The not-for-profit organization, ACT (www.act.org), notes that a significant segment of today’s labor force does not have the requisite skills that employers demand. This information probably does not come as a surprise to HVAC contractors.
Most small business owners around the country do not plan to hire due to the uncertain economic outlook. Parts of the HVAC industry seem to be trending in the opposite direction, however, as many contractors say they are planning to hire over the next 12 months.
Geothermal wasn’t always on the homeowners’ radar in this application, as they briefly considered replacing their existing high-efficiency propane furnaces and air conditioners with similar equipment. However, the rising cost of propane - combined with federal tax credits - prompted their interest in higher efficiency systems.
Geothermal ground source heat pumps have been increasing in popularity. While geothermal heat pumps can be installed just about anywhere in the United States, some contractors may not be aware of how important it is to first understand the soil composition and subsurface conditions in their area before taking on any job.
There are many different ways to install a closed loop geothermal heat pump system but all involve burying pipes in the ground or submersed in a body of water. While backhoes are still often used to dig trenches for horizontal piping, drilling equipment is needed for vertical piping, in order to bore holes up to several hundred feet into the ground.
More than 350 commercial controls contractors and distributors gathered to attend Honeywell’s Momentum Conference. The annual event serves as an energy, environmental, and economic idea exchange for those who provide the building industry with HVAC, security, video, and intrusion products and solutions.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary as a non-profit center, the Edward Hopper House will exhibit some of the painter’s early works, which are on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art. But before the exhibition could take place, the home first had to meet the stringent climate control requirements of the Whitney Museum.
The HVAC landscape is changing now, as the tax credits have been reduced, the economy is still recovering, and prices on equipment keep increasing. Add in declining home values and higher-than-normal levels of unemployment, and many contractors are facing larger challenges when it comes to selling high-efficiency units.
As HVAC products get more and more efficient, the logical question is what level will they top off at? The laws of physics can limit the efficiency levels of air-source heating and cooling equipment. The laws of economics also come into play, as the cost for each incremental escalation in efficiency can substantially increase the cost of the equipment.
The tough economy has led many contractors to hunker down, conserving resources and cutting expenses. Other contractors are taking the opposite approach, investing in their companies and expanding operations to include additional profit centers. While there are different ways an HVAC contractor can go, most look to plumbing or electrical as natural extensions.