Zeroing In On Zoning
Originally published: 09.01.11 by HVACR Business Staff
Educate yourself, your staff, and your customers to boost sales while helping customers save energy and be more comfortable.
If Burger King hadn’t already claimed the catch-phrase, “Have it your way,” it would have been perfect for zoning products.
Zoning enables homeowners and building dwellers to manage their heating-and-cooling systems to balance uneven temperatures, shut off service to unused areas, and make one area hotter or cooler than another — that is, if residents have different preferences. The systems work for both residential and light-commercial applications, and they inherently save energy.
Sounds like a win-win for HVACR contractors, but surprisingly, many don’t offer zoning. That’s why HVACR Business has published this special supplement on zoning. We’ve asked experts to share their knowledge on multiple aspects of selling zoning in order to educate contractors and, hopefully, open doors to more sales and improved profits for them.
“The biggest barrier we see to contractors selling zoning is lack of knowledge,” said Mark Ham, an instructor with distributor Famous Supply in Akron, Ohio. “It’s not that their salespeople can’t sell — it’s that they don’t understand the features and benefits of zoning systems, so they can’t and don’t explain their benefits to customers.”
Which brings us to another big — but not insurmountable barrier — to increasing revenues and profits through zoning: Many potential customers have no idea it exists. Most homeowners just accept that their upstairs will be hotter than the downstairs in warmer months; and building managers figure no matter how many system adjustments they make, someone will always be com- plaining about being too hot or too cold.
A zoning system could include wireless or wired thermostats, ducted or ductless heating-and-cooling equipment, dampers that divert airflow, and sometimes, specialized features that set one manufacturer’s products apart from others.
“Sleek, new mini-splits with variable speed ‘inverter’ technology have been in use for several decades in Eastern and European countries and now they’re catching on in the USA as energy costs continue their upward spiral,” explains a marketing brochure for Fujitsu’s Halcyon Hybrid Flex Inverter system. “The notion that every room in a home must be conditioned to the same temperature — all the time — is losing its appeal among Americans.”
At the same time, zoning’s appeal to contractors is its simplicity. A basic zoning system is not complicated, so it is easy for consumers to understand and doesn’t require specialized training or investment in a lot of new, expensive equipment and tools.
Zoning allows for custom comfort. An Arzel Zoning system, for example, can be easily altered for a changing family or a changing set of living situations. Zones can be reset and reconfigured, and temperature settings adjusted to fit the homeowner’s comfort needs and budget.
A newly zoned comfort system will not only enhance the value and salability of the home, it will reduce utility bills instantly. In fact, proper air distribution with zoning can achieve energy savings of as much as 25% to 35%.
At a time when contractors need new ways to keep cash flowing but don’t have much cash to invest, zoning is an attractive option. Read on to create your game plan.
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