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Indoor Environmentalists

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Author’s Note: This article was drafted on 17 July 2020. 

September and October are prime months to perform maintenance agreements in preparation for the coming winter months.  This year, due to the unprecedented COVID 19 pandemic, peculiar circumstances support a unique opportunity to recommend HVAC enhancements.

ACCA members who want to boost their fall maintenance agreements can visit this website for helpful resources:  

How to increase the number of fall maintenance agreements 

Fall PM: Gain Loyal Customers Through a Maintenance Program 

Market Opportunity 

Since March, thousands have begun to work from home.  Some schools have opened, but many still provide classes online or a hybrid of classroom and online learning.   More Americans are eating at home or ordering in.  We stream movies instead of going to theaters.  We exercise at home instead of going to the gym, and we read online rather than go to libraries.     

All of this meansAmerica is at home.  A lot.   

So now they spend their evening hours at home, and they spend their working (or school) day at home.  This makes their home’s indoor environment that much more essential.  When you perform your maintenance visits this fall, it will be the perfect opportunity to slow down and recommend improvements that may have fallen on deaf ears in the past.  It is incredible how spending all day at home varies from spending a few hours there before going to sleep and then rushing to work in the morning.  All of those minor annoyances are now in your customers face all- day– long.  Since many Americans will continue to work from home, their problems with their HVAC system will be in their face for months to come.  This has a way of rearranging priorities.  Now that summer vacation may become a staycation so that their home’s comfort system can get the upgrades or the TLC; it’s needed for so long.  

Do It Right 

The ANSI/ACCA 4 QM (Maintenance of Residential HVAC Systems) Standard was developed to establish the minimum requirements of acceptable residential HVAC equipment maintenance.  The standard is comprised of checklists for various equipment types; each checklist has inspection tasks and an associated recommended corrective action.  A committee created these checklists made up of contractors, manufacturers, distributors, and utilities, and was ultimately vetted by the industry.   

The first step is to ensure your technicians are taught how to follow the ACCA 4 QM Standard (free PDF download).  The second is to ensure your customers know the importance of following the standards procedures.  Here are some resources for ACCA Members:  

ACCA ComforTools: Preventive Maintenance = Savings 

Customer Checklists: Teach Your Customers. 

Carpe Diem 

Maintenance visits and service calls are now more important than ever.  They provide an excellent opportunity to educate our customers who have a new appreciation for their home’s environment, where they spend almost all their waking hours.   

Many will have an interest in improved ventilation and air filtration or purification.   

Use your marketing dollars to promote QM 4 Maintenance Agreements and add a little more time to offer corrective actions that will improve comfort, health, safety, and energy efficiency.  Improvements like: 

  • Comfort: 
  • Air balancing (for hot/cold rooms) 
  • High performance registers to replace drafty, rattling, stamped-steel builder-grade models. 
  • Dehumidification equipment 
  • Zoning system 
  • Duct sealing/duct modifications 
  • Health and Safety: 
  • Improved air filtration/purification 
  • Dehumidification 
  • Duct sealing 
  • Energy Efficiency 
  • Clean components, especially evaporator coils and indoor blower assemblies 
  • Duct sealing 
  • Duct renovations 
  • Air balancing 

Technicians should also look for items purchased and installed by others like high-efficiency air filters that lower airflow and incorrectly installed UV lights that could damage internal wiring casing and components susceptible to UV rays. 

Tell the Truth 

Yes, this is a time of uncertainty.  In your customer’s eyes, you are an industry expert, and it is easy to prey on their fears.  However, misrepresenting the truth is a terrible business.  Avoid false claims about the efficacy of air filters, UV lights, and air purification systems.  Technicians should base their recommendations on proven science and investigate marketing claims in glossy brochures. 

We live in unprecedented times.  Technicians will benefit from truthful information that they can share with your customers.  Plan for a few extra moments that are provided for each maintenance visit or service call, and spent to educate your customers on the benefits of improvements to their HVAC system.  You can help them stay healthy, improve performance, and be more comfortable.
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