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After 24 years, Pat Goettel says good-bye, and we all cry.

2019 July 18
by admin; 3,550 views

Here’s what you need to understand right off the top: before Patricia Goettel came to work at, we only had a small handful of employees. We didn’t have departments for sales, marketing, or even software development.

In 1995, Pat joined alpscontrols. And then became the person who would set the standard for our world-class customer service.

Now, 24 years later, we pride ourselves on that service — and we know, right now on the eve of Pat’s retirement at the end of July 2019, that she’s the one who guided and shaped it into reality. alpscontrols President Dave Meyers says,

Pat was here from virtually the beginning, and she set the tone for what good customer service looked like. She demanded that we get back to customers quickly, that we answer the phones promptly and professionally. She took that role and helped develop all of the support processes that we use today.

Back then, was small. Really small. Like “three people huddled into a tiny room” small. We started out not so much of a stand-alone company, as much as a procurement resource for control contractors to pool together and get better pricing. Pat and the rest of our small team would take orders via phone or fax — logging them onto Excel spreadsheets and calling them into the small number of suppliers that we had.

Taking orders over phone and hand-typing them into Excel. Yep, that was 1995, all right.

In the ensuing years, Pat, through the many customer service employees that she has trained, has been instrumental in guiding us toward our current business model: efficient ordering; friendly, smart, and responsive product support; and paying attention to customers like a mother watches over her family.

Because that’s how many of us think of Pat: she’s our company mom. She cares deeply for our customers and vendors. She nurtures every transaction until she’s certain it’s right, and complete, and beneficial to everyone. And she remembers — with no exaggeration — a staggering, comprehensive history of alpscontrols, our customers, our transactions, and our legacy. Customer Service Supervisor Ernie Larson joined Pat’s team about 11 years ago, and he deeply admires what she has achieved, saying:

The customers love her because she knows them all personally, with intimate knowledge of their lives and their business. Pat reaches them on a personal level, and it’s the same with our suppliers. They know she gets things done, and her knowledge of the website is ridiculous!

The ending of Pat’s tenure at also comes with another, unexpected, milestone: she’s the first member of our staff to retire, so in addition to feeling her loss on a personal basis, we also have no clue what it’s like to move forward without someone who is so important to us. It’s extraordinarily difficult to imagine alpscontrols without Pat. August 1st will come without her sitting — at the insanely early, way-before-office-hours that were her tradition — at her corner desk in our support area. That desk area is like the beating heart of our company, a bullpen where people gather and thousands of spontaneous discussions have been launched: of products, POs, manufacturers, shipping, deadlines, and so much more. Her desk is where we’ve shared everything from news and surprises to laughter and donuts. Her desk will be empty and we will feel the vacuum of her absence with the memories of so many business and personal moments we have shared with Pat. Jim Kalafatis, who has worked closely with Pat for 21 years, knows he will acutely feel it when she’s gone:

I’ll miss her. She is strong-willed and extremely determined, and I’ve always admired her personal dedication to our customers and vendors as people and friends first. I’ve seen Pat go to bat for them time and time again, and she always defends their needs over everything else. It’s something I’ve learned from her, something I know many of us at alpscontrols will take with us after Pat leaves for retirement.

Personal dedication. Getting things done. Sky-high standards of service and professionalism. A warm and supportive nature to everyone our business touches. These are the things we’ll keep with us when Pat Goettel says good-bye to alpscontrols.

And as she goes, we’ll send our love, our gratitude, respect, and more than a few tears along with her.

For more memories of Pat’s long dedication to service at alpscontrols, take a look at this video:

UPDATED 12.1.22: Upcoming price increases from our manufacturers.

2019 June 26
by admin; 6,749 views

Sad, but true: sometimes our manufacturers increase their prices. We don’t like it any more than you do, but it’s a simple truth of our industry that prices can, over time, change.

So why is there a picture of a puppy over there on the left? Well, we thought it would make you feel better about the news. Did it work? It’s a cute puppy, right? Everyone likes cute puppies.

But here’s how you can turn this frown upside down: when you know when a price increase is coming, you can buy now from these suppliers and save money before the change.*

Anyway, here’s a current list of upcoming price increases from our manufacturers. We’ll update this list over time, so check back periodically to see what’s new and what’s coming up.






Thanks for reading.

* Pricing policies among manufacturers may vary. Orders placed too close to an increase deadline may not be honored at the pre-change price. Please contact our customer service team for specific bid- and project-related pricing questions.


Connect-Air CableM8 Giveaway: We Have a Winner!

2018 July 3

Remember back in April when you could enter for that sweet giveaway for a Connect-Air CableM8 after buying 5,000 feet (five boxes) of cable?

Well, we’ve got a winner! ABM Building Solutions, LLC will walk away with Connect-Air’s all-in-one cable distribution system, which is able to carry up to 10 cable pulls, tools, additional reels, and other parts. Recently our Regional Sales Manager for the Western U.S. Jim Kalafatis met up with Connect-Air’s Regional Sales Manager Ed Serrano to award the prize to Paul Chapling, who is the Operations Manager at ABM’s Sacramento, CA, branch.

When asked how he would use the Cablem8 on an upcoming job, Paul was quick to point out the obvious: “Well…we’re gonna pull wire with it,” which got us all laughing.

Left: Ed Serrano, Regional Sales Manager at Connect-Air; middle: Paul Chapling, Operations Manager at ABM (Sacramento); right: Jim Kalafatis, Regional Sales Manager (Western U.S.) at

He also said,

I can definitely see this saving time. Very convenient just for packing the wire up. This wire management system will probably save us labor, time in pulling wire. And then also the ability to to throw the rolls of wire down below, for those pulls that we do. It looks nice rolling it around people’s offices. Typically we’re doing retrofit work, so this would fit right in.

Chapling also explained that the CableM8 was preferred by his engineering department for its ease of use. “We can get all of our Connect-Air wire right away. It’s an efficient time saver we have right here!”

You can also become eligible win amazing prizes! Stay connected to our giveaway offers by subscribing to our newsletter here and filling out the brief form at the bottom of the page.

CO₂ Leak Detection in Refrigeration Applications

2018 May 23

Growing Need for CO2 Leak Detection

Regulations, market drivers and trends reflect that carbon dioxide (CO2) is increasingly being used as a refrigerant in a variety of applications. This includes applications such as:

  • Supermarkets / Grocery Stores
  • Cold Rooms
  • Walk-in Freezers
  • Industrial Cold Storage
  • Food Manufacturing / Processing

CO2 is less environmentally harmful than many of the gases previously used in these refrigeration applications, having a significantly lower Global Warming Potential (GWP)than HFC and HCFC refrigerants. Some of these gases, such as R-404A, are beginning to be phased out of use due to environmental impact and regulations. These factors contribute towards CO2 becoming an increasingly attractive option for use when balanced against the requirements of regulations such as F-Gas (EU Regulation No. 517/2014), and the US EPA Clean Air Act Section 608.

Furthermore, the manufacturers of refrigeration systems continue to develop a growing range of ever more efficient and cost-effective CO2 refrigeration system options, enabling their wider adoption into commercial applications.

The Need for CO2 Leak Detection

While beneficial in environmental impact, CO2 is a potentially harmful gas to humans if sufficiently high concentrations are present. Typical figures stipulated for CO2 exposure by OSHA are:

  • 5,000 ppm – Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL)
  • 40,000 ppm – Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH)

Refrigerant safety standards, including EN 378-1:2016 and ASHRAE 34-2013, include these exposure levels to determine the safety of a refrigerant system and the cases inwhich refrigerant leak detection is mandated. These use-cases will typically include refrigerant detection in machinery rooms and

other refrigerated spaces, including cold rooms and walk-in freezers. Where larger refrigerant charge sizes are used, the potential for mandated refrigerant leak detection in larger spaces, such as storage freezers, is increased.

As with all refrigeration systems, over time there is the potential for leaks to occur. Causes can include improper maintenance, mechanical wear, inadvertent damage or improper maintenance. With pressurized systems, these factors can contribute to a significantly higher risk of leaks. Due to design requirements, CO2 refrigeration systems typically operate at high pressures; sub-critical or trans-critical system pressure ratings often operate in excess of 2,000 PSI. These high pressure ranges mean that in the event of a major CO2leak, the gas can escape into a space at very high leak rates.

An example:

Taking an example of a walk-in cold room / freezer, with a room volume of 1,000 ft3 / 28.3 m3, and a typical rate of one air exchange per hour, the following can be determined:

  • A leak of CO2 at a rate of 7.5lb/hour, or 3.4kg/hour, will create an atmosphere containing 5,240 ppm of CO2 in just 5 minutes. This surpasses the OEL and reaches a level to which workers should not be exposed.
  • A leak of CO2 at a higher rate of 1lb/minute, or 454g/minute, will create an atmosphere containing 41,920 ppm of CO2 in just 5 minutes. This surpasses the IDLH level, and would be highly and immediately dangerous to personnel entering the space.

These theoretical examples show that CO2 leaks in refrigerated spaces have the potential to become dangerous very quickly. Effective CO2 leak detection can be an essential tool in maintaining a safe environment.

Selecting an Effective CO2 Leak Detector

CO2 is monitored in a wide variety of applications, including Indoor Air Quality (IAQ), occupational workplaces and refrigeration applications. However, it should be noted that not all CO2 monitoring devices are suitable for leak detection in refrigeration applications.

Two key factors that should be considered when looking for a suitable CO2 leak detector relative to the applicable application are Response Time and Operating Temperature.

Response Time

The rate at which CO2 can leak and create a dangerous environment makes response time a critical factor in delivering effective CO2 leak detection. Instruments suited for monitoring of gradual changes in the atmospheric CO2 level, such as used in IAQ applications, may not be suitable for leak detection purposes, where a fast response is needed to ensure that a dangerous working environment is not created and/or entered. It should be advocated to review both the stated response time of the sensor being used in a leak detector, and most importantly the response time of the instrument. Different instrument designs can affect how quickly gas can diffuse into a CO2 sensor.

For example, a sensor can be directly presented to the atmosphere being monitored, thereby helping deliver a fast response time, or the gas may need to diffuse down a capillary tube to enter the sensor which would significantly increase the response time of the instrument and negate the stated response time of the sensor itself. It is imperative that the gas detector response time is appropriate for the designated application to provide the benefit of its intended use.

Operating Temperature

Operating temperature is also a key factor in selecting an appropriate CO2 leak detector for a refrigeration application. There are comparatively few CO2 sensors available on the market that are specified for use at temperatures lower than 0°C / 32°F, with response times required for effective use in the refrigerant gas detection applications. As the use of CO2 in refrigeration continues to grow, it becomes imperative to ensure that sensors appropriate for use in low temperature environments are used by instrument manufacturers whose products are intended for leak detection in refrigerated spaces.

Fundamentally, it can’t be determined what behavior a sensor would exhibit if run outside of its specified operating range without test data, as each sensor may behave differently. What can be stated, is that any reading could be invalid and the device behavior could be undefined. At best, the sensor may be inoperable and a fault detected; at worst an invalid or inaccurate reading may be provided. It could be argued that a sensor operating outside of its designed specifications is less useful than none at all, as it may provide false confidence the gas level is being accurately monitored and its benefit of installation and use is nullified, creating risk of exposure.


CO2 refrigeration systems are increasingly used in commercial applications, a trend which is expected to continue. In turn, this creates an increasing need for effective CO2 leak detection systems to be employed, helping to enhance the safety of those working in refrigerated spaces. CO2 can be a dangerous gas in sufficient volumes, so care should be taken in selecting an effective solution with an appropriate response time and operating temperature.

Original article provided courtesy of Bacharach

There’s No Time for Downtime – Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitters from Dwyer

2018 March 22
by admin; 2,236 views



With the release of the Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter, Dwyer Instruments, Inc. provides performance, accuracy, and reliability with same day field configurability.

Previously, insertion flow transmitters on the market did not offer much flexibility to configure products in the field. Dwyer addressed these concerns, delivering a solution with their new unit.

“The installation of the Series IEF Insertion Flow Transmitter was very simple,” said Walter Smith, Pipefitter/Service Technician/Foreman with mechanical contractor D.A. Dodd. “The rod that came with the unit to set the depth of the transmitter makes it very installer friendly.”

D.A. Dodd, headquartered in Rolling Prairie, Ind., conducted installations of three new IEF Insertion Flow Transmitters beginning in October 2017, which allowed for Dwyer to have the opportunity to individually study the magmeters.

“I believe this insertion flow transmitter will meet and exceed the requirements for its application,” Smith said. “From what I have seen so far this is very accurate and comparable if not better than similar products.”

Field configurable, integral, or remote setup displays allow for ultimate flexibility by accommodating a variety of application options with a single model through multiple display arrangements. These include pipe size, pipe material, liquid type, analog output, pulse/frequency output, alarm outputs, communication outputs, damping, and calibration factor.

Smith, who has been a pipefitter and service technician for 25 years, has experience working with a wide variety of flow transmitter products and manufacturers. He found the new Dwyer Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter to be easy to work with.

“The display and configurations are user friendly,” Smith said. “They are better and have a larger display than units I have used in the past. I would recommend this unit to my customers. They perform very well.”

The Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter can be used in a variety of applications such as: boiler feed water, chilled water, open and closed loop condenser water, irrigation systems, municipal water distribution, process and coolant flow, ground water remediation, chemical processing, pump protection, wastewater, and mining.

The Series IEF will be replacing the Series IEFS in the Dwyer product line. New features include temperature compensation, one size fits most adjustability, additional output/communication options, a wider operating voltage range, and NSF/ANSI 61 and 372 (pending) approval for drinking water system components.

All of this versatility packed into the Series IEF Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter means a single solution for your toughest needs with same day installation because There’s No Time for Downtime!

Check out the Insertion Electromagnetic Flow Transmitter from Dwyer on 

Setra System’s Power Battalion 48 Networked Power Meter

2018 March 15
by admin; 2,938 views

Setra’s newest networked Power Meter – the Power Battalion 48

Learn more from the video that was provided to us by Setra:

The New Setra Power Meter Roll Call

Like the Power Patrol and Power Squad 24, the Power Battalion 48 is a ANSI C12.2 revenue grade power meter capable of capturing both high and low voltage loads. This meter offers additional options when planning your next building automation project. The Power Battalion 48 adds flexibility by combining two different voltage sources, allowing the user to monitor both high voltage loads (480V, 600V) for chillers and compressors while also capturing low voltage loads (120V, 208V) for lighting grids. The dual voltage references eliminate the need to have more than one multi-circuit meter– all for less than $100 per metering point.

Why Setra Power Meters Excel

  • Multi-circuit meters eliminate the need for multiple enclosures or breakers; an installer can mount 16 traditional single circuit meters with individual enclosures and fuse disconnects – or they can just install one Power Battalion 48! A single 15 amp, 600 Volt rated breaker can protect all 48 circuits being monitored.
  • Setra’s family of Power meters are UL610.10 rated for installation inside main distribution panels without having to install them in a UL508 enclosure – eliminating costly labor and conduit runs.

  • USB interface allows for setup via a laptop prior to installation.  The Setra Power Battalion 48 is also equipped with a web browser-based setup, eliminating the need to suit up in personal protective equipment (PP/Arc Flash suits) while setting up the meter parameters. The utilization of one meter, which provides full data stream metering via common Building Automation System (BAS) platforms allows for the user to choose the right communications protocol needed for the application. Supported protocols include:
    • BACnet IP & BACnet MS/TP (BTL Certified)
    • Modbus TCP & Modbus RTU
    • Two pulsed outputs
  • Every Setra power meter is equipped with the unique functionality of being installed on 90-600 Volt services without having to know your voltages ahead of time. Each meter can work with small 20 amp CTs at 0.333 MV output or Rogowski CTs from 5-5000 amps at 108mV/1kA. Setra’s Patrol Flex Rogowski coils exhibit industry-best accuracy at 0.5% (positional) while only weighing about half a pound each.

Where are Setra power meters being used now?

User-owned power meters are increasingly installed as standard practice in most industrial and commercial new construction. With environmental sustainability becoming a growing concern, a lot of new construction projects are following LEED certification guidelines. Advanced LEED power monitoring requirements include frequent logging of power usage and demand via a BAS, monitoring of power factor, and submetering among many other factors.

Watch the video that was provided to us from Setra:

Increasing energy costs are frequently the largest variable expense for commercial and industrial facilities; the installation of submeters can provide numerous benefits to the facility manager.  Real-time submetering data can help facility managers drive savings by highlighting opportunities to optimize equipment and site performance.  This data can provide feedback on energy consumption; how much energy is being used throughout the day and identify which areas are consuming more energy than necessary.

Find the Power Battalion 48 on

And here’s where we dedicate inside sales and support team members specifically to your account.

2018 February 26

In an effort to always-constantly-perpetually-forever improve your customer support experience when you shop in our online marketplace, we’ve recently made changes to the assignments of our technical and sales support staff who are now dedicated specifically to your account.

So when you reach us via phone, email, live chat, or Skype, you can depend on talking to the same support team member who knows you, knows your account, and is ready to jump in right away and help.

Here’s how our inside sales and support team breaks down geographically:

(click to enormous-size)

And here’s how you can easily reach them:

ernie larsonErnie Larson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x29
call Ernie Larson on Skype

jj maloneyJohn “J.J.” Maloney
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x42
call J.J. Maloney on Skype

Ernie and J.J. help customers in our northeast territory in support of our regional sales manager Chris Colacito; in our mid-Atlantic territory for Jason McCormick; and in our southeast territory for Jon Cramer.

gabriel porroGabriel Porro
Inside Sales Representative
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x46
Hablo español
call Gabriel Porro on Skype

jeremy robertsJeremy Roberts
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x44
call Jeremy Roberts on Skype

Gabriel and Jeremy help customers in our midwest territory; in our mid-south territory in support of our regional sales manager Laci Jackson; in Latin America & the Caribbean for Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; and for our Honeywell Key Account Manager Wendy Siefert.

braden larsonBraden Larson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x31
call Braden Larson on Skype

matt bensonMatt Benson
Customer Service/Inside Sales
phone: +1 412.464.1730 x32
call Matt Benson on Skype

Braden and Matt help customers in our west territory in support of our regional sales manager Jim Kalafatis; and in our southwest territory for Greg Thorne.

The bottom line: we’re here to help. You can contact your service/inside sales representative above, or feel free to reach out to any of us on the Contact Us page at

Thanks for reading!

RLE Technologies Addresses Some Common Concerns About Wireless Monitoring Systems

2017 November 14

Contributed by our friends at RLE Technologies

The advantages of a wireless monitoring system include ease of deployment/expansion and even the simplicity of the relocation of sensors as site configurations change. Unfortunately, I regularly hear from site managers with concerns about the security risks of installing a wireless monitoring system who may not understand just how secure a well-designed system can be. Hopefully, these Q&As might help provide peace of mind for those who are on the fence and considering a wireless monitoring solution.

First and foremost, don’t confuse WiFi sensors that communicate directly with your network with a system utilizing 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors that communicate directly with an appliance designed to accept those signals. Obviously, there are adherent risks with a monitoring system based on WiFi sensors and incorporating a WiFi router on your network as an access point. 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors do not communicate with WiFi routers. They communicate directly with a wireless manager that is designed specifically for the purpose of monitoring the sensors, providing a GUI of the current conditions, alarm notification and providing a way to easily integrate the wireless sensors into a network or building management system.

Can someone use a wireless signal to hack into my network through a wireless manager accepting MHz wireless signals?
No. Generally, the 868 MHz/900 MHz receiver on a wireless manager will only communicate with 868 MHz/ 900MHz sensors or range extenders and the communication is proprietary. In a well-designed system, only the sensors and range extender transmits a wireless signal. The wireless manager has a wireless receiver but not a wireless transmitter so bi-directional wireless communication with it is impossible. The 868 MHz/900 MHz signals that it receives are coded into the wireless manager and the manager will not recognize any signal that has not been coded to communicate with it.

How secure is a MHz wireless manager that is connected to my network?
It is as secure as the firewall that it is installed behind. If the wireless manager is behind a firewall, then the firewall determines access to the wireless manager. If port 80 (HTTP/Web) is open or port forwarded, then a remote user may still be required to log onto the wireless manager. If successful, the user has access to the port 80 web GUI. At this point, the user could change the configuration of the wireless manager, but has no access to the sensors or the network.

Can someone use a wireless manager as access point into my network?
Absolutely not. A well-designed wireless manager does not route anything. It simply serves its own web GUI, along with passing Modbus, SNMP and BACnet signals to a BMS/NMS. Additionally, client applications should include SMTP (mail) notification so alarms can be delivered to the appropriate personnel.

Can someone upload their own firmware to take control of a wireless manager?
No. Not with a well-designed system. The flash application should be proprietary so nothing can be uploaded to it except for updated firmware created and provided by the manufacturer (and there should also be numerous checks and lockouts!).

Is it necessary to have to pay subscription fees or recurring costs for a wireless monitoring system?
Definitely not. Instead of spending money to simply maintain what you have, it makes more sense to spend the money to continue to enhance the system that you already have.

UPDATED 11.14.22: Every day, we’re offering more free shipping from more suppliers.

2017 October 11

Hey, did you know?
We update this blog post frequently with new suppliers and other updates. Check back here for the very latest and greatest in free shipping news from!


If you’ve been paying close attention, you may have noticed recently that we’ve been offering free shipping when you order from a number of our terrific suppliers.


Well, here’s a special news flash: we’re only just getting started.


Every day we’re meeting with our suppliers and working out new deals to bring our customers free shipping. And while it’s not a quick or simple process — because honestly, free shipping simply isn’t a good fit for every product from every manufacturer — we truly are dedicated to bringing more value and convenience to purchasing in our online marketplace at


So stay tuned, because you’ll see more no-hassle, free-shipping offers on in the days and weeks to come. Right now today, we invite you to enjoy these productivity-boosting, massive-selection-choosing, bottom-line-improving offers from:



That’s free ground freight shipping, anywhere in the contiguous United States. Some restrictions apply, so if you have questions just contact anyone on our support team.


Check back here often — because we’ll be adding to this list soon!

Have a terrific Christmas – because that’s what we’re planning to do!

2016 December 19
by admin; 4,807 views

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not avoid any product-ordering delays by peaking through this list of our suppliers’ holiday closure notices?

  • will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26.16, and also on 1.2.17
  • BAPI will be closed 12.26 and 1.2.17
  • Belimo will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26
  • Fox Thermal will be closed 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Functional Devices will be closed Monday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 28. They will also be closed on Monday, January 2, 2017.
  • IDEC will be closed December 26th. They’ll also be closed January 2nd.
  • IR-TEC will close at noon PST on Friday, December 23rd. Then they’ll be closed from Monday 12.26 through 1.2.17.
  • Johnson Controls Product Sales Operations Team in Milwaukee, WI will be closed for the holidays December 23rd, 26th, and 30th, and January 2nd.
  • KMC Controls is closed from Monday, December 26th and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd.
  • Ruskin is closing for the holidays on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17
  • Setra Systems will close 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Siemens will be closed on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17