There is no doubt that due to COVID, the general public has been thinking a lot about the air they breathe. Due to that fact, I figured closing indoor air quality products for an HVAC contractor was as simple as giving the homeowners options at the kitchen table sale.
But then I read a study recently completed by Panasonic. The manufacturer wanted to find out how homeowners perceived the health of the air in their home and also how aware they were about IAQ in general. The interesting part of the study is they measured what the homeowner thought after they were given just a few basic indoor air quality facts.
The results surprised me and some at Panasonic.
“I fully expected that we were going to have a little more hardening in peoples’ attitudes, in addition to a little more awareness. What we found is there was very low awareness in the issues that are impacting indoor air quality. There was very little thought given to the issues around indoor air quality by either the consumer or the homebuilder,” said Kevin Smith, general manager for the life and device solutions division of Panasonic Canada.
But what was first bad news for HVAC contractors soon switched to good news as the study continued. The data showed that both consumers and home builders were very receptive hearing the IAQ facts. Those facts changed their attitudes. There was an indication that after getting that information, they were prepared to take action to deal with home IAQ.
Here are some quick takeaways from the study:
- After exposure to IAQ scientific findings, the number of homebuilders who viewed homes as somewhat or very unhealthy more than doubled, from 29% to 62%.
- Post-survey, two out of three homebuilders considered IAQ to be much more important, with 62% recommending IAQ solutions, up from 49% before learning of risks mitigation through IAQ technologies.
- Over 70% of builders recognized ventilation and filtration as helpful strategies for addressing poor IAQ.
This show that people are concerned about health … they are just not always connecting the dots. People were concerned about IAQ when talking about restaurants, workspaces, and other venues but looked at their home as more of a safe space. This is where HVAC contractors need to do some educating.
A trend in this country is awareness about health is growing. How many times have you heard the local or national news talk about water safety? It started with the issues in Flint, Michigan, but quickly progressed to lead pipes and an assortment of other items. A lot of people have a water filtration system or are purchasing bottled water.
Think about trends in food. There is much buzz around organic and non-GMO foods. I mean, heck, even someone in my weight class makes the occasional trip to Whole Foods.
It just stands to reason that, given the facts, the general public would be just as interested in learning how to breathe in healthy air. Especially when a contractor points out that the average person spends 90% of their time indoors. Homeowners are taking in more air a day than water and food.
Of course, explain to your customers that the trend for the last 30 years has been to tighten up the home to increase energy efficiency. Then let them know that if air is not escaping, that means that fresh air is also not getting into that home.
But more importantly, HVAC contractors need to connect IAQ with their homeowner customers on a more emotional level. Energy is a payback piece but it does not connect emotionally. When contractors start talking about the health and safety of the family that lives in that house … well, now they are much more likely to get that sale.
This also means home builders can monetize IAQ which will help HVAC contractors in the new construction market. It aligns better with how people buy homes. For years, HVAC contractors complain the countertops get more attention than the HVAC unit. By connecting emotionally, that can change.
Educate your homeowner customers about IAQ by focusing on the health that it provides.