New technology, such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality, are changing the heating and air conditioning industry in every way. To keep up, HVAC professionals need to understand how customers are using this new technology to monitor their energy usage and plan equipment maintenance. Here are five technology trends that are impacting HVAC companies.
Our top-5 HVAC technologies & innovations
1. New sustainable homes use alternative heating and cooling options
New, eco-friendly buildings are being designed to use minimal energy to heat and cool the property. According to Grainger, green building strategies go beyond sealing and insulation and even energy-star appliances. For instance, builders are rethinking ventilation systems to use more natural airflow, and specialized building materials provide a more constant building temperature which reduces the need for high-powered HVAC systems. New HVAC technologies such as solar solutions and geothermal heat pumps are becoming more cost-effective options.
Additional examples of eco-friendly HVAC innovations include:
Energy Analysis Software: Before making any installations, HVAC technicians are using new software such as Energy Gauge that can help contractors save time and customers save money. These software programs help project the best energy- and cost-efficient systems for a given space. They can also provide you with a cost/benefit analysis for energy improvement measures for existing systems, so that you can inform your customers which improvements upfront can save them the most money later on.Energy analysis software could lead to HVAC innovation on a larger scale, as well. Engineers and architects could use such a platform to find appropriate equipment for their design, project a building’s lifetime energy consumption, and consider the implementation of non-HVAC techniques (such as reflective roofing).
Sensor-Enhanced Vents: One of the latest HVAC technologies that are changing the industry is offered by the company Ecovent . It enables homeowners to digitally control the climate in every room of their home through a convenient app with the use of smart sensors that gather and transmit climate data in every room. The information is sent to the Ecovent Smart Hub which then coordinates with each vent, telling it to open or close, in order to direct airflow.
This HVAC technology solves the dramatic temperature differences between rooms that results in inefficient heating and cooling. Installation is quick and easy—taking roughly 15 minutes to complete—and offers greater comfort with 30% more savings on energy.
Ice-Powered Air Conditioning: Ice Air is a company based out of Glendale, CA who’s introducing new HVAC technology to the market. Their product, Ice Bear, is an air conditioning unit that’s powered by ice; it freezes 450 gallons of water in a tank overnight during the “Ice Charging” mode. When switched to “Ice Cooling” mode during the day, it provides cool air conditioning for up to 6 hours, after which point the A/C reverts back to the building’s conventional unit. When it’s used in conduction with standard units, the Ice Bear reduces total net energy consumption.
Dual Fuel Heat Pump: This HVAC technology combines an electric heat pump and full-sized gas furnace into one package. As ARS Rescue Rooter points out , this heating system can be a great choice for homeowners who live in regions of the country with low electricity rates and moderate climates that rarely drop below freezing. Most of the time, when temperatures are above 35-degrees, the electric heat pump will warm the home. However, at sub-freezing temperatures, the pump will switch to gas in order to more efficiently warm the home.
2. Smart thermostats connect to home monitoring services
In a recent survey by Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions, seventy-five percent of thermostats will be Wi-Fi-enabled by 2019 . And these Wi-Fi-enabled programmable devices do more than just pre-set a temperature. Consumers search for products that can connect other smart home systems smart home systems, such as Samsung SmartThings or Amazon Echo.
Integrate smart thermostats with other home systems
Smart home systems allow homeowners to integrate their HVAC technology with the other functions throughout the home. For example, a customer with a Nest Thermostat would be able to use the Amazon Alexa to change the temperature with their voice by saying, “Alexa, set the living room to 72-degrees”. However, if they were to also install compatible Phillips Hue lights with the Nest, the HVAC technology could detect when they were away from the home and automatically turn off any lights that were accidentally left on in order to save energy.
With a Samsung SmartThings hub, homeowners could install an ecobee4 Smart Thermostat and use their HVAC technology to create pre-determined routines. For example, your customer could set a specific time every morning at which the lights automatically turn on, the thermostat heats up, the radio plays, and the coffee starts.
Be sure to educate your customers about the new and exciting ways they can use the latest HVAC technology throughout their entire home.
3. Smart systems increase preventive maintenance
Smart HVAC systems are predicting when maintenance is needed before there’s a real issue. This new technology trend can change your relationship with your customers from someone they call in an emergency to someone they reach out to for regularly scheduled check-ups.
New HVAC technologies which use an Internet of Things (IoT) system are embedded with sensors, software, and connectivity that enables the HVAC system to exchange data with other connected devices. IoT systems improve preventative maintenance by sensing data on air quality and equipment status. New and affordable Internet of Things HVAC technology makes it significantly easier to gain insight across a range of equipment.
Gain insight into equipment such as:
Rooftop air-handling units (RTU)
Air-handling units (AHU)
Make-up air units (MAU)
Variable air volume (VAV) with reheat systems
Air- and water-cooled heat pumps
While preventive maintenance might cut down on emergency house calls, the new HVAC technology in smart systems opens up new avenues to provide service and expertise to your customers. It’s becoming more common for residential and commercial customers to have systems designed for remote monitoring.
Even slight deviations from a manufacturer’s specification can lead to a large increase in energy consumption. The HVAC innovations with remote monitoring and diagnostics minimize power waste by ensuring units operate at their peak efficiency. HVAC professionals can begin to monitor energy usage, suggest maintenance, and offer personalized suggestions for ways to reduce energy consumption and improve energy efficiency.
4. Customers expect tech-savvy services and technicians
Customers expect HVAC scheduling software for contractors and contractor invoice software so that services are easy-to-book and easy-to-pay, with more information about their work order readily available in one place.
They want tech-savvy customer-service options, but they also want tech-savvy technicians. In a recent study by Verizon Telematics, two-thirds of consumers said they wouldn’t use a home service professional a second time that wasn’t tech savvy.
Using mobile technology
This works out well for the 78 percent of service professionals already using mobile apps on the job, which are available within the Housecall Pro features. According to the same study, 92 percent of technicians reported that their productivity increased using mobile technology.
When you employ mobile-savvy technicians, consider training them on more than just your company’s internal business tools. Samm’s Heating and Air Conditioning owner, Paul Sammataro, explains how his technicians often demo smart-home automation to their customers using their own cell-phones and tablets. Demonstrating your proficiency with the latest HVAC technology shows customers that you’re an expert in your field.
5. Virtual reality (VR) training for HVAC professionals
Virtual reality HVAC technology is becoming a cost-effective way to train new employees or current staff training on new equipment or working on advanced certifications. For instance, Tauris McBride, founder of Tauris Tech, uses VR training to prepare his students for the New York City Refrigeration license exam. Check out his training simulator on Youtube.
Using virtual simulators, you can walk technicians through the installation and troubleshooting of new equipment, and larger groups can train at once with less equipment needed. Attendees use virtual components online before migrating to real, physical materials which helps reduce both the risk and cost of training.
Using Housecall Pro
Equipment and business software will continue to evolve as new HVAC technology gains momentum. But with it comes new opportunities for improved professional training and customer service. Housecall Pro HVAC software helps business owners keep up with technology with unique automated payment and service agreement features. Online booking, streamlined dispatching and simplified invoicing improve your workflow so you can worry less about details, freeing your focus to expand your business with the latest HVAC technologies.
Housecall Pro is rated the #1 software to run your HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Carpet Cleaning and other home service businesses. Our features allow you to schedule and dispatch jobs, get booked online, send invoice and receive payment within minutes whether if you are in the office or out in the field. This comprehensive software can help you grow revenue by 30% in one year and save up to 500 hours a year. Join all the other successful home service businesses who have already started and try Housecall Pro for 14 days free today.