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How Has the Government Impacted the HVAC Industry?

We, in the HVAC industry, are as impacted by the election as anyone else is. Most HVAC businesses are small business operations, and are directly affected by many changes that are occurring in our nation’s government in recent history.

How so, you might ask….

…anyone that has purchased an air conditioner lately has probably heard one of the following terms: “R-410A, R-22, Refrigerant, Phase out, etc.” This is as a result of the initiatives handed down in the Montreal Protocol in 1987. In layman’s terms, it phased out the use of ozone-depleting items. One such item is the R-22 refrigerant that was used in Air Conditioning units. This phase out was announced many years ago, and every HVAC contractor had plenty of time to move toward the January 1, 2010 phase-out date. Some companies started providing their customers with the more environmentally friendly option (R-410A) as early as 2005. Others, on the other hand, are still finding ways around the phase out, and are essentially cheating the system. The loop-hole is there, and many contractors are exploiting it for as long as they can.

…in 2010 & 2011, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directly impacted the industry, in that it provided tax credits of up to $1,500 to homeowners, with the purchase of a qualifying system. This gave many contractors the ability to sell high-end equipment, when the customer would’ve normally purchased middle of the road, or entry-level equipment. The tax credit allowed for record sales to occur at many HVAC contractors. Unfortunately, as the past two years have shown us, those record sales couldn’t be sustained, and have actually led to several contractors being forced to sell their company, or worse, go out of business altogether.

…in late 2011, the Department of Energy’s plan was finalized, in an effort to require higher levels of energy efficiency in all HVAC installations, beginning on May 1, 2013. This drop dead date has created a new set of problems for customers, and contractors, alike. It has also created an opportunity for customers to have a higher efficiency furnace installed in their home. Whereas in the past it may have been a second thought, it will now be required in homes that lie in the specific areas. (see the map below)

There are many consequences to the government getting involved in the HVAC industry, and not all of them are bad. It pays for the average homeowner to be educated in these new standards, so that they can avoid any unnecessary problems. Problems that can arise from being uninformed.

As always, you are welcome to call Thermal Services at 402.397.8100 to ask any questions that you might have regarding any of the topics listed above.

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