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As an airborne illness, COVID-19 brought increased awareness to the importance of indoor air quality (IAQ). Favorable IAQ not only helps homeowners breathe better, but it can also protect them against contracting COVID-19.

As an HVAC contractor, you can provide a crucial service by improving your customers’ IAQ, and it begins with their HVAC system. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that a faulty HVAC system can actually spread COVID-19. A patron with a COVID-19 infection dined in a restaurant in ​​Guangzhou, China, and the only other restaurant customers who contracted the virus were those sitting near the air conditioning’s airflow.

Protect Your Customers’ Health

Homeowners tend to call HVAC contractors when their comfort is impaired, but improving a home’s IAQ takes your services to a whole new level by protecting your customer’s health and the health of everyone living in the home.

COVID-19 isn’t the only health condition homeowners need protection against. Air pollution can lead to cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, neurological disorders, emphysema, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory diseases.

Approximately 1 in 13 Americans suffer from asthma, making IAQ services they both want and need.

IAQ Sells Itself

By crossing over from customers’ wants to needs, IAQ services become an easy sell. With the ongoing threat of COVID-19, homeowners’ concern for clean air is piqued so that IAQ services nearly sell themselves.

Begin your pitch by asking, “Does anyone in the home have breathing issues or concerns?” Given the prevalence of asthma, you’re likely to capture their interest. Additionally, customers will appreciate you bringing health concerns to their attention, especially when your competition doesn’t.

Bundle your IAQ services into a package to make the purchase decision even easier. By marketing your IAQ services package at the start of your customers’ journey, they can make the decision to prioritize their family’s health at the onset, rather than viewing IAQ services as an unnecessary add-on.

A Smart Move

Exposure to hazardous air pollutants can increase the death rate in COVID-19 patients by 9%. Providing IAQ services is a vital offering you can provide to your customers.

Not only does providing IAQ services help your customers, but it can also benefit your business. IAQ equipment tends to be a higher-margin sell. As it closely aligns with your core business, it does not require additional equipment and only minimal training for your employees.

Make it a standard practice to market IAQ services at every opportunity with the goal of making it 20% of your business.

What to Sell

The below table outlines the primary equipment options for improving a home’s IAQ. IAQ technology compatible with HVAC systems does not completely remove airborne particles separately, but when combined, they come close.

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Options

System Description Advantages Disadvantages Installation
Ultraviolet-C (UVC) germicidal irradiation Cleans contaminated air as it passes by a UVC bulb Effectively reduces germs on HVAC surfaces and in the air; helps keep HVAC coils clean Requires a slow airflow to effectively eradicate germs; people should avoid direct exposure to the UVC bulb Can be retrofitted to existing HVAC systems
Ozone-free bipolar ionization Ions attach to air particles, making the air particles larger and more likely to be caught by the air filter Reduces both germs and odors Ionizers that produce ozone can be harmful; proper location of the ionizer is paramount for effectiveness Can be retrofitted to existing HVAC systems
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter Provides high filtration at the highest minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) Efficient at removing air particles and infectious air droplets containing viruses and other germs Unable to trap odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is more expensive than a lower-grade MERV filter The increased MERV rating generally requires the installation of a larger fan to accommodate the pressure drop
Humidity control A humidifier or dehumidifier is added to the HVAC system to keep the home’s humidity level between 40-60% Reduces mold growth and airborne transmission of germs Requires extra space and cost Can be retrofitted to existing HVAC systems but requires a humidistat to accurately monitor humidity levels
Increased ventilation with outside air Ventilating the home with conditioned outdoor air at a higher-than-normal rate Adds cleaner outside air into an indoor space Not ideal for areas with high outdoor air pollution; can be expensive to operate Requires an ancillary HVAC system to control the space’s temperature and humidity; may require a redesign of the pre-existing HVAC system

Source: "Best Practices in HVAC and Indoor Air Quality Technologies" by ISO-AireTM

Improving the performance of your customers’ homes is about more than just energy efficiency; it’s also about improving the home’s health, safety, and comfort. Enabling your customers to cleanse their indoor air accomplishes all three. Check out Pearl’s blog for other ideas to improve your customers’ home performance, while boosting your bottom line.

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