After just coming out of the heating season and in some cases experiencing a less than satisfactory heating equipment sales season, what will happen with the air conditioning sales for ’09? Many companies have expressed great concerns for this area of business as the economy seems to be in a state of confusion, and people are being told to hang on to their cash flow. However, there are many A/C systems in operation today that have seen several years of run time and will either need total replacement or repairs. In both cases it means sales and work, which keep companies in business.
One of the best sales tools that we have today is product knowledge and where it applies to the homeowner. However, another important piece of knowledge that goes along with upgrading and should be shared with the customer is the new Federal Tax advantages. These advantages are available in 2009 and 2010 for those existing homes that have new energy rated products installed. There are several, such as windows, doors, water heaters and HVAC equipment, that all fall within the new tax guidelines.
These tax credits are available at 30 percent of the cost up to $1,500. Other products, such as geothermal heat pumps, solar panels and solar water heaters, allow for the same tax credit toward the cost and have no upper limit through 2016. This applies to existing homes as well as new construction.
We will also need to explain to potential buyers that the Department of Energy has set a new SEER standard in place, which actually started in 2006. This standard requires that any new equipment being installed must have a 13 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating), which means 10 SEER is no longer allowed to be installed.
So what do we get in return for these modifications? The answer is simple, higher air conditioning efficiency, which lowers the operation cost. In order to achieve these efficiencies, manufacturers will make changes in compressor technology that will run quieter, larger evaporators, and different condenser coils will be installed in the newer systems as well.
Another new feature that will appear in the new systems will be the addition of factory installed diagnostic control boards. These boards will provide for faster diagnosing of service related issues, which, of course, will mean more confidence in the equipment the consumer is spending their hard-earned money on.
Keep in mind also that we have another requirement that must be adhered to and that is the refrigerant changeover. All equipment manufacturers have been mandated to stop manufacturing equipment that uses ozone depleting (R-22) refrigerant and that 410-A is required by the year 2010. However, after 2010 the chemical manufacturers may still produce R-22 solely for providing the service of equipment already in existence. There are no EPA regulations at this time that require the R-22 units to be converted to a substitute refrigerant.
Some of you may be wondering why after so many years of using the older type refrigerants, what’s the issue? Well, the fact is that CFCs and HCFCs deplete the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere that protects us from ultraviolet radiation. Studies have proven that this type of radiation causes skin cancer and is now one of the fastest growing forms of cancer.The bottom line is let’s hope for a strong A/C sales season and that our customers will understand the true value of the efficiency, reliability and the new higher SEER ratings when making their new A/ C purchasing decision