A Question Of Space

June 1, 2005
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Many people are discussing the size difference of 13-SEER (and higher) equipment compared to smaller, lower-efficiency units. They are mainly talking about coils and overall unit size. Some manufacturers are stating that higher-efficiency unitary equipment, on average, can be 30-40 percent larger than its smaller, lower-efficiency counterparts.

Contractors who aren't prepared for the change will find that their storage and transportation space has suddenly shrunk 30-40 percent. The time to plan for the change is now, right now.

Grab A Tape Measure

What you will need to determine is:

  • How much total square footage you have or could potentially use for storage.

  • How much square footage you actually use for storing outdoor units and matching indoor coils. Figure out how much space is taken up by smaller, lower efficiency stock; add 40 percent to that figure. If your business size remains the same, that is how much space you will need to find to take care of your new stock.

  • Planning for new indoor coils is as essential as planning for larger outdoor units. As many experts are warning, contractors who don't change indoor coils along with outdoor units will find themselves in Callback City.

    Where will you find the space you need? That depends on many factors - how efficiently your current space is being utilized, how much room you currently have for growth, how much you can improve the use of your space by improving shelving and other aspects of stock management, and even whether you have access to new buildings. If you are already outgrowing your current facilities, it may be time to look seriously into adding on or moving to a larger building.

    Another factor may affect your need to find more space: whether or not your manufacturer or distributor can deliver equipment to the jobsite for you. This kind of value-added service is well worth researching. We will examine these features and others in depth over the coming weeks.

    Trucks, Time, And Manpower

    Moving equipment to the jobsite can become trickier once you are dealing mainly with larger equipment. Ask your equipment manufacturer for the measurements of a 13-SEER condensing unit in its shipping packaging. Now measure the access doors of your delivery vehicles.

    Measure the height of the access doors themselves. How easy is it going to be to get the new, larger unit into and out of the vehicle? Do you have the equipment you need so that moving product is safer for your staff, both at the shop and at the jobsite?

    Speaking of manpower, consider whether the size and complexity of installing the new equipment is going to increase your staffing needs, particularly on the installation side. Installations are probably going to take longer if they are to be done right.

    One aspect that could add significantly to manpower and time on the job is the actual jobsite space, particularly for the new indoor coil. Many jobs will require modification of the plenum to accommodate the new indoor coil. Do your people require a refresher in their sheet metal skills?

    The potential is there for greater customer satisfaction, higher profits, and overall growth due to the coming 13 SEER minimum efficiency requirements. The potential is also there for contractor and customer frustration. Planning for these changing needs is essential to maximize growth and minimize aggravation.

    For more information, click on the Emerson Climate Technologies logo above.

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