Last year was a busy one for the HVAC/R industry. While there weren’t any drastic changes, trends toward higher efficiency and improved indoor air quality – as well as ongoing labor challenges – continued to impact how we as an industry did business.
When it comes to air conditioning, we’re seeing more and more units with outdated technology reaching the age where they need to be replaced. That’s great news for contractors. As this happens, homeowners and business owners are looking beyond the base 13-SEER systems to those that reach 16, 18 or even 20 SEER.
It’s no surprise that energy efficiency is at the top of people’s minds. The government and the Department of Energy continue to push the envelope and drive standard efficiency levels as high as they can go. Building codes at the national and state level are calling for an even greater focus on improved indoor air quality. All of this means that there is real potential for contractors to sell HRV and ERV systems.
R410A, commonly used in many A/C units and heat pump systems, is destined to be upgraded to a new refrigerant. The timeline is tentative at this point, but there are research and development efforts taking place, and manufacturers are taking notice. We will be keeping a close eye on this at DSG.
Workforce woes continue to be a challenge for the HVAC/R industry and the trades as a whole. Contractors are forced to do more with less, and we’re constantly keeping an eye out for labor-saving products. Take Zoom Lock from Parker, for example. It’s a flame-free refrigerant fitting that allows you to join a copper tube in about 10 seconds without brazing – reducing labor by as much as 60 percent. Give your DSG sales representative a call, and we can tell you more about it.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the power of connectivity. Connected thermostats now not only control air comfort, they operate lights, security systems and more. Tools and installations are becoming more high tech as well. Fortunately, online support continues to expand, especially the use of instructional videos. This is allowing contractors to take advantage of training when it is most convenient.
All of the trends we’re seeing in the HVAC/R industry point to us treating homes and buildings as complete systems. HVAC/R isn’t just heating and cooling anymore. It’s about making indoor living spaces the best they can be for our customers. The more we adopt this mindset, the more the HVAC/R industry will continue to thrive.