This year will bring plenty of changes to the Energy Star program, including implementation of Version 3 of its New Homes program. Most of the new guidelines became mandatory on Jan. 1. The rest kick in after July 1.
Most contractors have already given their technicians some type of basic mobile device — often a cell phone or two-way radio — while others have invested in total mobile solutions that include tablet PCs and portable printers. With the cost of mobile technology decreasing, now may be the perfect time to see if it makes sense to go mobile.
All contractors want to use software that will streamline operations while keeping data safe, organized, and easy to manage — and they don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for it. Finding that dream software package can be a challenge, though, because every contracting firm has different needs.
The ACCA Quality Assured(QA)program, which launched earlier this year, was created to recognize contracting businesses that follow proper procedures and practices to design, install, and maintain home heating, cooling, and ventilation systems.
Even though the first cost of hydronic equipment is usually more expensive than forced-air units, customers often remain willing to pay the premium for the constant, even temperatures a properly designed hydronic system can provide.
The obvious method to keeping energy bills in check is for homeowners to have regular maintenance performed on their gas boilers to ensure they are running optimally. Another way to cut down costs is to make strategic retrofits that can improve the efficiency and safety of older boiler systems.
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.