The Indoor Air Quality Revolution
Getting your piece of HVAC’s most profitable add-on opportunity
IAQ is a term used since around the same time the Boeing 727 was launched and domestic travel in the U.S. was opened to millions. Although its genesis occured more than 60 years ago, the threshold of what IAQ can do for the average HVAC company hasn’t been crossed by many. The industry is estimated to exceed $5 billion in revenue within the next four years. This is an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up. As an HVAC contractor in 2001, IAQ was a field of pursuit I couldn’t release. Accepting that IAQ was profitable was easy, though I fell short in figuring out how to get the idea and importance of IAQ in the homes of my customers and close a sale.
THE OPEN DOOR
Duct cleaning, another industry that has evolved over the past 20 years, is now more than just an add-on service for HVAC companies. The duct-cleaning industry has branched off to become a triple slam of choices. You can have it however you want it, simple or engaged. Companies can now use it to help their existing revenue stream, as a business of its own or, as in my experience, as a doorway into IAQ success. It not only has the ability to create a competitive advantage and increase the bottom line for companies all across the nation, it can open a door into greater possibilities that most HVAC companies have thought to be out of our industry. In 2001, when I decided to adopt the trade as filler for the slower times, I didn’t fully expect it to morph into an extensive profitable business — I just needed to make payroll on Friday. What I wasn’t entirely aware of was I was headed into a blooming market of HVAC meets health or HVAC meets IAQ, and that was the impact I needed for my struggling company.
As I began to circulate additional revenue for my business, IAQ funneled my personal success into a $35,000 average sale for the next 12 years. Talk about opening the flood gates of opportunity. It was one of a series of profitable waves that had just reached my shoreline. IAQ was the silver tuna of all my attempts to take a struggling HVAC company to the next level without losing all my technicians. Training was straightforward, and we only needed one expert in the office, and that expert was me. Adding IAQ in the mix wasn’t a strain, it actually alleviated pressure in the office with cash profit. The idea that there was a way to rid indoor air of volatile matter offered a new level of comfort that homeowners were beginning to take advantage of. To them, it wasn’t just dust-filled air, it was the air that was making them sick.
As duct cleaning metamorphosed into an IAQ market, my sales went from cleaning and sanitizing the indoor air to performing complete healthy-home renovations. John Ellis, president of So Cal Air Dynamics in North Ridge, California, and I were discussing IAQ recently, and he was explaining the results of an IAQ job where he recently added a 5-ton system to an air-quality renovation. His results? A 99.9 percent drop in particle counts between the return and supply, he said, “That’s unheard of as an industry standard for residential, to get 99.9 percent filtration from an HVAC system.”
Improving IAQ not only maintains the life of the unit, it also maintains the lives of the people who live in the home. How does that bring about profit? When making HVAC repairs or upgrades for the customer’s desire for comfort, there’s a firm bottom line. It’s always about price until you make it about something else. Now, HVAC contractors all over the world can make it about health.
Condensers, blowers, and air ducts are not limited to just circulating the air but to the health of the occupants. Homeowners will go into their storerooms and bring out their gold and their silver for the health of families. Making it about life improvement maximizes potential profitability.
HVAC TO THE RESCUE
IAQ is not just cleaning the air in the home — its cleaning sinus cavities, bronchial tubes, and lungs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says long-term effects of poor IAQ can be truly severe.
“Health effects may show up either years after exposure has occurred or only after long or repeated periods of exposure. These effects, which may include some respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer, can be severely debilitating or fatal. It is prudent to try to improve the IAQ in your home, even if symptoms are not noticeable.”
The HVACR community has a duty to fulfill when it comes to IAQ, especially when the IAQ momentum is so strong. How can any HVAC business forego this connective opportunity in our profession, especially when its proposal to our customer base organically tags onto duct-cleaning services we’ve been offering for years? Homeowners are poised to spend billions of dollars on IAQ this decade, and we can’t pass up that profit opportunity. It might not be on your list of options, but our trade has to begin to evolve with the needs of our ever-evolving customers. The HVAC industry will continue to grow. Pollutants will continue to be dangerous. And, the air being consumed in and outside the home is becoming more and more toxic and volatile. This is a serious issue. America the great has to become America the healthy.
HVACR is at the dawning of a new age. That new age, to be exact, is hidden within the letters IAQ.
Publication date: 10/10/2016