Special to CONTRACTOR
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. — A total of 64 students in June attended classes on hydronic heating system design, installation and troubleshooting at four I=B=R schools, which have been reintroduced by the Hydronics Institute Division of the GAMA.
The two-day classes were held in Bensalem and Lancaster, Pa., and in Rockville Center, and White Plains, N.Y. Attending the classes were plumbing and heating contractors, fuel oil dealers, wholesalers and vocational school students.
“The Hydronics Institute has a long history of training technicians in heat loss, installation and troubleshooting hydronic heating systems,” said Jeff Alexander, chairman of the HI Division of the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association. “With this new, effective training program, the HI Division of GAMA is helping heating contractors offer better installation and maintenance services to their customers.”
While the I=B=R schools were started in the 1950s by the Institute of Boiler and Radiator Manufacturers, they were discontinued in the 1990s. Discovering that demand for training boiler technicians was still strong, the HI Division in recent years re-evaluated what skills were most needed and developed a new training program.
Topics covered in the recent classes included introductory heating principals, heat loss calculation, boiler selection and placement, system components, piping, sizing, wiring, introductory radiant design and troubleshooting. Industry veteran Jim Roche taught the four schools.
“Jim’s interactive teaching style encouraged students to present actual boiler room experiences,” Alexander said. “This approach allows the students to better understand the principals being presented.”
Roche and the I=B=R class received high marks from participants.
“Jim did an excellent job, very knowledgeable,” wrote one student in the Lancaster class on his evaluation form. Of the evaluations submitted in Lancaster, all 18 marked they would recommend the seminar to their peers.
“This course can be used as a refresher for the more experienced and a great source of information for the less experienced,” said one student in the Bensalem school.
The text for the instruction is Residential Hydronic Heating - Installation/Design, a reference manual of more than 400 pages. The book was written and illustrated by hydronic heating engineer and instructor Jim Goins with technical review and input from HI Division members. Residential Hydronic Heating was produced exclusively for the HI Division. The manual can be purchased on the Web sites of GAMA (www.gamanet.org), Dan Holohan (www.heatinghelp.com) and John Siegenthaler (www.hydronicpros.com) and directly from Refrigeration Service Engineers Society and Air Conditioning Contractors of America.
In recent years, several I=B=R pilot schools were offered in various U.S. cities. As a result of feedback from these classes, Residential Hydronic Heating was amended and the training sessions were adjusted. GAMA contracted with RSES to promote and administer the schools and hired Roche, Goins and Dan Almeida as instructors.
RSES will offer more I=B=R schools this fall. For details, contact Jean Birch of RSES at 800/297-5660.