Changes for 2018 – Convenient Rebates, Rooftop Standards

Convenient Rebates

Goodman Manufacturing announced updates to its homeowner-oriented web sites, www.goodmanmfg.com and www.amana-hac.com. The sites now integrates rebates available based on a homeowner’s location into its web site layout. As customers (or you) search for products, rebates available in the local area will also populate.

Region-specific rebates can be searched on the sites by selecting Rebate Center under the Resources menu on each site.

Rooftop Energy Efficiency Standards are Changing

At the beginning of this year, 3 to 5 ton 13 SEER Packaged Units were discontinued, per Department of Energy regulation.

Beginning January 1, 2018, the performance measurement metric for 6 – 25 ton packaged units is being changed from EER to IEER (Integrated Energy Efficiency Ratio). This change is expected to improve the energy efficiency of rooftop equipment by about 10%. Required minimum IEER are noted in the table below.

Updated IEER Ratings for Equipment Manufactured On/After January 1, 2018

Unit Min IEER
Cooling Only 6-10 T 12.9
12.5-20 T 12.4
25T 11.6
Gas/ Electric 6-10 T 12.7
12.5-20 T 12.2
25T 11.4
Heat Pump 6-10 T 12.2 (3.3 COP)
12.5-20 T 11.6 (3.2 COP)
25T 10.6 (3.2 COP)

What does this mean for your customers? According to an article in ACHR News, “a typical building owner [would save] $4,200-$10,100 over the life of a single rooftop air conditioner. For larger commercial buildings, the savings are significant.”

What does this mean for you? As stock of older rooftops runs out, it will be replaced by units that meet the now higher efficiency requirements. To improve IEER, which is a weighted average of four load points, manufacturers adjust how the equipment performs at 75% load and 50% load. This can be done by increasing the physical size of the system or, as our manufacturer partners are doing, by changing compressors and drives to provide more variable performance.

You are still able to purchase and install rooftops that meet current EER/IEER standards. However, these models are not allowed to be manufactured after January 1, 2018, so when we sell out of existing inventory, it is gone for good.

If you are an HVAC Distributors/HVAC Commercial Solutions customer with a current committed project with an extended lead time, please reach out to your Account Manager about product availability.

If you are an HVAC Distributors/HVAC Commercial Solutions customer interested in learning more about how our manufacturer partners are improving the energy efficiency of their rooftop products, or in how best to explain these changes to your customers, reach out to your Account Manager.

 

#HoustonStrong

As a distributor for Amana, Goodman and Daikin Ductless brands — manufactured out of Houston, Texas — we wanted to share an update from Goodman Manufacturing about how Goodman employees and the Goodman facilities are following the impact of Hurricane Harvey.

Please note: HVAC Distributors has plenty of inventory to handle our customers’ needs, so you do not have to worry about how Hurricane Harvey will impact your business and use of Amana, Goodman and Daikin Ductless products.

Are Employees Safe?

From Goodman: Managers have been checking in, on a regular basis, with all employees located across Southeast Texas and Western Louisiana. Most employees are safe, but some are sheltered in their homes while rain and wind continues and roadways remain closed. That said, a small number of employees have experienced flooding or loss of property. We are working to help provide affected employees with support.

How is the distribution facility in Houston?

From Goodman: All Houston area facilities, including the Daikin Texas Technology Park, appear to have minimal impact from the flooding. The facilities are set to begin full scale operations as soon as employees have the ability to safety return to work.

Is Goodman doing anything to support those impacted by Hurricane Harvey?

From Goodman: Details around product support for homeowners that have experienced flooding will begin in the coming days and week. We will make sure to support our neighbors and community as we collectively recover from the storm and its damage. #HoustonStrong

Daikin Unveils Texas Technology Park

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.

Click here for a virtual tour.

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Updates to EPA Section 608 and Section 609

If you have an active EPA Section 608 Certification, you need to be aware of how Section 608 and Section 609 are changing in 2017 through 2019.

 

The EPA has provided a simple .pdf of changes that relate to HVAC technicians. Additional summaries for other changes to Section 608  are available through the EPA’s web site.

While the current changes do not require re-certification, if you do require Section 608 Certification, HVAC Distributors offers EPA Certification testing at all of our locations.

Who Determines the Best HVAC Brands?

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.

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Consumer Reviews from FurnaceCompare.com, retrieved October 26, 2016
  1. All of the brands have more negative reviews than positive ones.
  2. 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.closeup
    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:

  1. “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.”
  2. 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 few articles 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.

Each of our branch locations is a certified testing facility for NATE & EPA testing.

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.

Are Your Techs Costing Your Customers Money?

Did you know that improper installation of equipment can decrease the efficiency of HVAC equipment by more than 30%?

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.

Eric will also be presenting at 2016 ComforTech in Philadelphia on September 21.