Money may buy the perfect home, but can it buy the perfect comfort system, too? That is a challenge given to contractors each time they enter a home to assess problems and offer solutions. Some customers, however, are not looking only for solutions; some are looking to invest in what they believe is the perfect home comfort system. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is comfort. How, then, do contractors manage expectations and provide the perceived perfect home? They install it in their own homes first.
Personal preference was the driving force for Travis Smith, president of Sky Heating, AC & Plumbing in Portland, Oregon.
“When it came to my personal house, I spared no expense on the heating and air conditioning and water heating system,” he said. “I felt that I could not promote these products to my customers if I would not put them in my own home, and I am so glad I did.”
Using himself as a guinea pig, Smith started with a WaterFurnace 7 series geothermal system with four zones and a WaterFurnace NSW025 with an 80-gallon storage tank. Together, these products provided for heat and hot water. When it was time to address air quality, he installed a 155-cfm HRV system coupled with an RGF 350-cfm HEPA system. The furnace is protected with Trane Clean Effects as well as an RGF Reme Halo, UV light, and ionizer.
“I sealed my ductwork with Aeroseal to get to almost zero leakage on my ductwork,” said Smith. “The house itself has solar panels that produce enough electricity to fully cover the electrical consumption of the HVAC and water heating system, and this is all backed up by a 17kW whole home generator.”
He did not stop there. The Oregon contractor felt that his perfect home included conditioning the garage, and for that, he installed a Daikin LV Series ductless heat pump with RGF mini split air purification. To filter the water, Smith installed a Halo 5 water purification system and six-stage reverse osmosis system for drinking water.
“I chose these items because they were either the most efficient available or provided the best air quality,” he said. “Many told me I went overboard, but my 3,500-square-foot home averages $80 a month for gas and electric.”
Head south to Arizona, and there is a 3,500-square-foot home owned by Rich Morgan. The president of Magic Touch Mechanical in Mesa, Arizona, started his perfect home comfort system with a Manual J
COMFORT INVESTMENT: “Maintaining precise humidity and room temperatures within half a degree of our temperature setting is what the XC25 does best,” said Rich Morgan. “We’re practicing what we preach and making the investment it takes for our own home comfort needs.”
load calculation. With 12-foot ceilings throughout the domicile, Morgan determined he needed 9 tons to cool and heat the space. To replace two 13-SEER units, he chose Lennox XC25 air conditioners.
“After installing Lennox XC25 air conditioners in hundreds of Phoenix homes, we knew our clients absolutely love them,” said Morgan. “In fact, customers literally rave about the comfort difference they experience after installing the XC25 and the heat pump version — XP25.”
According to him, the 65-speed, variable-speed compressor communicating with the electronic blower motor and Lennox S30 smart thermostat results in precise control.
“Maintaining precise humidity and room temperatures within half a degree of our temperature setting is what the XC25 does best,” said Morgan. “We’re practicing what we preach and making the investment it takes for our own home comfort needs.”
Not only does this contractor practice what he preaches about equipment choices and upgrades, but he also understands — from a health point of view — the importance of making high-end investments in HVAC equipment.
“After three decades of crawling around in dirty attics, I’ve been diagnosed with an occupational-related interstitial lung disease,” said Morgan. “Combined with the fact that Maricopa County receives multiple ‘F’ grades from the American Lung Association’s air quality report, I need to mitigate the risks.”
For that, he chose the Lennox Pure Air. This indoor air cleaner and purifier combines hospital-grade HEPA filtration and UV Purification in one unit with a 4-inch MERV 16 pleated filter.
“We chose the ‘S’ model, which communicates filter life (typically about one year) and UV bulb life to the thermostat display,” said Morgan. “Not having to dust a 3,500-square-foot home frequently is the icing on the cake. The cake itself is the health benefits of extreme air filtration.”
CUSTOMERS SAY SEXY: The Lennox iComfort S30 thermostat has on-board diagnostics and it can provide the user indoor/outdoor temperature, humidity, forecast, filter life, air purifier life, time, and date.
To control the entire system, he installed the Lennox iComfort S30. In an HVAC geek moment, Morgan agrees with his customers who called the device sexy.
“It basically looks like an iPad mini on the wall,” he said. “The functionality and information it can deliver to both the homeowner and service technician is mind-boggling.”
The thermostat has on-board diagnostics, and it can provide the user indoor/outdoor temperature, humidity, forecast, filter life, air purifier life, time, date, etc.
“You can even set it to work with AccuWeather and see the weekly forecast displayed on the screen,” said Morgan. “Or, you can upload your own digital photos and use it as a photo frame.”
Jason Hanson, president of Sierra Pacific Home & Comfort Inc. in Sacramento, California, likes the Lennox XC25, and he would add the Lennox SLP98.
“This variable capacity equipment features communicating thermostats, zoning, and a healthy climate cabinet with expandable filter kit and expandable media,” he said. “It not only helps increase my revenue, but it also increases my client satisfaction and loyalty.”
Hanson explained that his customers who opt for these systems have fewer complaints about noise and performance.
“We have recurring revenue on filter replacement, and the customer has lower utility bills, a quieter more comfortable home, and better control on smart devices,” he said. “It’s a win-win.”