Consequences of Affording to Repair Vs. Replace

The last line in Mike Murphy’s recent editorial, “Efficiency Gaining Ground Again,” [July 23] said, “Because the customer always has a choice to repair or replace.” This is the most important issue that lawmakers and federal agencies looking to boost the SEER rating again will probably overlook.

A story in the July 24 edition of The Wall Street Journaltalked about how the House can’t gain consensus on the energy bill (auto-producing states resist big increases in fuel efficiency, oil-producing states threaten to block any bill that limits drilling on federal land, etc.) When they [House representatives] do reach a compromise, don’t be surprised to see a new 15 SEER minimum standard in their energy bill.

On the surface, Joe and Jane Consumer will think their representative in Washington is doing the right thing to reduce our nation’s energy consumption and protect the environment. Little do they know when it comes time to replace their old HVAC system, they may end up putting a 3-ton compressor in a 20-year-old 8 SEER equivalent unit because they flat can’t afford 15 SEER.

The best thing anyone in HVAC sales can do is to give the buyer all the facts. Help them understand all the benefits of premium comfort and use financing and other tools to help them own the most comfortable, highest-efficiency system they can afford. However, for some buyers a properly installed 10 SEER system would have provided much better comfort and energy savings than patching up their old unit forever.

Steve Howard, Founder
The ACT Group, Phoenix

Working Together, Not Separately

[Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the article “Johnson Controls Partners With Schools,” May 7.]

Don’t get me wrong, we need all the manufacturers and contractors and suppliers helping with our trade schools to raise the bar and promote our industry. The real question is do we do it alone, independent of each other? If the trades issue is as critical as we all claim it is, then why do we not have a common industry fund that we can provide monies to these institutions who operate to a common standard?

When I was chair of HRAI Canada, I put the idea out there to charge a penny, nickel, dime, dollar, whatever on every piece of equipment that was sold and have that money placed into a training fund to assist in the training of technicians. Of course this was scoffed at and never happened. I know that others have made similar attempts, but they too have failed.

Businesses all over Canada and America know the strength of the youth buying power today. If these big corporations really wanted to do the right thing they would have long ago supported charging a few cents on every piece of equipment produced that we bought and installed, and that our clients bought and made use of. Today, there would be no shortages and no need to panic and attempt to steal all the talent coming out of the trade schools.

Education and knowledge is not something to be … controlled by … big business, it’s something that we as an industry should take ownership of, united as one collective body. There is a lot more good we could be doing. However, as an industry, we can not seem to unite as one cohesive group.

D. Brian Baker, President
Custom Vac Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba

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Publication date:08/20/2007