It’s been an incredibly strong year for the HVAC/R Industry. To give you a snapshot, the industry has experienced significant growth at both regional and national levels. Meanwhile, we continue to deal with past trends concerning air quality, efficiency and the ongoing labor shortage – as well as modifications to government regulation and enforcement.
Perhaps the most notable change that we’ve seen is the recent Electrically Commutated Motor (ECM) legislation put in place by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE). With this new standard, residential furnace fans will now be required to run off an ECM (as opposed to the induction motors currently found on many units). As this becomes the new code, the transition to ECM technology will become the industry norm. That’s great news for contractors and homeowners alike.
Replacing existing residential furnace fans with ECM technology comes with an important benefit: increased energy efficiency. Electrically commutated motors use much less energy than their predecessors, making them extremely attractive to home and business owners who are working to economize. In fact, ECMs are projected to decrease energy usage by 40% in the average home.
You can’t really discuss increased energy efficiency without mentioning recent advances in inverter technology. Manufacturers such as Fujitsu have utilized this energy-saving technology to its full extent and successfully changed the way that we think about air conditioning units. Not only have inverter type air conditioning units proven themselves to be more convenient for the user, they also eliminate wasted operation by efficiently regulating motor speed. This of course also means an increase in potential sales for contractors. Thankfully for home owners and business owners, many manufacturers have been making it easier to upgrade by offering a wide variety of factory rebates.
Another change worth mentioning is the discontinuation of R410A, a commonly used refrigerant in many A/C units and heat pumps. This has been in the works for quite some time, and is a change that the entire HVAC/R industry has been preparing for, especially manufacturers.
We always listen closely to what our customers have to say, and with the recent changes in HVAC/R technology – it’s only natural that many have been asking about more opportunities to participate in hands-on technical training. In order to address this need, DSG has created a technical training lab in Billings, Montana. Give your DSG representative a call, and we can tell you more about the opportunities available there.
Finally, I would be leaving out a significant HVAC/R industry challenge if I didn’t note the labor shortage that continues to impact the trades as a whole. Believe it or not, the new ECM regulation actually addresses this issue as well. Because ECMs are programmable, they require less maintenance and fewer maintenance workers.
All of these trends have resulted in the various parties who make up the HVAC/R industry working closer together. That’s why we provide opportunities like our new technical training lab. The more we adopt the mindset of working as a team, providing the HVAC/R industry with the tools and training they need to be successful, the more the HVAC/R industry will continue to thrive.