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Last week President Biden announced a vaccine mandate that will affect roughly 100 million Americans. The order requires employers with more than 100 employees to either mandate vaccination of their employees or conduct weekly testing of unvaccinated employees. Similarly, President Biden has ordered that all federal contractors working on federal property be vaccinated by October 15, 2021, with no option for testing. The broader order affecting employers, which was handed down through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has not been finalized and OSHA has not released a precise timetable on when they expect the expect a finalized rule. ...
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The Standards Council of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has approved a Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) which delays the effective date for 210.8(F) in the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) until January 1, 2023 .  The above requirement mandates GFCI protection for outdoor equipment, including HVAC.  The delay only applies to variable speed HVAC equipment.  NFPA has published the approved TIA as shown here: TIA_70_20_13_-_GFCI.pdf    The above TIA was submitted by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, and narrowly focused on variable speed HVAC equipment, instead of all HVAC equipment as with other submitted TIA proposals that ...
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There’s been plenty of reasons for ACCA’s Allied Contracting Organizations (ACOs) to celebrate lately. They’ve been hard at work fighting for pro-contractor policies at the state level and have achieved a number of legislative and regulatory victories over the past few months. A few highlights are outlined below.  Michigan Air Conditioning Contractors Association (MIACCA) SB 60 was signed into law as Public Act 68 in July. This important legislation requires employers to attest to the mechanical work experience of mechanical contractor license applicants. Additionally, it provides for a reasonable work experience credit for those who go to school to learn ...
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The debate in Congress is continuing regarding two major infrastructure deals. The first is the bi-partisan physical infrastructure deal that would address physical roads, bridges, rural broadband, etc. This bill passed the Senate on August 10. While it does not directly increase business or income taxes, it does end the Employee Retention Tax Credit one quarter early and also calls for reclaiming unused COVID-19 aid funding. Passage of the bill into law is by no means guaranteed. It has been deeply contested in the house and its viability may depend on the passage of a separate “human infrastructure” deal, which is partisan and is being connected to the budget ...
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Last year, the refrigerant container industry agreed to make all containers one unified paint color instead of the myriad of colors previously used to differentiate the types of refrigerants. This was due to changes made to the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute's (AHRI) Guideline N: Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors . Last month, ACCA staff hosted a “Codes and Coffee” webinar that went over the changes and provided tips on avoiding confusion. Here is the gist of that webinar. Future Codes & Coffee webinars are planned on other timely subjects, so stay tuned! The Federal Cylinder Law The "law," or the U.S. Code of Federal ...
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Summary : ACCA and its members remain concerned about a new provision in the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) that requires GFCIs on outdoor equipment. There is growing evidence that currently available GFCI’s are creating substantial nuisance trips and call-backs, rendering the equipment virtually inoperable. Field experience has validated this concern and recently prompted the NFPA to approve a tentative delay of this requirement until January 1, 2023, but only for HVAC equipment that have variable speed compressors. A growing number of states are reacting to this situation by delaying or deleting this requirement in their own codes. NFPA Approves ...
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Last month the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing to discuss the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act (S. 420, H.R. 842). This legislation would prove harmful to employers and employees alike, as it would radically overhaul employment law in the United States in favor of labor unions. Some of the most harmful provisions include: Giving unions the power to demand employers not do business with other non-union companies Giving unions the sole determination over the manner elections are conducted—effectively eliminating secret balloting Eliminates workers’ rights to remove unions that have failed to adequately ...
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The 20 percent tax deduction for pass-through businesses, known as the Section 199A deduction, may be rolled back following a bill introduced by Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) last month. The Section 199A deduction, which was passed into law in 2017 as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) is already set to expire in 2025. Its purpose is to ensure greater parity between small businesses, including ACCA members, (referred to as ‘S-corporations’) and larger companies, (referred to as ‘C-corporations’). The latest push by Chairman Wyden could effectively bring an end to this important policy much sooner than 2025. With the 20 percent deduction under ...
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Last week, the White House announced that federal government employees and onsite contractors will be asked to, "attest to their vaccination status." Those who do not attest to being fully vaccinated will need to, "wear a mask on the job, physically distance from all other employees and visitors, comply with a weekly or twice weekly screening testing requirement, and be subject to restrictions on official travel." The Administration is also exploring how they might apply similar rules to all federal contractors, whether or not they are on-site. The press release also states the Administration will, "encourage employers across the private sector to follow this ...
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This week ACCA pressed leaders in Congress to support the expansion and permanence of the Section 25C residential energy efficiency tax credit. The 25C credit allows homeowners to deduct up 10 percent of qualified energy efficiency improvements (including HVAC systems) up to $500 with a lifetime cap (meaning that it can only be used once). This is an important policy that helps drive business for contractors. While the credit was renewed as part of last year's COVID-19 relief and appropriations legislation, it is set to expire at the end of 2021.   There are a number of ways that we believe the credit could be improved to the benefit of contractors and homeowners ...
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Earlier this month I had the pleasure of sitting down with Congressman Greg Pence (IN-6) to discuss several of ACCA’s legislative priorities including the skilled labor gap, energy efficiency tax credits, and the looming transition from HFC refrigerants to A2L refrigerants under the AIM Act (which includes EPA's proposed ban on non-refillable cylinders ). Congressman Pence expressed his belief in the importance of the skilled trades and more specifically that students should be made aware of the potential career opportunities in growing and in-demand industries like HVAC-R contracting. Congressman Pence represents Indiana’s 6 th Congressional District, ...
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Summary:   As the result of investigations of two separate tragic explosions the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommends methane detection systems and reference standards be made part of future codes. In a June 17, 2021 letter to Dominic Sims, CEO of the International Code Council (ICC), the NTSB has recommended that the International Fuel Gas Code (IFGC) incorporate requirements for methane detection systems for all types of residential occupancies with gas service .  The recommendation states that, at a minimum, the provisions should cover the installation, maintenance, and placement of the detectors, including testing requirements. NTSB ...
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Summary:   The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has recently submitted a proposed amendment to the 2020 National Electrical Code (NEC) to delay the effective date for Section 210.8(F) until January 1, 2023, for all HVAC equipment. The NAHB’s reason is that GFCI protection was expanded in the 2020 NEC without HVAC component and equipment safety standards being harmonized with GFCI amperage limits. Currently, the UL standard that HVAC equipment are listed under (UL 1995) has no requirements for leakage current if the unit is hard wired, as most residential air conditioners and heat pumps are. In the future, HVAC equipment will be listed to UL 60335-2-40, ...
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Last week, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed H.B. 201 into law . This law prevents local governments from limiting the use of natural gas and propane and ensures individuals access to distribution services or retail natural gas services. This law is part of a broader, ongoing effort by several states to protect access to natural gas. It is in response to municipalities (local governments) across the country who have moved to limit and even ban access to natural gas. Removing access to natural gas proves costly for businesses and consumers alike. The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) estimates that New York City's proposed ban on natural gas hookups would cost ...
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This week the Air Conditioning Contractors of America submitted a comment to the EPA in opposition to its proposed ban of non-reusable cylinders under the AIM Act. While the ban was not specifically included in the text of the AIM Act, EPA did include it as part of their proposed rule on the law which was published in May . If it is included in the final rule, the ban will go into effect in July 2023. ACCA opposed the ban after hearing concerns from contractors about the potential logistical and financial hurdles it could cause. EPA will make their final decision on the proposed ban on non-refillables as well as the broader rule in the coming months. You ...
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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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