It seems strange to go away from the Neighborhood Extra insert to the full-page format after all these years, but it’s kind of a good strange. The new full-page format should bring on some new readers, so it makes sense to explain the basic purpose and benefits of my articles. They are written to improve your safety, health, and comfort, and save you money.
I started writing for the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) while president of that organization in 2001 and continued with articles for the Lincoln Heating and Cooling Contractors Association (LHACA) president. After over 20 million printed copies later, we arrived here.
The PHCC and LHACA were started locally to improve the health and welfare of our community. A common goal remains to educate the public about changes or risks in plumbing and HVAC. That requires sharing of knowledge of plumbing and HVAC tradesmen that are deeply involved in these organizations.
The story of how the LHACA was formed on Nov. 4, 1959, is a very interesting history. Five local HVAC contractors wrote the original LHACA Articles of Incorporation while sitting at a table with a shotgun in the room for protection while Charles Starkweather was in our community on a killing spree. Charles Starkweather never showed up!
Two years later, the LHACA helped start the City of Lincoln HVAC Codes Department. Its first HVAC code book was only seven pages, and over 100 pages have been added since then!
The City of Lincoln Plumbing and HVAC Codes Departments quietly make a difference in our community. They protect us behind the scenes and save lives. The plumbing and HVAC trades also care about our community. Their combined scorecard of improved health and safety has been excellent. Their stories are worth sharing.
A good example is after the hailstorm in May of 2016 when roofs were replaced and approximately 50 flue pipes were covered up by roofing contractors. Those were eminent dangers exposed by the PHCC, LHACA, and City of Lincoln Codes Departments to the public because of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and deaths. Sadly, there still could be some roof-covered flues, so please make sure that if you have a newer roof, your flue pipe was extended through the roof!
These “unsung heroes” also help share indoor air quality concerns. One major concern is that 97 percent of households have at least one indoor air quality issue. Lung issues are typically a result of the dirty air we breathe. Quality air filtration can remove impurities in the air, or else we can force our lungs to do that job. Damaged lungs reduce the quality of life and often require medications, oxygen tanks, and other means to survive.
Our “unsung heroes” typically update the public on federal, state, and city legislation changes. A good example of a recent federal change is the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. HVAC commercial equipment can now be written off taxes in the first year. An example of potential savings is a $14,000 investment, which before was only $350 annual tax depreciation for 39 years, and now it’s $5,180 tax depreciation the first year at the maximum rate. If you work in an office that needs new HVAC equipment, it may be a great time to replace it to improve comfort and save energy with the added benefit of lower equipment investments.
The decline of our environment is something “unsung heroes” are monitoring and adjusting quickly to protect our health. For instance, R-22 refrigerant is being phased out because it is depleting the ozone layer, and the costs of that refrigerant have tripled in past years. It’s typically cheaper to replace than fix cooling equipment that has R-22 refrigerant.
Plumbing and HVAC vendors are also important “unsung heroes” to the well-being of our community. They share technological advances of new products. For instance, the NASA Certified Space Technology Air Scrubber is a newer device that protects us from dust, germs, odors, pet dander, viruses, Norovirus, e. coli, streptococcus, pseudomonas, hepatitis, and the list go on. Air scrubbers reduce surface micro-organisms up to 99 percent, and 90 percent of airborne contaminants. Do you know anyone that was sick from colds or flu this winter?
Those are just some examples of how these “unsung heroes” work behind the scenes to do the right things for their customers. The plumbing and HVAC trades are anything but boring and are excellent, well-paying careers for those that are up for the challenges!