Blogs

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It's National Energy Awareness Month. And since we all know that heating and cooling systems are the biggest consumers of energy, this is an opportunity to share with your customers how they can save some money but upgrading to more efficient equipment. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy families could save up to 25% on utilities by taking a few energy efficient measures. So, that leads me to the question in the title...where does your state stand...in terms of energy efficiency?  Recently, the personal-finance website WalletHub released its report on 2018’s Most & Least Energy-Efficient States. To gauge the financial impact of doing ...
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Forgive my rant, please. But can we talk about the flu? It’s just October and apparently we’re already knee-deep in influenza. Prevention is key. So, here’s what the CDC says to do to Fight the Flu . Basically the CDC suggests getting a flu vaccine, avoiding people, washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and taking meds - basically all that stuff we learned when we were elementary school age. Yeah, yeah, I do all of that stuff and more. Yet here I am; congested, dizzy, wrapped up in extra blankets, nursing hot tea, and feeling like someone dropped a window unit on me. This sucks! And it’s probably ...
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An ACCA Member Asked: I work with a company out of Winston Salem, NC, and I had a quick question regarding the 15% oversizing limitation prescribed by ACCA. Basically, I want to know what the reasoning is behind the 15% number and just how strictly it should be followed. We have multiple scenarios when the sensible capacity of the equipment is not sufficient for the sensible load of the structure, yet the 15% total capacity rule says otherwise. There are also cases where the 15% rule is impossible to satisfy, such as a load calling for 19,500 BTU's. The only next step up would be a 2 ton system, but the oversizing exceeds 15%. I am curious due to a recent ...
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On October 10, ACCA’s Board of Directors held its fall meeting at ACCA’s headquarters in the Washington, D.C. area. This was my first meeting with the entire Board of Directors as the new/Interim President and CEO of ACCA. I’m excited about the future of ACCA, which is led by this tremendous group of volunteers who take time away from their families and businesses to lead the nation’s premier association of contractors. I thought about this quite a bit yesterday, particularly what it means to be a trade association for contractors. When I think about ACCA my default it to think of it as an organization based in D.C. But, ACCA is much more than that. We are ...
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Coinciding with ACCA’s fall Board Meeting, I had the pleasure to introduce ACCA Board Member, Martin Hoover, of Empire Heating & Air Conditioning in Decatur, GA, to Speaker Paul Ryan’s (WI) office. Mr. Hoover leads ACCA’s Advocacy and Political Action Committee, which helps ACCA set our public policy goals and raise money to help transform our priorities into accomplishments. We met with the Speaker’s Assistant for Policy (Energy & Environment) to build on past discussions about two of the HVACR industry’s policy goals: ratification of the Kigali amendment (which phases out certain refrigerants) and promoting quality installation practices. For anyone ...
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On September 26, ACCA sent a letter to every Member of the House of Representatives supporting a second round of tax reform.   The tax reform bill that President Trump signed in 2017 was a great first step in helping small business owners. However, more needs to be done for small businesses – contractors in particular. The “Tax Reform 2.0” being considered in the House consists of several pieces of legislation (bills), including the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act and the American Innovation Act. These bills are important for small business because they make permanent the tax deductions for small businesses allowing them to be more competitive. ...
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Are you taking advantage of the HEAT Act provision that was included in the tax bill? Use this handy infographic to help commercial customers understand what tax reform means for the HVAC system.
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Be Prepared

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As Hurricane Michael is bearing down on the gulf coast and the panhandle of Florida, ACCA wants to remind its members that we have resources to help you prepare and to help you help your customers after the storm. You can access our resources at  www.acca.org/members/disaster-relief . We are thinking of our members in the areas that will be affected by this monstrous hurricane and will be checking in with you once the storm has passed to ensure that you, your team, and your business are safe.
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Facebook says in September, attackers were able to get into and take control of about 50 million accounts, as if they were the users in charge of those accounts. Those users’ personal information or PII, including “names, email address, recovery email accounts, telephone numbers, birthdates, passwords, and security question answers,” were exposed. But the company has not said yet if any of the accounts were actually taken over and used, and if so, for what purpose.  Watch out for imposter scams. With access to your Facebook account, hackers can get a lot of information about you. That information could be used to impersonate people you know or companies ...
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Are You Using the Right Online Tools To Reach The Most Customers?Are You Using the Right Online Tools To Reach The Most Customers?Since the early part of this millennium, social media has dominated and consumed people’s daily lives. From the early days of MySpace (you haven’t forgotten your best friend, Tom, have you?) to the current Juggernaut Facebook, businesses cannot deny that a serious online presence is necessary to succeed. The real question is, are you investing your efforts in the correct places? In 2016, Pew Research Center performed a survey on social media use among U.S. adults online. I’m sure you are not surprised that the results showed the King ...
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You may recall the approved Tax-reform bill that Congress passed changes in 2018. Although you receive a little more in your pay check each pay day, these tax cuts and the Jobs Act changed the way tax is calculated. You may need to do a “pay-check” checkup to determine if you need to make changes with your tax withholding now and in 2019. The IRS encourages everyone to perform an IRS pay-check checkup to see if you have the right amount of tax withheld for your personal situation. You can review your withholding situation by going to www.irs.gov/payments/tax-withholding .
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Energy Efficiency Day is this Friday October 5. To help our members share the word, we created a few images that you can post on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets. Just right click on the images below and click "Save Image" to download them. The hashtag to accompany your social media post is #EEDay or #EEDay​​2018. Feel free to tag ACCAs pages in those posts so we can like and share them. Let us know if you need any tips for social media pages.
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Every week I find myself scouring websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my outlook contacts trying to track down an email address. Some companies make it exceedingly difficult for people outside of their network or in front of their paywall to track down e-mail addresses of staff members. My first week at ACCA I had to track down the email address of the CEO of a major home services company, and it took me 3 days and dozens of calls to finally get the contact for the CEO’s Executive Assistant. If I hadn’t been trying to impress my new employer I would have given up. I’m certain that most people have had experiences with this. Thankfully, I know some really savvy ...
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ACCA is supporting efforts to push the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to amend its Proposed Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness Rule that was published in the Federal Register on July 30, 2018. While the proposed rule lessens the reporting burden for businesses with 250 or more employees by not requiring employers to electronically submit their OSHA 300 (Log of Work Related Injuries and Illnesses) and 301 (Injury and Illness Incident Reports) forms annually, it does require them to still submit their OSHA 300A forms (Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illness). Even with the decreased reporting burden, ACCA believes the rule does ...
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On September 25, 2018, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors met to discuss a proposal that would have prohibited individuals who drive company vehicles from parking their vehicles on public streets overnight. This was a significant concern for ACCA members because thousands of professional technicians and licensed contractors in Northern Virginia drive their company vehicles home every night, which is a sought-after benefit for many. Prohibiting technicians from parking their work vehicle on the street would have required, for example, a technician who lives in Herdon, VA and works for a company in Lorton, VA, to drive as much as two hours just to get to ...
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We’ve been blogging for several years now on the passage of laws involving both medical and recreational marijuana laws in the states and District of Columbia. Here is a summary of where the rules on cannabis stand today.   In 1996, California became the first state to enact legislation allowing the use of marijuana. And, most recently, on January 22, 2018, Vermont joined twenty-nine other states, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico allowing for the comprehensive use of some form of marijuana in the United States. (For a map and detailed discussion of State Medical Marijuana Laws, including programs allowing for drug use, ...
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On September 12, 2018, New Jersey’s state Senate introduced new amendments to the New Jersey Marijuana Legalization Act, teeing it up for passage and enactment shortly down the road.   The bill, introduced back in June of this year, legalizes adult recreational marijuana use in New Jersey. It will allow for possession of up to 1 ounce of dried marijuana, 16 ounces of edible cannabis product, and 72 ounces of cannabis in liquid form.   The proposed amendments to the bill are mostly technical in form and do not change employers’ rights and obligations.   Employers do not have to allow or accommodate the use, consumption, or possession of cannabis in ...
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An ACCA Member Asked: A service tech is called to repair a walk-in cooler. It’s low on refrigerant, and the data tag calls for R-12. The customer says that the refrigerant was just changed by someone else, but he doesn’t know what alternate refrigerant was used. What should the tech do? ACCA's Glenn Hourahan Answered: Apparently, the equipment leaks. Enough so that some other stuff was put in … and now even more is needed because of continued leaks. IF the customer is adamant that some non-CFC-12 alternative was put in (generally a bunch of propane alternatives are being touted as CFC-12 dropins) then the technician should recover the entire charge and replace ...
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A member asked us:   From what I can understand, we are only obligated to pay our techs from when they start at their first job and when they end their last one – correct? Does it differ whether they leave from the shop or they leave from home?   Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds:   This is a question we often get from ACCA members, and it’s a good example of how the federal Fair Labor Standards Act can often be confusing. The issue has to do with how we define when work “starts” and “ends.” Driving straight to the first job is the same as driving to the shop—it’s commuting time and need not be compensated. However, if the tech first ...
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A member asked us:   What determines when a service tech’s pay starts and stops? Is it when he leaves his house? When he arrives at the jobsite?   Adams & Reese’s Brooke Duncan responds:   Time is compensable whenever the time being expended benefits the employer.   Driving in a company vehicle from home to worksite is compensable if doing so benefits the employer at all — for example, if the employee uses the time in the vehicle to receive assignments or otherwise conduct company business, or if it benefits the employer for the tech and his vehicle to go straight to the site instead of first to the shop.   Riding as a passenger in ...
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