Century-old inventor of air conditioner is moving on to home heat pump →

More heat pumps in the news, this time on CNBC.

Although heat pumps have become popular for air conditioning in southern states, Maine has the highest rate of adoption, installing 100,000 units in households two years ahead of schedule and aiming to hook up another 175,000 by 2027. That dispels the notion, often promulgated by the oil and gas industry and utilities, that heat pumps don’t work well in below-freezing temperatures, thus requiring a fossil-fuel furnace as backup.

I will keep fighting the “heat pumps don’t work in cold weather” crowd until I die and I will keep posting pieces that back me up.

The interview piece with CEO David Gitlin is also worth watching.

I generally like that Carrier spun off and became their own public company (again) back in 2020. David Gitlin gives me finance-guy-who-doesn’t-know-anything-else vibes. I saw the Viessmann acquisition as a way to make the stock price go up and he pretty much confirms it saying the acquisition “is all about growth”.

I’d like to see Carrier innovate. Their founder is credited for inventing modern air conditioning but they have China making their mini split heat pumps and they acquired Toshiba Carrier for their VRF. I’d like to see the company go back to its roots and innovate and not go down the path of Boeing just to increase its stock price.

How Do Heat Pumps Work? →

But what the heck is a heat pump, and how does it work? If I tell you that it transfers heat from outside on a chilly winter day to keep you toasty, you’re probably going to have even more questions—like, how can you use the cold outside to increase the temperature inside? Don’t worry, I’ll explain. There’s some cool physics involved here, so let’s get started.

This is a great, if slightly advanced, explainer on how heat pumps work.

Quilt rides heat pump heat wave with hefty $33M Series A →

Quilt says its heat pump will address those concerns, promising a sleeker design that can be installed in more places around a room than competitors’ offerings. The company has only released a teaser image so far. It looks promising, but we’ll have to wait until it unveils the finished product on May 15 to pass final judgment. The company engineered the core of the system in-house, though it’s working with a manufacturing partner to produce the units.

Design isn’t the only challenge facing traditional heat pumps. Many customers have been turned off by the way they operate. In most homes, a single mini-split (known as a “head”) handles both heating and cooling for a single room. Each head gets its own thermostat or remote, which means if someone wants to adjust the temperature for the whole house, they need to visit every room.

This is the first that I’ve heard about Quilt, but apparently they raised a seed round last year. I admire what they’re trying to do. The HVAC industry is a traditionally “non-sexy” industry where the incumbents have been stagnant for a long time, in terms of product design, marketing, and innovation.

On the flip side, D2C companies aren’t as trendy as they were 5–10 years ago. Who can remember Casper and all those mattress companies? Allbirds went public at $29 but the stock is at $0.58 today. Turns out, going direct to consumer isn’t the best strategy in some industries.

I’ll be looking forward to May 15.

My VRF Origin Story

My VRF Origin Story

I can trace the trajectory of my career all the way back to a job walk in Pasadena.

Back in 2007, our sales manager suggested we take a look at an installation of a new type of heat pump. It was one of the first installations of its kind. It had the ability to connect multiple fan coils to a single outdoor condenser. It even had the ability to heat and cool different zones of the system at the same time. The system was called a Variable Refrigerant Flow system or VRF.

I was a young sales engineer at the time and I understood those words but my mind had a hard time comprehending how that could work. I went to the job site and took these few photos with my Sidekick 3. I didn’t know it at the time, but I ended up concentrating on and spending the majority of my career on VRF.

Back then, it was a new technology and even today in 2024, it still is considered “advanced” or “complicated” (at least in the United States). I’ve spent the last 10+ years selling, educating, and advocating the benefits of VRF and I can trace it all the way back to that job site visit.

Outside Air Ventilation for VRF Systems

Outside Air Ventilation for VRF Systems

One of the challenges when using VRF is integrating ventilation or outside air. There are different ways to bring in outside air.

The most straightforward way to bring in outside air through a dedicated outside air system, or DOAS. As the name implies, these are basically specialized rooftop packaged units whose only job is to bring in and temper fresh outside air. The main downside to this is that it will require its own ducting system and you’ll have to find a way to integrate it into the space; either mixing with the comfort cooling system, or by dumping it directly into the space.

Another way to do this is to do what I took of picture of here. Many cassette fan coils have a small perforated hole on the chassis that you can punch out and bring in a duct to introduce outside air.

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I always have to preface this by saying it is a SMALL amount of outside air, typically 3–5% of the nominal airflow of the cassette and it will be untempered and unfiltered. But in some cases, it makes sense. I saw this in a brewery in Oakland and it was close to an outside wall and in the Bay Area, the climate is generally mild.

I had to take a picture while enjoying a beer since it was the first time I saw the OA knockout being used.

On VRF’s modularity and scalability

One of the advantages of VRF systems is that they’re modular and scalable. From single modules starting at 6 Tons, and then combining modules to form systems up to 42 Tons, we have the ability to combine multiple systems allowing us to condition spaces all the way up to large professional sports arenas. Time for a story…

The year is 2017 and the Golden State Warriors finished the season with a 67–15 record. They steam rolled through the playoffs before meeting Lebron and the Cleveland Cavaliers for the third year in a row. They easily defeat the Cavs 4–1 and were 2016–2017 NBA Champions. A month later, I received plans for the largest, highest profile project I’ve been involved in: The job was called New Warriors Arena which was eventually named Chase Center.

From what I recall, the systems themselves were pretty simple. Each system consisted of water cooled condensing units with ducted fan coils and a few cassettes. But with the size of the arena, we needed over 60 of these systems. Everything was tied together with central controllers.

On March 5th, 2020, Steph Curry made his long awaited return after breaking his hand during the 2019 season. I had a neighbor who had season tickets to the Warriors and he invited me to a game, so of course I took him up on his offer. I distinctly remember going to the game because there were stories in the news about people getting sick and my wife urged me to wear a mask while I took BART to the game. Once I got there, I had to take a look up and I saw a ducted fan coil installed above me. It was cool to know that I had a part in getting that fan coil up there. Admittedly a VERY SMALL part, but a part either way.

P.S. It turned out that that was Curry’s only game at Chase Center that year. We all know what happened a week later.

How to market on YouTube

If you’re anything like me, you have interests outside of work, at least one would hope. One way I like to pass time is by watching YouTube. I follow a number of different channels, but the majority of them fall into either Apple, tech, engineering, and explainer videos.

One channel I follow is called JerryRigEverything. He got his start doing mostly tech and iPhone repair and unboxing videos, but I recently saw a video that fell right into my professional interests.

It’s no secret that heat pumps are having a moment right now. With the IRA being rolled out and more awareness into the electrification of homes, you’re more likely to see heat pumps in the news. In one of his latest videos, Zack actually goes over the replacement of his existing furnace and replaces it with a Daikin heat pump.

This is wild to me. I’m seeing more and more efforts from HVAC manufacturers and they are trying different ways to market and reach customers. One marketing channel that I think is vastly underutilized is YouTube. Vy some measures, YouTube is the most popular streaming service in the United States, even more popular than Netflix. That means a ton of eyeballs are watching YouTube at any given moment. And depending on the channel and channel’s content, it’s a great opportunity for businesses to reach customers.

Here are some examples of manufacturers working with content creators to spread awareness of their products and their brands. It’s one of the reasons why I started a professional YouTube channe:l to help market and educate my customers on heat pumps, VRF, and our other products. Please like and subscribe 😉

If you watch one thing

Technology Connections is another great channel. In this video, he shows why it’s important to properly calculate the load of your home so you can choose the right sized heat pump. He also demonstrates that HEAT PUMPS WILL WORK IN COLD WEATHER!

I will shout this from the rooftops until this myth is dispelled.


Three Reasons Why Building Owners Should Use VRF – This post got some good traction on LinkedIn so I decided to give it a permanent home on my site.

What Would Happen if Every American Got a Heat Pump – I always get pumped up when I see an article on heat pumps in a major mainstream newspaper or magazine. Wired put out a piece posing the question, “What would happen if every American got a heat pump?”

It’s not a matter of if heat pumps will replace gas furnaces in American homes en masse, but how quickly they’ll do so.

New 2024 Stove Efficiency Standards: What They Mean for You – New efficiency standards were released by the federal government. Regarding electric stoves, they are required to be 30% more efficient than current models.

VRF Installation Practices

VRF Installation Practices

A few years back, I was asked to look at a home with a VRF system that wasn’t working correctly. I showed up and found sagging refrigerant lines and Y joints that were improperly installed.

VRF is an amazing mechanical cooling technology that is efficient and quiet. However, it takes proper designing AND installation for the equipment to work as intended. When I showed up at this house in Reno, I went into the crawl space and found refrigerant lines that were sagging and Y joints that were installed incorrectly. They were vertical instead of horizontal.

Why are sagging refrigerant lines bad? In every air conditioning system, RTU, split system, VRF, mixed in with the refrigerant is some amount of oil. The oil acts as a lubricant where it lubricates the moving parts of the compressor, similar as in a car engine. If there are areas where the refrigerant lines sag, it can cause oil to collect and not make it back to the compressor. Not lubricating the compressor can lead to wear and early failure of the compressor. It’s important to always install refrigerant lines straight with minimal sagging.

And why can’t you install Y joints vertically? Short answer: Gravity.

If you install Y joints vertically, gravity naturally prevents refrigerant from going into that top branch. This means that any fan coils coming off that branch doesn’t get the refrigerant it needs to operate properly. And then THAT leads to under cooling/heating in that zone. They need to be installed horizontally so refrigerant can flow to both branches equally.

With any piece of equipment, it needs to be installed properly or else it won’t work as intended, or at the worst, lead to early failure of the equipment. There are trainings available for each manufacturer. If you need training, please reach out and I can direct you to where you need to go.

Three Reasons Why Building Owners Should Use VRF

Three Reasons Why Building Owners Should Use VRF

Variable Refrigerant Flow is THE best technology for mechanical cooling. Here are 3 reasons why:


VRF is extremely efficient compared to older technologies such as rooftop packaged units and chilled water systems. How is this possible? VRF systems use variable speed compressors at the outdoor unit and fans with EC motors at the indoor fan coils. By using these, the compressor will only use the appropriate amount of energy to send the refrigerant to only the zones that need it and the fans will only move as much air as it needs to to hit set point.

Real world analogy: when driving, you wouldn’t floor the gas to reach driving speed, let go, floor it, let go, etc. to maintain 65 mph. It’s EXTREMELY inefficient. You would depress the pedal slowly and smoothly to reach 65 mph and hold it to maintain it. This is how variable speed compressors work.


VRF technology is scalable, meaning you use it from small applications from an elevator room to large applications such as hotels and college campuses. We can do this because the equipment is modular. Using various size ODUs and combining them to form larger systems, and then grouping these systems and controlling them via a central controller allows us to tackle any size project.

We also have different styles of indoor fan coils, from wall mounted, ceiling cassette, ducted, and using PMV kits, we can use any 3rd party AHU, which means we have a solution that we can use in any space.

Cost Effective

Using VRF can be cost effective over the life of the equipment. Since the systems are very efficient, they use less electricity to operate saving the building owner thousands over the life of the equipment.

It also uses a small footprint compared to other systems. Refrigerant piping takes up a fraction of the space of the equivalent ductwork of a RTU system or CHW/HW piping of a chiller/boiler/cooling tower system. You are able to place the outdoor heat pumps on the roof and eliminate mechanical equipment rooms, or even entire floors dedicated to mechanical equipment and open it up to leasable space. More leasable space to rent out to tenants and generate more money for the building owner.

If you’d like to see if VRF systems are right for your application, please reach out to schedule a lunch and learn.

How to present

It’s no secret that most people absolutely fear public speaking. Twenty five percent of people have said they fear speaking in public. In any sales role, being able to effectively communicate the benefits of the widget you’re selling to a group of people is probably the most important part of the job. If you can’t do that, how do you sell anything?

DALL·E 2024-02-27 14.15.07 - An image of a Filipino sales engineer giving a presentation to an audience in a less spacious, more intimate conference room. The audience is seated a.jpg
DALL·E 2024–02–27 14.15.07 – An image of a Filipino sales engineer giving a presentation to an audience in a less spacious, more intimate conference room. The audience is seated a.jpg

As I mentioned in the last issue, most HVAC companies do a great job training their inside sales team on products, but they do a terrible job of actual sales training. I gave some tips on how to go out and get started on getting to know your accounts. This week, I thought I’d give some tips on giving presentations.

  • Know your audience. You need to know who you’ll be presenting to so you can tailor your presentation to them. Are they young engineers? All salespeople or will there be some support staff? Have they heard of you, your company, or your product? Knowing the type of people you’ll be speaking to will help you tailor your presentation so that they get the most value out of it.

  • Refine your slide deck. I could write a whole piece on slides.

  • Lay out objectives. Let them know what you’re there to present and what you hope that they get out of it.

  • Simplify. If your audience has to read your slides, you’ve failed. Slides are only meant to be visual guides. They should have on them at most, a graphic, a couple bullet points, and/or a statement. They are there to hear YOU speak. They are not there to read slides.

  • Don’t memorize. You should know the material and the order and flow of your presentation, but don’t memorize what you’re going to say word for word. You don’t want to sound like a robot. Your slide deck should be your visual cue as to what is next on your presentation. Look at the slide and then talk about what is on the slide and get your point across.

  • Have a consistent theme. Let’s be honest: we all borrow and take from existing presentations. Both internal and external. But at least make it look consistent. Nothing bothers me more than when a slide looks different from the previous slide. Same fonts, font sizes, colors, etc.

  • Watch your timing. Most humans have an attention span of about 45 minutes to an hour. Keep your presentation shorter than an hour, or include a breaks every 45 mins or so for longer presentations. You’ll lose your audience if you don’t.

  • Relax. One thing I realized is that people in the audience are generally interested in what you have to say. If you’re nervous, you generally start to talk faster, and the audience senses it. I make it a point to speak slower than I would when conversing. It lets the concepts sink in with your audience and it paces you so you can think of what you’re going to say next.

If you read or watch one thing

Sam Altman wrote a blog post on how to be successful. Sam is best known for being the CEO of Open AI but his thoughts can be applied to any field.

Getting good at communication—particularly written communication—is an investment worth making. My best advice for communicating clearly is to first make sure your thinking is clear and then use plain, concise language.

I think this is underrated. In our HVAC industry, you don’t realize how much you communicate. From a larger scale such as presentations, to even daily tasks such as email, we are constantly communicating in some form. So the better you are at getting your point across clearly and quickly, the better you are at your job. You’d be surprised at how many people love to talk just to hear their own voice.

Sam on building a network:

An effective way to build a network is to help people as much as you can. Doing this, over a long period of time, is what lead to most of my best career opportunities and three of my four best investments. I’m continually surprised how often something good happens to me because of something I did to help a founder ten years ago.

We all know how small our industry is. I’ve had opportunities present themselves just by keeping in touch with people and generally trying to leave a good impression on them.

Great piece which I encourage you all to read.


Modine Acquires Scott Springfield Manufacturing – Yet another HVAC manufacturer acquires another.

Job site photo of the week