I was very encouraged by a recent trip I made to the gym. No, it wasn’t any stellar weight loss I saw on the scale. Instead, it was the recognition that the hvac industry is finally getting its message across to the consumer.

While I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill, I watched one of the TV monitors suspended overhead. During my 45 minutes of exercise, I saw three commercials specifically dealing with the hvac industry. Manufacturers Lennox and American Standard were both promoting high-efficiency products, and the local electric utility showed its commercial about the importance of having a qualified contractor provide routine maintenance to residential equipment. Then it actually showed three local contractors and gave their names and numbers.

I was definitely excited!

When I started working in this industry 10 years ago, there were very few commercials aimed at consumers that extolled the benefits of high-efficiency products or the need for routine maintenance. Instead, contractors were expected to remind their customers about regular service, or suggest better equipment or products such as filtration and humidification. It’s nice to see that manufacturers and other entities are finally marketing directly to the consumer, making the contractor’s job…well…“less hectic.”

Give Them a Choice

For far too long I have heard contractors complain that in new construction, homeowners get to choose their flooring, cabinetry, and countertops, but there is hardly ever any choice about the hvac system. With commercials pointed directly at consumers, builders are going to find that their prospective customers are demanding more.

A case in point is my parents, who are in the process of building a home. Since they know I write about hvac equipment, they asked if the air conditioner and gas furnace they were going to have installed in their new home was going to be adequate. (Unfortun-ately, this builder gave them no options, simply stating that the X-brand was the type of equipment they would receive.)

The brand offered is not one that I would heartily endorse, and I suggested that they ask for a different brand with higher efficiencies. The builder was dumbstruck that these seemingly mild-mannered retirees would be insisting on another type of equipment, but my parents held out, and the builder eventually caved.

I think that as more advertising is aimed at the consumer, the more commonplace stories like this are going to become. The advertising is also going to help in the replacement/add-on business, as customers will start asking for equipment by brand name and also demanding better quality, higher efficiencies, and more accessories.

As contractors have always known, consumers need education to make informed decisions concerning their hvac systems. It’s nice to see that the industry is finally providing that service.

Turpin is contributing editor. She can be reached at 480-726-7121; 480-726-7120 (fax); jturpin@worldnet.att.net (e-mail).

Publication date: 05/28/2001