Whether it involves work or play, for Ian Van Leeuwen of Division 15 Plumbing in Barrie, ON, being outdoors is a big part of life. When he is not busy with work-related projects, you will find this plumber and hydronics specialist deep in the woods hunting, fishing or camping. In a recent solar thermal install in Northern Ontario near lake Nipissing, his job site also happened to be his family's favourite spot for camping, Restoule Provincial Park. We caught up Ian before he ventured out in response to his next call of the wild.
What brought you to the trades?
"My father Jack. He used to bring me along when I was young to help him."
Favorite thing about the job:
"You are always meeting new people, and there's always lots of variety in the work"
"Restoule Provincial Park, which is south of North Bay. We installed a comfort station with washrooms, laundry facility, general exhaust, and seven Buderus domestic hot water solar panels that supplemented the BOSCH 300,000 BTUH instantaneous water heaters."
Were there any interesting challenges working up north?
"Cold weather was a challenge as it started in November and went through the winter. The General Contractor devised a plan for temporary heat which involved us installing floor heating in the new concrete slab(about, 1000 sq. ft.) and utilizing a portable disel-powered boiler. These boilers are usually used for ground thaw application. This allowed them to pour a slab when it was negative 22 degrees outside and kept the project warm throughout the winter. The floor tubing was abandoned in the slab after the cold weather left."
What have you seen on the efficiency front, that can be improved?
"I see a lot of residential and some commercial hydronic systems that have been installed with all the latest technologies. Most of them are not insulated to maximize efficiency and very few have proper filtration or chemical treatment to protect the equipment so it can run more efficiently. And proper system balancing is the key."
What often gets overlooked when estimating a project?
"Allowing enough labour to install the system correctly."
What advice can you offer to make hydronic installs go smoother?
"Pre job planning, consisting of a thorough review of shop drawing, labour hours allowed, and cut sheets for equipment with everyone involved."
Favourite band: Alexisonfire
Favourite Movie: Red Dawn
Favourite tool: Milwaukee Sawzall
Favourite car: Magnum P.I.'s Red Ferrari.
Favourite golfer: Tiger Woods.
Favourite fishing spot: Key River, Georgian Bay.
Favourite sport: Hockey, but I play goalie.
Favourite outdoor activity, aside from hunting, fishing and camping: Golfing
Favourite golf course: Tangle Creek Golf Club, Barrie.
Favourite local haunt for lunch: CW coops in Angus, Ont. for chicken wings.
Time behind the wheel per day: Up to four hours
Kilometers logged per day: 20-400
Services Vehicles: Dodge and GM cargo vans and half-tons
Best concert you ever attended: AC/DC, For Those About To Rock
Spinning tackle or fly-fishing: Spinning tackle
Best place to go camping: Restoule Provincial Park.
Last book you read: The Snow Ball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder.
Biggest pet peeve: Government waste.