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What is IAQ in HVAC?

The residential and commercial demand for indoor air quality, or IAQ, is becoming pervasive, and the inclusion of IAQ solutions as a standard HVAC service is growing into an expectation. From single-family homes to multifamily properties, hotels, office buildings, schools and any other structure that could be named, consumers want better indoor air, and that demand is here to stay.

Discover what IAQ is in HVAC and how it can help you grow your business.

What are HVAC IAQ products?

Air improvement products work in conjunction with the HVAC ecosystem to remove carbon monoxide, secondhand smoke, and other producers of indoor air pollution that may cause building occupants to experience health effects.

To recognize how these solutions are connected to the HVAC industry, it’s important to understand the types of products available to improve air quality in homes and businesses. HVAC IAQ products on the market today can be divided into four main categories:

  • Air purification and sanitation products clean the air by eliminating biological contaminants and volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Air purification and sanitation solutions include air scrubbers (or air cleaners), UV lights and bipolar ionization.

  • Filtration products act as a barrier and minimize the spread of dust, pollen and bacteria in the air.

  • Ventilation products force fresh outdoor air into spaces to dilute stagnant air within a structure and solve for inadequate ventilation.

  • Humidity control products maintain moisture levels between the ideal range of 30% to 60%. This makes it harder for germs and pathogens to live in the air and on surfaces.

  • Improved indoor air quality in any structure comes down to finding the right combination of IAQ products based on the factors causing poor air quality. This need for customized solutions presents a growth opportunity for HVAC businesses.

How IAQ can help you grow your HVAC business

In 2021, YORK® conducted a survey about homeowners’ beliefs around IAQ and found that 62% of homeowners believed their indoor air quality needs improving, and 81% will make improving IAQ a priority in 2021.The elevation of clean indoor air to a must-have uniquely positions HVAC contractors with new opportunities for business growth.

Here are three ways HVAC contractors can grow their business by proactively offering IAQ as a service. Not sure how to talk to your customers about IAQ? Get answers to common air quality questions to be prepared for conversations with homeowners.

IAQ products are a value-added service.

IAQ solutions can be easily incorporated into everyday service and maintenance calls to add value to your customers. Joe, an HVAC contractor in Raleigh, North Carolina, routinely discusses air quality products with his customers.

“We are offering it on every service call, maintenance contract and installation. We use sales literature, the air scrubber video ebooks, and the packaging itself to help with the sales process.”

Another Raleigh-based HVAC contractor, Tyler, takes a promotional approach to adding IAQ to maintenance calls.

“We are offering specials on service calls, maintenance contracts, equipment change-outs, and new construction orientations. We typically offer a 50% off deal on IAQ products when doing a residential equipment change-out and have a pretty high success rate on those.”

IAQ is a year-round service.

It’s common in the heating and cooling industry for contractors to experience seasonal peaks and dips in service requests. Having safe air to breathe indoors is a year-round need, especially for commercial customers, helping resolve the cycle of seasonal work. HVAC contractor CB acknowledges IAQ as a requirement for commercial new construction jobs.

“It is either being specified by the engineer or, most of the time, by a local spec rep on new plans being sent to us. We are initially discussing it with them and trying to find the best solutions to meet their specific needs.”

As businesses and commercial facilities operate in the pandemic and even post-pandemic, having IAQ solutions in place will continue to be essential.

IAQ in HVAC is a competitive advantage.

By educating customers about IAQ solutions, HVAC contractors can establish trust from a customer perspective. Tyler sees customers being interested in better indoor air but not understanding how solutions work.

“About 40% to 50% of our customers seem to know a little about IAQ but it seems to be limited to portable options versus the complete whole house solutions we can provide,” he explained. “The typical homeowner assumes these smaller portable products that they are buying online or from ordinary retailers will treat their whole home. Most of the time these inexpensive options don’t fully address all of their needs.”

Findings from the YORK® survey also point to limited consumer understanding of IAQ solutions. Seventy-three percent reported facing at least one barrier to improving their home’s air quality, such as a lack of resources and know-how, and 30% of those who had difficulty taking steps to improve the air quality of their home said they weren’t sure where to begin. Twenty-two percent were not aware poor indoor air quality could be improved.

Joe works to educate his customers about what to expect after a new IAQ system is installed.

“Since most of our proactive treatment solutions will actually at first cause the existing dust in the home to fall from the air in the home, we may also need to add better filtration to capture it along with increased airflow cycling to help with the dust,” Joe said. “But we tell them up front to expect more dust in the beginning, which then can be captured or cleaned and removed from the homes.”

Ferguson can help with HVAC IAQ

By understanding the best IAQ solutions for their customers, heating and cooling professionals can set themselves apart from their competition and give their business a breath of fresh air. Contact us to learn more about air quality products for HVAC systems.