Jerry Korte, president of Korte Does it All, a leading Carrier contractor in New Haven, IN, has faced many challenges over the course of 44 years of up and down business cycles, but it's never been like this. About three years ago, he decided to improve the company's service and retrofit market, and he's glad he did. Since that time, the economic meltdown has caused a serious contraction in new home construction, and Korte's new home installations have since fallen to 50% of 2006 levels. Korte's sales for existing homes are clicking right along, however, and the new Federal tax credits are helping to prime the pump.

“With the tax credits and Carrier rebates, it's hard not to sell them. The tax credits are good through 2010. It's a good thing for the end-user. They're going to save money in the long run, and it's going to save money for utility companies who are going to have to be building new generating plants.”

A key element in Korte's service regimen is the use of the Evergreen IM replacement motor by Genteq, described as the world's first high-efficiency ECM replacement motor that is designed to replace factory PSC blower motors in HVAC systems. “I'm most impressed by the effect it has on comfort, and the fact that it's a very quiet motor,” says Korte, whose teams installed the motor in homes during the product development stage.

“The motors were in place in residential systems for more than a year. We monitored their performance and made tweaks in product development based on what we learned,” says Paul Selking, Genteq's industry leader for residential HVAC products. With energy savings as a prime motivator these days, Selking believes the HVAC industry has an advantage over other home efficiency measures that are eligible for Federal tax credits, such as windows or insulation.

“We've all seen the reality of last 18 months, where more homeowners have been repairing rather than replacing,” Selking says. “That creates some pent-up demand. So, if a homeowner who had another shot of refrigerant added to a system a year ago can now get a system for so many dollars less, I think that has the potential to work better for us.”

Tied in with the efficiency and tax credit messages is the comfort a new system provides to a homeonwers.” The best contractors talk in terms homeowners can relate to,” Selking says. “They identify an opportunity — whether it be allergies, indoor air quality, or air stratification, and offer the products to address those problems. The homeowner often wonders why they didn't do this sooner.”