The new Daikin Texas Technology Park is one of the most technologically advanced HVAC manufacturing facilities in North America. Covering an area of approximately 4.1 million square feet on 500 acres of land, it is the third largest factory in the US and the fifth largest in the world.
Located just outside of Houston, Texas, the new facility is designed to better serve customers, employees, and the environment by consolidating manufacturing, engineering, logistics, marketing, and sales into one campus.
The $417 million facility is expected to put about 5,000 people to work in the Houston area through direct employment and the expected arrival of related businesses.
Would you believe that it’s the installing contractor?
Below are reviews of major heat pump brands, pulled from FurnaceCompare.com, a site that describes itself as “the only comprehensive, unbiased source for air conditioner, boiler, furnace and heat pump data on the web.” It comes up as a top search result for ” reviews” searches related to HVAC products.
The names of the brands have been erased from the detail to help illustrate a couple of points.
All of the brands have more negative reviews than positive ones.
Because of how FurnaceCompare.com uses customer reviews to rank products, a product with fewer reviews will rank more favorably than a similar product with more reviews. If products don’t have a similar number of reviews, the popularity rating is meaningless.
For example, the #33 and the #22 product have the same 3/5 rating. A greater percentage of customers have reviewed and recommend the #33 product. These are all indicators that the #33 product is probably more popular than the #22.
In a brand comparison article, Brands vs. Brands, author Kelly Burgess makes some key points about what makes a “best” HVAC system:
“Because every house and every installation is unique, there really is no uniform way to compare how well central air conditioners perform in the home. Even user reviews are of limited help as poor performance could be due to poor installation rather than any fault in the equipment.”
Many of the high-rated brands are selective about who is able to install their products, and have policies to ensure the installing technicians are well-trained.
We noted in a previous article that mistakes by installing technicians can drastically reduce the energy efficiency of equipment. As an HVAC professional, how many installation mistakes can you identify in negative reviews of your primary brand?
More importantly, what are you doing to make sure your homeowners have a quality installation, and therefore a quality brand, experience?
You can’t change the reviews (incidentally, a fewarticles cite that 5% of negative reviews online are written by people who haven’t purchased the product they’re reviewing).
You can control your customer experience to minimize installation errors that may result in a negative review.
When you are a Partner for Success with HVAC Distributors, we help you ensure that your team provides your homeowners with a quality installation experience. We have dedicated training professionals who teach technical classes on the products that we support. Check out the current training that we have available on our training page.
If you are an HVAC customer, you can request customized training on that page if you have a specific topic that you’d like us to cover with your team.
We also have a business development program that can help you ensure that your front line staff are presenting themselves – and your company – in a professional, knowledgeable manner. Ask your Account Manager for more details.
According to a 2014 study released by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), duct leakage can cause a 30% energy penalty. Equipment oversizing and refrigerant undercharging can decrease equipment efficiency by 20%. As ACCA President & CEO Paul T. Stalknecht, noted in a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, multiple installation faults can decrease efficiency by more than 40%.
When you sell a homeowner a system based on higher efficiency, you don’t want to field a call after 30 days where they’re asking where their savings is.
The good news is that you can control how your techs install equipment, and HVAC Distributors can help you.
First, we offer NATE testing at all of our locations, to help your techs get and maintain NATE certification. NATE certification exams are based on real-world knowledge of HVACR systems, and are designed to ensure that technicians are able to properly size and charge equipment and install complete HVAC systems.
Second, we have three full-time technical support people on staff who provide targeted training on key technical “pain points” to help your techs understand the fundamentals of proper installation and maintenance of equipment. Our Technical Training Supervisor, Eric Kravitz, was recently highlighted in NATE Magazine, discussing our flexible training options and revamped training program.
To see our current training classes, NATE/EPA testing dates, or request a custom class for your company, click here.
Once the final rule is published, you will have 30 days to comply with the enforcement plan. The plan is listed below. Please note, the dates are tentative, pending publication of the Final Rule of the Enforcement Plan in the Federal Register.
As a contractor, if you are installing split system or package air conditioning product in the Southeast or Southwest region, effective around July 11, 2016, you will need to ensure that you are maintaining the following information about the units:
Date unit was purchased
Contact information from whom the unit was purchased (distributor contact info)
Date the unit was sold
Contact information of the purchaser (name/ address/ phone number of the homeowner)
Delivery address (if applicable/different from the purchaser’s contact info)
Installation location and contact information (name & address where the unit was installed)
You will need to maintain this information for 4 years.
For further information on DOE Regional Standards, click here.