Renovate America, a residential Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing provider, welcomed the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) issuance of best practices for residential PACE financing, saying the guidelines provide an important framework for expanding the innovative financing model nationwide.
The Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO) expressed extreme disappointment that the House stopgap spending bill to fund the U.S. government does not include an extension of the Investment Tax Credit for geothermal heat pumps. The expiration of these tax credits, which apply to a range of efficiency technologies, will threaten thousands of U.S. jobs.
According to an online survey produced by LevelFunded Health, a national health insurance agency, 87 percent of small businesses that offer group health care saw health insurance premiums rise by 25 percent since 2014, with 12 percent experiencing premium increases of 50 percent or higher.
For consumers to make an educated buying decision, contractors must be able to thoroughly explain the potential features and benefits of a motor retrofit. These include energy savings, benefits from operating the fan continuously, reduced operating noise, and improved airflow control.
Variable-speed blowers on indoor units can enhance the comfort and efficiency of residential HVAC systems, but most homeowner customers won’t be aware of those benefits unless you explain them. A few minutes spent educating homeowners about the advantages of variable-speed equipment and how the technology actually works could help you sell an upgrade and create a happier customer.
Kevin O’Neill, owner of O’Neill Cooling and Heating in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is a fan of variable-speed blowers on indoor units because of the enhanced dehumidification capabilities they provide. He said he includes a variable-speed indoor unit on the majority of the systems he sells.
“When a traditional air conditioning system starts up, the outdoor unit and indoor unit both come on full blast,” O’Neill pointed out. “The problem is, the indoor coil doesn’t get cold immediately; it can take as long as 15 minutes to reach maximum coldness. So, if you have a slightly oversized system, or if you’re in the shoulder months of spring and fall, the coil in a traditional system doesn’t really get cold enough to dehumidify for at least five minutes and sometimes as long as 15 minutes.
“When a system with a variable-speed indoor blower initiates, the outdoor unit kicks on, but the indoor fan starts at only 50 percent of airflow,” he continued. “That allows the indoor coil to get much colder sooner, and it will typically reach maximum coldness in a minute or less. That allows the system to do a much better job of dehumidification, which is important in this climate.”
O’Neill said he educates his customers on the dehumidification advantages of variable-speed performance by using the classic “condensation on a glass” example.
“If you take a glass of water from your cold water tap and set it outside on a hot and humid day, it’s going to sweat,” he said. “If you take a glass of water from your refrigerator and set it outside on a hot, humid day, it’s going to sweat more because it’s colder. If you take ice cubes and put them in that glass, it’s going to be colder still, and it’s going to sweat even more. The message to customers is, the colder the coil, the more humidity it takes out of the air, and the faster it gets cold, the better. That’s how variable-speed technology helps an air conditioner.”
THREE KEY FEATURES
Dan Jape, owner and CEO of Reliable Heating & Air in Kennesaw, Georgia, said variable-speed indoor blowers are included on about 85 percent of the units his company sells.
“No matter what condenser you match with a variable-speed furnace, you get the best comfort and a fast payback,” he said. “We usually work on the furnace selection first and then move onto the condenser we want to pair it with.”
According to Jape, there are three key selling features he utilizes to sell variable-speed equipment: energy cost savings, comfort, and humidity control. He said to run a variable-speed electronically commutated motor (ECM) or a variable-speed dc motor costs about $30 per year in Atlanta, compared to about $300 per year for a permanent split capacitor (PSC) motor.
“The first thing we discuss with customers is energy savings. Then, we explain how this upgrade will make them more comfortable,” he said.
By running slower and longer, variable-speed furnaces provide outstanding comfort, said Jape.
“Everybody has had the experience of a furnace heating up the air quickly, yet still being uncomfortable because the items in the home — the walls, floors, and furniture — aren’t warm. By running slower and longer on low speed, a variable-speed system may take a longer time to heat the air, but it does a better job of creating radiant heat from the objects in the room that make you feel more comfortable.
The third selling point — the ability to program a humidity set point with a variable-speed unit — may be the most important, said Jape, especially in Atlanta.
“In this market, we have days when you can just wring the water out of the air, so we appreciate enhanced dehumidification,” Jape said. “Most of the time, when our customers hear ‘enhanced dehumidification,’ they’re sold. So, between the humidity control, better comfort, and the fact that the variable-speed upgrade pays for itself in just a few years of electrical savings, it’s a pretty easy sell.”
After customers have been sold on the benefits of a variable-speed indoor unit, Jape said contractors should emphasize how these benefits will multiply when paired with the correct, appropriately sized outdoor condensing unit.
“Even if you’re pairing the variable-speed indoor unit with a basic 14-SEER outdoor unit, you can normally get an equivalent rating of 1- to 1.5-SEER points higher than the standard rating on that condenser because you’re dramatically reducing the energy consumption of the blower,” he said.
BELIEF MAKES THE SALE
At Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling in Columbus, Ohio, it’s the comfort advisors’ belief in the benefits of variable-speed that helps the company make the sale. According to Jeff Starkey, vice president of residential sales operations, about 60 percent of the units the company sells are equipped with variable speed indoor blowers.
“All of our comfort advisors are well-educated on the benefits of variable-speed products, and they truly believe in them,” Starkey told The NEWS. “Believing in a product has a huge impact. If they believe, their confidence will spill over with the customer, and the customer will know this is the right thing to do.”
Starkey said Atlas Butler’s comfort advisors educate customers on the comfort, energy-efficiency, and humidity-control benefits of variable-speed equipment. Columbus has a relatively short cooling and dehumidification season and a longer heating season. That means comfort is the main selling point, followed by energy efficiency.
“We talk about how the efficiency kicks up with a variable-speed product, but it really comes down to our ability to communicate how variable-speed technology can help improve their comfort levels,” Starkey said.
He added that once customers understand the benefits, the majority agree that variable speed is the way to go.
“It’s an education rather than a selling process,” Starkey noted. “I tell all my salespeople, ‘At the end of the day, you’re not a salesperson. You’re there to educate people about what’s out there, give them their options, and let them take it from there.’ Our salespeople are educated and enthusiastic about the benefits of variable speed. If a salesperson truly believes that an entry-level unit is the best option for customers, that’s all that salesperson will ever sell. But, if your salespeople truly believe in the many benefits that variable speed offers, they’ll communicate that, and the customers will believe it, too.”
Publication date: 12/5/2016
The global HVACR systems market, which stood at a value of $81.1 billion in 2015, is likely to progress at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.5 percent between 2016 and 2020, reaching an opportunity worth $130.7 billion by the end of the forecast period, according to a new report by Transparency Market Research (TMR).
The thermostat incorporates smart technology to communicate with both conventional and connected HVAC systems.
Being a valuable employee means being someone a service contractor can rely on each day to give an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. It also means an individual should provide his or her talents and skills to the company and its customers with integrity and honesty.
This generation of hybrid electric water heaters exceeds Energy Star requirements. The duct-ready units (no adapter required) fit in small install locations, are compatible with a wide range of climates, and comply with the new Advanced Water Heater Specification.
The eyes of the political world were on the HVACR industry as Carrier and President-elect Donald Trump announced on Dec. 1 an agreement to preserve 1,100 jobs at the Indianapolis factory.
Ice Energy, a provider of distributed thermal energy storage solutions, has launched the Ice Cub — a way to cool and heat the home, store energy, and optimize solar power.
Enphase Energy Inc., a provider of solar energy solutions, and Generac Power Systems Inc., a manufacturer of home backup generators, have joined forces to educate homeowners and distribution partners on the benefits of solar generation and outage protection.
UTC Climate, Controls & Security, which manufactures products under the Carrier, Bryant, Payne, and ICP brand names, has announced a price increase of up to 5 percent on residential and commercial HVAC equipment.
Many in the HVAC industry have fought against the Estate Tax for several years, change may finally be on the way in the form of president-elect Donald Trump, who has said from the beginning that he intends to completely repeal the estate tax.
The U.S. Department of Energy released a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) pertaining to residential furnaces in September.
Several manufacturers are looking to challenge the ubiquitous furnace by offering a different option: the hydro-air system, which they claim is a cleaner, more efficient, and more comfortable alternative to conventional furnaces.
Condensing furnaces offer many consumers the benefit of higher efficiency and thus lower energy bills, but for many homeowners, comfort is the primary reason they choose to purchase such equipment.
The global HVAC insulation market is forecast to reach an estimated $5.2 billion by 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.2 percent from 2016 to 2021, according to a report from Research and Markets.
The product neutralizes pollutants, such as mold, bacteria, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in a home’s central air system and indoor environments.
How do contractors choose the right wholesale distribution suppliers among all of the options?
This single-phase, variable refrigerant flow (VRF), 5-ton heat recovery system is designed for the U.S. market.
The South Carolina Building Performance Association (SCBPA) is a new 501(c)(6) not-for-profit trade association being formed to represent the companies and professionals working in South Carolina’s home and building performance industry.
Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning centers throughout Florida are bringing back a program to benefit Toys for Tots. Through Dec. 15, the six centers will give a free precision tune-up (value $99) for a home’s heating and cooling system in exchange for a new, unwrapped toy.
U.S. shipments of central air conditioners and air-source heat pumps totaled 583,531 units in September 2016, up 19.5 percent from 488,464 units shipped in September 2015, according to the latest statistics from the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).
There is nothing like a grand opening on Broadway — and, on such occasions, rarely is the HVAC industry cast in a starring role. That changed recently as “Air Stage,” Fujitsu General America Inc.’s Solution Center, officially opened on 1450 Broadway in the heart of Times Square in New York.
Bosch Thermotechnology Corp. announced that the Consumer Technology Association has honored Bosch with one of its 2017 Innovation Awards for the Bosch Greentherm 9900i SER, the premium model in a new line of tankless condensing water heaters: The Bosch Greentherm 9000 Series.
Companies that commit to the franchise system and work hard to implement its policies and procedures will find the benefits of franchising to be numerous and pervasive.
HVAC contractors who join national franchises must be prepared to commit themselves and their companies to the franchises’ systems and protocols.
American Action Forum, a political think-tank organization, recently released its “Discounting Consumers: How the DOE’s Wishful Thinking Leads to Higher Costs, Fewer Jobs,” study.
From cellphones to pipe wrenches, software to hand-held diagnostic devices, and everything in between – our tools are our “force multipliers.” They enable us to do things that no man, woman, or team of pros could do just a generation ago.