IAQ – An Overlooked Opportunity for HVAC Industry
IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) has always been important but, as we come through a pandemic, it is more than ever.
During a recent webinar, Aeroseal’s Director of Dealer Development, Tracy Martin, was joined by Jeff Howard – HVAC Comfort Engineer for Williams Comfort Air and Robb Buonomo – HVAC Manager for Beck Cohen to discuss homeowners’ increased awareness of IAQ. Both Howard and Buonomo are passionate industry professionals and have a lot of success inside the IAQ arena.
Now is the time to rethink how IAQ fits into your value proposition. Coming out of the pandemic, the country is much more mindful of healthy air and homeowners are demanding it. But this shift isn’t just emotionally driven, there is science and research behind it.
- The EPA ranks Indoor Air Pollution as a Top 5 Danger
- Indoor air is typically 2 to 5 times worse than outdoor air, and in extreme cases up to 100 times
- People inhale approximately 15,000 quarts of air, per day
- This includes asthma triggers such as dust mites, mold, allergens, and pet dander
- Allergies, asthma, lung cancer and heart disease can all be linked back to poor air quality
- Majority of household items produce VOC, with furniture, carpet and the paint on your walls being large contributors
- Consider all of the above with the fact that homeowners spend approximately 90% of their time indoors
- The most susceptible people (the very young, older adults, those with cardiovascular disease and/or respiratory disease) spend even more time indoors
In order to attain healthy IAQ, several pieces come into play. This means looking beyond just a new system install or replacement to ensure the entire system is properly sized, balanced, sealed, and has the proper filtration in place. Proper ventilation is key to addressing VOC’s and small pollutants in the house for your home, health, and family.
“VOCs are a problem. Statistically, a newborn baby crawling around on the carpet, breathing VOCs, is the equivalent of that baby smoking one cigarette a day.” – Buonomo
While homeowners have plenty of IAQ information readily available via a quick internet search, they are trusting an HVAC contractor’s expertise to validate their concerns. Many times a homeowner can explain the concern or symptoms of the concern but don’t know the remedy. This is where it is always important to be prepared for an IAQ conversation to educate them, offer solutions, and ultimately fix their problems. Homeowners aren’t simply buying a product off the shelf or from your catalog, they are buying a solution such as comfort or healthier air.
“When we go to the doctor, we tell them what is wrong and that we want it to go away. We expect the doctor to be the expert, explain the issue, and provide the solutions. We, in the HVAC industry, have that same responsibility to homeowners” – Martin
There is a tremendous market opportunity that the HVAC industry is missing out on and that is IAQ products. Homeowners are spending $33 billion a year on IAQ products. So it’s safe to say homeowners are willing to spend the money on a comprehensive, IAQ solution. Unfortunately, as Buonomo puts it, “The HVAC industry is only getting 1% of the $33 billion in IAQ sales while the rest goes to big box stores.”
“The HVAC industry is losing out on a tremendous amount of money. This can be linked to the HVAC industry not doing as good of a job as possible to educate the homeowner” – Howard
There are many IAQ products and services on the market, such as:
- UV Lights
- Humidifiers & Dehumidifiers
- Air Purifiers
- Duct Cleaning
When thinking about the system and how the pieces interrelate, addressing the ductwork is critical. Properly sealed ducts allow the system to operate and function as it was designed. They allow proper airflow, equipment sizing, ventilation, and more precise efficiency ratings. In fact, 2020 is expected to be a record year for equipment replacements. Since 2005 data shows a large volume of new equipment sales and the industry average equipment lifespan is around 15 years, it is only a matter of time before the replacement calls begin coming in.
In addition to understanding the impact that duct leakage has on a system, it is important to note that there was no duct leakage code or enforcement prior to 2009. Based on a 2016 study that determined 96% of the owner-occupied homes were built in 2009 or prior, that means there are greater than 115 million homes that could be impacted by little to no duct sealing. Combined with the HVAC industry only accounting for 1% of the $33 billion in IAQ product sales, that is a lot of opportunity for the HVAC industry to capitalize on to provide better customer satisfaction and greater revenue for their company.
This is where Aeroseal comes in. It is a patented and proven technology that has been around for over 20 years. It is also the safest and single most effective method of sealing ductwork on the market today. The sealant has been tested to last more than 40 years with no signs of breakdown or decreased performance. The sealant is capable of sealing anything up to 5/8″ in diameter and takes care of even the smallest pinholes that would otherwise go unrecognized to the human eye.
Aeroseal has allowed both Howard and Buonomo to experience greater efficiencies too.
“A two-man crew can remove the outdoor unit, prep the house for Aeroseal, seal all the ductwork, and then install the new outdoor unit in one day. The next day, they can replace the indoor unit and are done before noon.” – Buonomo
While there is no “silver bullet” solution, you would be hard-pressed to find another individual product that offers the same amount of benefits. Aeroseal addresses:
- Humidity Control
- Air Quality
- Energy Efficiency
- Equipment Longevity
“When combined with duct cleaning, much of the prep work is identical. Cleaning and sealing duct work can now be accomplished in a single 8-10 hour day with Aeroseal” – Howard
Duct sealing is a proactive solution, targeting the root cause of the majority of IAQ issues. For example, a UV light addresses what gets into the duct system instead of preventing it from entering the duct system. While UV lights and other products are certainly effective and have their place, it is a combination of IAQ products that provide the best solution.
In all, a focus on IAQ WILL grow your business by allowing you to:
- Recover lost revenue: Consider the 1% of the $33 billion spent on IAQ products along with the 115+ million homes nationwide that were built before duct sealing codes were around. This is market potential.
- Increase average ticket sale: You are increasing the ticket sale by doing what is right for the customer
- Maintain, and even boost, revenue during shoulder season: IAQ is a year-round opportunity
- Increase customer satisfaction: Duct sealing reduces costly callbacks and enhances business reviews
- Differentiate your business: Many contractors are still in the mindset of equipment sales, give homeowners the solution they need and you will be rewarded with loyalty
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