Category Archives: business

Jackson Systems Celebrates 20 Years of Quality People, Products & Performance

At Jackson Systems, our people are our greatest asset – we say this with good reason. The passion of our people to serve you is what has generated our long-term contractor relationships, some for over 20 years. At every step, our employees dedicate themselves to giving you the best buying experience and most support possible. Jackson Systems invests in its employees to expand their knowledge in the industry of HVAC, zoning and home comfort by conducting continuous education and professional development. In return, our employees are able to sell with knowledge and authority, and contribute significantly to our goals and to those of our customers. Read more here:
https://jacksonsystems.com/about/testimonials

Jackson Systems knows that the right products win – with contractors, homeowners, and building owners – and for us! “Highest quality possible” are not just words we use to describe our products, we believe it is the only acceptable solution for our customers. At our facility, we closely manage every aspect of product development from concept to production to shipping, assuring you are always getting the highest quality thermostats, dampers and zoning products you and your customers expect and deserve…on time!

The performance of our products has earned Jackson Systems many awards, moreover, it has earned us trust from the contractors who use them. All across America, Jackson Systems products have provided maximum comfort and helped create more efficiency for difficult to heat and cool living and work spaces. “Dependable, easy-to-install and long lasting” best describe our products. Whether it’s a single thermostat you need or a complete zoning system, you won’t be disappointed with the performance of Jackson Systems products!

#20years doesn’t happen by accident…it takes a commitment to total customer satisfaction. If Jackson Systems sounds like the kind of supplier you desire for your thermostats, zoning systems, and other HVAC solutions, call us and we’ll answer…with quality people, products and performance!

Indiana Soup- Story Courtesy of IE3 Business Intelligence for Professional Contractors

Date:
in: Building Performance, Residential Buildings

Image-DewPt-MapI thought I knew all about this topic, but I did not really get a grip on this until a few years ago while preparing to teach the subject. If you’re looking for the ultimate motivator for learning, I highly recommend getting hired to train a room full of experienced contractors so you can stand in front of them and preach, “This is how it is!”

The topic (this time), is moisture. Recall in the past we knew a home had a moisture load (or latent heat load) that needed to be managed, but we also knew our cold AC coil did a remarkable job of sucking the water out of the air. Even if you did not understand the psychrometric chart or read the AC manufacturer’s latent capacity specs, you still learned all about the great moisture removal abilities of an air conditioner the first time you forgot to hook up the condensate pipe. What a mess!

So what have I learned recently that makes me think I deserve your attention for the next few minutes? I now understand the potential water volume in air, and I appreciate the high levels of moisture we have in the Midwest for a large portion of the year.

Don’t stop reading because you have already read about moisture control. You are right, it is a topic frequently talked about today. However, I do not think many in our business are following through and helping the customer understand. It is time for all of us to sign up for a class on moisture. We can no longer ignore our professional responsibility to understand and control the humidity in our customer’s home.

Are you afraid of the psychrometric chart? Well, I am. Maybe not so much afraid as overwhelmed by how much information it reveals. Fortunately, you do not need to know it all. In fact, I do not even “work the chart” in my short class, but let’s remind ourselves on a few of the basics:

  • In the summer, in humid climates, we would like to comfort our homes to about 55% Relative Humidity. A dryer 50% RH is even better.
  • Outside air is beginning to feel uncomfortably humid at a dew point temperature of 60 degrees.
  • Outside air at 60 degree dew point brought inside an air conditioned home at 75 degrees will result in 60% RH. Too high.
  • Outside air at 65 degree dew point brought inside an air conditioned home at 75 degrees will result in 70% RH. Much too high. Bad things can start to happen, depending on how much of this moist air you allow inside.
  • Outside air at 70 degree dew point? Throw me a life jacket and snorkel!

So what? The air conditioner runs and we’re all fine, right? Two things are different now, compared to the past:

  1. Home Performance measures for existing homes (or building energy efficient new homes) helps our homes become more energy efficient, but now the AC runs less.
  2. Sometimes we deliberately suck in outside air that is above 60 degree dew point.

Either of these two actions on their own can cause moisture issues. Having both could be double trouble. Sometimes these measures simply affect the homeowner’s comfort. Sometimes there is so much moisture we cause health and structural problems. Who’s responsible? You. You are the expert. You must understand moisture.

What do you need to do?

The first step is to understand dew point and track it! This is an easy measuring stick for how much water is in the air, and you need to follow it. It’s on your weather app on your phone. Look at this number as frequently as you check the radar. Appreciate that some climates are very humid.

The summer so far in Indiana has been terrible. Wanna see it? Go to WeatherSpark.com. This is my favorite site to view historical Dew Point. The link below is for my city in Indiana, but you can change it to your city. This is a great resource when you learn to navigate through all the adjustments.

Weatherspark-image-f-DewPt

Note the dew point levels during the week I wrote this article. Those are serious moisture levels! Now notice the temperatures (Dry bulb) for this period. Not too hot, and especially if your home is energy efficient like mine, then there is not too much load on the AC.

My geothermal heat pump did not run too much that week, and not nearly enough for adequate moisture removal, but I was very comfortable thanks to my whole house dehumidifier. Fortunately, I did not let much of that Indiana soup into my home, other than a few, normal exhaust fan run times, clothes dryer exhaust, and normal door traffic. I condition to a very comfortable 76 degrees and 45% RH. Half my home is over a basement and the other over a sealed crawl space, and both are dry and odor free.

This is not the way it was in the past. I love the outdoors and in the past I kept my home open as much as possible. Odors grew downstairs, and spent portable dehumidifiers piled up in the basement.

Not so anymore! Once I condition my home in terms of temperature, humidity, and even pollens and dust, then I like to keep it that way. Sure, I still keep a lookout for “fresh” air and bring it in when it is available, but for some stretches of time in the Midwest, “fresh” is rare and I do not intentionally allow the Indiana soup to get into my home.

What about mandatory residential ventilation? (Oops, will you look at that. We are almost out of room for this article and we will need to cut it short.) Briefly, until we have more time, yes fresh air makes sense; lots of it for some situations, much less for others. But with what I know about moisture, I think we are blindly rushing into problems with indiscriminate ventilation. Ventilation timing and moisture knowledge is critical. In many areas, ventilation strategies must include a dehumidifier. And by the way: An ERV is not a Dehumidifier. (Related article http://www.ie3media.com/erv/)

Incidentally, I could go for a good dose of fresh air right now. Let’s see, checking the dew point map, I wonder what size duct I might need to bring in 100 cfm of fresh air from Ely, Minnesota to Indianapolis?

Videos On Your Web Site

YouTube-Video-EditorTons of studies have been done on how to increase Web site hits and usage. Of all of this research, one clear message stands out. Use of videos on your Web site (and with your social media posts), increase the rate of interaction with your site (and social posts.) You don’t need a high end studio to produce great videos. From instructional to testimonial, videos are easier to create than you might think. A simple Webcam or even a quality cell phone camera can create videos to share with your clients. There are many online (free) tools to help with video editing. YouTube offers a simple tool called Video Editor. One of the benefits of this is you can edit and post all in one spot. Videos should show your personality while engaging your clients. Keep them short, 2 – 5 minutes, and informative. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Humor is one of the best ways to engage your audience. We use a great online tool called Powtoon to create presentations, training videos, informational videos and more. There is free version available and it is easy to learn. So don’t be afraid to spend a little time creating some short clips about your company or team members. Even the most basic videos can go a long way to increase your Web presence.

Universal Communications Protocols Urged by ACCA

acca-logoACCA, the nation’s largest association of indoor environmental systems professionals, recently published a great article urging manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment and controls to adopt universal communication protocols for “equipment commissioning and on-going diagnosis for the purposes of ensuring that HVAC equipment is properly installed and maintained.” Many manufacturers maintain proprietary protocols for communications, creating many different systems for technicians to learn and limited cross platform between different manufacturers’ systems.

Here is a link to the full article: ACCA Urges Manufacturers to Develop and Adopt Universal Communication Protocols

Time Management in the Real World

There are so many systems developed to help you manage your time. Problem is these systems manage “clock time” – or the 24 hours in a day. Unless your job and life are so structured that you can actually plan the day around every minute, clock time management is not very useful. “Real Time” management is the key to making the most of your day. And possibly relieving some of the stress of feeling like you have to manage every minute of clock time.

Real time is a mental process. We create real time. Real time drags or flies by. The good news is we can control real time because it is in our heads. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, there are only three ways to spend time: thoughts, conversations and actions.

Here is a link to the full article with 10 tips on how to manage your time. It’s worth your time to read it!

Women in HVACR Host Live Podcast with Steve Coscia

f4f129ac3776225dad727bbafcd57ad0Steve Coscia, founder of Coscia Communication, has generously donated his time and expertise for a live online event hosted by the Women in HVACR organization. This live podcast will take place on Thursday, July 17 at 2pm ET. Steve will share “Extreme Customer Service Values and How-To’s”. No matter our position in this great industry, we can all polish our customer service skills on a daily basis. Steve is a widely published and quoted authority in the customer service industry.

To save your spot for this limited opportunity live podcast, click here Steve Coscia Live Podcast.

Indy BackPack Attack Kick Off

The annual Indy BackPack Attack kicked off on June 23 here in our hometown of Indianapolis. This initiative started in 1999 as a strategic community collaboration with Central Indiana organizations and businesses. The mission of the BackPack Attack is to collect school supplies to provide children the tools they need to succeed in school. According the their Web site, “It’s reported that 88% of the families in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) system need help with basic school supplies.” Since 1999, BackPack Attack has collected more than 3 million school supplies. In 2013, this organization was able to help more than 45,000 students.

If you are in the Indy area, we encourage you to donate to this very worthy cause. You can learn more at Indy BackPack Attack, including items needed and drop off locations.

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!

Trust is a Four Letter Word

TrustWell, not really. But it can be if you lose the trust of your customers. Trust is defined by Merriam-Webster as “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc.” But trust means so much more to our customers. Trust is sacrificing time and sometimes money to make sure we get it right. Trust is doing things that are difficult because it is in the best interest of our customers. Trust is why our customers rely on us and why they continue to do business with us. Break that trust and it will become a four letter word.

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

Future Workforce Concerns

Steve Coscia

Steve Coscia

At a conference in Baltimore, Steve Coscia engaged an audience of mostly college instructors about the future of the workforce. He shared an interesting research study from Bryant & Stratton College and and Wakefield Research focused on soft skills in the workforce. These soft skills include communication, teamwork, attitude and problem solving. Steve recently shared some of the studies findings on his blog. We wanted to share this important information which will have an on-going impact on the future of our workforce. Click here to read Steve’s post: Education, Evidence and Employment.

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

Teamwork, Mutual Respect and Customer Service by Steve Coscia

Steve Coscia

Steve Coscia

Establishing a culture of Teamwork is the optimal goal of customer service managers and it begins with the leader’s core beliefs and his ability to convey a vision. The core beliefs are often established through past experiences which influence a manager’s ability to create a world-class service culture.

For me, building a culture of teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect among departments is the result of an experience which occurred in 1974 while I worked in a warehouse. It was my job to drive a forklift, unload trucks, and pick and ship orders. I was a typical blue- collar worker who wore steel-toe shoes and blue jeans. My office counterparts, a little older than me, wore dress shoes, white shirts and ties. Back then, there were distinct differences between the guys who worked on the carpet (in the office) and the guys, like me, who worked in the warehouse.

The office guys spoke with customers, wrote new orders and guaranteed expedited shipments – all of which impacted me, but unfortunately I wasn’t invited to participate in the logistics of order fulfillment. This meant that I was often the last to know about orders that had to go out today. My office counterparts would venture onto the warehouse floor, seek me out and sternly insist that their order be sent today or else. Being resourceful and creative, I always figured out a way to squeeze their expedited orders into the workload mix. None of which ever resulted in a kind word of thanks or appreciation – after all, I was just a warehouse worker. My office counterparts took all the credit for the sale, the expedited fulfillment and the customer’s gratitude.

My experiences as a warehouse worker greatly influenced my style when I became a customer service manager in the 1980’s. I impressed upon my staff an understanding that warehouse workers make us look good because they convert our words into actions. I would say, We might be able to commit to a shipping deadline, but they guys in the back make it happen – and for that, we acknowledge their effort. Employees are more willing to cooperate when they have learned, through past experience, that they are part of the solution that makes the entire organization achieve business goals. I urge managers everywhere to build a culture of teamwork, cooperation and mutual respect.

AHRI Reports July 2013 U.S. Heating and Cooling Equipment Shipments

AHRIAHRI recently released the July 2013 data on U.S. shipments of heating and cooling equipment. For July 2013, warm air furnaces are up 16.9%, driven by gas furnaces. Oil furnace shipments are down for this time period. Y-T-D warm air furnaces are up 22.3%. Air conditioning and heat pump shipments were also up for July at 15.2% combined. Y-T-D these units are up 10.6% driven by a 24.3% increase in heat pump shipments. Click here for the full report: AHRI Shipment Data.

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.