Emerson Climate Technologies' Karl Zellmer, vice president of sales and Tim Fletcher, branding manager for A/C contractors, hosted the seminar.
Zellmer told attendees that Emerson had recently polled contractors and found that only 80 percent of them knew of the 13 SEER changeover. There may be a problem for those who are not prepared for the change, especially if contractors look at the size differences of the new 13-SEER products.
Zellmer said there is about a 15-percent size increase from a 12-SEER unit to a 13-SEER unit. Along with the bigger sizes, there will be higher costs. Zellmer isn't sure that consumers will like to dig deeper into their pockets.
"There might be a trend toward more unit repairs over replacements," he said. "Consumers will question whether the unit really needs to be replaced."
Zellmer also discussed another trend in the market - the move to R-410A refrigerant. Unlike the 13 SEER mandate, the move to R-410A as a replacement product will not be in full effect until 2020, possibly sooner. R-22 is still the preferred refrigerant and, according to Zellmer, R-410A represents only 8 percent of the market today.
However, he noted Wal-Mart has required that all of its rooftop units run on R-410A. And last year, Wal-Mart represented one-third of the new commercial construction market in the United States.
"There are 9 million compressors running on R-22 today," said Zellmer. "By 2010, 10 million compressors will run on R-410A."
1. 13 SEER - Making sure contractors are ready for the change before the competition is.
2. Alternate refrigerant - Time to change system specs when planning a project.
3. Product differentiation/selling up - Opportunities for selling additional products (add-ons) which involves more technician training.
"Selling up involves comfort, improved reliability/diagnostic capabilities, and sound (low noise)," Fletcher said. "This is going to be a different way of selling equipment and more training will be required."
Publication date: 04/11/2005