Do political issues have any place in HVAC? Some Snips readers apparently don’t think so, based on a few emails I recently received. 

Since the White House announced last month that the U.S. would withdraw from a 2015 agreement to fight climate change, we’ve been running industry reaction stories at, featuring comments from groups such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers and manufacturers like Aeroseal.

And that appears to have upset some readers, who told me that inserting politics into our publication was inappropriate.

Except that we didn’t “insert” political issues into Snips — they’ve already been there for a long time. In an industry subject to state and federal regulations, politics enters and impacts it all the time, which makes it a subject worth reporting on. We’d be doing a disservice to the industry and our readers if we ignored it.

From the push to bring regional energy efficiency standards to furnaces and air conditioners to ongoing debates over the use of flex duct, politics impacts the equipment our readers sell and install every day.  That’s why savvy organizations have long realized that they need to make their voices heard. Associations such as the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association have long employed lobbyists to ensure lawmakers know they’re watching. And the Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International brings members to Washington, D.C., every spring to meet with Congress members in person.

Measured responses

In the case of the Paris climate accord, most HVAC groups did not directly criticize the president’s decision. Many said they remained committed to manufacturing products that would help reduce the nation’s carbon footprint, regardless of the government’s position on the agreement.

The response from Stephen Yurek, the AHRI’s president and CEO, was typical.

“The fact that the United States government has decided to seek alternative avenues other than the Paris accord to address its energy and environmental objectives does not in any way alter the resolve of America’s HVACR and water heating industry to reduce the environmental impact of the products and equipment we manufacture,” he said. “Our industry has demonstrated its commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship both domestically and abroad, which is evident in the global array of heating, cooling, water heating and commercial refrigeration products that are more technologically advanced — while being more energy efficient — than ever before.”

Snips will never be a heavily political publication, but when sheet metal and HVAC intersects with politics, such as when then-candidate Donald Trump talked about Carrier on the campaign trail or the Sheet Metal Workers union endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, we’ll cover it.

On a different topic, I hope you enjoy this month’s issue, which focuses on spiral duct.

If you’d like to see more pictures of spiral duct machinery and projects, check out our spiral duct showcase at tos/20-spiral-duct-showcase, featuring photos submitted by SPIDA members. You can also peruse many of the other articles we’ve written on spiral over the years at