipment, it does not require a permanent secure access to the attic, which is needed for personnel and consumers' safety. During its “virtual” ...
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Last week, Representative Peter Welch of Vermont and Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland introduced H.R. 3456 and S. 1768, the HOPE4HOMES Act of 2021, in the House and Senate respectively. This important legislation would boost the HVAC-R industry through a two pronged approach, promoting both workforce development (HOPE), as well as the purchase and installation of energy efficient equipment (HOMES). This legislation would provide $500 million in grants to training organizations, HVACR businesses and trainees, as well as State Energy Offices to supplement certified Home Online Performance-based Energy-efficiency (HOPE) trainings. Qualified ACCA trainings ...
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During recent “virtual” meetings, proposals to revise the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials’ (IAPMO) Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC) were considered by the UMC Technical Committee (TC).  This code change cycle will result in the publication of the 2024 UMC. Promising news from the above meeting includes the approval of proposed revisions to add comprehensive coverage for A2L refrigerant use in home comfort systems.  Last year, a special A2L Task Force met many times to develop consensus-based proposals for the coverage.  ACCA participated in these meetings to ensure that the interests of our membership were represented to keep contractors ...
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Yesterday Congressman Roger Williams (TX-25) introduced the Incentivize Residential Energy Efficiency Act,  which would make the Section 25C residential energy efficiency tax credit permanent. Section 25C provides homeowners a tax credit of 10 percent, up to $500, to offset the cost of energy efficient equipment, including HVAC systems. As such, it helps drive business for contractors and is one of ACCA's legislative priorities . It is currently set to expire at the end of 2021.  In his press release , Congressman Williams cited ACCA as a supporting organization. You may recall that October of last year, Congressman Williams introduced legislation to make ...
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A member asked us: My company is a dual-shop with a portion of my employees operating under collective bargaining agreements. I am looking at requiring my employees to get the now-widely available Covid-19 vaccination before returning to work. Is this permissible? Hilary Atkins, ACCA’s General Counsel, responds: The Coronavirus pandemic has spawned a lot of questions—and a lot of headaches—for employers, who within the past year have needed to adapt to rapidly changing health, regulatory, and technological landscapes. With the long-awaited arrival of a vaccine comes even more questions for employers: Can I require my employees to get vaccinated? Can I require ...
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A member asked us: Can you terminate an employee for falsifying the date that an injury happened? This is my dilemma:  The employee says the accident happened in March.  Two witnesses say it happened in December.  He reported the injury in July.  I have proof by time cards that this injury did not occur in the month of March.  It was impossible for it to occur in March.  The employee is not being honest and has filed a false claim. What is my exposure to risk? Brooke Duncan, from the Brooke Duncan Law firm in New Orleans, LA, responds: You should let your workers compensation carrier know that you believe a false claim has been filed, provide your evidence, ...
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As we have previously blogged, the Biden administration’s Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the Trump administration’s Jan. 6, 2021, Independent Contractor Rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The DOL’s decision was effective as of May 6. To recap: During the final months of the Trump administration, the DOL fast-tracked an Independent Contractor Rule that adopted a five-part test that purportedly clarified, as opposed to altered, the federal landscape with respect to classification of workers as independent contractors not subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (FLSA) minimum wage and overtime protections. The DOL’s newly endorsed test – which ...
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Yesterday the Air Conditioning Contractors of America urged leaders in Congress to support the Main Street Tax Certainty Act ( H.R. 1381 and S. 480 ), which would make the 20 percent deduction of  qualified business income (QBI) for small businesses under Section 199A permanent. The Section 199A QBI deduction was included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) as a way to provide greater parity between small businesses (also referred to as S-corporations or pass-through entities) and typically larger companies (referred to as C-corporations). While the tax cuts for C-corporations were made permanent, the Section 199A QBI deduction for small businesses ...
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This is a brief ACCA scorecard with observations on the first-ever International Code Council (ICC) “virtual codes hearing.”  For the past 3 weeks, the ICC has conducted Code Action Hearings (CAHs) on proposals for the I-Codes covering mechanical, plumbing, building, fire, and fuel gas, plus a few more.  Here are some of the highlights (and lowlights) from yours truly. A2L Refrigerants for Home Comfort Systems – Approved! Various proposals submitted by Daikin US and Chemours were approved with little opposition.  The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) were also co-proponents. ...
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Today ACCA took a step in addressing membership's #1 legislative priority (workforce) by urging Congressional leadership to support greater funding for the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (Perkins) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. The Perkins program is the primary source of federal funding for secondary and postsecondary career and technical education (CTE) in the United States. Historically it has been a very popular program that has received broad, bipartisan support. The grants distributed under this program allow students to receive real-world experience in the form of internships and apprenticeships on top of traditional classroom instruction. ...
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When your customers have homes that are cool but uncomfortable, a dedicated dehumidifier is a great tool to solve the problem. Unfortunately, if the dehumidifier is not ducted correctly, or the reasons for high humidity are not addressed, your customer could still be uncomfortable and will also have a higher utility bill.  Background: Dehumidifiers (DHU) produce dry air, but the air is warm, not cool. This is because DHUs have a compressor, evaporator, condenser, and fan. Air passes over the cold evaporator, creating condensate which runs down the drain. The cold, dry air leaves the evaporator then passes over the condenser.  In addition to heat absorbed ...
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Today Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Ranking Member Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the House Committee on Education and Labor announced the launch of a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which is the primary federal workforce development legislation in the United States. They held a bipartisan roundtable discussion to discuss challenges and opportunities associated with WIOA reauthorization. They specifically emphasized that the legislation needs to offer workers access to in-demand skills, like those needed to close the growing labor gap in the HVAC-R contracting industry among other trades. ACCA applauds both Representatives ...
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A member asked us: Under the federal labor laws, can we have our sales position be an independent contractor? The individual we have in mind would form his own company to handle our sales leads. He would provide his own car and have his own insurance. Our goal is for the company to be relieved of any liability regarding the individual’s driving, as his record is not the best. Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: The IRS and the U.S. Department of Labor are skeptical about independent contractor arrangements, especially when the contractor is performing a function that is integral to the business of the company engaging ...
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If an employee, particularly an hourly paid employee, receives and responds to e-mails and/or texts on his/her time after hours, is he/she required to be paid by his/her employer? Does it matter whether it is on a company-paid cell phone or his her/her own phone? Brooke Duncan, from the law firm Adams and Reese in New Orleans, LA, responds: The simple answers are yes and no. Yes, hourly workers should be paid when they answer emails, phone calls, texts, carrier pigeon messages, etc. on their off-time. No, it makes no difference whether the instrument is theirs or their employer's. Now, having said this, the U.S. Department of Labor applies what's known as ...
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A Residential Service & Installation (RSI) accredited contractor can submit projects to ACCA to obtain a Quality Installation (QI) Certificate. The Quality Installation Certificate verifies that an HVAC installation project correctly follows the ACCA QI 5 Standard . It is issued to contractors by ACCA for installing equipment that does not meet ENERGY STAR® efficiency requirements, but is industry recognized. To obtain the Quality Installation (QI) Certificate, an RSI accredited contractor must download the ACCA QI Mobile App and submit a project. Once a project is submitted, the ACCA Technical Services Department will review it for approval. Once ...
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Summary: Informal testing results from Trane show GFCI outlets or disconnects severely affect variable capacity equipment (ECM / brushless rotor motors / inverter technology) .  Single speed and two speed equipment has proven to be less susceptible to nuisance trips. This is good news, but much more work needs to be done. At its April 14, 2021 web-meeting, the ACCA Codes Subcommittee heard an update from a Trane Technologies representative regarding their internal investigation of nuisance trips related to various types of HVAC equipment installed with GFCI protection.  The occurrence of GFCI nuisance trips is becoming more widespread as more jurisdictions ...
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This week, ACCA urged Congress to support the Jumpstart Our Businesses by Supporting Students (JOBS) Act (S. 864/H.R. 2037). This bipartisan, bicameral legislation increases the flexibility of Pell Grants by extending eligibility to short-term job training programs which are in high demand. As you likely know, the skilled trades face a growing labor gap. The HVACR industry is no exception. It is estimated that 115,000 positions will need to be filled in our industry alone over the next 5 years. The short-term credentials highlighted in this bill can dramatically increase earning potential and help stem this labor gap. In addition to strengthening the HVAC-R ...
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