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Six Ways HVAC Contractors Can Increase Customer Comfort and Improve Sales with Home Performance

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There’s a lot more to optimal A/C performance than the efficiency of the unit, and it’s not uncommon for newly installed systems to fall far short in reducing utility bills by the amount customers anticipate. Putting in a new system without accounting for the entire home ecosystem in which it exists may even cause a home to become less comfortable as a result of uneven temperatures or excess humidity. It simply isn’t enough to install a high-efficiency air conditioner and assume your customers will get what they pay for in energy savings.

To avoid these problems, consider adding Home Performance to your service offering. This will not only keep your customers happy but also increase your profits. Here are six Home Performance services that we have been offering for years at Jon Wayne:

1. Energy Audits. Before you sell an A/C system to a potential customer, conduct an energy audit to show the customer exactly what their old system is costing them and how much a new system can save them – down to the penny per hour. Most HVAC companies can’t do this, so this will ensure you stand out immediately. By delivering a report to the homeowner detailing where energy is being used, where energy is being wasted and which fixes will save the most money, you can better position yourself as the expert best qualified to make those changes.

2. Home Performance Testing. Home Performance Testing takes an energy audit one step further with an inspection of attic insulation, windows and duct work. This testing identifies areas of the home susceptible to air leaks. Fixing these problems not only helps homeowners save money, but ensures they get the best value for the money they spend on a new A/C system.

3. Air-Flow Analysis. An air-flow analysis with a flow hood determines the amount of air flow the duct system is producing. Most homes have leaking or dirty ducts – indeed the D.O.E. claims that the average duct system loses 25-40% of the energy from the unit – and many contractors fail to check ducting.

4. Duct Installation and Maintenance. Duct problems are frequently the reason an A/C can’t keep up with a home’s cooling needs. Excessive air leakage can reduce your customers’ overall comfort and bring in contaminated air from the attic, crawlspace or basement – which can potentially damage their health and the internal components of their new equipment.

Beyond air leakage, duct systems may be incorrectly architected and unable to distribute air evenly throughout the home, leaving some areas cooler than others. In addition, ducting may be lacking in insulation – particularly true for ducting that resides in attics or basements. Air conditioned air does not flow into these spaces, hence the poor insulation can cause the cool air inside the ducts warming up while in transit.

5. Attic-Insulation Upgrades. Dirty attic insulation is a sign that air is traveling through the insulation and out of the home. Attic-insulation upgrades can improve the thermal envelope of your customers’ properties and allow for a smaller A/C system.

6. ACCA Heat-Load Calculations. Oversized A/C units are more expensive and can cause noticeable temperature swings that put more wear and tear on the equipment. A bigger unit isn’t always better – it can cause higher electric bills and a humid home. An ACCA heat-load calculation should be conducted on every single home to determine the proper-size system – before a contract is signed.

Start addressing the house as an overall system. Incorporating home performance into your HVAC business is well worth the initial investment and will keep business coming your way long after an initial installation. All you have to lose, really, is profit.

Don Rackler
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Posted In: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

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