PTCS Program Newsletter: April 2019ReturnToTop
In this Issue:
General Program Updates & Tips
New Online and Live Trainings NewOnlineLiveTrainings 
The PTCS program is launching an online training platform with pre-recorded trainings applicable to both the heat pump and duct sealing measures. At launch we'll provide a heat pump and duct seal training geared towards administrative and sales staff's involvement with the program.  A separate heat pump sizing training has also been developed to help sales staff.
 
We are excited to offer this new platform as resource that can be viewed on your own time, referenced as needed, and utilized for onboarding new staff or just for those who need a refresher of the PTCS program. To access the site, you'll need a username and password which can be set up by reaching out to Eli Caudill at  eli.caudill@clearesult.com.

In addition to the new "online" training platform, the program will also be hosting "live" webinars of the heat pump and duct seal administrative/sales trainings on an as needed basis. This is a great opportunity for an online/on-demand training experience that you can attend at the convenience of your home or office. Please reach out to Eric Timon at eric.timon@clearesult.com if you're interested in learning more about live webinar trainings.
Balance Point UpdatesBPUpdates 
The PTCS Air Source Heat Pump Specification for balance point has evolved over the last several years. In 2011 the specification was "Shall be sized using a 30-degree Balance Point (However, in no case shall the Balance Point used for sizing be higher than 35 degrees)." In 2013 it changed to "Shall be sized using a Balance Point of 30 degrees or less".
 
BPA and CLEAResult have recently completed a study of the impact of balance point on heat pump energy savings.  Modeling runs suggest a loss of 20-25% in energy savings when balance points exceed the PTCS specification of 30 degrees (i.e. when balance points fall in the range of 31-35 degrees).
 
Using Registry data, we have reviewed the frequency of installs exceeding the 30 degree balance point spec and found there is room for improvement.  With this in mind, CLEAResult QA inspector/"trainers" will soon be reaching out to certain technicians/contractor firms to review the 30 degree balance point spec and discuss specific strategies for ensuring compliance.  Additionally, a refresher webinar for all technicians is also being planned for early summer to review these same strategies.    
 
Please stay tuned.  We will be providing a series of heat pump sizing training webinars in June and will send invitations to PTCS installers. Additional information will be available in the summer newsletter about the next steps we are taking to shore up compliance with the 30 degree balance point specification.

Please contact us at ResHVAC@bpa.gov with any questions and we will put you in contact with one of our knowledgeable staff.
Updated Spanish Language Materials AvailableUpdatedSpanish 
Installation forms, specifications, and t raining materials are now available in Spanish. The installation forms and specifications are available on the Duct Sealing and Heat Pump bpa.gov pages. Training materials are available for approved trainers through the PTCS trainer web pages on Conduit. For furth er information on these resources, please contact us at   ResHVAC@bpa.gov.
Contractor Marketing PortalContractorMarketing 
The PTCS marketing collateral suite is now available for contractors to access - and it does not require a user name and password. Visit the PTCS Marketing Toolkit site for customizable, high quality, print and web-ready materials (also available in Spanish) including brochures, postcards, and web banners. The materials are also available for utilities to customize and order on the Energy Efficiency Marketing Portal.

Tips for Using the RegistryTipsUsingRegistry
Reporting: How to Find and Interpret the Registry Report
  1. Log into the PTCS online registry website using a desktop computer or mobile device.
  2. While logged in on the registry, navigate to the homepage.
  3. Click on "Search for a Project"
  4. Enter the Measure ID or site address (bonus tip: entering just the house number and the city usually returns the best results)
  5. Click on the measure ID in the search results and the measure summary PDF will open in a new window.
The registry installation report shows all information related to the job entry in one place. This makes it easy to review that all the data is correct before sending the job to the utility for payment. It will also list any changes made to the entry and who made them. Here are some things to keep an eye on when reviewing the report:
  • Ensure the address is correct (including unit or space number)
  • Double check the site details (existing heating system, house type, etc.)
  • Make sure your company, installing technician, and the correct utility is listed.
For further information or questions, please contact us at ResHVAC@bpa.gov.
All About Air Source Heat Pumps
Multi-Head Variable Speed Heat Pump Testing  MultiHeadVSHPTesting
Some questions have come to our attention about testing Multi-Head Variable Speed Heat Pumps including measuring airflow, confirming appropriate refrigerant charge, and determining capacity of centrally-ducted units.

When testing multi-head variable speed heat pumps all the PTCS specifications still apply including; equipment specifications, control specifications, airflow between 325-500 CFM/ton or manufacturers documented recommendation, and the PTCS Temperature Split chart is still used to confirm appropriate refrigerant charge in the heating mode. In addition, a single indoor centrally ducted unit as part of the system must serve at least 50 percent of the home.
 
The primary difference between non variable and multi-head variable speed systems is the unit that is used to calculate the CFM/ton. Usually, the capacity of the outdoor unit is used to calculate CFM/ton. However, for multi-head variable systems the capacity of the centrally ducted indoor unit should be used to calculate CFM/ton. During the CFM/ton calculation confirm that the indoor ducted unit is running at full capacity and that it is the only unit calling for heating or cooling. Measure airflow using the TrueFlow plate and meter. The CFM/ton will then be determined from the indoor unit capacity.
 
If you have any questions, please contact uat  ResHVAC@bpa.gov.
Subcooling and Temperature Split Tests; How Do They Compare?  SubcoolingTempSplit
The PTCS specification requires the refrigerant charge to be tested in heating, anytime the outdoor temperature is 65 degrees or below and in cooling anytime the outdoor temperature is 65 degrees or higher. The heat pump should be operating for 15 minutes before any measurements are taken.

When testing the refrigerant charge in the cooling mode, the technician should calculate subcooling or use a manufacturer approved method, such as approach or superheat. The tested subcooling value is compared to a manufacturer-provided target value to determine if the unit has the correct amount of refrigerant to operate properly and efficiently. This is accomplished by measuring the liquid line temperature at the outdoor unit and subtracting that value from the saturation temperature that corresponds to the liquid line pressure. Using a temperature/pressure chart and a calibrated refrigerant manifold gage set is crucial in assuring the measurement is accurate. Typically, if the temperature difference is within three degrees of the target, then the unit is considered properly charged.
 
When testing the refrigerant system in the heating mode, the technician should use the PTCS Minimum Expected Temperature Split Chart to confirm that the system is delivering the expected capacity for a specific outdoor temperature. The capacity of the heat pump in heating mode varies based on outdoor temperature and airflow. The technician needs to measure the airflow, the outdoor temperature, and the return and supply temperatures. The measured temperature split (supply temperature minus return temperature) should be compared to the value found on the Minimum Expected Temperature Split Chart. If the measured temperature split does not meet program specifications, the refrigerant charge should be corrected by adding or subtracting refrigerant and then re-measure the temperature split test.

Following these procedures will help to confirm that the heat pump is properly charged and works effectively and efficiently.
Duct Sealing Tips
Remember that when ducts are sealed through the PTCS program, a carbon monoxide detector might need to be installed. Per the PTCS specifications, "Whenever there is a Combustion Appliance present in the house, garage, or other attached space, a UL listed, C-UL listed, or equivalent carbon monoxide detector shall be installed." Combustion appliances include gas water heaters, fireplaces, gas or propane stoves, or anything else in the house that burns a fuel.

Through quality assurance inspections we find many homes that have had prescriptive or PTCS duct sealing performed on homes with combustion appliances and no carbon monoxide detector installed. If a combustion appliance is in the house (regardless of whether its in use), an appropriate carbon monoxide must be in place and operating before finalizing the project. Please make sure that your staff is aware of this crucial specification and ensure the homeowner has a detector currently installed and working or provide and install one.
NW Ductless Heat Pump Project Trainings and Events Listing NWDuctless
The NW Ductless Heat Pump Project is striving to connect regional HVAC installers to hands-on trainings and informational events that will give them the competitive expertise to expand their ductless heat pump business. Take a look at our regularly updated Trainings and Events page at GoingDuctless.com to see what you can put on your calendar for the upcoming quarter.
  
Proactive Sales Strategies for Heat Pumps
The NW Ductless Heat Pump Project is offering a seminar for contractors titled "Proven Sales & Marketing Strategies for Ductless Heat Pumps".  The seminar is being offered through HVAC Distributors across the NW throughout the Spring. The key premise of the seminar is that selling a new technology is different and requires different lead generation techniques and in-home sales skills. While the content is focused on Ductless Heat Pumps, all heat pump sales could benefit from this content. For times and locations of these seminars, look at our regularly updated Trainings and Events page at GoingDuctless.com.
Questions
Do you have questions about the registry, testing, upcoming trainings, or the program in general? We're here to help. Reach out to 1.800.941.3867 or  ResHVAC@bpa.gov . For more information, consult our Program Homepage .


Bonneville Power Administration | 1.800.941.3867 |   ResHVAC@bpa.gov | bpa.gov/goto/reshvac