Monday, April 11, 2011

Use New Tactics & Sell More Humidity Control Equipment  

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Check out our most recent article in HVAC Insider about selling humidity control equipment. For your convenience, we've transcribed the article below. We also received some great (and exactly right) feedback from Victor McCauley of Roscoe Brown about the article that we've amended below.

Thanks for reading and keep the feedback coming!

Our Article:

Traditionally, sales of humidifiers and dehumidifiers largely depended on the location and season of the sale. If a contractor lived in the southwest or it was winter, they’d sell humidifiers. If it was the southeast or summer, they’d sell dehumidifiers.

Nowadays, new, tightly constructed buildings and retrofitted older structures are changing the sales formula. It could be the heart of winter, and your home could be too humid because your double-paned, insulated, weather-tight windows don’t let the dampness from your washing machine, shower or dishwasher escape.

We suggest selling humidity control equipment based upon your client and building type, instead of location and season. This change will open new revenue avenues and opportunities.

If your client is elderly or has children, bring up the health benefits of maintaining a stable humidity level. According to Mayo Clinic, low humidity can cause dry skin and sinuses, itchy eyes, cracked lips, irritated nose and throat and colds. High humidity can bring on allergies and asthma. A central unit can guard against all of those symptoms and keep your indoor air at the preferred 40-60% humidity range.

Use lifestyle cues to discuss the pros and cons of different types of equipment. For example, a client with small children may avoid purchasing a steam humidifier, since hot water can cause burns, but an elderly or asthmatic client may prefer steam since it produces less airborne allergens than many cool-mist humidifiers.

If your client is affluent, explain that proper humidification can help protect valuable furnishings. High-ticket items like art and paintings can peel or chip if air isn’t humid enough, or grow mold if air is too humid. Fixtures, furniture and woodwork can warp if humidity isn’t controlled, and warping gets worse if you have gas heat. Dry air can cause static electricity, which can damage electronics.

If your client is money conscious, suggest that they test their space with a hygrometer at different times during the day to determine if they need a humidity control solution. Mention lower-price options, like cool-mist humidifiers.

If the building is a new home or commercial space, remind your client that the contractor most likely used humidity control equipment to stabilize the floor and trim during construction. Post-build, good humidification is needed to keep doors and windows latching correctly and floorboards aligned.

If your client already has a humidification system, make sure the unit fulfills all the client’s needs. Discuss the limitations of a freestanding unit and suggest a whole house solution. You should also check to see if the existing equipment needs replacement. Over time bacteria and mineral deposits can build up on units and cause them to get dirty. Dirty units can make your clients sick.

According the EPA, on average, Americans spend about 90% or more of their time indoors. As an HVAC service provider, you can help make that time more pleasant and comfortable.


Mr. McCauley's Feedback:

Your story about humidity in the HVAC Insider was close, but you left out some critical stuff. The new, tightly built homes need fresh air pumped in on purpose. That brings up another humidity problem during the months when there is no call for cooling and it is raining outside. During that time a dedicated dehumidifier is required. Tight home also have a chemistry problem. Most of the common products of construction off-gas a bad chemical soup that will hurt small kids and the folks who are chemically sensitive. If new homes aren't ventilated according to the new ICC 2006 Energy Code (seal tight and ventilate right) things can get out of hand and the builder can get in trouble. 

To be comfortable today controlling humidity by maintaining the same level every day is the only way.

You need to add humidity during the winter and let nature ventilate the home when it is cold. During the summer when there is a load your unit should run long enough to control things. But wait, what if you use a programmable stat with it set back to 80 degrees all day and doesn't get to run long enough before night time set back to affect the humidity because you have a high efficiency unit that satisfies the sensible temperature too quickly? This is becoming more common. Don't listen to the equipment guys, their standard product just can't control humidity in this area. Fuzzy stuff will start to grow where you don't want it to. 

So what is the answer? You need to get your good contractors to explain to the good home owners that they need to add a steam humidifier and ventilating dehumidifier controlled by the new Honeywell Prestige IAQ stat in every home in Tennessee in order to be comfortable when you upgrade equipment or build a new place. For homes with finished basements or sealed crawl spaces this is a no-brainer.

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