Category Archives: Indoor Air Quality

The Value of Maintenance Agreements – Submitted by Jaymie Hunckler, Account Manager at Jackson Systems

I’ll admit it – I used to be one of THOSE people. You know, the person who never bought the extended warranty or service agreement on anything. “Pssh,” I would tell my husband, defiantly. “It’s just another money-sucking mechanism. It’s another way to drain more money out of customers with no real return on investment.” Basically, I was a salesman’s worst nightmare.

And then the motor burned up on our condensing unit. In the middle of February. When we had twin infants in the house. The cause? Well, if you would have just taken a look at our measly little 1-inch furnace filter, with an embarrassingly low MERV rating, which had not be changed in probably six months, it was easy to figure out why. Now, in my defense, I hadn’t yet made my foray into the HVAC industry; sure, I knew it was important to change your furnace filter from time to time, but I didn’t worry about it! I could pick one up at the grocery store next time I went. And then I would forget. So, I put it on my list for the next visit; and then I would forget again. $600 later, I vowed I would never make THAT mistake again!

Living in our home for 4 years, we had never had the a/c “tuned up”? Why would we need to do that – to improve its efficiency – it works just fine…right? Wrong – as evidenced by the fact that we literally, just this summer, shelled out a cool $4,000 for a complete system replacement.

Maintenance agreements, if presented in the right manner, and showcasing tangible benefits can be a great asset to any contractors’ service offerings (and could have saved our family a ton of money). Too often, customers are not given the right reasons to purchase a maintenance agreement. The maintenance agreement is often offered as a passing service without the real benefits being discussed with the customer. To effectively sell a maintenance agreement the contractor must provide the customer with true benefits and options.

A Range of Offerings
Maintenance agreements are not a one-size-fits-all product. If providing maintenance agreements as a value added service, make sure you have a few different options available. They must be semi-customized to fit both the customer needs and price-range. If you give the customer options and accurately sell the benefits of each, you’re more likely to sell more agreements.

Clearly Defined
Services provided in each maintenance agreement must be clearly defined. Let the customer know up front that the first tier maintenance agreement provides for two system tune-ups per year, and why a semi-annual tune up is essential for the systems overall efficiency, especially when it pertains to energy savings (customers always want to know how they’ll save money). If the first-tier maintenance agreement doesn’t offer filter changes, make sure the customer is aware of this. Chances are, if the customer can count on the contractor to take care of filter changes and the price isn’t that much higher, they’ll upgrade to the next tier agreement.

Sales Training
This one is probably the most important element. Sure, you may have some really great maintenance agreements providing some really great value-added services for the customer. If you have a service or install technician or a “salesman” that really doesn’t know how to present the benefits of a maintenance agreement to the customer, you might as well not have one at all. This definitely explains why I was so hesitant, for years, to add on maintenance agreements or extended warranties.

Look, it’s easy to say “Buy this service agreement – it costs $400 and we’ll tune up your system twice a year!” Are you confused why the customer doesn’t want to sign on the dotted line? They weren’t given the reasons WHY they should purchase that service agreement! Isn’t it just as easy to say, “With the purchase of a service agreement, we’ll take care of six filter changes a year for you. Filters need to be changed regularly to ensure the proper health of your system. A new filter also helps prevent against unwanted allergens in the air, such as pet hair, dander and dirt, which can really affect the overall health of your entire family. We can take care of that change for you, so you never have to worry about it!”

There are endless benefits to offering maintenance agreements to your customer (and offering them the right way). Increased sales and repeat business from customers who are going to come back to you for many years are just two. Jackson Systems has a variety of sample maintenance agreements we can provide you that you can customize to fit your own needs. Give us a call at 888.652.9663 and we will gladly email these to you.

Honeywell® Lyric™ Is Here!

The Lyric thermostat from Honeywell is ideal for customers who are on the go and want optimal comfort and savings they don’t have to think about.

The Lyric uses “geofencing” to determine occupancy. This technology uses the homeowner’s smartphone location to automatically adjust temperature as they come and go. The Fine Tune feature considers both indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity to reach set point, ensuring 72° really feels like 72°.

The Smart Cues feature sends homeowners maintenance notifications and extreme conditions alerts to help extend the life of their HVAC equipment.

The Lyric thermostat is now available from Jackson Systems. For more information or to place an order go to click here: Honeywell Lyric Thermostat or call 888.652.9663.

Jackson Systems Offers Solution for “Zoning the Impossible”

Zoning is becoming more and more popular in the residential and commercial markets. In residential applications, accessing duct work can present a challenge in existing construction. When bonus rooms and room additions are considered, there may not be duct work running to these areas.

The Motorized Zone Register (MZR™) from Jackson Systems is a low-cost, rugged, metal, motorized zone register designed to work with most forced air zone control systems. It can also be used as a stand-alone register with a wall-mounted thermostat to eliminate over-heating and over-cooling in bonus rooms, sun rooms, guest rooms and basements.

This easy-to-install zone register allows zoning to be installed in almost all residential applications. It is designed to fit most register boots and comes in many sizes, most in both tan and white. There is also a polymer version available for side wall installations.
The MZR is a standard register with a 24VAC spring open/power close actuator. It uses standard gauge thermostat wire (plenum-rated wire may be required if running through duct work.)

The MZR can be wired to a stand-alone thermostat for control of the register in single zone applications, or it can be wired to a zone panel and for multiple zone applications. Up to 6 Motorized Zone Dampers can be connected to a single zone.

The MZR is another innovative solution from Jackson Systems designed to make zoning easier and more profitable for HVAC contractors. For more information, visit zoningregister.com or call is at 888.652.9663.

Selling Comfort Through Controls

Selling zoning systems and smart thermostats is easier than you might think. Homeowners want to be comfortable and save energy. Zoning systems and smart thermostats provide both of these benefits. And just by observing and asking a few simple questions, you can easily sell comfort through controls.

When speaking with homeowners, analogies to other familiar home appliances and features can help them understand how it works. Explaining to consumers the two zones of a refrigerator, one for fresh food and one for frozen food can be helpful. Or ask them if it would make sense to have only one light switch that turns all of the lights in the house on or off. That is essentially what a single thermostat does with the HVAC equipment. One switch heats or cools the entire home.

When you are in the home, look for finished basements or room additions. These can be areas of comfort problems. Ask your customers if they are interested in lowering their utility bills. Independent tests have shown that zoning systems with programmable thermostats can save up to 30% or more on heating and cooling bills. And who is going to say no saving money?

Another revenue stream for your business is smart thermostats. According to the research firm Nielsen, the United States smartphone market is now 55% penetrated. Consumers are using their phones to control alarm systems and entry to their homes. They are viewing their favorite TV programs and movies. Some apps even allow control of television sets. And the list goes on. So much of our world is connected and consumers are hungry for more. So why not control their comfort from their smart device?

As technology continues to get more sophisticated in the smart device market, it is also happening in the HVAC controls market. There are many thermostats on the market that allow control through any smartphone, tablet or computer and most offer free apps to make this control even easier. And consumers are demanding more. In today’s market, there are so many options for smart thermostats. From basic Wi-Fi controlled thermostats that require no additional equipment to more sophisticated, feature-rich models that provide more control of IAQ equipment, there is an option available for nearly any budget and application.

Offering customers better comfort through HVAC controls is a smart business decision, but it is also a great service to your customers. Sometimes just asking a few simple questions can benefit you and your customers. Happy selling!

New Honeywell Talking Thermostat

TH9320WFVThe new Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 universal thermostat with voice control features voice activated recognition and control, allowing the temperature setting to be adjusted in the home by talking to the thermostat. This thermostat uses “Far-Field Voice Technology”, so it recognizes voice commands from across the room, even in a busy home.

With the same great features as the Wi-Fi 9000, this attractive thermostat lets your customers remotely monitor and manage their home’s comfort and energy usage anytime from anywhere. These aesthetically-pleasing touchscreen thermostats connect directly to your customers’ home Wi-Fi in a few simple steps. The plain language on-screen setup and redesigned terminal blocks mean an easier installation for you. The remote access via any smart device means more comfort control for your customers. And the Cloud-based voice recognition software will automatically update as Honeywell adds new voice commands and other enhancements.

Honeywell Wi-Fi 9000 with Voice Control Product Brochure

12 Technical Rules of Thumb for Installing Zoning

Z-300-HPS
1. In most cases, it will not be necessary to modify duct sizing when installing a zoning system.

2. It is a good practice to size the smallest zone to handle approximately 25% of the system CFM.

3. Never undersize the ductwork.

4. Upsizing registers in the smallest zone to the next larger size should be considered.

5. You can double the rated CFM of a register before it starts to become noisy.

6. Multi-stage equipment is always a better choice with a zoning system.

7. It is always better to slightly undersize the HVAC equipment than to oversize it.

8. Never locate a thermostat in a hallway.

9. Dampers should be installed at least 2 feet away from the plenum when possible.

10. Always use a separate 24 volt transformer to power the zone panel. Do not use the equipment transformer.

11. Always tag all wires, especially from dampers and thermostats.

12. Some basements may require setting the zone thermostat in the auto mode during the cooling season for the following reasons: basement walls are cold as a result of being underground, uninsulated ductwork located in the basement acts as a cooling radiator, ductwork leaking air, cold air falls.


For questions about zoning or for a quote on a zoning system, call us at 888.652.9663.

Zoning Selling Tips

zoning floor plan
1. Look for finished basements, add-on rooms or other additions where comfort may be a problem

2. Ask homeowners if there are particular areas in the home that are too hot or too cold.

3. If the homeowner is seeking a second system for their home, zoning may be a more cost effective option.

4. To help customers understand zoning, explain how their refrigerator has two separate zones, one for fresh foods and one for frozen foods.

5. Challenge homeowners to imagine a home with only one light switch that can only turn the lights on or off for the entire house. With a single-thermostat forced air system, they have to condition all of the air to condition any given space. Just like having one light switch to control all of the lights in the house.

Look for future posts on technical tips for installing zoning.

New E-Commerce Site Makes Ordering Easier

E-commerce ShotWe recently updated the look and navigation of our Web site to make it easier to find the great products you are searching for. A large part of this upgrade was improvements to our online ordering system. The new E-commerce tool is easier to use and contains more information about your account. With the new site, past orders can be viewed, quotes can be viewed and changed to orders and you can upload a CSV file of common or repetitive orders. These are just a few of the new features of the site. To help you better take advantage of the new E-commerce offerings, we have created a guide to navigating the site. We hope you find the changes useful and using the site a more enjoyable experience. Download the E-commerce User Guide

Smart Thermostat Sales on the Rise

The News recently reported that the smart thermostat market is projected to reach $1.4 billion dollars in annual revenue by 2020. With the increase in retailers selling these thermostats, there is clearly a huge opportunity for HVAC contractors to take their share. It can be a tough sell to some homeowners who really don’t understand the value a smart thermostat can bring to their comfort and the energy savings they can afford.

Last year, we published two maintenance agreements offering a “connected” package. This highest level of the agreements allow HVAC contractors to offer a smart thermostat with their top service agreement. Below is a link to one of the maintenance agreements. It can be customized with your contact information, logo and pricing. Feel free to download it. Here’s to spring and increased profits.

Maintenance Agreement

HVAC Business Boot Camp Open for Registration

build-your-businessIf Greg McAfee can do it…in Dayton, Ohio, you can too! Greg made an investment of $274.00 and worked to become the leading HVAC service provider in an area that’s been deemed one of the ten worst places to do business in the United States, Dayton, Ohio. Learn how he went from his humbling beginnings to a growing multi-million dollar company.

And now, Former Marine Greg McAfee and his Team are ready to share their knowledge, systems and quality practices with HVAC Business Owners and managers. There is an early bird discount for registrations made by February 14. Click here for more information or to register: HVAC Business Boot Camp

Performance Contracting

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by "The News"

Tom Jackson visits with a contractor at the ACCA Building Performance Forum sponsored by “The News”

Energy savings is top-of-mind as we move into what could be a very harsh winter in some parts of the United States. This paired with the growing consumer demand for “green” products is driving many HVAC contractors to performance-based contracting. By viewing the house as a system, these contractors open up a new revenue stream while also doing their customers a great service. As energy costs continue to increase and the demand for “greener” products grows, performance-based contracting is sure to follow.

Here is a link to a great story in “The News”, explaining some strategies for getting into performance-based contracting and resources available to contractors. ACCA Examines Performance-Based Contracting

Honeywell Giving Away 4 Indian Chief Motorcycles

trueease_updatedHoneywell and Indian Motorcycle — two American icons — have teamed up for the High Gear Humidification Program. There’s no better time to open up the throttle on your humidifier installations, because now
every qualifying Honeywell humidifier comes with a chance to win a new 2014 Indian Chief, the flagship model of the popular Indian lineup!

Homeowners value the efficiency and comfort of Honeywell humidifiers almost as much as you value the installation ease. And now you’ll get an entry into the High Gear Giveaway with every TrueSTEAM™, TrueEASE™, HE265 and HE225 whole-house humidifier you buy — entry details are in every box featuring the High Gear Giveaway sticker. Every TrueEASE also comes with a free HumidiPRO. The contest ends March 31. We have these humidifiers in stock. Call us at 888.652.9663 to place your order!

Click here for details.

Contractor Educates Their Community on Preventative Maintenance

Goff Heat and Cooling

Goff Heat and Cooling in Kirbyville, MO was recently featured in their local newspaper, Branson Tri-Lakes News. They used this opportunity to educate homeowners in their area about the importance of preventative maintenance. The article provides excellent tips to consumers, but also valuable information on selling these agreements to consumers. We wanted to share this great article (with Goff Heat and Cooling permission) with other contractors. It not only contains great information, but showcases how contractors can use their local media to promote their companies through educating the public. Here is a link to the full article: HVAC Preventative Maintenance Explained

Thanks to Goff Heat and Cooling for sharing this article and allowing us to share with other contractors.

Meet Jaymie Hunkler, Jackson Systems Account Manager

Jaymie Hunckler Meet Jaymie Hunckler, account manager with Jackson Systems. Jaymie joined Jackson Systems in March of this year. She spends her time here providing solutions to her clients and ensuring Jackson Systems is providing exceptional client service. When not juggling 10-1/2 month old twins, Jaymie is an avid DYI-er who loves music and the outdoors. Click here to see Jaymie’s introduction video: Jaymie Hunckler

Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors of 2012

The Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors of 2012

Imagine the situation; a family is going about their usual routine and getting ready to turn in for the night when they hear an alarm so loud it could wake the dead. Only it isn’t their smoke alarm going off, it’s their carbon monoxide detector reacting to a leaky furnace – a leaky furnace that is emitting an odorless, deadly gas. Thank goodness their HVAC service person suggested installing the detector last month during a routine service call. Imagine the outcome if he hadn’t thought to mention it. His simple suggestion saved an entire family from a silent killer, and now he will forever be a hero in this family’s eyes.

 

Carbon monoxide is one of the most common household threats, and many states have laws that require certain residential buildings to have working carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors offer an up sell opportunity (and a chance to save lives) for every routine service call.  Homeowners will likely welcome the ability to mitigate the risk of losing a loved one.

 

This silent killer gas is emitted from any appliance that burns natural gas such as gas stoves, heaters or improperly vented fireplaces to name just a few. Without such a life saving device people will have to rely on noticing symptoms such as feeling of lethargy, nausea, sudden tiredness, dizziness or headaches. However, if you are asleep in your bed when this silent killer comes around you will never wake up.

 

When you go into a home ask or check to see if they have a carbon monoxide detector that is working and up to date. It is a good idea to have one near the bedrooms and another in close proximity to the furnace. Make sure to install them so they are mounted towards the floor because carbon monoxide is heavier than air so it settles around the floor.

 

Air Products and Control came out with three new carbon monoxide detectors in 2012 that offer some very useful innovations. The latest addition to their line of contractor-friendly life safety devices includes UL Listed Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Combination Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms. They are tailored for indoor residential applications, backed by APC’s 5-year warranty, these professional-grade alarms are a convenient, high quality alternative to what they’re offering at the Big Box store.

 

These detectors come with optochemical sensor technology which provides resistance to nuisance alarms, extends the sensor life and has a failsafe notification. If, for example, you have a low battery, it has a low audible sound that tells you your batteries need replaced.

 

These models also come with an alarm that will alert a homeowner when the CO detector needs to be replaced. Many people are unaware that an actual sensor has a limited life of about six years. This feature will let homeowners rest assured that they will know when their sensor is no longer working.

 

Air Products and Controls 2012 models

 

APC-9v-C

Works with a nine volt battery and is a great option for existing structures since there is no expensive wiring required.

 

APC-9v-Co-S

This model also works with a nine volt battery, but is different because it is a combination CO and smoke detector.

 

APC-120v-Co-S

Works with a 120 volt battery and hard wired combination and is a combination CO and smoke detector. This model is the best option for new construction and can be wired in accordance with building codes to accommodate the rising legislation requiring all new construction to have wired CO detectors for homes with fossil fuel heat sources. The battery operation is included to work as a backup in case of a power outage.

VCS with Damper Closed

The VCS is here!

We’re proud to introduce you to our new VCS Ventilation Control System!

The VCS Ventilation Control System is a low cost fresh air control system designed to improve residential indoor air quality. This is accomplished by introducing fresh air through an intake damper controlled by the VCS logic panel. The VCS dramatically increases indoor air quality by decreasing VOCs. Most importantly, the VCS is easy to install and set up, meets the ASHRAE 62.2 standard, and is backed by a five year warranty.

VCS features include:

  • Micro-controller logic panel
  • Status LEDs
  • Single adjustment set-up
  • “Damper Closed” override switch
  • Exhaust fan control option
  • Outdoor temperature and/or humidity limit option
  • Remote “Damper Open” override option

A quick reference chart is supplied that helps you simplify the selection of the ventilation cycle to meet the ASHRAE 62.2 standard. The math has already been done and ventilation cycle rate suggestions are made. The easy-to-use dial allows you to set the minutes of ventilation desired thus meeting the suggested requirements specified in ASHRAE 62.2. There is also an override switch that can be used to place the damper in the auto or closed mode. Status LEDs located on the panel also help the contractor verify that the system is operating properly or to help diagnose a potential issue.

To learn more about the VCS Ventilation System from Jackson Systems, please call 1.888.652.9663 or visit http://www.jacksonsystems.com/.

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