Perhaps the most overlooked, yet potentially troublesome, aspect of the new 13 SEER minimum efficiency regulation, is the fact that some contractors' vehicles will no longer be able to accommodate the larger, higher-efficiency equipment. Some vans, for instance, may have been able to fit smaller, 10-SEER units. But will they fit something 40-percent larger through their doors?

Remember, the size increase is not limited to the main condensing unit. Indoor coils also will be larger, and also will need to be carried to the jobsite. You just plain won't be able to fit as much equipment into your vehicle this time next year, as you have been this year.

There are solutions, but they will require some planning, communication, and perhaps capital.

Ask Questions

How much truck space do we have now?

Every good tech knows that you can't control what you don't measure. Each service and delivery vehicle is like a little warehouse on wheels. As we discussed regarding your warehouse, you will need to take stock of your existing vehicle's square footage, add 40 percent to determine your future needs, and figure out how to achieve that. Also, make sure you measure the doors.

Are we carrying too much stuff?

Service vehicles can easily get unorganized and carry a number of things that aren't really needed. Do an inventory of each truck; know what it has, what the tech needs (yes, talk to that technician), and what he would like to see.

It's possible that adding one new tool could get rid of two or three others - and with added accuracy, if you are replacing nondigital diagnostic tools with digital. Think creatively.

Space can be conserved with truck interior storage systems. It may seem like an added investment, but if it's a choice of replacing a vehicle or organizing its storage, guess which option is less costly up front. (Of course, if the vehicle is unreliable, it should be replaced anyway.)

Can your jobsite deliveries be streamlined?

Options here include:

  • Organizing your days' deliveries so that a correct-sized vehicle(s) can handle them all, using a combination of route planning and preferred/emergency customer status.

  • Asking your distributor or manufacturer's rep about jobsite deliveries. Some will and some won't, depending on variables such as the amount of business you do, your payment status, and whether or not they offer the service. No harm in asking.

    Adding A Vehicle

    If you find that you need to add a larger class of delivery vehicle to your fleet, manufacturers are advising that contractors look into panel trucks - roughly the size of a rentable moving vehicle. Contractors may also need to modify the vehicle with ramps so that larger unitary packages can be moved from the ground to the higher level; or, they may need to invest in a simple, sturdy, piece of lifting equipment.

    The benefits are that these pieces of equipment are not limited to the purpose of moving and lifting larger unitary packages. Once you have them, you can find multiple uses for a larger truck and a sturdy lift.

    A final note: Larger vehicles and larger loads mean higher gas consumption. If you don't already have a gas surcharge in place now, consider it for the future. It will cost more to run these vehicles and loads.

    For more information, click on the Emerson Climate Technologies logo above.