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The onset of COVID-19 (COVID) has many homeowners more concerned about their indoor air quality (IAQ) these days. But what many people forget is that the IAQ arrow was trending up long before the pandemic started. If anything, the pandemic has just sped up that growth, primarily because people are spending a lot more time inside of their homes.

This provides a great opportunity for HVAC contractors to better serve their customers while also improving their bottom lines. If contractors are not already “all in” on IAQ, they should be. Here are 5 reasons HVAC contractors should be offering IAQ solutions to their customers.

 

1. Homeowners want these products, but only HVAC contractors can provide whole-home (versus single-room) solutions

There is a need in the market that only the HVAC contractor can handle. Sales of single-room air purifiers have risen sharply at places like Amazon since the pandemic started. However, those products address a single room rather than an entire home.

For years, HVAC contractors have preached selling not just an air conditioner or furnace but rather a whole-home solution. No reason to stop that now. Homeowners are ready to have that conversation. HVAC contractors are the experts in this area. They are focused on multiple items such as temperature, humidity, and — yes — air quality. They can customize a solution based on the issues the homeowner is facing instead of offering just a spot treatment solution.

If there is an issue in one area of the home, there is a good chance that the air — and problem — is circulating throughout the entire home system and will not be treated properly with a single-room solution.

Solutions like the Trane CleanEffects® whole home air filtration system can be offered. Products like this eliminate virus particles and other unwanted airborne contaminants in every room of the home with a single unit.

Trane CleanEffects Air Cleaner.

IAQ is here to stay: A Trane CleanEffects whole-home air cleaner offers homeowners a filtration solution for the entire home. (Courtesy of Trane Residential)

 

2. Peace of mind

It certainly looks like COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay, and it is up to individuals to find a way to minimize their personal concern in this “new normal.” People want to trust that the air they are breathing in their homes is safe.

Research indicates that people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors. Today’s homes are better insulated, tightly sealed, and use less energy; however, this can trap indoor pollutants, making indoor air up to five times more contaminated than outdoor air. That’s why it’s imperative to educate homeowners on why they should invest in quality air products, like a proper air filtration system, that are designed to help make the home and the air they breathe the best possible.

 

3. It is more than COVID

October is indoor air quality awareness month, and it should be a time to remember IAQ is not simply protecting people from an airborne virus. Many people suffer from allergies and asthma, which makes particulate matter a big issue in many homes.

A recent study indicated that over 70% of homes have particulate matter issues at the PM 2.5 level or lower. And as many HVAC contractors are aware, that size particulate causes exasperation of asthma and allergy triggers.

There's more in your indoor air than people can easily see — dust, smoke, pet dander, lint, pollen, viruses, and other particles. Even though these particles can’t be seen, they could be negatively affecting the health of occupants. All of these particles in the air are potential triggers for asthma and allergy attacks. Dust, smoke and bacteria are often 0.3 microns or less. At that size, allergens can get deep into the lungs because they aren’t filtered well by the nose and throat.

Solving these IAQ issues is directly leading to improving the health of those individuals. Asthma affects more than 24 million people in the U.S., including more than 6 million children. And allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., with an annual cost of $18 billion.

Adding an air cleaning system can help remove airborne particles and allergens too small for your nose and mouth to filter naturally.

 

4. To make more money

Of course, HVAC contractors are not suggesting IAQ products that are not needed just to raise their average ticket price, but providing the correct solutions will certainly raise their average ticket price.

Many of these products are very simple to install, so from a labor time perspective, it is actually quite minimal. IAQ can be profitability with a purpose. Contractors are offering products that truly do make a difference, so they should be much more comfortable offering the upsell at the kitchen table.

 

5. Earn the trust of a homeowner and turn them into a lifelong consumer

There have been a lot of claims made in the IAQ space. And many of those do not hold up in actual applications. A lot of companies that were not in the IAQ space before the pandemic see it as a bit of a gold rush and are trying to cash in on the current pandemic.

It is important for contractors to look at the data and research that all manufacturers are publishing and interpret the results – and to identify products that have been rigorously tested and are awarded trusted certification, such as the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s asthma and allergy friendly® Certification Program that can allow contractors to make more informed suggestions to their customers without fear of promoting false or exaggerated claims.

Contractors should be reading to make sure testing protocols have been followed and the environment/conditions are similar to where these systems will be installed. If a manufacturer cannot provide this information to the contractor, it does bring into the question the results. Look for manufacturer white papers that describe the third-party results so you can be assured the homeowner will be satisfied.

Another way to earn the trust of a homeowner is by taking an indoor air quality sample through a monitoring device, like the Awair Element IAQ Monitor. Contractors should take a baseline reading so they truly understand what is happening in the space. Then, once a contractor implements a mitigating action, take another reading to ensure what you intended to resolve actually happened. Data does not lie, and a monitor can do that for you.

If HVAC contractors can solve these problems for homeowners (and prove that they did), they have a great chance of earning a lifelong customer.

 

For more information on IAQ products, visit https://residential.trane.com/for-dealers/en/home.html.

 

Jennie Bergman.

By Jennie Bergman, Senior Product Manager, Indoor Environmental Quality at Trane Residential.