IAQ Stressed at Lennox Dealer Meeting

April 23, 2007
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Gary Bedard, vice president of product development for Lennox International, said the company’s dealers “put considerable selling skills to work in the 13 SEER market.”

CHICAGO - Gary Bedard, vice president of product development for Lennox International, called 2006 “a strange year” at the company’s 2007 Dealer Meeting. Nevertheless, the company’s dealers “put considerable selling skills to work in the 13 SEER market.

“R-410A sales more than doubled,” he said. “You were prepared. Those of you who routinely sell 410A systems will have a considerable advantage at the kitchen table.”

IAQ products and services were an important part of the company’s message to its dealers.

Craig Ahrens, Lennox’s Central Region IAQ sales manager, said that one out of four people have some kind of respiratory problem. By adapting to these market needs, dealers can help their systems achieve higher performance, and increase their own profitability.

SIGNS OF THE TIMES

Craig Ahrens, Central Region IAQ sales manager and “IAQ Guru,” said that during the 1970s, the tranquilizer Valium was the most widely prescribed legal drug in the United States. In the 1980s, it was Zantac to reduce stomach acid. In the 1990s, it was antidepressants like Prozac. And in the 21st century, the most widely prescribed drugs are allergy-relief medications like Claritin, Zyrtec, and Allegra.

“One out of four people have some kind of respiratory problem,” Ahrens said. By adapting to these market needs, dealers can help their systems achieve higher performance, and increase their own profitability

The company’s IAQ products include heat recovery and energy recovery ventilators (HRVs and ERVs), UV light systems, dehumidification and humidification products, and filtration systems that go up to a MERV 16 efficiency.

Controlling humidity is a crucial step in helping a customer’s home achieve good IAQ, he said. “Over 90 percent of the human body is made up of water.” Proper humidity is needed to keep our mucous membranes from drying out, as well as to preserve home structures and furnishings. “A humidifier can actually reduce builder callbacks,” Ahrens said.

The manufacturer’s humidifiers use a flow-through design. A solid copper water feed line helps reduce callbacks from leakage - “the No. 1 reason for humidifier callbacks.” The unit features manual or automatic control, ease of installation, a built-in damper, and ease of maintenance. “It uses the same replacement parts as today’s products, same style water valve, and quick-release access cover,” Ahrens said.

NO MORE OZONE

Significantly, the company decided to eliminate ozone from its air-cleaning products. “Sharper Image is the largest air filtration product maker in the United States,” Ahrens said. “The average consumer buys two.

“Your customers are buying this product.”

And where are consumers looking for their IAQ solutions? According to Lennox, 64 percent are going to the home improvement market, where IAQ products are claiming more and more shelf space. Only 36 percent are going through the HVAC channel.

Retail shelf space isn’t handed out on a whim, Ahrens pointed out. It goes to products that are selling. “People are looking for high-efficiency filtration.”

According to Lennox, the filtration market has shifted to media air cleaners. The company says it’s new PureAir™ certified MERV 16, hospital-grade air purification system traps particles down to 0.15 microns at 1,200-cfm pressure drop. Its pleated filtration system offers reduced size, simplified maintenance with UV lamps, and a titanium dioxide panel. Lamps are to be replaced once a year instead of twice a year.

The system is said to attack all three classes of indoor air contaminants: small, breathable particles such as dust, dirt, pollen, and allergens; airborne mold spores, bacteria, and viruses; and odors and chemical vapors. According to the manufacturer, the product removes more than 95 percent of contaminants down to 0.3 microns, and more than 90 percent of bioaerosols down to 0.01 micron. It is said to remove and destroy approximately 50 percent of household odors and chemical vapors in a 24-hour period (based on laboratory and field studies), and is able to reduce and destroy ozone.

The top of the line is the Pure Air, with MERV 16. The middle option is Healthy Climate® 16. The good option is Healthy Climate 12.

“Our dealers have had tremendous success over the last five years helping purify the air in the homes of their customers with PureAir,” said Terry Johnston, vice president, marketing, Lennox International Worldwide Heating and Cooling. “With PureAir’s new lower price point, simplified maintenance, and smaller size cabinet, dealers can now provide the purest, most comfortable air possible for even more of their customers. PureAir gives our dealers a competitive advantage in the rapidly growing indoor air quality market.”

The PureAir System reduces concentrations of pollutants through a process called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) which combines three of nature’s most powerful air purifiers. The three-stage process is as follows:

1. The MERV 16 filter removes more than 95 percent of most small, breathable particulates in the airstream, including pollen, dust and pet dander, down to 0.3 microns and over 90 percent removal of bioaerosols.

2. The odor- and chemical vapor-filled airstream flows over the UV lamps, preparing the airstream for the catalytic surface (titanium dioxide-coated metal filter insert).

3. The light energy and water vapor in the air activate the titanium dioxide catalyst, which generates hydroxyl radicals. These radicals remove and destroy household odors and chemical vapors.

With the system’s compact size, “You can upgrade to hospital-grade performance without ripping the old unit out,” said Ahrens.

Jay Gidick (left), vice president of merchandising and national accounts, and “Dave Lennox” discuss the pros and cons of Dave’s old cordless phone. Change may be hard, but it definitely has benefits, as Dave found out.

CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES

Jay Gidick, vice president of merchandising and national accounts, and “Dave Lennox” worked in between the various presentations doing a little shtick about cell phones. Dave held up an industrial-sized cordless phone that needed a mega battery and wouldn’t hold a charge more than a couple of minutes. “About 15 years ago, that was quality,” said Gidick.

“It’s a working man’s phone,” said Lennox proudly. By the end of the two-day meeting, “Dave” was convinced that change might be a good thing after all.

“We’ve gone from typewriters to word processors to the smallest of laptops,” said Lennox speaker Jim Calder. “Part of technology has advanced exponentially in the past 50 years.”

Bonnie Maupin, who shared this portion of the presentation with him, pointed out the five-S process of staying organized: sort items, store some things, shine your space, standardize your methods, and sustain what you have accomplished.

Maupin and Calder recounted one company that in 1979 was on the brink of disaster and full of debt. By 2003, its retail sales had grown more than 27 percent, and its prestige had grown by leaps and bounds. That company was Harley Davidson.

“They recognized that employees are their only true, long-term competitive advantage,” said Calder.

Publication date: 04/23/2007

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