Lennox, a major hvac equipment manufacturer, and NATE, a non-profit national certification organization for hvac technicians, believe certification is a priority. “Everyone has a role to play in improving the industry’s image. Although the vast majority of hvac companies are honest and working hard to serve their customers, good training and good education will make a big impact in our industry,” said Scott J. Boxer, president of Lennox Industries.
“There are many advantages to NATE certification. Certified technicians do the job right the first time and they stay in the industry longer than non-certified ones,” stated Rex Boynton, president of NATE. “Consumers want knowledgeable technicians they can trust to install and service their home comfort systems, and they have that with a NATE-certified technician.”
“We must never forget the technician is the face of this industry to the consumers. Everyone benefits when the technician does a good job,” noted Boxer. “Unfortunately, due to unfavorable reports in the media, there is a lack of trust and respect of technicians among some consumers. I’m confident we can work with NATE to help turn these unfortunate perceptions around.”
GAINING CONSUMER CONFIDENCEConsumers want assurance technicians are knowledgeable, skilled, and competent. Based on independent research, 87% of consumers want a certified technician to service their hvac equipment.
NATE-approved testing organizations are located throughout the U.S. and Canada. NATE and Lennox will promote testing at a variety of hvac events throughout the year. Testing information and dates will be available on the NATE and Lennox websites (www.natex.org and www.lennox.com).
To become NATE-certified, a technician must pass both a core and a specialty exam. The core test covers fundamentals of math, electricity, heat transfer, comfort, and customer relations. Specialties include air conditioning, heat pumps, gas heating, oil heating, and air distribution. Specialty tests cover system components, applied knowledge, diagnostics, troubleshooting, and service/installation. NATE certification is valid for five years; thereafter a technician must be re-certified.
One of the reasons for the low number of certified technicians is the fact that many dealers are reluctant to train technicians because they are concerned those technicians might leave after training. “Untrained labor can be a recipe for disaster,” Boxer said. “Would you rather train your technicians and maybe lose them or not train them at all and keep them?”
LENNOX OFFERS INCENTIVESBoxer has challenged Lennox dealers to promote their NATE status. Dealers with more than 25% of their technicians NATE-certified will be included in the Lennox Dealer Locator listing at www.lennox.com, along with a NATE certification logo. Lennox dealers who have more than 50% of their technicians NATE-certified in 2003 will have two NATE certification logos with their dealer listing. If they have more than 75% of their technicians NATE-certified in 2003, they will be identified with three NATE certification logos.
Dealers who employ NATE-certified technicians also will be listed on NATE’s Consumer Contractor Connection on their website at www.natex.org.
“NATE certification can be a powerful marketing tool, but more importantly, it is the right thing to do for our customers and our industry,” Boxer said.
Publication date: 02/25/2002