This year the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo) will be back on its old stomping grounds: McCormick Place. From Jan. 27 – 29, the vast convention center will once again be a temporary home for contractors and others in the industry who are looking for new products and new ways to do business.
The last year has not been easy for many Americans, but the second half of 2002 did bring some hope for Chicago contractors as business started to pick up again. Two Chicago-area contractors spared a few moments to talk about how they're doing.
Contractors are always looking for different ways to grow their businesses. How about offering a completely new product or service — one that is intertwined with the products and services a contractor already offers, but that many customers would find extremely beneficial if implemented correctly? That new product and service can be found in building automation systems (BAS).
There has been a lot going on in the world of building automation systems (BAS) in the last decade. Prior to that time, proprietary BAS were the norm. In these types of systems, the manufacturer controlled every internal aspect of the system, the components could only be purchased from the original manufacturer, and the system could not easily be linked to any other manufacturer’s system. Today, most manufacturers are emphasizing the need for “open” systems that use communication protocols such as BACnet®, LonWorks®, and ModBus.
What makes customers decide whether or not to shell out the extra money for a high-end furnace? Some contractors would probably give their right arms to have the answer to that question. But because each customer is different, their reasons for buying (or not buying) a more expensive furnace can also be different. Contractors probably won’t know which benefit will appeal to which customer. That’s why it’s important to spell out all the benefits of higher end furnaces during the sales call.
A premium or high-end forced-air furnace is typically thought of as having an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of 90% or above. These furnaces also usually come with other amenities, such as variable-speed motors, sophisticated controls, and longer warranties. For one manufacturer, a premium furnace encompasses all of the above, as well as improved igniter technology.
When trying to sell a customer a high-end furnace, contractors may espouse benefits such as higher efficiencies, which usually translate into lower utility bills. Quieter operation is also a good selling point, as is improved comfort resulting from variable-speed technology. A less obvious but no less important benefit can be found in the form of the variable-speed draft inducer.
Summer is barely over, but it’s time to start thinking about all the new boilers, furnaces, and heat pumps offered by manufacturers. Yes, it’s time once again for the Heating Showcase. This annual event in The News introduces the latest heating units available for the upcoming heating season. The intent is to help our contractor subscribers prepare for winter by putting key product information at their fingertips.
People in Texas have a reputation for doing everything in a big way. Right now there’s a home under construction in The Woodlands, TX, that puts most others to shame. The 33,000-square-foot custom home will cost upwards of $7 million when it’s finished this fall. Obviously, a comprehensive HVAC system is needed for a house this size in order to keep its occupants comfortable. Designing and installing that system are Wayne E. Jones, CEO, and Robert L. Sparks, CFO, Geothermal Air Conditioning, Humble, TX.