The trends in 2017 will revolve around reclamation, product shortages, rising prices, and phaseouts. That’s the word from Jay Kestenbaum, senior vice president, sales and purchasing, Airgas Refrigerants Inc.
The ventilation market, much like the rest of the HVACR industry, is being driven by the need for more energy-efficient products.
“The trends that we are seeing in the ventilation market all revolve around providing efficient and precise airflow within spaces,” said Andy Olson, director of marketing, DuctSox Corp. “As consumers are looking to reduce their power requirements to minimize operational costs, the need for efficient and precise airflow dispersion is becoming more important throughout the design and implementation of products within the space.”
Ductless technology has taken the industry by storm, racking up double-digit sales increases in the U.S. every year for the last five years. Even so, central air conditioning and heating systems still dominate the market. Manufacturers at the AHR Expo are hoping to flip that script by raising awareness of how advancements in ductless technology make it an option in just about any application or climate.
Energy efficiency, the growing popularity of ductless and variable refrigerant flow (VRF), the evolution of heat pumps into whole-home solutions, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are a few of the major trends influencing products in the residential air conditioning market. Manufacturers materialized these trends on the exhibition floor at the 2017 AHR Expo.
HVACR contractors and technicians are living in a Golden Age of software as products exist today to help contractors solve just about any business or technical need. In addition, the explosive growth of smartphones has led to hundreds of apps that can provide instant access to help anywhere and anytime it’s needed.
Here’s a look at what some of the HVACR software industry’s major players were displaying at the 2017 AHR Expo along with their insights into the trends that bear watching.
“The HVAC industry is very competitive and riddled with low-balling contractors using unskilled labor,” he continued. “Being able to point to a reputable certifying agency and relevant certifications helps consumers weed out unscrupulous contractors and leads them to the real professionals of the industry.”
In the good old days, homeowners who needed to replace their furnaces or air conditioners usually trusted their local contractors to recommend systems that would best meet their needs. Then, along came the internet, and all that changed. Today, many homeowners still do trust the opinions of their contractors, but more often than not, they also do some research of their own online before they make decisions about their purchases.
HVAC systems in most commercial buildings account for more than 40 percent of the total energy use. Maintaining properly running HVAC systems at peak efficiency is crucial in managing and saving energy use. Good HVAC system maintenance is not only important in controlling energy use but also for the proper operation of the systems at people convenience. For instance, most of the telecommunications systems require specific environmental conditions for proper operation. At times, temperature and humidity levels fall outside the specified range, leading to costly system failures and interruption in services. Therefore, proper HVAC system maintenance is key to the running of most businesses.
Energy managers have a job that is more important than saving money: They must keep people who work, live or visit the buildings safe and comfortable.
Air handling units are linchpins in maintaining that comfort and safety. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) ran into a significant problem: It was determined that a musty smell in offices in terminal 2 of the massive airport was caused by mold and bacteria growth on the air handler evaporation coils.
Because of differences in age, technological interest, and disposable income, each HVAC customer is truly unique. Therefore, there is no blueprint readily available that demonstrates exactly how contractors should present smart HVAC products to consumers. This means contractors have to fine-tune and adjust their efforts on a case-by-case basis when it comes to presenting smart products.