Saturday, September 26, 2009

Comfortech 2009

I had the pleasure of attending the Comfortech Conference in Nashville, Tennessee this past week. A national convention like Comfortech provides the opportunity to meet and talk with industry leaders from all over the country. I set out to pick as many brains as possible. The people staffing the booths impressed me not only by their level of expertise and experience, but also with their generosity. I found that everyone was very willing to talk with me. When I introduced myself as an air conditioning instructor their faces seemed to visibly brighten. They wanted to talk about what they felt was important to teach. The people in our industry want to help us, because they recognize the importance of education to their own success.

Whenever I attend a national show I always look to pick up ideas for teaching. Many of these companies need to teach their potential customers in order to sell to them. In a trade show they do not have a captive audience, so they must get their point across quickly. I saw a demonstration by the National Comfort Institute on air filters that was compelling, simple, and quick. They had a blower set up with return and supply plenums, an external filter rack, and adjustable manual dampers on the end of both the return and supply plenums. They adjusted the dampers to achieve a total external static pressure across the blower of 0.5” water column, measured with a magnehelic. They measured the pressure drop across the standard 1” disposable filter as 0.05” water column. Then they replaced the filter with a 1” pleated filter and the pressure drop across the filter increased to 0.5” - as high as the entire system pressure drop before! Emerson was showing off their new communicating controls. They had a condensing unit board that handled all controls and power switching, including the compressor. No contactor! A little box about 1 inch square was switching the compressor! Rheem was using these boards in their newest units on display. I have to stop now because if I described all the cool stuff I saw my blog might be as big as my book. There were over 160 exhibitors, each with their own lessons. You can still see a list of the Comfortech exhibitors by going to the site where you can get links to many of the exhibitor’s sites.

I believe each of us should try to attend at least one national level convention a year. Most national conventions have a showcase event for vendors to display their latest and greatest. These are typically either inexpensive or free. There you can see the latest equipment, tools, and technology and ask questions face to face. If you missed Comfortech, don’t despair, there are several others coming up soon. RSES has its Annual National Conference coming up October 27-31. The grand-daddy of all HVAC/R conferences, the AHR Expo, will be in Orlando January 25-27 2010. The AHR Expo is a joint venture of ASHRAE and AHRI. There are two conferences aimed at HVAC/R instructors: HVAC Excellence National Educator's Conference March 14-16 2010 in Las Vegas and AHRI Instructor’s Workshop in March 24-26 in Landsdowne Maryland at the National Convention Center. Although each of these shows targets a slightly different audience, they are all very applicable to what we do. If you come to either of the instructor’s conferences you might see me. I will be there.

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited to see AHR Expo back in Orlando. I took my whole class five years ago. It was HUGE. I went the first day by myself to scope it out, then took the students the second day. We will definitely plan the same this year.